My dog loves nothing more than getting close to me. Too close sometimes. His little wet nose prods my hands when I’m holding anything seemingly edible.
He stands up on his back legs to see what’s cooking on the stove. And he snuggles up right close on the sofa, flashing me his big puppy-dog eyes when I’m settling down to watch my favorite movie, a bowl of popcorn in hand. Sorry, pal. This is all mine.
Can Dogs Eat Salty Popcorn?
Dogs are like vacuum cleaners. I’ve never yet found anything that my dog won’t hoover up off my kitchen floor. Toast crumbs, splattered pasta sauce, cereal, bacon bits – he snaffles them up before I even have a chance to say “Five-second rule!” A little bit of anything in moderation can’t do any harm, can it?
Well, that’s where I’d be wrong. There are certain things that dogs just cannot and should not eat. Raisins, grapes, macadamia nuts, and chocolate to name a few. But what about salty popcorn? Can I chuck the odd bit in my dog’s direction? Can he snuffle out the dropped popcorn from the side of the sofa?
Whilst I’m sure many dogs can eat salty popcorn and be totally fine, it’s really not recommended. Your vet is sure to give you a stern look if you discuss your and your dog’s Saturday night popcorn and movie-sharing habits. So, why is salty popcorn so bad for your pup?
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Is Salty Popcorn Bad for Dogs?
Yes. Salty popcorn is bad for dogs. If you’ve found yourself googling “Can dogs eat salty popcorn?” because your hound has accidentally eaten some, chances are, they’ll be completely fine. That said, feeding it to them or letting them have their own movie theater snack most definitely shouldn’t be happening.
Salty popcorn has (you’ve guessed it!) lots of excess salt. Foods with too much salt can be harmful to your dog’s health. Eating too much salt can lead to dehydration and increased thirst. In extreme cases, it can lead to sodium ion poisoning.
Sodium Ion Poisoning
Sodium ion poisoning is a fancy word for salt poisoning. It’s a serious condition that happens when a dog eats too much salt. Dogs can’t tolerate as much salt as we humans can. I can polish off a large, salted popcorn at the movies without so much as a need for another soda. But it’s different for our canine friends.
When a dog eats too much salt, it can end up with an electrolyte imbalance. This imbalance can cause:
- Increased thirst
- Even death, if left untreated.
These symptoms can vary depending on the amount of salt the dog has eaten, how quickly the dog ate it, and the size and type of the dog. If you think your dog may have eaten too much salty popcorn (or any other salty food), you should seek immediate advice from your veterinarian.
Preventing dogs from eating such foods is the best way of avoiding sodium ion poisoning. Be sure to keep your favorite salty snacks out of your dog’s reach and do not ever allow them to have foods that you know have a high salt content.
Additionally, your dog should always have a supply of fresh water. If he accidentally eats a salty chip or two from the kitchen floor, he can help himself to water to flush any excess salt out of his system.
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What About Other Kinds of Popcorn?
It’s so tempting to give your dog a little bit of what you love. If you’re absolutely desperate to let your dog have a little of your favorite snack, the best possible popcorn variety for them is plain, unsalted, unbuttered popcorn. A little bit of it shouldn’t do any harm in terms of salt, sugar or additive content. Even so, you should still be cautious as there are a few risks with doggy popcorn consumption.
We all know dogs can’t digest corn. Well, they can’t really digest it when it’s popped either. Too much popcorn can therefore result in nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea in your dog. And probably a belly ache too.
It’s happened to me many a time. Chomping away on my favorite popcorn and “ouch!” an unpopped kernel wedges itself on my tooth. The same can happen to your dog and can cause them no end of dental problems.
My dog inhales his food, even from a slow-feeding bowl. It’s like a race for him. Scoffing popcorn at top speed increases the risk of your dog choking on it. Popcorn is light and airy; bits flake off and can literally be inhaled causing your dog to choke.
Corn is actually a common food allergy in dogs. If you notice your dog is particularly sensitive to corn, then it’s best to avoid the popped variety too. The last thing you want is your dog having an allergic reaction and suffering vomiting, diarrhea, gas or breathing issues!
When it comes down to it, the stuff that makes the popcorn ultra-tasty for us humans is usually what makes popcorn bad for our doggos, so it’s best avoided. The American Kennel Club certainly agrees! So, if you’re still wondering, “Is popcorn bad for dogs?” the answer is, yes, it can be!
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Sue’s favorite pastime? Watching a good movie with a giant tub of popcorn by her side. Her friends and family know that if they want to get her something, popcorn is always a safe bet. Sue has an adventurous spirit and loves to travel exploring new places – she’s been to more than 40 countries!