Popcorn isn’t entirely bad for dogs. On the contrary, popcorn contains several compounds that could help balance your dear fido’s nutritional requirements.
For example, popcorn is rich in dietary fiber, which is superb at speeding up catabolism and aiding digestion.
Furthermore, minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc present in popcorn are essential for bone formation in dogs.
Now, despite the many minerals that abound in popcorn, dogs can’t have a large bowl of popcorn because their digestive systems haven’t evolved to process foods like that. Moreover, many healthy dog foods available today have an abundance of these minerals and vitamins, precluding the need to feed popcorn to a dog.
Why is Popcorn Harmful to Dogs?
Ordinarily, bits of popcorn fed to your pet aren’t harmful per se. It’s the topping and the quantity of popcorn involved that make it toxic.
Too much salted or sugar-coated popcorn is harmful to dogs for many reasons: salt poisoning, choking hazard, indigestion, obesity, cardiovascular diseases, etc. Here’s a look at some of the reasons why your dog shouldn’t have too much popcorn.
Salt poisoning is a dangerous phenomenon that occurs in dogs after consuming substances high in salt concentration. And since salt is one of the primary ingredients used to flavor popcorn, there’s a high likelihood that your canine companion could suffer from life-threatening symptoms such as seizures, diarrhea, vomiting, or coma, from salt poisoning.
Choking happens when a dog’s nasal or tracheal passage gets obstructed either by a foreign object from without or because of an infection from within. For example, when a dog sniffs popcorn kernels, it could accidentally inhale some of it, preventing air from reaching its lungs, ultimately causing death.
Indigestion occurs when the enzymes in a dog’s stomach cannot break down the food consumed. This happens when digestive enzymes cannot act on the ingested substance because it contains certain compounds that hinder catabolism—the process of food breakdown in a dog’s stomach.
Indigestion, among other discomforting issues, could lead to a swollen abdomen, restricting the blood flow in the lower half of a dog’s body, a sure recipe for death.
The butter in popcorn is loaded with fats and oil that would make your pooch obese in no time. This is even truer for dogs like Labrador Retrievers that possess genes that make them highly susceptible to obesity.
Consequently, your dear fido could find it extremely difficult to exercise, which could invite a series of other diseases. Furthermore, its extra-large body size could begin to weigh heavily on its joints, which may lead to hip dysplasia.
Obesity and cardiovascular diseases are like snow and Christmas. As soon as your dear-fido starts to put on more weight than is healthy, it soon develops heart diseases. For instance, excess cholesterol in a dog’s system can clog veins that carry blood vessels to the heart, leading to a stroke or a heart attack.
When your canine pal chews half-popped or unpopped kernel, bits of it could lodge in the corners of its mouth. Consequently, bacteria start to breed on the trapped popcorn kernel remains and spread onto the gums, and may cause gum irritation and inflammation.