A Saturday night is the best time to curl up on your couch with a large bowl of microwave popcorn and watch that movie everyone has been raving about.
Just stick a bag of popcorn in the microwave for a minute and indulge.
Your furry friend may want a bite of your delicious popcorn, and you aren’t sure if it’s safe.
So, can dogs eat microwave popcorn?
Microwave popcorn contains preservatives and unhealthy forms of fat that are harmful to dogs.
The unhealthy fats can cause digestive issues to your dog, while the salt in the popcorn can lead to sodium poisoning leading to dehydration and kidney damage.
Let’s look into why microwave popcorn is not the ideal snack for your dog, what to do if your furry friends ingest microwave popcorn and better alternatives for a snack.
Why is microwave popcorn harmful to your dog?
Air-popped, plain, saltless, butterless, and sugarless popcorn isn’t toxic, but it’s not appealing either.
It’s, however, the only kind that is safe for your canine to eat.
Even when all those factors are considered, your fur buddy can’t ingest more than a few pieces, which have no nutritional value.
You are also less likely to eat plain saltless popcorn and will have flavors and additives like salt, butter, and caramel, making the microwave popcorn unhealthy for dogs.
Harmful components in microwave popcorn for your dog
High levels of sodium
High salt levels in dogs can be fatal and cause sodium poisoning.
Sodium poisoning causes dehydration, confusion, difficulty breathing, fast heartbeat, and fainting in dogs.
Signs of salt poisoning to look out for are:
- High fever
- Increased heart rate
- Muscle spasms
- Stomach aches
- Loss of appetite
- Lack of appetite
- Extreme thirst
- Frequent urination
Call your vet immediately if your furry friend has gobbled up a bowl of salty microwave popcorn and you notice the symptoms.
High trans fat levels
Many brands of microwave popcorn are made with hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils.
Hydrogenated oils contain trans fats, which are harmful to your dog.
Trans fats cause an increase in blood concentration leading to a higher chance of your dog getting heart disease.
Trans fats also interfere with your dog’s glucose and insulin functions.
May contain diacetyl
Microwave popcorn may have additives like artificial butter or caramel containing diacetyl.
Diacetyl is a lethal chemical to dogs as it damages the respiratory system and causes lung disease.
Symptoms to look out for are:
- Difficulty in breathing
- Shortness of breath
- Irritation on the skin, nose, mouth, and eyes
Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)
Most prepackaged microwave popcorn bags are lined with perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a harmful chemical to your dog.
Extended exposure to PFOA can damage your dog’s immune system and cause liver and kidney diseases.
Popcorn bags are also a potential choking hazard for your dog.
PFOA also increases the risk of certain cancerous tumors.
Other additives like caramel, chocolate, or sugar for sweet microwave popcorn are harmful to your dog.
Flavored popcorn, especially caramel and sweeteners, may contain xylitol which is lethal to dogs.
Chocolate is also toxic in dogs, while sugar can cause obesity and diabetes and further harm your dog’s teeth.
Symptoms of xylitol poisoning are:
- Low blood sugar
- Reduced activities
Symptoms of chocolate poisoning are:
- Increased heartbeat
- Extreme thirst
Risks of microwave popcorn on your dog
Damage to the gums: unpopped kernels of popcorn can hurt your dog’s gums and chip the teeth causing dental problems.
The microwave popcorn hulls can get stuck between your dog’s teeth, causing discomfort and damage to the gums.
Choking hazard: whole or partially popped microwave popcorn is a choking hazard.
The unpopped kernels can also cause blockage of your dog’s digestive system.
Gastrointestinal issues: Sweetened or seasoned microwave popcorn can cause digestive problems.
Your dog may react badly to the butter or caramel, leading to effects like diarrhea, vomiting, and dehydration.
Excessive salt can cause kidney damage.
Safer snack alternatives for dogs
Microwave popcorn is harmful to your dog.
However, your furry friend can enjoy a few pieces of air-popped, unsalted, and unbuttered popcorn occasionally.
Healthier and safer options for snacks that you can give your canine are:
Watermelon, apples, bananas, strawberries, and blueberries are great fruit options for your furry friend.
Remove the peels and seeds, slice up and serve your canine.
Brocolli, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, green beans, and carrots are delicious vegetable options for your fur buddy.
Your canine will enjoy the cooked vegetables.
Homemade baked dog treats are tasty and nutritious for your dog and pocket friendly.
You are confident knowing the benefits to your dog because you pick out the ingredients.
Sample treats you may consider making are:
Peanut butter dog treats: Mix two cups of flour, half a cup of peanut butter, and two eggs.
Add some water to get the right consistency, roll out the dough, cut to desired shapes, and bake.
Pumpkin/ sweet potato treats: Mix your pureed pumpkin or sweet potatoes with two cups of flour.
Add some water to get the right texture, roll out the dough and cut out the shapes. Bake and serve your fur buddy.
Apple and oats treat: Mix two and a half cups of quick cook oatmeal flour, one cup of cinnamon apple sauce, and two eggs.
Put the mixture on parchment paper-lined baking molds and bake for 25 minutes.
Frozen treats are fantastic and offer great relief to your canine on a hot day.
Some easy to make frozen treats are:
Strawberry/ blueberry popsicles: Mix your blueberries or strawberries and xylitol-free peanut butter in a blender.
Pour into your silicone molds and freeze.
Banana yogurt frozen treats: Blend two bananas and a cup of yogurt.
Pour the mixture into silicone molds and freeze.
Melon and pineapple frozen popsicles: Mix one and a half cups of watermelon, one cup of diced pineapple, and one cup of yogurt.
Pour into a silicone mold or ice cube tray and freeze.
Most human food can have adverse health effects on your precious pups.
It’s always best to exercise caution when feeding your dog human food.
Essentially, keeping your dog safe and healthy is the ultimate goal.