Fun Facts Discovered: Can Dogs Have Popcorn?
Our four-legged companions have been there for us through some of our worst times, our lowest moments, and some of those moments when you simply couldn’t talk to anyone else. After all, no one listens like your dog! No one will keep your secret for life, like your dog. However, he has been there for all of the happy, beautiful, and exciting moments of your life too. Such as movie night every week with your family and friends. Now, what would movie night be without popcorn? It would be rather bland, to say the least. However, should your best friend be enjoying this ordinary movie night treat with you? Let’s pop into the facts surrounding the question “Can Dogs Have Popcorn?“and find out.
What is Popcorn?
Now, it is very likely that we all know what popcorn is in a literal sense. Popcorn is exactly that, popped corn kernels. When the kernels of corn are heated (whether in the microwave, a frying pan, over a campfire or even in the kettle of a popcorn machine) the kernels expand and “explode” creating the “popping” sound. The fluffy insides are now on the outside of the kernel. Salt, butter and a variety other possibilities of toppings can (and should be) added to enhance the flavor of this treat.
Who “invented” Popcorn?
The concept of heating the corn kernels seems to go as far back as 3600 B.C. in Mexico. Remnants of these kernels have been found by Archaeologists, leading them to believe that popped corn may have been the first type of maize that humans ever discovered. However, there is a slim chance of ever proving such a theory. In 1848, John Russell Bartlett’s Dictionary of Americanisms welcomed the term “popped corn.” as a name for corn kernels that has beet heated and “popped”. A little later, in the 1890’s, a man by the name of Charles Cretors invented the first popcorn machine. This device was developed using a similar technology as steam-powered machines that were used to roast nuts. These steam-powered popcorn machines were eventually placed on street carts to sell to the public at 5 cents to 10 cents per bag. This system would quickly skyrocket throughout The Great Depression as this was one of the only choices that were affordable and remained plentiful.
Is Popcorn a healthy treat?
Like with most things, it depends. It depends on what you pop the popcorn in (butter, oil, air, etc.). It also depends on what you add to the popcorn once it is popped (butter, salt, oil, etc.). If you are consuming popcorn made in an air popper machine and you do not add anything to it afterward then the popcorn is high in fiber, antioxidants, low in calories and low in fat as well as being free of sugar and sodium. This type of popcorn may not be as tasty of a movie night treat but, it is very healthy. On the other hand, if you consume popcorn made in a kettle, frying pan, or in a microwave then it is likely soaking in butter, oil, and salt. Any combination of these ingredients can begin to add up in calories and fats. However, for those in good health, occasional consumption won’t hurt. Although, if you have a health condition that could be made worse by oils or salt then you should avoid popcorn or only consume the plain popcorn.
Can Dogs Have Popcorn?
Popcorn is one of the treats that is not recommended for children under the age of four because it could potentially be a choking hazard. The same warning goes for your pooch. One of the reasons your dog should not be given popcorn is that he could possibly choke on it. Therefore, many specialists do not recommend this treat for your dog. However, allowing him to have a couple of pieces should not hurt him, especially if the popcorn is plain. Heavily buttered, salted, oiled, or sugared popcorn is not recommended at all.
Plain, unsalted, popcorn is often used by dog trainers as a reward for correctly performing the task or trick requested. If you are considering offering your dog some popcorn for training purposes or as a special treat, then it should be completely plain, fully popped (no kernels) and you should take into consideration how big your dog is.
Do you own a small teacup Chihuahua or do you own a Great Dane? The size of your fully grown pooch will factor significantly into whether or not you should avoid popcorn altogether. If your pooch is fully grown and can still fit in your arms (Pug, Pomeranian, Chihuahua, Yorkie, etc.) then he may not do so well with popcorn. His mouth, teeth, and esophagus are all much smaller than larger dog breeds, and therefore he has a higher risk of choking. On the other hand, if you own a German Shepard, Great Dane, or any other medium to large sized dog breed then you can attempt to offer plain popcorn to him. You should always offer one piece at a time and let your dog completely finish chewing and swallowing before offering another.
If your dog seems to be interested in popcorn or he has tried some in the past without issues, then you may want to consider checking your local pet store. Many of the big chain pet stores sell a dog treat that is a healthy option of popcorn called Pupcorn.
Final thoughts to sum up:
While you enjoy your movie night with your friends and family, you are likely enjoying your pooch and some popcorn. Popcorn of any kind is not a recommended treat for our four-legged friends. If your dog sneaks a piece of popcorn from the bowl without you offering it to him, then he should be okay. Observe him for any choking, illness, or allergic reactions. If you want to be able to provide your pooch some popcorn on occasion (mainly as a treat during training) then you should always choose a plain popcorn or purchase Pupcorn which is specially formulated for dogs. Finally, you should avoid popcorn altogether if you own a small dog breed as they have a higher risk of choking on it.