Harper Jefcoat
Harper Jefcoat

Can Dogs Eat Popcorn? Is it Healthy Snacking?

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7 min read

Can Dogs Eat Popcorn?

On This Page

  • Can Dogs Eat Popcorn Safely?
  • Popcorn and the Pup Health
  • Risks of Eating Popcorn for your Dog
  • How to Safely Give Popcorn to Your Dog?

It's not uncommon for people to enjoy popcorn at the movies, but can dogs eat them? Can they have a piece of this tasty treat as well?

Popcorn is a popular snack food that has been around in America since the 1800s. Today, Americans consume about 10 billion pounds of popcorn each year.

So what do you think -- can your dog enjoy some too?

Read on to find out more!

At first glance, it may seem like an okay idea. But there are many reasons why you should be extremely careful while giving your dog popcorn - read on to find out why!

Can Dogs Eat Popcorn Safely?

Yes, dogs can eat popcorn safely, but only if they are air-popped and without any additives.

You probably know that the smell and taste of popcorn are irresistible to humans. What you might not know, however, is that these same qualities are just as addicting for our canine friends too!

There's no denying how tasty this snack can be with all its buttery goodness or saltiness. Dogs love their favorite movie treat so much that they'll gorge themselves on a bunch until there isn't any left - without realizing what harm it may cause them in the long run.

“Can dogs eat buttered popcorn?”

Though popping popcorn itself does not pose a health risk to dogs, the butter and salt associated with it is something they should avoid.

If you are looking for an occasional dog snack, consider air-popped corn. But be careful to keep the unpopped kernels away from curious paws. This is because they can cause a potential choking hazard.

Popcorn and the Pup Health

The best way to keep your dog happy is by making sure they're healthy. They'll love you for it!

The right dog food can go a long way in keeping them healthy, but make sure not to spoil your efforts with snacks.

With a low-calorie count and high fiber, popcorn is an excellent snack for humans or dogs alike. Air-popped without salt, butter, or sugar makes it nutritional and healthy with protein to boot!

Add in the iron content of this delicious treat and you have one flavorful way to keep your pup happy while watching TV. Here are some benefits of popcorn for dogs;

  • It is a whole grain, a high-quality source of fiber.
  • Popcorn kennels are rich in magnesium, zinc, phosphorous, and manganese.
  • They are an excellent source of antioxidants, and polyphenols, that help in better blood circulation and lower the risk of several kinds of cancers.
  • Popcorn also has traces of vitamins.

Plain popcorn might have a few nutrients, but it’s not enough to make any difference. There are also other reasons why you shouldn’t bother giving your dog this snack - it poses some potential risks for them!

Risks of Eating Popcorn for your Dog

Naughty Doggy!

When you feed your dog popcorn, it's important to keep in mind that unhealthy toppings and additives could have some unpleasant consequences. For example:

  • High Sodium Intake

    “Can dogs eat popcorn with salt?”

    Salted popcorn is not safe for your dog.

    When they eat too much salt all at once, it’ll make them extremely thirsty and could even cause life-threatening symptoms of sodium ion poisoning.

    Most microwavable popcorn contains a lot of added salt. It can lead to excessive salt intake, which may promote dehydration or stomach pain for the pup.

  • Seasoned Popcorn

    Popocorns come with all kinds of seasonings, and those seasonings could be harmful to your dog. In case your canine had a few kernels, monitor it closely and look for any signs of diarrhea and vomiting. If the signs persist and your dog’s condition worsens, call the vet immediately.

  • Sweet Popcorn

    Can dogs eat sweet popcorn? Some variations of this sweet popcorn include kettle popcorn, caramel popcorn, and candied popcorn. Moreover, these kinds of popcorn may also contain artificial sweeteners like xylitol which could be poisonous to your dog.

  • Butter and Oil Intake

    Popcorn is a great snack for everyone, but it can be harmful to your pup.

    Too much oil or butter at once can be toxic to dogs. It will cause an upset stomach and even vomiting or diarrhea if they have too many of these bad boys in one sitting.

    Too much butter causes a change of taste buds, while also shrinking their digestive tract.

    Avoid giving them that delicious corn on movie night - keep the courtesy all to yourself!

  • Harmful Cooking Additives

    Popcorn is a delicious and healthy snack for both humans and dogs, but some varieties are just not safe.

    “Can dogs eat caramel popcorn?”

    “Can dogs eat popcorn with cheese?”

    You might enjoy caramel, cheddar cheese, or peanut butter popcorn on occasion with your human friends. However, this should be avoided when feeding them to your dog because of the added sugars that can cause diabetes in their system.

    Moreover, unhealthy cooking preservatives like nitrites are linked with cancerous tumors inside dogs' mouths.

  • Kernel Dangers

    “Can dogs eat popcorn kernels?”

    “Can dogs eat popcorn seeds?”

    Popcorn kernels or seeds are not only hard on our teeth, but they can also be a problem for dogs.

    The pieces of popcorn get lodged in the dog's gum line and create inflammation or decay over time when left untreated. If ingested, this could cause stomach pain as it is difficult to digest.

    So, there is no need to put your pup through this unnecessary pain!

  • Choking Hazard

    Your dog may be inclined to inhale any food you give them. Popcorn, in particular, poses a serious choking hazard because of its size and how quickly it can get lodged inside the throat.

    If your pup gulps down too much at once, some popcorn could cause harm before they have time to chew or swallow properly.

Can Dogs be Allergic to Popcorn?

Corn? The most common food allergen.

For some dogs, it causes a life-threatening reaction, and for others just a mere digestive upset.

Corn also has a tendency to make your furry friend develop diarrhea or chronic gas. These can lead to more serious health issues down the line when left untreated!

How to Safely Give Popcorn to Your Dog?

Dogs are notoriously picky eaters. Air-popped and unsalted or unseasoned popcorn is a relatively safe bet. Though, it is not something you're likely to be eating often unless your pup gets their own bowl of popcorn.

How to Make Air-Popped Popcorns?
Air-popped popcorn is a healthy and easy snack to make. You can either use your stovetop, microwave, or popping machine. Once you've popped the kernels, remove the unpopped kernels as they could be dangerous.

Here are some recipes with specific instructions about how to make just enough for Coco:

  • Cheesy Bacon Pops

    Simply spread some popcorn on an oven-safe dish and top it off with reduced-fat grated cheddar cheese and bacon bits. Then bake at 350 degrees until the cheese melts. Let cool before serving

    This recipe is perfect if you're looking to share a snack with your canine best friend and yourself.

  • Peanut Butter Popcorn

    The perfect movie-night treat is just a few ingredients away!

    Turn your favorite popcorn into healthy, peanut buttery balls with the help of one teaspoon extra virgin olive oil and 1 cup low-salt/low sugar.

    Combine ½ cup popcorn, ¼ tsp salt (or less), 2 Tbsp natural crunchy peanut butter in a bowl. Then toss them to coat well.

    Form small balls from the mixture on wax paper and spread them during the setting time. Set them for about 15 minutes -1 hour.

“Now this doesn't mean you should let your doggie eat a whole bag of Pops," says Dr. Matthew McCarthy.

Be Careful with the Portion Size!

If your pet's diet consists of mainly nutritionally deficient foods like snacks, it might be time to reevaluate what they're eating.

When it comes to popcorn, a handful is a plenty!

You should only use it as a treat or snack rather than regular food. Dr. McCarthy recommends, “Ideally keep snacks, treats, and people’s foods to less than 10 percent of your dog's daily caloric intake.”

If you think your dog has ingested too much popcorn, call the vet right away. They can help prevent serious health issues like sodium ion poisoning or other complications that could arise from eating an excessive amount of this popular snack food.

If Need Be - Plain Air-Popped Popcorns are the Best for your Pup!

According to Dr. Dimock, “When feeding popcorn to your pet, it's important that the popcorn is plain and preferably air popped. Popcorn that is covered in butter (even fake butter), salt, and seasonings can cause stomach issues for your furry friends.”

You might be tempted to spoil your furry friend with a few of the treats that you enjoy. But, giving them human food can lead to trouble- from obesity and diabetes to pancreatitis.

Plain popcorn is an excellent treat for dogs without any of these problems!

If you want to feed your pup some delicious, salty treats this holiday season, please do so with caution by following the steps we recommend, and reading through the risks.

Taking care of your ESA can be a difficult and costly task, but with an ESA letter from us you can make sure your pet is protected.

Get your ESA dog letter today and start giving your pet the care they deserve!

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens when a dog eats popcorn?

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Nothing, if they eat it occasionally in small amounts. However, if they eat too much or the ones with additives, it may cause dehydration, obesity, digestive issues, and other chronic issues.

Can popcorn cause diarrhea in dogs?

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Yes! If dogs eat too many popcorns or if they are allergic to popcorns, then they could suffer from diarrhea.

Is microwave popcorn bad for dogs?

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Yes, microwave popcorn is bad for dogs. This is because they contain harmful oil, butter, salts, or other additives that pose serious health risks to your dog.

Can dogs eat popcorn with butter?

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Dogs should preferably avoid popcorn with any kind of additional seasoning, whether it’s salt, butter, oils, or anything else. These additional seasonings could have a very high-fat content which could be harmful to dogs.

Do dogs love popcorn?

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Yes, dogs love popcorn. There is more than one reason for this. They love it because it is crunchy and they like to chew it. Moreover, they like the taste of popcorns and they love to share a meal with their human friends.


Harper Jefcoat


Harper Jefcoat

Harper Jefcoat is a dedicated pet enthusiast and expert author at the RealESALetter.com. With a deep-seated passion for animals, Harper brings a wealth of knowledge and personal experience to his writings. Specializing in canine behavior and wellness, he aims to help pet owners understand and care for their furry friends better.

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