Can Dogs Eat Popcorn?

Julia Henriques
can dogs eat popcorn

Popcorn is a delicious snack that many of us enjoy, but can your dog join in the fun? 

The answer to "can dogs eat popcorn" is yes, dogs can eat popcorn, but there are some things you’ll need to know first.

Is Popcorn Safe For Dogs? 

Yes, popcorn is generally safe for dogs, but avoid giving your pup popcorn with added flavors, salt, or butter. These can be harmful to your dog and could cause health problems.

Flavored popcorn, for example, can contain additives like onion powder, which can be toxic to dogs. This type of ingredient can cause a range of symptoms, from vomiting and diarrhea to more serious issues like anemia. 

As for salt … while a little bit of it won't hurt your dog, too much salt can lead to dehydration, and increased thirst. In severe cases, dogs can even suffer from salt poisoning, a condition that can cause weakness, diarrhea, muscle tremors, seizures and more.

While butter is another tasty and popular popcorn topping, it can be problematic for dogs. Butter is high in fat, and a diet that's too high in fat can lead to obesity, pancreatitis, and other health issues. 

RELATED: Is cheese good for dogs?

What Kind Of Popcorn Is Good For Dogs? 

If you’re going to feed your dog popcorn, it’s best to stick with plain, air-popped popcorn. It’s the healthiest option for your dog since it doesn’t contain any added salt, butter, or flavorings. Plus, it's low in calories, making it a great treat for pups on a diet.

At this point, you might be wondering why we recommend air-popped popcorn … or “is microwaved popcorn good for dogs too?” Unfortunately most brands of microwave popcorn contain artificial flavorings and preservatives that can be harmful to dogs.

Even if you find a microwave popcorn with few added ingredients, the popcorn bags themselves often contain grease-proofing chemicals that can leach into the popcorn when the bag is heated. Some of these chemicals are known to be endocrine disruptors, which means they can interfere with hormones in your dog's body, leading to health issues such as thyroid disease and possibly even an increased risk of cancer.

That’s why it’s best to stick to air-popped popcorn. And even then, always give popcorn to your dog in moderation, as too much can still upset his stomach and lead to digestive issues.

Can Dogs Choke On Popcorn? 

Yes, dogs can choke on popcorn just like humans. If you feed your dog air-popped popcorn, make sure it doesn’t contain any unpopped kernels that could be a choking hazard.

It’s a good idea to supervise your pup when he’s eating popcorn to ensure he’s not gobbling it down too quickly.

Does Popcorn Have Any Benefits For Dogs?

Popcorn doesn’t really offer any significant nutritional benefits for dogs. 

At best, popcorn can be used as a low calorie treat for dogs who need a little extra fiber in their diet. Fiber in popcorn can help keep your dog's digestive system healthy. And sharing a bowl of popcorn with your dog on movie night can be a fun bonding experience.

However, there are plenty of other low calorie, high fiber foods that are richer in nutrients, and have other health benefits to boot. 

Popcorn Alternatives For Dogs 

Luckily, there are plenty of other tasty and nutritious treats you can give your pup instead. 

For example, baby carrots are a great snack for dogs as they're low in calories and high in fiber (you may want to steam them lightly for increased digestibility, as raw carrots often come out undigested in your dog’s poop). Apple slices are another good option, but you’ll want to remove the seeds and core as these can be choking hazards for dogs.

Green beans are also a great choice. They're low in calories but high in vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, vitamin K, and manganese. 

Sweet potato slices another delicious option, as they're rich in fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants. Just be sure to cook them thoroughly before feeding them to your dog, as raw sweet potatoes can be difficult to digest.

Remember to opt for organic if possible, to avoid pesticide or herbicide residues in your dog’s snacks. And you’ll still want to introduce these new foods to your dog gradually and in moderation.

RELATED: What are the best veggies for dogs?

How To Feed Your Dog Popcorn Safely

If you still want to feed your dog popcorn, just make sure that you choose  air-popped popcorn, and avoid popcorn that's loaded with butter, salt, or other extra ingredients. 

Don't give your dog popcorn instead of his regular food. At most it should be an occasional treat or snack.

Always supervise your dog and remove any unpopped kernels beforehand to minimize choking risk.


Still got questions? Here’s the bottom line on common popcorn questions we get from dog owners…

Can Dogs Eat Buttered Popcorn?
Dogs should not eat buttered popcorn, as the added butter can cause digestive issues.

Can Dogs Eat White Cheddar Popcorn?
White cheddar popcorn is not recommended for dogs due to the added flavorings and salt content. If your dog loves cheese, grating a little fresh cheese on plain popcorn is a better option than buying it preflavored. 

Can Dogs Eat Microwave Popcorn?
Microwave popcorn is not a good choice for dogs, as it often contains added chemicals and flavorings that can be harmful. The packaging can contain dangerous chemicals as well. 

Can Dogs Eat Popcorn Kernels?
Dogs should avoid popcorn kernels, as they pose a choking hazard and can also cause dental issues.

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