Can Dogs Eat Popcorn? The Do’s and Don’ts of Sharing This Snack with Dogs

Salty, buttery, crunchy, and so easy to eat by the handful, popcorn is one of the top snacks out there! Perfect for enjoying during a movie, for a light snack, or just because, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t like at least one kind of popcorn. But humans aren’t the only ones who love this (semi) healthy snack. 

can dogs eat popcorn?

 Dogs love popcorn too, and if you’ve ever seen a dog chomp down on a piece of popcorn, you know that it’s a delightfully funny experience! But, should our dogs really be enjoying this movie-theater treat, or should we save the popcorn for ourselves?

Dogs & Popcorn: The Facts

dog with a big bowl of popcorn
Photo Credit: @bullterrierfred

The simple answer to “can dogs eat popcorn” is yes! But, as is often the reality with owning dogs, there’s some important information you need to know before you start giving your dog popcorn as a treat. 

Nutritional Value of Popcorn

Corn is generally safe for dogs, but it doesn’t necessarily add any nutritional value to their diets. Many commercial dog food companies use cornmeal as a filler in their formulas, and while some say that the addition of corn adds important nutrients to the complete diet, there is plenty of debate on the topic of adding grain to dog food formulas. 

This said, popcorn, in general, isn’t bad for your dog, especially in moderation; it just isn’t “healthy,” either. 

Dogs can safely eat corn and corn products as long as they do not also contain added ingredients that could be harmful. When in doubt, stick to plain, unsalted, air-popped popcorn. 

Pros of Letting Dogs Eat Popcorn

dog with popcorn stuck in its fur
 Photo credit: @brightontolondon 

Lots of dogs love popcorn, probably in part because their humans love it so much! Giving your dog a piece of popcorn now and then is a fun way to treat them, and can give you a few moments of entertainment, too. Try feeding a piece of popcorn to your dog, and you’ll know exactly what we mean…just prepare for some serious crunching!

Possible Risks

Whenever you give your dog a new food, it’s important to know whether there could be risks. Popcorn is a relatively safe food to share with your pooch, but there are still a few considerations to make:

Allergies: Dogs can have allergies just like people, and sometimes they are allergic to food! Most allergic reactions to corn aren’t serious, but it’s still a good idea to test the waters with a single piece of popcorn. After your dog has had their crunchy treat, keep an eye on them for 24-48 hours to make sure they handle it well. See signs of stomach ache, gas, vomiting, or diarrhea? Your dog could be allergic, and you should consider avoiding popcorn and corn products in the future.

Choking Hazards: Popcorn has the potential to get caught in the throat, especially if they are semi unpopped, or still have hard shells intact. Popcorn can also get stuck in teeth, irritating the gums. Be sure to supervise your pup with popcorn and all treats, foods, or chews in case of a choking emergency.

Added Ingredients: Salt, butter, and artificial flavorings are delicious, but not good for dogs. High levels of fat and sodium are a recipe for vomiting and diarrhea, and in large amounts can lead to heart disease, pancreatitis, inflammatory diseases, and other chronic conditions. None of these ingredients are toxic in small amounts, but you should not make it a habit to share flavored popcorn with your dog.

Can Dogs Eat Popcorn FAQ

dog eating popcorn
Photo credit: @enid.does

Still looking for an answer to your specific question? Here are some of the most common ones we get about dogs and popcorn. 

Can Dogs Eat Buttered Popcorn? 

Yes, but in moderation! A piece or two of buttered popcorn now and then is safe for your pup, but it’s not the best kind of popcorn for their tummies. Regular butter from your fridge is the best option if you must use butter since the artificial stuff contains lots of preservatives. 

Can Dogs Eat Caramel Popcorn? 

No! High-sugar foods and desserts are not safe to feed your dog. Not only is caramel popcorn too high in sugar, but it could also cause tooth decay. 

Can Dogs Eat Popcorn Kernels? 

No! But also yes. If your dog gets an unpopped popcorn kernel there’s no need to panic, but that doesn’t mean you should intentionally give your dog unpopped kernels. Unpopped kernels can be a choking hazard and could upset your dog’s stomach. 

Can Dogs Eat Microwave Popcorn? 

Yes, but not the kind with extra butter. Like regular buttered popcorn, a piece or two of microwave popcorn is perfectly fine for your pup every once in a while. Just don’t give them the kind with the extra movie-theater butter, since this could give them tummy trouble. 

Can Dogs Eat White Cheddar Popcorn? 

Yes, but in moderation! Like buttered popcorn, white cheddar popcorn is high in fat, salt, and lactose, all things your dog shouldn’t be getting often. 

How Much Popcorn Can a Dog Eat? 

Even if you are only giving your dog air-popped, unsalted, unbuttered popcorn, you should still feed in moderation. Remember to make sure your dog has fully finished each piece before you give them another, and try to limit them to just a few (3-7 depending on size) less than once a week.

Type of PopcornCan Dogs Eat It?How Much?
Air-popped, unsaltedYes!3-7 fully popped kernels
Air-popped, saltedSometimes1-3 fully popped kernels
Air-popped, salted w. butterSometimes1-3 fully popped kernels
Microwave, unsaltedYes!3-7 fully popped kernels
Microwave, saltedSometimes1-3 fully popped kernels
Microwave, salted w. “butter”Sometimes1-3 fully popped kernels
Stove-top, olive oil, unsaltedYes!3-7 fully popped kernels
Stove-top, coconut oil for dogs, unsaltedYes!3-7 fully popped kernels
Stove-top, vegetable oil, unsaltedSometimes1-3 fully popped kernels
Stove-top, saltedSometimes1-3 fully popped kernels
Stove-top, salted w. butterSometimes1-3 fully popped kernels
Caramel PopcornNo!None!
White Cheddar PopcornSometimes1-3 fully popped kernels

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