Reviewed By Joana Garrido DVM
Is popcorn a safe treat for your dog? While dogs can eat popcorn, it offers little to no nutritional value and some varieties can even be harmful. Learn what you need to know to keep your pup safe while enjoying this popular snack.
Is popcorn good for dogs?
Yes, plain popcorn can be good for dogs. It provides plenty of fiber and a good dose of minerals such as:
This human food contains trace amounts of vitamins, particularly vitamins B1, B3, and B6. Popcorn also has low-calorie content, so snacking on it is unlikely to cause obesity unless eaten in copious quantities.
Possible side effects and hazards of popcorn to dogs
Technically, plain popcorn is safe for dogs to eat since it is a nontoxic food for them. But to answer the question, “Is popcorn bad for dogs?” there are several health risks that may result from feeding this human food to our furry pals. Read more to find out.
High Salt and Oil Content
Butter, salt, and oil are some ingredients that make popcorn so delicious. However, these are not good for your dog as they can cause many health problems. Some dogs also develop pancreatitis due to eating oily human food.
Feeding dogs food that is loaded with salt makes them more vulnerable to developing kidney problems. Urinary tract infection (UTI) and kidney stone formation are some of the most common renal issues caused by high-sodium diets.
In other cases, dogs experience sodium poisoning after ingesting large amounts of salt-loaded food. This is a life-threatening condition, especially if immediate treatment is not administered.
Popcorn is primarily made of corn, one of the most common pet food allergens in dogs. Thus, some dogs may experience adverse side effects if they consume this food.
Diarrhea, vomiting, poor coat quality, itchiness, constant licking, and chronic skin and ear infections are the most prevalent symptoms of allergic reactions.
If these signs manifest in your dog, stop feeding him popcorn and get him checked by the vet right away.
Popped and unpopped corn kernels can easily get lodged in dogs’ throats, especially smaller breeds with smaller windpipes.
Some pooches love gobbling up food without chewing. Unfortunately, they may end up choking as a result. That is why when feeding your dog popcorn, always give one at a time to make sure that no accidents will happen.
Can dogs eat popcorn kernels? There are many reasons why it is best to leave it out.
For one, dogs will have difficulty chewing kernels since they have a hard texture. In the process, the kernel may damage their teeth and put them at risk of choking.
Moreover, bits of popcorn may get stuck in your dog’s teeth, which can cause an irritating sensation in his mouth and a hassle for you to remove. If you do not get rid of stuck kernels, it will cause periodontal disease or tooth decay.
Popped kernels are also quite fibrous, making it hard for your dog’s stomach to digest. As a result, he may experience digestive issues, including diarrhea, gas, constipation, and stomach pain.
Are flavored popcorns safe for dogs to eat?
Countless flavored popcorns are available on supermarket shelves for us to enjoy. Let us take a look at the different flavors of popcorn and find out if they are safe to be shared with Fido:
Can dogs eat buttered popcorn?
Tossing a few pieces of buttered popcorn to your dog is okay, but not too many.
As mentioned earlier, butter is unhealthy for pooches since it is high in fat. Too much consumption may lead to the development of health issues like pancreatitis and obesity.
Can dogs eat caramel popcorn?
Some caramel popcorn may also contain xylitol, which is a sugar substitute that is highly toxic to dogs.
Can dogs eat white cheddar popcorn?
Skip sharing white cheddar popcorn with your dog. Many pooches are either allergic to dairy or lactose-intolerant.
Consuming too much white cheddar popcorn may lead them to suffer adverse side effects such as stomach upset and diarrhea.
Can dogs eat chocolate popcorn?
Chocolate popcorn can be deadly to dogs, so never share it with your pooch. Like most chocolate-flavored food products, chocolate popcorn contains theobromine, a compound that’s toxic to dogs.
Can dogs eat peanut butter popcorn?
Do not give peanut butter-flavored popcorn to your dog. Store-bought peanut butter popcorn often has high sodium levels. Some may also contain xylitol, which is a sweetener that is extremely toxic to dogs.
In short, ready-made and commercially produced flavored popcorn is unhealthy and sometimes poisonous to dogs. Hence, it is best to keep these products away from your furry pal.
Instead, why not make your very own popcorn for him? It is a far safer and healthier option since you know what ingredients are used to make this tasty doggy treat.
How should I feed my dog popcorn?
Feed your dog popcorn plain and air-popped. You can use a stovetop, a microwave, or a popcorn machine to make it.
Skip adding butter since it is high in fat, which can cause stomach upset.
Avoid using other flavor enhancers too such as salt and caramel. They are full of sugar and sodium, which contribute to health issues like gaining extra weight and kidney issues.
Some popular popcorn seasonings are toxic to dogs, including garlic or onion powder. So make sure not to use them.
Before serving popcorn to your dog, check for unpopped or partially popped kernels. Make sure to remove them to prevent risks of choking and teeth fractures.
Can dogs eat popcorn with salt? Or is unsalted popcorn a better option?
If flavored popcorn is out of the question, what about salted and unsalted popcorn? Which is safer? If you plan to make popcorn for your dog, always choose air-popped, plain popcorn. Its lack of sodium, oils, spices, and seasoning makes it a healthier option than its salted and flavored counterparts.
You can use a stovetop, microwave, or popcorn machine to make air-popped popcorn. Do not forget to remove the uncooked kernels before serving them to your dog.
Is popcorn a healthy snack for dogs when made plain?
Air-popped and plain popcorn without additional ingredients are good for dogs. Although it does not offer much nutritional value, your dog can still reap a few health benefits. Popcorn contains high amounts of dietary fiber, which can aid your dog’s digestive system and metabolism.
This snack also has small amounts of B vitamins, riboflavin, protein, iron, magnesium, manganese, and zinc. Although it isn’t much, these vitamins and minerals will give your dog an extra energy boost.
How much popcorn can a dog eat?
Popped corn kernels should only be served as occasional dog treats. So feed your dog a few pieces of popcorn once in a while.
Do not make it a part of your dog’s regular diet. He might suffer from undesirable long-term side effects. These may include health problems like pancreatitis, obesity, and kidney diseases.
Ask the vet’s advice if it is safe to feed your dog popcorn. Whether or not dogs can have popcorn depends on many factors, such as their health condition, age, and breed.
For instance, dogs predisposed to kidney problems should not be given popcorn. Popcorn is not a good treat for puppies too, since they have very sensitive stomachs.
FAQs About Popcorn for Dogs
1. Is microwaved popcorn toxic to dogs?
2. What happens if my dog eats a piece of popcorn?
Nothing will likely happen if your dog eats a piece of popcorn. However, do not overlook the possibility of an allergic reaction, particularly if he is allergic to corn. Take him to the vet if he exhibits allergy symptoms.
3. How many pieces of popcorn can a dog eat?
There is no fixed amount to how many pieces of popcorn a dog can eat. We suggest feeding no more than a handful to your canine companion.
4. Can popcorn kill dogs?
Plain popcorn will not kill dogs, but offer it in small quantities to avoid causing nutritional imbalance.
Watch out for unpopped corn kernels since they can cause life-threatening accidents such as choking.
While popcorn is safe for dogs, avoid adding butter or seasoning. Feed plain, air-popped popcorn in moderation to prevent stomach upset, kidney issues, or toxicity. Visit our Human Food section to learn more about safe feeding practices.