Nothing beats the buttery, crunchy popcorn while watching your favorite show for the millionth time. But when dogs are involved, things can get a bit smokey, right? Before you toss some pops to your dog, it’s good to wonder, “can dogs eat popcorn?”

In a nutshell – Yes, popped popcorn is safe for dogs. That being said, there are quite a few exceptions as well. In this article, we have everything you need to know about feeding your popcorn. 

Is Popcorn Good For Dogs?

Popcorn is neither good nor bad for dogs. Provided that you only feed your dog plain air-popped popcorn. Still, here are some minor health benefits that popcorn may give to your dog:

1. Minerals

Strangely, not only are popcorns safe for dogs, but they also have small amounts of these minerals:

  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc

Although, this does not mean that you keep feeding your dog popcorn all day long. The nutritional value of popcorn is insufficient to give your dog enough energy to sustain their day. 

2. Perfect snack

Another super important benefit of popcorn is that they are THE perfect munchies and snacks. Especially if you have movie sessions every Friday, you can safely toss some popcorn to your dog or even as fun training treats. 

3. Low calories

If your dog is obese, popcorn would be a perfect low-calorie snack. Unless you pop them in too much butter, they do not add anything to the weight. So basically, you get both taste and health!

a happy dog sitting between two popcorn packs

Risks of Feeding Your Dog Popcorns

Popcorn is one of the human foods, which indeed is tasty and does not harm, but it still is not good for your dog. Here are the risks involved:

  1. If your dog is an eager eater, they may gobble up a whole bunch of popcorn. If they don’t chew it well, it can cause choking hazards. 
  1. The unpopped popcorn kernels are something we all can relate to! It’s disheartening to see those little kernels not being a part of the “popping party.” But our dogs don’t care about that! As a responsible parent, you should hand-pick those kernels out so they don’t get stuck in your dog’s teeth, throat, or intestines.
  1. Too much popcorn can lead to excessive gas issues and may make your dog feel bloated. Even humans get digestive problems after eating a lot of popcorn, so they definitely are not the safest ones for dogs.  

Types of Popcorn to Avoid For Dogs

Apart from plain air-popped popcorn, you should not feed your dog any other type of popcorn. There are several types of popcorn available in the market that you may wonder about. These are:

  1. Seasoned or salted popcorn
  2. Buttered popcorn
  3. Chocolate or caramel popcorn

All these are super unhealthy and take away the whole purpose of introducing human foods like popcorn to dogs. It is essential that you never compromise your dog’s health for a bit of spice or taste. 

Lastly, you must also check the ingredients before buying popcorn packets for your dog. If the pack of sweet popcorn contains xylitol, you better keep it back in the rack. Xylitol is the same ingredient that makes marshmallows a terrible choice for dogs, as this toxic is deadly to dogs (study). 

Conclusion

Our final thoughts on “can dogs eat popcorn?” are yes. Plain air-popped popcorn is safe for dogs if fed in moderation. As a responsible dog parent, you should NEVER EVER experiment with flavors and seasonings when it comes to your dog’s health. It is because popcorn, anyway, has little nutritious value paired with crunchiness and taste. Adding more harmful ingredients will only put your dog at risk of getting sick. 

So the moral of the story is that next time when you pop some popcorn, don’t shy away from tossing some to your dog.

a dog chuckling next to a popcorn pack

Frequently Asked Questions

Dogs eat popcorn kernels?

You should never feed your dog popcorn kernels. They are not safe as they are raw and cannot be digested. However, if your dog gobbled up 2-3 kernels off the floor, it won’t do any harm. Feeding your dog popcorn kernels can lead to choking hazards and abdominal pain.

Is microwave popcorn bad for dogs?

Yes. Microwave popcorns are harmful to dogs. Packed products are full of preservatives, flavorings, and fat. This can cause health problems in dogs in the long run.

How much popcorn can I give my dog?

 You can give your small to medium dogs up to a handful of popcorn. While for large dogs, you can feed them more than that, but in moderation. The key here is to feed them popcorn 1-2 at a time. Swallowing up a whole bowl at once will be likely to cause choking hazards in small dogs (study). 

What happens if my dog eats popcorn?

Nothing happens if your dog eats popcorn in moderation. Only if you overfeed them or give your dog popcorn every day, all day, it can cause gas and digestive problems. You should consult your dog if your dog is lethargic or sick.

Can dogs eat skinny pop popcorn?

No. The skippy popcorn or any other commercial store-bought popcorn can cause health hazards in dogs. They include appetizing ingredients like cheese, butter, seasonings, etc, which are for human consumption only.

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