Canines And Kernels: Can My Dog Eat Popcorn?

Canines And Kernels: Can My Dog Eat Popcorn?

Dogs can make for some of the most loyal and loving companions in the world, and they provide such quality friendship that we can sometimes forget that they are an entirely different species. Canines, by their very nature, are quite different from people, and it would do well to remember that as a dog owner.

One of the most obvious ways that dogs differ from us is in what they can eat. While dogs can mostly eat the same things that we can, there are a few foods to watch out for. For example, dogs can't process some of the ingredients in chocolate, and too much of it can lead to dogs getting sick and even dying.

Feeding the dog.

Over the course of this article, we will be taking a look at whether or not dogs should eat a popular snack that is a favorite of moviegoers across the country. Can dogs eat popcorn? There are many things to consider when addressing the question of whether or not dogs should eat popcorn, so let’s get right into it.

Dogs And Human Food

Is popcorn bad for dogs? This can be a complicated question to answer, so we want to make sure that all of our readers are on the same page. Before we take a look at popcorn in particular, let’s see whether or not dogs should consume human food in the first place, because there is a lot of confusion about this topic.

You may have heard that dogs should never eat human food, and this is entirely untrue. While it is true that certain foods that are safe for human consumption can have harmful effects on canines the reverse is also true, as we are different species. However, most foods (in reasonable amounts) will be safe for dogs.

Is Popcorn OK For Dogs?

So is popcorn safe for dogs? This question is similar to the question of whether or not popcorn is healthy. Popcorn is a very versatile food that depends heavily on its toppings for flavor and nutrition. Since popcorn is so dependent on toppings, you will have to consider them before feeding your dog popcorn.

As you would expect, the most healthy form of popcorn that you can feed your dog is unsalted popcorn without butter that has been made using an air popper. This type of popcorn is ideal for dogs since it is healthy, but it is also a perfect snack for any pet owners looking to lose some weight.

Air-popped popcorn without any salt in it is good for your dog because it does not contain a large number of micro- or macronutrients. Other types of popcorn can have dangerous levels of nutrients in them that could cause potential long-term health issues for your furry friend.

Puppy in a bowl eating popcorn.

If your air-popped popcorn is lightly salted, you may still feed it to your dog, but you will want to keep popcorn as an occasional snack. Popcorn that has been made in an air popper without any added toppings does not have enough nutritional value to result in a meal for your dog.

Things To Avoid In Popcorn For Dogs

There are a few things to watch out for when you are feeding your dog popcorn. First of all, you will want to go through the popcorn that you are going to give to your dog for any unpopped kernels or other bits that they could potentially choke on.

Popcorn can sometimes be difficult to eat, and dogs don't exactly have the same forethought that people do while they are eating. While it is not likely that your dog will choke on a popcorn kernel, it would do best to eliminate the possibility of that scenario occurring in the first place.

Aside from ensuring that there are no bits and pieces in your dog's popcorn, you just have to keep an eye on the ingredients that are in the popcorn. You will want to avoid feeding your pet popcorn that has excessive amounts of butter in it due to the potential health ramifications of high cholesterol.

Popcorn butter is one of the leading ingredients that can make popcorn bad for dogs since it can diminish their cardiovascular health. Keep in mind that dogs are also physically much smaller than people, so their bodies will be affected more drastically by a high concentration of carbs and sodium.

Speaking of sodium, you will also want to avoid popcorn that is high in salt because it could raise your pet’s sodium levels to dangerous levels. Increasing your intake of this nutrient beyond recommended levels could have severe consequences for the health of your dog’s heart.

You will also want to stay away from dessert popcorn. It has been proven that most types of dessert popcorn are among some of the least healthy forms of popcorn on the market. Since dessert popcorn is so much higher in carbs than air-popped popcorn, your dog may have to deal with obesity and other health issues.

Of course, you will want to stay as far away as possible from chocolate-drizzled popcorn as that can be potentially deadly for your pet. Theobromine is a substance that is contained in cocoa; it can’t be broken down by dogs, which makes it toxic and hazardous.

No Replacement For A Proper Meal

You have to keep in mind that popcorn can make for a great occasional snack and treat for your dog, but you will want to avoid substituting it for a meal. As we touched on earlier, you will find that popcorn lacks the necessary nutrients to make for a dog food substitute.

Dog eating.

No matter how much your furry friend may like popcorn, they won’t be able to eat it all the time.


If you would like to feed your dog popcorn from time to time, you will want to avoid popcorn that has been popped in oil or has had anything else added to it. Pure, air-popped popcorn is fine for dogs as long as you make sure there are no unpopped kernels left. Feel free to let us know what you think in the comments section.


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