Can I Give My Dog Popcorn?

Can I give my dog popcorn?As you smack down in front of your television watching your favorite shows, you might want a bowl of popcorn to snack on. This is the perfect set-up to relax; that’s why it’s very popular when watching movies. But there is one problem if you own a dog.

If your pet dog stays inside the house, he or she will probably enjoy watching TV with you. Most definitely, your popcorn will be a target as your K9 eyes that delicious snack sitting in your lap. Surely you don’t mind sharing with your canine friend, right? It can be particularly hard to say no when they turn on that all-too-familiar charm as those puppy dog eyes are right there in your face.

But you might be subconsciously wondering if it is really alright to give popcorn to a dog. Popcorn is 100% pure people food and you have probably heard about stories of people food being fatal or toxic to dogs. This can be quite a conundrum as the stare-down unfolds in your living room.

Can I Give My Dog Popcorn? Answer: Not Recommended

No is the quick answer to the question regarding feeding popcorn to dogs. On the other hand, popcorn is not a high-risk type of people food for dogs in general. There are only a few reported cases of dogs dying from popcorn, but it is still better to err on the side of caution.

Generally, giving popcorn to dogs is not life-threatening. That is unless you are giving your dog popcorn that is highly salted, buttered, or otherwise flavored with sugar or artificial flavorings. It is a fact that all types of food that are heavily salted, oily, and sugary are very bad for your dog’s health. These should be avoided if not completely eliminated from your dog’s diet.

The Risks of Giving Popcorn to Dogs

Unsalted, unflavored, and typical popcorn which is not buttered will not really harm your pet dog when given in moderation. In fact, popcorn is a healthy snack as foods like these are high in fiber and can therefore aid digestion. Moreover, popcorn is high in carbohydrates and this will give you and your dog an extra energy boost. You must exercise, your dog as well, for this to be true though.

However, in spite of being a fun snack for both you and the dog, it is not such a great idea to feed your dog popcorn regularly. You see, dogs tend to gulp down these small pieces of popcorn, especially if you own a large breed of dog. When your dog does this, he or she will swallow kernels of corn without even chewing them up. The kernels are not easily digestible and this can cause an upset stomach for your dog. They don’t know about kernels like you do.

There are also some reported cases of dogs, especially small breeds of dogs, choking on unpopped kernels of popcorn. This rarely happens, but when it does it can cause a quick death as the air passage to the lungs is completely blocked. Even if it doesn’t kill your dog, the tiny pieces of this snack can get caught between your dog’s teeth. You know how uncomfortable that can be. It can be very painful for them in addition to causing tooth decay over the long term.

Popcorn as Dog Treats

Because popcorn is not regarded as a highly dangerous type of people food for dogs, they are sometimes used as treats, rewards and training snacks for dogs. Surely, most dog owners are getting away with it without harming their dogs.

If you feel comfortable about giving popcorn to your dog as a type of snack or treat, make sure that you only use plain and unsalted popcorn types. Flavored and salted popcorn are harmful to a dogs’ health. A K9 system is not built to withstand too much salt and artificial chemicals. Excessive salt and sweet flavoring intake can lead to obesity, heart problems, diarrhea, diabetes and even arthritis. Still worse, your dog can have a general organ failure. Commonly, they become more lethargic over time as a result of a poor diet.

There are a lot of healthy doggie treats and snacks available on the market today and it is more advisable to get those instead. Real dog treats should be vitamin-fortified. Some even have dual functionality like the added benefit of also helping to clean your dog’s teeth. Healthy dog treats that can be purchased from reputable dog food manufacturers, under various brand labels, are so much safer than popcorn and most other types of people food.

Seek Out Health Dog Treats

You give your dogs snack treats, among other reasons, to let them know how much you love them. But if you are really concerned about your dog’s well-being, you will stick to providing him or her with only the best food and snacks. The best way to do this is to minimize giving your pet people food which is generally not really that nutritious for them anyway. If your dog is overweight, it may be the clearest sign to lay off the popcorn and switch to a healthier treat and overall lifestyle.

Add Your Own Answer to Can I Give My Dog Popcorn? Below

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Anna December 5, 2013

Popcorn is a fun treat for dogs, but, like all people food, should be given in moderation.


Brian November 14, 2013

We usually give our dogs 2-3 pieces of popcorn, unless we drop more on the floor.


sandy hall March 15, 2013

My dog has kidney problems. She loves popcorn. I need to know if popcorn will harm her kidneys.


robertak February 6, 2013

I gave my dog some popcorn on two occasions; upon realizing that each time she threw up her entire meal. Not sure if it is the popcorn but am having her checked by our vet. I do know I will not give her anymore popcorn. She is a small Terrier and as evidenced by the info above, they swallow the kernel whole without chewing it. Therefore, it can probably create an obstruction in the digestive tract or upper throat as related in the above article.

This may be the reason she threw up her meal, but am still going to confirm if there are any other causes by taking her to our family vet. If you have any thoughts or comments on this let me know. I love my little ‘Leila” and I am praying she is ok. God Bless all of you animal lovers.

Our pets are family members and they become a part of our heart eternally. The popcorn is from the dollar store, yellow color and probably has lots of chemicals in it. I also read that our corn is kept in the bins on the farm for a long period of time where it ultimately develops fungus and mold. Maybe we need to stay away from corn.


Garrick Simpson November 11, 2011

I just got back from a film shoot, where I had made popcorn for my co-workers and I to enjoy in between takes. However, I ended up leaving the feast in my car, due to the fact that I had to park five blocks away and had cinematography gear to carry. When I got home, I realized that I still had the popcorn. It was unsalted, because that’s the way I prefer it.

So for the past thirty minutes I have been scanning the internet for pages like yours, trying to avoid Simba, my Staffordshire Bull Terrier’s puppy face. Needless to say, I fell to his stare of pure cuteness.

Anyway, what I’ve gathered from your page and others is the following – (1) as long as the popcorn is cooked and is new oil – “not last night’s chip oil”, (2) don’t give them piece with kernels – “I bite those bits off and give him the rest, which is soft” and (3) don’t give them spiced popcorn. Then it is perfectly safe and as you said good for their digestion.

Thanks again for the info. Hope you agree with my analysis.


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