Staci is a writer living in Atlanta, Georgia. When not writing, she spends most of her time trying to keep up with her four rescue cats and Australian shepherd puppy.
Food General Food

Can Dogs Eat Popcorn?

Jun 30 ·

Can dogs eat popcorn? It’s a question owners often have when looking for tasty snacks to feed their pets. Can you feed them a bit of popcorn from the salted bucket you got when seeing a film? Is some plain popcorn you made in your own home okay?

There are many considerations to think about when feeding your dog some popcorn, and it’s important to take all of them into account.

Can Dogs Eat Popcorn?

Popcorn bowl

The short answer is yes, dogs can eat popcorn.

Is It Safe?

When giving dogs plain, popped popcorn, it’s usually perfectly safe and you don’t need to worry.

Is It Healthy?

Honestly, not really. While corn has benefits for dogs, popcorn doesn’t really.

That doesn’t mean dogs can’t have them — only that popcorn shouldn’t be a diet staple.

Are There Any Benefits?

The main, and really only, benefit of popcorn is that your dog will love it. It makes for a great tasty treat and will help you bond with your dog.

You can also use plain popcorn as a high-value training treat. When training your dog, it’s best to have treats of different values depending on how important what you’re teaching them is. For example, “sit” is quite easy to learn and might only require a low-value treat such as some of their kibble.

However, things like “leave it” and recall are of vital importance but require a lot of impulse control, so it’s better to use something of high value for your dog. Small slivers of cheese and yes, things like popcorn, are great options!

What Are The Risks?

Even when feeding dogs plain, popped popcorn, there are some risks to bear in mind.

Too much popcorn can lead to obesity. Obesity is very dangerous in dogs, and can lead to a whole host of diseases. It also puts unnecessary strain on their joints and bones, which can lead to serious problems in later life.

You should always be keeping an eye on your dog’s body condition and adjusting what you feed them as necessary.

Unpopped kernels can get stuck in your dog’s teeth and/or become a choking hazard, especially for small dogs with smaller throats! Make sure the popcorn you’re giving them is fully popped.

Flavored Popcorn

Popcorn bags

When it comes to flavored popcorn, you should never give it intentionally to your dog. They might love the salted or butter popcorn, but the ingredients in this can be harmful. There are so many calories, and the fats involved aren’t good for dog’s digestive system, so you may see some diarrhea as a result — or even vomiting.

Some gourmet popcorn can be flavored with things that are downright dangerous to dogs, such as chocolate or garlic powder. This popcorn, especially, should be kept far away from your dog.

What Happens If My Dog Ate Some Flavored Popcorn?

So your dog ate some popcorn you dropped, and it wasn’t plain — what now?

If it was salted or buttered, don’t panic. Unless they ate a lot, it’s likely to pass through their system just fine — maybe with some stomach upset. They shouldn’t be given it on a regular basis though.

If the popcorn had chocolate throughout it or was flavored with other seasonings, you should contact your veterinarian. They may have you bring your dog in or tell you how to induce vomiting.

Signs Of Poisoning

Signs of poisoning from ingredients dogs shouldn’t have can include:

  • Excessive drooling
  • Clear abdominal pain and discomfort
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Excessive thirst
  • Loss of appetite

If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, you should take them to the vet clinic right away.

Alternative Snacks

What Can Dogs Eat

Although your dog can have popcorn, it doesn’t have much nutritional benefit and flavored popcorn can be dangerous. If you want to try an alternative snack, these fruits and vegetables are great options:

They’re just as tasty to many dogs and come with added health benefits!

However, it’s important never to assume that just because something is good for humans, it’s good for dogs. Things like grapes can be seriously toxic to dogs, so always do your research.

So, can dogs eat popcorn? The answer is yes, but it’s much better for it to be plain and unsalted. Flavored popcorn can introduce a whole host of problems.

If you want your treats to have nutritional value, it’s better to find out what fruits and veggies they like. However, if you want a very enticing high-value training treat to teach something of vital importance, popcorn is likely to do the job you need.

Staci is a writer living in Atlanta, Georgia. When not writing, she spends most of her time trying to keep up with her four rescue cats and Australian shepherd puppy.
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