Why Is Popcorn Bad For Dogs?

The Kernel
Latest posts by The Kernel (see all)

Nothing makes dogs happier than assisting you in cleaning up after a movie night. After all, popcorn always finds its way through the couch cushions and onto the floor, where our dogs happily gobble it up. But should dogs eat popcorn?

The quick answer is that popcorn is not inherently toxic to dogs. Popped corn kernels contain magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, zinc, fiber, and trace levels of vitamins, all of which are critical nutrients for canine nutrition. 

However, it’s a different tale when it comes to the ingredient that makes popcorn taste so good to us. And even though we know it’s harmful to us in excess, most of us enjoy our popcorn drenched with butter and seasoned with salt. 

Dogs are in the same boat, albeit a bit more excessively. For these loving pets, butter, oils, salt, and other toppings on popcorn can cause digestive discomfort, and the fats in oil and butter can lead to obesity and obesity-related health problems.

Too Much Popcorn Can be Harmful to Your dog

It’s typically a good idea to refer to the vet when thinking of a possible new diet for your pet. They are best aware of your dog’s health demands and the safest diets for them.

When it comes to popcorn, though, the biggest problem for dogs is in the fact that we cook it for us, the pet parents, and don’t realize that our cleanup crew are eating bits of food that’s not a great addition to their diets.

So, to be good pet parents, we must prioritize our dogs.

The Best Choice

Popcorn that has been air-popped and stripped of any unpopped kernels is the finest option for your dog (and you, really, if you’re thinking of going on a more healthy diet). But if you’re used to salty, buttery, or other flavorings on your popcorn, the transition won’t be easy!

Unfortunately, the lipids and sodium we add to our popcorn bowl are what wreak havoc on your dog’s body and contribute to weight gain.

Seasonings and Excess

When fats and oils are ingested in excess, they can lead to obesity. Obesity raises the risk of heart disease, arthritis, and kidney illness, while also leading to possible gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea and gas. 

Secondly, salt and other toppings can cause dehydration or poisoning, both of which require emergency veterinarian support.

To give you an example, kettle corn and caramel corn both have sugar added to themdiabetic and overweight pets are particularly vulnerable .

Plus, additives within your seasonings matter too. For example, if we take peanut butter, which isn’t as dangerous by itself but often it contains the artificial sweetener Xylitol, which is highly toxic to dogs.

Unpopped Popcorn

Popcorn kernels that haven’t been popped can cause various problems in dogs. They can produce blockages or difficulties traveling through the digestive tract since they are hard to digest.

Parts of popcorn kernels, or even the entire kernel, can get lodged between your dog’s teeth. It’ll probably irritate your dog just as much as it irritates you, but there’s a key difference: your dog can’t use floss or a toothbrush to get some comfort. 

When those kernels become trapped along your dog’s gum line, they can eventually develop gum disease or tooth decay. Another issue with popcorn kernels is that they are difficult to digest for your dog’s digestive system. 

It’s unlikely that a few kernels can harm your dog, but there’s no reason to put your dog’s tummy through any more labor than required.

Choking Hazard

Your dog may have a tendency to inhale the food that is offered to them. Popcorn, both popped and unpopped, can cause choking in dogs, so pet owners should be cautious. If your dog eats too much popcorn all at once, it may become caught in its throat. 

This is something I’m guilty of! Popcorn appears to be the only item my dog can catch, and I had no idea this would be a problem, much to my shame.

That’s why we’re recommending air-popped popcorn. As mentioned above, it has the least chance of proving bad for your dog (or you), which makes it an acceptable treat. 

Still, always remember that kernels can become lodged in dogs’ teeth and cause choking, so it’s best to keep whole or partially popped kernels away from curious dogs instead of letting them eat anything in the first place.

Can dogs be allergic to popcorn?

Corn is a known allergen in the dog world, just like wheat or soy. Gas, diarrhea, vomiting, or stomach discomfort can indicate a corn allergy or intolerance, as does excessive licking (particularly on the paws), skin rash, or irritation.

Stop offering popcorn to your dog if you detect intolerance or allergic reaction. Instead, consult your veterinarian to confirm the cause as soon as possible.

How Much Popcorn to Give Your Dog? 

Well, first of all, dogs don’t really require popcorn in their diet. Popcorn should only be fed to them if it is completely devoid of salt, butter, oil, or any other flavoring. Even plain popcorn should be given in tiny portions, as too much at once can induce digestive discomfort or choking.

Therefore, it’s recommended not to regularly feed your dog people food, as it can be harmful to your dog. Items other than popcorn among the items on the list are:

  • Garlic 
  • Onions
  • Avocado
  • Raisins and grapes
  • Chocolate
  • Candy
  • Caffeine-rich meals and beverages include coffee and other caffeinated beverages.
  • Certain nuts, particularly macadamia nuts, have a high-fat content.
  • Alcohol

Don’t take a chance if you’re unsure whether a specific something is safe or hazardous for your dog. Remember, all your dog needs for optimum nutrition and long life is high-quality dog food suitable for their age, weight, and breed! 

Don’t ruin that for the meager thrill of throwing popcorn for your dog to catch!


A small amount of plain popcorn, without butter, salt, oil, seasoning, or any other additives, should be safe for your dog to eat. 

However, because popcorn isn’t something your dog requires to maintain their health (and does cause more harm than good), there’s no reason to feed it to them. Plus, if your dog develops a love for popcorn, you’ll never be alone at the movies again!

And if your dog gets his paws into a bag of buttered, salted, or flavored popcorn and eats a substantial amount, contact your veterinarian for advice. Your dog is likely to experience stomach distress, diarrhea, or vomiting in the near future.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *