Can Dogs Eat Popcorn?

dog eating popcorn while watching

Can Dogs Eat Popcorn? Yes, But Only Plain and in Moderation. While popcorn itself is not toxic to dogs, the way it’s typically prepared for humans—with butter, salt, and other toppings—can be unhealthy for them.

A Quick Guide to Popcorn: Benefits and Uses

Popcorn is a popular snack made from a type of corn kernel that puffs up when heated.

When prepared properly, it is light, fluffy, and can be flavored in various ways, such as with butter, salt, or spices.

Popcorn is high in dietary fiber and antioxidants, making it a relatively healthy snack option when consumed without excessive oil, butter, or sugar.

It is enjoyed globally, often at movie theaters, sporting events, and at home as a convenient snack.

Nutritional Considerations for Feeding Popcorn to Dogs

Popcorn offers minimal nutritional value to dogs, but it can serve as a low-calorie, occasional treat if prepared properly:

  • Fiber: Popcorn does contain fiber, which can aid in digestion.
  • Whole Grain: Popcorn is a whole grain and does not contain sugars or artificial flavors when served plain.

How to Safely Feed Popcorn to Your Dog

If you choose to feed your dog popcorn, follow these guidelines to ensure it’s safe:

  • Plain Popcorn Only: Feed your dog plain, air-popped popcorn without butter, oils, salt, or other toppings that can be harmful to dogs.
  • Check for Unpopped Kernels: Avoid giving your dog unpopped kernels, which can be a choking hazard and may cause dental damage or digestive blockages.
  • Moderate Quantity: Because popcorn is low in nutritional value and can contribute to unwanted calories, it should only be given in small quantities as a treat.

Risks of Feeding Popcorn to Dogs

While popcorn is not inherently dangerous for dogs, there are risks associated with feeding it:

  • Choking Hazard: Small pieces and unpopped kernels can pose a choking risk, especially for small dogs.
  • Digestive Issues: Too much popcorn can lead to gastrointestinal upset, including diarrhea or constipation, due to its high fiber content.
  • Unhealthy Additives: Many of the additives in flavored popcorns, such as onion powder, garlic powder, excessive salt, and artificial butter, can be toxic to dogs.

Can Dogs Choke on Popcorn?

Popcorn Serving in White Ceramic Bowl

Yes, dogs can choke on popcorn, particularly on unpopped kernels.

Always ensure that you only provide your dog with fully popped, kernel-free pieces to minimize this risk.

Alternative Dog-Safe Snacks

If you’re looking for healthier treat alternatives that offer more nutritional benefits, consider these options:

  • Apples: Apples is great for a sweet treat, but make sure to remove the core and seeds first.


While popcorn can be a fun occasional treat for your dog, it should always be served plain and in moderation.

Due to its potential risks, such as choking on unpopped kernels and digestive issues, it’s important to prepare it safely and consider healthier alternatives for regular snacks.

Always monitor your dog while they’re eating popcorn to ensure they’re safe and enjoying their treat without any problems.