Nothing brings more joy to most dogs than helping you clean up after movie night. Popcorn always finds its way into couch cushions and onto the floor, where our dogs are happy to "hoover" them up. The question most of us forget to ask ourselves, however, is can dogs eat popcorn?
Popcorn itself is not bad for dogs. Popped corn kernels actually contain several minerals important to canine nutrition, like magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, and zinc, along with fiber and trace amounts of vitamins. The stuff that makes popcorn taste delicious to us is a different story. The majority of us prefer our popcorn dripping with butter and loaded with salt, even though we know it is not good for us. The same goes for dogs. Butter, oils, salt, and the other toppings on popcorn can lead to intestinal upset in dogs, and the fats in oil and butter also contribute to obesity and obesity-related health problems.
There is an alternative. Plain, air-popped popcorn makes a nice occasional treat for your dog. But, kernels can get stuck in dogs’ teeth and pose a choking hazard, so it is probably a good idea to keep whole or only partially popped kernels away from curious dogs.
So is it safe for dogs to eat popcorn?
Yes and no. Plain, air-popped popcorn is safe for dogs to eat in small quantities. Buttered popcorn or popcorn with other toppings is not safe for your dog on a regular basis, although eating a few dropped pieces here and there probably won’t hurt him. As with any treat, too much popcorn is not good for your dog, and it is important to keep treats down to approximately 10 percent or less of a dog’s daily caloric intake.
Learn more about human foods dogs can and can’t eat.