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November 30, 2020 3 min read

Who doesn't love popcorn? Anyone in a small office that shares a microwave, but I digress. Whether it's movie night at home or you're headed out to the theater, popcorn is part of the essential film watching experience. It's great beyond that, though - those of us here at Cooper's Treats are big fans of flavored popcorn as a holiday treat. 

Of course, if you've been at home with a big bowl of popcorn, you've probably had a kernel hit the floor, and depending on how fast your dog is, you may not have been able to grab it before it got swallowed. If so, you're probably wondering - can dogs eat popcorn?

CAN DOGS EAT POPCORN?

In some cases, yes, dogs can eat popcorn, but the stuff you get at the movie theater is definitely off limits. It's fine to give your dog plain, air-popped popcorn, though it's more or less devoid of nutritional value, so it definitely shouldn't be a big part of anyone's diet, canine or human. 

If it's not air-popped (that is, if it's popped in oil), it's terribly unhealthy for your dog. Similarly, salted popcorn isn't good. If your dog is able to grab a piece or two off the ground, it's not the end of the world, but you should make sure he's not eating any significant amounts.

If you're asking if dogs can have kettle corn, the answer is unfortunately no. Kettle corn isn't air-popped - it's cooked in an iron kettle (thus the name) with sugar and oil. 

IS POPCORN GOOD FOR DOGS?

No, popcorn isn't good for anyone. It has some fiber, as well as a bit of iron and protein, but none in large enough amounts to be meaningful. Popcorn isn't particularly nutritious, and while it's not bad, it's definitely not a healthy snack. If you're looking for something along those lines, stick to veggies like carrots or fruits like apples and watermelon.  

can dogs eat popcorn

RISKS OF GIVING POPCORN TO DOGS

The good news about popcorn is that it's not a particular risky food in that it's not toxic and doesn't present a choking hazard to most dogs (though it's always best to supervise your dog while she's snacking anyway). While it's safe to give dogs popcorn, though, that doesn't mean that you should do it. 

The real risk of popcorn is that your dog gets his paws on a bag of salted or oily popcorn - the sodium and fat and those is really unhealthy and can lead to all manner of gastrointestinal issues in the short term and more serious complications in the long run.

SO CAN DOGS EAT POPCORN?

Can dogs have popcorn? Yes they can, provided it's air-popped and free of salt and oil. Should dogs have popcorn? Probably not - even without the sodium and fat, popcorn isn't particularly nutritious.

And of course you should stay away from virtually all types of flavored popcorn - a little bit of cheddar cheese popcorn might be okay, but pretty much everything else is off the table. Popcorn covered in chocolate is clearly not acceptable, but even popcorn with virtually any other coating should also not be given to your dog, since those coatings are generally pure sugar. Dogs also cannot eat caramel corn, again due to the high sugar content.