Dogs are man’s best friend, and they love to eat the foods that we eat, especially when it smells good. But can dogs eat popcorn, or will it harm them?
Dogs can eat plain unsalted, unbuttered popcorn. Popcorn with butter and salt can upset a dog’s stomach and cause them to become dehydrated. It’s okay if a dog eats a few pieces of buttery, salty popcorn every once in a while, but it should not be a regular occurrence.
Now that you know that your dog can eat popcorn sometimes, you may be wondering what kind of consequences might occur if they eat too much of it. Also, can they eat popcorn kernels? We’ll cover all of this and more below!
Can Dogs Eat Popcorn?
Dogs can eat popcorn as long as it is plain and is air-popped rather than popped with oil. Popcorn that has been coated with butter, salt, or both should not be intentionally fed to dogs.
If your dog does eat a few pieces of buttered and salted popcorn that you have dropped, they should be okay. Don’t be too worried if they do eat a few pieces of loose popcorn, just make sure that it does not happen very often and try to limit their intake to only a few pieces in a day.
If you do feed your dog plain air-popped popcorn, only give them a small handful of it, and do not do it frequently. Popcorn is meant to be consumed by humans, not dogs, and if a dog eats too much popcorn, even if it is air-popped and plain, it can become sick.
Can Dogs Eat Popcorn Kernels?
Dogs can eat popcorn kernels, but you should still try to keep popcorn kernels away from your dogs. Popcorn kernels are very small and hard, which means your dog can easily choke on them.
They can also get stuck in your dog’s teeth, which is very uncomfortable and may cause their gums to become irritated and sensitive, which will then affect your dog’s eating habits.
Popcorn kernels that are only half popped also pose a slight risk to your dog. Although they will be slightly easier for your dog to chew and break into pieces that can be easily swallowed, they also are a choking hazard.
If your dog is not able to break the pieces of the half-popped popcorn into smaller pieces, they can choke on them.
Popcorn kernels can be hard for dogs to digest, so if your dog does eat popcorn kernels they may have stomach issues for a few days while their body digests the kernels. After they digest them, however, they should be perfectly fine and will continue to be happy and healthy (Source).
What Happens When Dogs Eat Popcorn?
Although most of the time dogs won’t be negatively affected after they eat small amounts of popcorn, if a dog eats too much popcorn, they can become very sick.
Symptoms Dogs Can Experience After Eating Popcorn:
- Allergic reaction
If your dog has a corn sensitivity or allergy, then they will have an allergic reaction and are likely to experience negative symptoms for a few days, depending on how severe their allergy is and how much popcorn they ate. Do not let your dog eat any popcorn if they are sensitive or allergic to corn (Source).
If your dog eats popcorn, it can become dehydrated because of the amount of fat and sodium popcorn can contain. They likely won’t become dehydrated if they eat plain popcorn, but don’t be surprised if your dog drinks a lot of water after they eat some pieces of popcorn (Source).
When dogs eat popcorn, they could become nauseated and start vomiting. Popcorn can easily unsettle your dog’s stomach, so do not be surprised if they start gagging or throwing up. If the gagging and vomiting continue for a while, contact your vet.
Even if your dog does not start gagging or throwing up after they eat popcorn, the popcorn can still upset their stomach and make them gassier than normal.
If your dog does become gassier than normal, you may want them to stay outside so you don’t have to smell their farts. However, make sure that you keep an eye on them while they are outside to make sure that they don’t begin to gag or throw up.
If your dog eats popcorn, it may also get diarrhea. Although this symptom will not be fun, for you or your dog, let them go to the bathroom outside as often as necessary. While they are outside, keep an eye on them to make sure that they don’t develop any other negative reactions to the popcorn that they ate.
Pieces of popcorn are small, and they do not dissolve easily at times. If a dog eats popcorn and is not able to chew it all the way, they may swallow it and possibly choke on it, especially if they are in a rush to eat it.
If your dog does manage to eat a few pieces of popcorn, keep an eye on them and make sure that they don’t start to choke.
If you regularly feed your dog popcorn, especially if it has butter and salt on it, then they can become obese. If you want to avoid your dog from becoming obese because of their popcorn consumption, don’t feed them popcorn regularly.
Give them dog treats instead. Only allow your dog to eat popcorn occasionally, and only let them eat a few pieces if you don’t want your dog to become overweight.
When your dog eats popcorn, they can get small pieces stuck in their throat that are not large enough to choke on but are still uncomfortable. Half popped kernels can be scratchy and dry in their throat.
If this happens, they will start coughing repeatedly. Keep an eye on your dog when they start coughing and see if they seem to recover or if they still seem irritated or uncomfortable in some way. If the coughing continues for a long time, take your dog to the vet.
If your dog eats popcorn accidentally or you feed it to them, keep an eye on them for the next few days. Make sure that their eating, drinking, and playing habits are still the same, and express any concerns you have to your local vet.
If My Dog Eats Popcorn and Gets Sick, What’s Next?
If your dog gets sick after they eat popcorn, keep an eye on them for the next few days, even after their symptoms seem to go away. If your dog only seems to throw up one or two times, they will be okay in a few days, but they may not want to eat anything.
Keep an eye on them and see if their energy levels and appetite seem to go back to normal. If they do not go back to normal after a few days, take your dog to the vet.
If your dog begins throwing up and it does not stop, take your dog to the local vet and tell them what is wrong. They will be able to stop the vomiting and rehydrate your dog, which will make them feel better.
If your dog does start to throw up or has diarrhea because they consumed popcorn, call your vet and see what they want you to do. If you think that you need to take your dog to a professional, do not hesitate to do so. The last thing you want is your dog to become harmed because they were not taken to the vet quickly enough.
If your dog started to choke on popcorn that they ate, call your vet and ask them if you should take your dog into their office. They probably will want to see them, just to make sure that all potential choking hazards are gone and to make sure that your dog is okay and will not experience any more negative reactions to the consumed popcorn.
How Can I Prevent Dogs from Eating Popcorn?
There are many ways that you can prevent your dog from eating popcorn. If you do not want your dog to eat popcorn, you can give them a dog treat while you are eating the popcorn to distract them from the fact that you have food that they might enjoy. You can also tell them that what you have is not for them, and refuse to give in to begging.
If your dog’s begging becomes annoying while you are eating popcorn and you don’t want to give them any, you can put them in their kennel if they have one.
If they don’t have a kennel, put them in a different room and close the door so they can’t get out. However, if you do so you may have to be prepared for their loud whining and scratching at the door, which will disrupt the movie that you may be watching.
If your dog climbs up onto the couch and sits beside you while you are eating popcorn and tries to eat it, use your arm to guard the popcorn. Eventually, your dog will likely give up and sit next to you rather than actively try to eat the popcorn.
If you do not want your dog to eat popcorn and you accidentally drop some on the floor or near your dog, try to pick it up before they eat it. However, this will be very hard to do, especially if you drop some popcorn near their paws.
If you are not successful in your attempt to pick up the popcorn before they eat it, they should be fine, but keep an eye on them for a little while and see if they display any negative symptoms.
Do not leave the bowl that has popcorn in it unattended if you do not want your dog to eat popcorn. Don’t leave it alone even for a second! Your dog will use your distraction to try and eat the popcorn, and they may be successful.
You also shouldn’t leave the popcorn bowl unattended on a high countertop that you think that your dog can’t reach, because they will try to reach it and may be successful in their endeavor. Carry the popcorn bowl with you wherever you go.
If you can, try to leave the bowl with another person who will guard it and keep it away from your dog while you are gone.
What Can I Give Dogs Instead of Popcorn?
You can give dogs many different foods that are very different from popcorn. If you are tempted to give them popcorn and want to give them something that will distract them temporarily, you can give them:
- Dog treats
- Peanut butter
- A bone
- A toy
If you are eating popcorn and do not want your dog to eat any, give them a dog treat. This will distract them temporarily from the fact that you have food or are making food, and they may leave you alone while they eat the treat.
However, they will likely start begging at your feet after they finish the treat and realize that you also have food.
If you want to distract your dog while you are making or eating popcorn, give them some peanut butter. It is a good idea to put it inside of something that will make them work to get the peanut butter out, like a Kong.
A treat system like this will give you time to eat some of the popcorn and get settled before they finish and realize that you also have food that smells good.
Overall, dogs can eat popcorn, but they can only eat it in small amounts and should not eat it if they have a corn allergy. Dogs also should not eat popcorn kernels, but it is alright if they eat a few. If your dog does eat popcorn, keep an eye on them and make sure they don’t start to get sick from it.
Additional Information On Animals Eating Popcorn
Are you curious about what animals can eat popcorn? Click here for an animal overview or click on an animal below to find out specific details: