Popcorn and Puppies…and a Movie!

Can Dogs Eat Popcorn? Here’s What Veterinarians Have to Say

Jennifer Nelson
·2 min read
Dog Eyeing Popcorn
Dog Eyeing Popcorn

Brandi Thompson / EyeEm / Getty Images

Pop, pop, pop. Your dog instantly knows when the air popper is hoppin’ and traipses over to get in on your snack. But aside from the cuteness overload of tossing Fifi popcorn and perfecting her mid-air catch, should your pooch actually eat popcorn?

We got the skinny (popcorn is a low-fat snack after all) from two veterinarians who were happy to weigh in before movie night at your house.

“Yes, dogs (and cats) can eat popcorn! It’s a low-calorie food that pets love, so it makes a great treat,” says Dr. Angelica Dimock, managing shelter veterinarian at Animal Humane Society.

Dr. Dimock even recommends plain popcorn to replace high calorie treats for dogs that need to lose a little weight.

Which Popcorn is Best for Dogs?

“When feeding popcorn to your pet, it’s important that the popcorn is plain and preferably air popped. Popcorn that is covered in butter (even fake butter), salt, and seasonings can cause stomach issues for your furry friends,” Dr. Dimock says.

She adds that while pets can handle small amounts of “people food” as treats, for their health, it’s best to not feed your pet only human food.

It’s good to note that microwave popcorn typically is high in salt (and fats), which can be a problem for some canine cardiac patients. But plain, air-popped corn in small amounts is a perfectly acceptable treat for your pooch.

Easy on the Portion Size

“Now this doesn’t mean you should let your doggie eat a whole bag of Jiffy Pop,” says Dr. Matthew McCarthy, founder of Juniper Valley Animal Hospital.

Like people, who fill up on nutritionally deficient foods like snacks, it’s not a good idea for your pets either. “Ideally keep snacks, treats, and people foods to less than 10 percent of your dog’s daily caloric intake,” says Dr. McCarthy.

Dr. Dimock agrees and says that a handful for a medium-large dog is plenty–and only use it as a treat or snack, not a part of their regular diet.

So enjoy your next movie night guilt-free with your pup and a little bit of plain air-popped popcorn for a special treat.