Can My Puppy Eat Popcorn?

Finding the best snacks for your precious new puppy is a task all puppy parents must deal with when they adopt. The thing is, snacks and treats can be a bonding and training tool between you and your pup. Like humans, puppies love snacks and usually respond to them with great pleasure. That makes it essential to find snacks and treats you can give your puppy without too much risk to their health.

As I’ve talked about in other blogs, some of the best puppy snacks are apples, bananas, and cooked potatoes. All of these snacks are healthy nutritious and pose little health risk to your pup if given in moderation following the 90/10 rule. That rule says that 90% of your puppy’s daily food intake should be from their regular kibble, leaving the other 10% for snacks.

There are undoubtedly other snacks that you can give your dog, and some of them are snacks you likely love yourself. I was thinking about the best snacks for puppies while I made one of my favorite treats the other day; popcorn

Popcorn is a tremendously popular snack eaten by millions of people every day across the United States and worldwide. The popcorn industry is absolutely massive, as billions of pounds of popcorn are consumed every year. It’s one of America’s favorite snacks, without question.

So there I was, munching on my popcorn and thinking about a question I see from new readers all the time. As you might have already guessed, the question is this; can my puppy eat popcorn?

The answer is that, yes, puppies can eat popcorn, but there are a few caveats that you need to remember. The first is that air-popped, plain popcorn is best. It has no salt, and no extra fat and cholesterol, making it healthiest for your puppy. The second is that, as long as it’s only a few pieces, your puppy will likely be just fine if they eat some loaded popcorn that fell on the floor. (Just don’t give it to them on purpose. The fat and salt from too much popcorn can really hurt their tummy.)

That, frankly, is the basic answer about whether or not your puppy can eat popcorn. However, there are different kinds of popcorn with various ingredients and toppings. If you have questions about giving those to your furry pal, read on. I’ve got information about the different types of popcorn and which ones are best for your puppy below. Plus, some information about the risks of eating popcorn you need to know as a puppy parent.

Different Kinds of Popcorn: Are They OK for your Puppy?

As I mentioned earlier, there are several different types of popcorn and various toppings used to add more flavor to this popular snack. Knowing which types are OK to give your puppy as a treat or snack is thus essential. Below, I will look at the different kinds of popcorn and toppings and discuss which ones are safe for your puppy and, more importantly, which ones aren’t safe.

Can my Puppy Eat Popcorn with Butter?

There’s no doubt that humans love popcorn slathered in butter. I have to admit it’s my favorite way to eat popcorn (although I use a light butter spray). However, feeding buttered popcorn to your puppy is not a good idea. Sure, one or two bits aren’t going to do any harm. However, if they get one or two bits of popcorn all the time, it could. 

The reason is that butter and the saturated fat it contains are very unhealthy for your puppy. Also, some puppies are lactose intolerant, and eating anything with butter will give them diarrhea or cause them to vomit. So, in other words, giving your puppy buttered popcorn is not recommended.

Can my Puppy Eat Kettle Corn?

Kettle corn, aka caramel popcorn, is not a snack you should give to your puppy, even occasionally. The reason is that caramel is exceptionally high in fat, salt, and, even worse, sugar

The thing is, puppies do not need any type of sugar, even fruit sugar, but concentrated sugar in kettle corn is the worst. It can cause your puppy to become obese and suffer from other health problems, including diabetes. It’s also awful for their teeth, just like humans. For those reasons, dog experts, myself included, highly recommend not giving your puppy kettle corn.

Can my Puppy Eat Popcorn with Cheese?

Like humans, puppies love cheese in all its various forms. Feeding your puppy popcorn with cheese, however, can be problematic. First, cheese is a dairy product and has lactose, which can cause problems for puppies with lactose intolerance. Also, cheese adds quite a bit of extra fat to the popcorn and salt. 

Both of those ingredients can lead to problems with obesity when your puppy gets older. As with some other types of popcorn, a few pieces that fall on the floor aren’t going to be a huge problem. However, giving your puppy popcorn with cheese as a regular snack is not recommended. 

Can my Puppy Eat Popcorn Kernels?

The answer to this question is a definitive no. Popcorn kernels are incredibly tough to chew and can damage your puppy’s delicate baby teeth. (They’re not great for adult dogs, either.) Popcorn kernels also present a choking hazard, although relatively small. I recommend checking any popcorn you give to your puppy as a snack to make sure that no kernels are included. 

Potential Hazards for Puppies Eating Popcorn

As I mentioned earlier, it’s safe to give your puppy plain, fully popped popcorn with no toppings, including butter, salt, cheese, and what have you. Plain popcorn with no toppings is a relatively harmless snack, even if it doesn’t add a lot of nutritional value to your puppy’s diet. However, even plain popcorn with no toppings poses a small risk to your puppy’s health. Also, as we’ve already seen, popcorn with other toppings is a definite health risk and shouldn’t be given to your puppy even as a snack. Plain or covered in toppings, the potential hazards that popcorn poses to your puppy include:

  • Choking. Even plain popcorn, because it’s so dry, even plain popcorn presents a small choking hazard, especially for smaller puppies.
  • Tooth decay. Like humans, little bits of popcorn will always get stuck between your puppy’s teeth, which could potentially lead to dental problems in the future.
  • Vomiting and diarrhea. If you feed your puppy plain, fully-popped popcorn, you probably won’t have any problems. But, popcorn with lots of sugar, butter, cheese, and other toppings can cause quite a bit of distress for your pup’s GI tract.
  • Popcorn with toppings like caramel, cheese, and butter can cause your puppy to become obese and suffer from diabetes.

Final Thoughts

“Can my puppy eat popcorn?” is a question I see all the time from my readers. The answer is that yes, you can give your puppy plain white popcorn that’s been fully popped and has no toppings. That’s the healthiest, least risky way to give them this popular human snack. Dog experts recommend no other types of popcorn be given to puppies as a snack due to the health risks those topics cause.

Did you enjoy today’s blog about puppies and popcorn? I hope so and that it answered all of your questions thoroughly. If you have more or want to learn about other aspects of being a puppy parent, please see my other blogs on the subject. They’re packed with real-world, actionable information you can use to raise a healthy, happy, and well-adjusted puppy.