Can Popcorn Kill Dogs?



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Some types of popcorn can kill dogs. Popcorn coated with unhealthy or dangerous toppings could kill a dog. There’s also the possibility that your dog chokes on popcorn, causing it to lose his life.

It’s not all bad news, though, as the American Kennel Club (AKC) lists popcorn as a safe food for pooches when it’s eaten in small quantities.

But before you go dishing up popcorn to your beloved pet, read on to find out what types of popcorn could endanger your dog’s life and which popcorn is fine for your dog to eat.

Can Popcorn Kill Dogs?

Yes and no. These days, popcorn comes in many different forms, including prepackaged, flavored, and microwavable bags. These three types of popcorn have the potential to kill a dog because of their high salt content, additives, chemicals, and toppings.

Popping your popcorn at home with a microwave popper is typically the safest way to prepare popcorn for a dog.

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Can Popcorn Kernels Kill Dogs?

Yes, popcorn kernels can kill dogs. Unpopped kernels are a choking hazard and are a particular risk for small breed dogs with smaller throats, such as Pugs, Yorkshire Terriers, and Shih Tzus, as the kernels could get stuck.

Popcorn kernels are also a risk because they can get stuck in a dog’s teeth. Not only can this damage their teeth, but if the kernel dislodges unexpectedly, the dog could choke on it.

Popcorn kernels are hard and unpalatable. If you’re going to feed popcorn to your dog, always pick out unpopped kernels first.

Can Microwave Popcorn Kill Dogs?

Absolutely! Microwave popcorn may be convenient for popcorn lovers up and down the country, but it’s a potential death trap for dogs.

There has been much debate about whether microwave popcorn is safe for humans due to the perfluorooctanoic acids (PFAs) that it contains. Now, experts say they’re not safe for dogs, either.

PFAs are chemicals that have been linked to health problems in dogs, including:

  • Immune system damage
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Cancer
  • Delayed development
  • High cholesterol

Can Flavored Popcorn Kill Dogs?

If you’re anything like us, you love to try out new and crazy popcorn flavorings as well as traditional ones. Be careful with flavorings around your furry friend, as a lot of popcorn flavorings can kill dogs.

The popcorn toppings most likely to lead to a dog’s death are:

  • Salt – a little bit of salt is needed in a dog’s diet. But excess salt can lead to toxicosis which can damage a dog’s brain and nervous system. In extreme cases, it can result in death.
  • Chocolate – chocolate is a dog poison due to its theobromine and caffeine content. It’s the 4th most common pet toxin, according to the Animal Poison Control Center (APCC), and can cause gastrointestinal upset, seizures, and death.
  • Butter – a little bit of butter is unlikely to harm or kill a dog. But it’s unhealthy food that can cause damage to a dog’s pancreas. Too much butter can cause obesity and heart issues too. Both of which could result in death.
  • Garlic – garlic is toxic to dogs and they mustn’t eat it. Garlic contains thiosulfate which can damage a dog’s red blood cells. A dog that’s eaten garlic will be lethargic, sick, and may drool or pant. Getting to the vet quickly is crucial to prevent death.
  • Caramel – caramel is pure sugar which isn’t good for any pet. While it’s not toxic, the high sugar content in caramel can cause multiple health issues, including hyperactivity, diabetes, and obesity.
  • Cocoa powder – cocoa powder is very toxic to dogs because, like chocolate, it contains theobromine. Just a small amount of cocoa powder is enough to cause serious health issues for a dog. So, if you like to top your popcorn in cocoa, keep it away from your pooch.
  • Herbs & spices – mixed herbs and spices are a quick and easy way to add flavor to popcorn, but some are dangerous to dogs. Chives, mint, and nutmeg all pose health risks and shouldn’t be added to popcorn that’s going to be given to a dog.

Can Plain, Air-Popped Popcorn Kill Dogs?

It’s unlikely that plain, air-popped popcorn will kill a dog. In fact, this is the safest way for a dog to enjoy popcorn.

To make this delicious treat for your dog, all you need to do is put some kernels in an air popper or microwave popper, cook, and serve up.

Can Sugar-Free Popcorn Kill Dogs?

Yes! Sugar-free popcorn usually uses xylitol in place of sugar. Xylitol is dangerous for dogs as it triggers the release of insulin in their bodies. This then causes the dog to become hypoglycemic.

When a dog gets into this state, it must be whisked to a vet straight away and given an intravenous drip to restore its sugar levels. If the dog isn’t treated quickly enough or if it eats an excessive amount of popcorn with xylitol on, it could die.

As a dog owner and pet lover, you won’t want your dog to come to any harm or lose its life while you’re munching on a bowl of popcorn. If you do want to treat your pooch to popcorn, stick with plain, air-popped popcorn and only ever give a couple of pieces.


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