Popcorn is a tasty snack that ranks number one in many people's list of favorite snacks. It's also a snack that is frequently dropped either by accident or by "accident". When dogs give that sad puppy dog look, it's hard to resist giving them what they want, and, usually, what they want is the food in your hands. Giving into temptation is ok as long as what you're giving your pet is safe to eat; however, knowing what is safe or toxic can be hard to keep track of. Popcorn is one of those snacks that is safe to share with your dog, on two conditions: it's plain and served in moderation.
Air-popped popcorn itself isn't poisonous to dogs. It's the additional toppings that people put on popcorn that can make it unsafe for dogs to eat.
Popcorn isn't really nutritionally beneficial for dogs. It does contain magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, zinc, fiber, protein and some B vitamins, but not enough for it to be a huge health boost for your pet. Popcorn is more of a yummy snack instead of a healthy snack. Additionally, popcorn does contain a lot of calories, which is why it should be served in moderation.
Keep in mind your dog might have an allergic reaction. Corn, like dairy, wheat, and soy, are common allergens, and while it's highly unlikely your dog will have a life-threatening reaction to it, your dog can experience uncomfortable conditions like inflammation, diarrhea or gas.
Only give your dog plain, air-popped popcorn. Popcorn that contains extra salts, butter or other toppings peoples love so much can lead to diarrhea, vomiting, and weight gain/obesity in your dog. Still, eating a few accidentally dropped pieces won't hurt your dog, but anything more than that might.
Additionally, popcorn can also pose a choking hazard for dogs and, like humans, kernels can get stuck in teeth, which can lead to gum disease or tooth decay.