Most guinea pigs like popcorn. It’s a fun snack to enjoy, and it fits easily into a bowl for your pocket pet. Can guinea pigs eat popcorn, though? The short answer is no, due to the high fat content of this product, as well as the fact that it is virtually devoid of nutrition. There are more reasons why this treat could make guinea pigs sick though. Let’s discuss why this is bad food for guinea pigs.
Is Popcorn Safe for Guinea Pigs to Eat?
Popcorn designed for humans should not be fed to guinea pigs. The main reason for this is simple – popcorn is high in fat, and low in nutrition. As guinea pigs have such tiny bodies, this is of significant concern. We will elaborate further on the dangers of popcorn to a guinea pig very shortly.
However, on paper there are some surprising benefits to popcorn for a guinea pig. These include:
- Popcorn is surprisingly low sugar and salt – assuming you pick up a product that is marketed this way. Remember, some popcorn is designed to taste especially sweet or salty.
- Popcorn contains fiber, which helps a guinea pig enjoy smooth and regular digestion after eating.
- Popcorn takes fun to guinea pigs. It can be stuffed into the cheeks if necessary, and a single piece is just the right size and shape to hold in paws and nibble upon.
Make no mistake, though – these benefits are vastly outweighed by risks. This snack should never be a significant part of guinea pigs food. Your pocket pet will grow fat, and potentially very sick, from tucking into too much popcorn.
Why is Popcorn Unsuitable for Guinea Pigs?
So, we have asserted that the answer to, “can guinea pigs eat popcorn” is negative. Why is this, though? Many guinea pigs like it and will beg for a serving. Unfortunately, guinea pigs do not understand that certain foods could make them sick, even if they taste great.
Let’s list the reasons why popcorn needs to be kept away from your guinea pig.
- Popcorn – especially buttered popcorn or cheese popcorn – is packed with fat. In addition, it has no nutritional value. Unlike approved guinea pig foods, this is just empty calories for your pet. Excessive fat quickly becomes dangerous.
- Plain popcorn and popped popcorn marketed to humans are no better. Popcorn kernels can get stuck in a guinea pig’s throat, creating a major choking hazard
- Popcorn is packed with phosphorous. This mineral can lead to magnesium deficiency and stones in the bladder. When it comes to food, guinea pigs need very limited amounts of phosphorous.
- Popcorn is small and brittle, and guinea pigs have long teeth that need to be filed. If you’re wondering, “can guinea pigs eat popcorn” to manage this, the answer is no. Your guinea pig is likelier to bite straight through the treat and hurt itself.
- Popcorn contains very little water. This means that a guinea pig will likely become dehydrated if it eats this item regularly.
- Popcorn is very starchy. This makes it difficult for guinea pigs to digest.
As you will see, letting your pocket pet eat popcorn is a one-way ticket to health issues. Sadly, this does not change the fact that most guinea pigs like to eat popcorn. Thankfully, there is a way around this.
Guinea Pig-Safe Popcorn from a Pet Store
Perhaps we have been a little too black and white in our response to the question, “can guinea pigs eat popcorn.” We stand by our claim that, no matter how much a guinea pig may like popcorn, it should not be part of it is diet. This product will make a guinea pig sick – or worse – if eaten to excess.
However, nobody wants their guinea pig to miss out on something that it may like to eat. If you’re feeling bad about depriving guinea pigs of a favored treat, make your way to a pet store. Here, you will be able to find popcorn designed for guinea pigs and other pocket animals.
This will be a popped popcorn, often made with appealing flavors, that is low in fat and has the kernels removed. This makes it safe for guinea pigs to eat the popped popcorn, provided they stick to this product and it is only offered in limited amounts. If you can’t find this product in your pet store, look for it online. You can have it delivered in the post.
Just because this item is safe for guinea pigs, though, do not assume that it is good for them. This product must remain an occasional treat, best reserved for use as a reward during training. You may still prefer to err on the side of caution and avoid any kind of popcorn product for your guinea pig.
Alternatives to Popcorn for Guinea Pigs
If not popcorn, what can guinea pigs eat as a treat? If your guinea pigs like popcorn, you should look into alternative foods that offer a similar level of fun to eat. If they can, guinea pigs eat anything that tastes good!
Fat is always appealing, which is why these animals love popcorn. The good news is that all is not lost for your guinea pig. If your pet happens to like this treat but never gets to enjoy it due to the high fat and low nutrition, there are alternative foods for them to enjoy.
Remember that guinea pigs love fresh fruit and vegetables. These treats will be lower in fat and starch than popcorn, and much more nutritious. Your guinea pig will forget all about popcorn if you offer something else that it will like to eat.
So, can guinea pigs eat popcorn? We hope that this article has made it clear that this is a firm no, assuming you’re referring to traditional recipes. There is nothing to gain from letting guinea pigs eat popcorn products aimed at human consumption. Stick with fresh fruit and vegetables, or make a trip to the pet store for a specialist popcorn designed for small animals.