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Can Guinea Pigs Eat Popcorn? (Serving Size, Hazards & More)

Tim Rhodes
Written by Tim Rhodes Last Updated: August 7, 2021

Guinea pigs are herbivorous little creatures who can be very picky about their food. Let’s see whether feeding popcorn to your guinea pigs has any nutritional value for them and whether they can eat it at least as an occasional threat.

Can guinea pigs eat popcorn?

Guinea pigs cannot eat popcorn not only because it contains a few very harmful ingredients to guinea pigs but also because popcorn is processed food, popped in fat. Guinea pigs cannot digest processed food. In addition, popcorn presents a choking hazard for these small animals.

Let’s explain in greater detail why guinea pigs cannot eat popcorn.

Why Guinea Pigs Can’t Eat Popcorn?

a small pile of popcornEating caramelized popcorn during a favorite movie is what everybody wants on free days.

But is it okay to share your favorite snack with your pets, especially your guinea pig?

No, it’s definitely not okay, as guinea pigs shouldn’t eat popcorn.

Popcorn disturbs a guinea pig’s digestive system.

Popcorns are cooked in oil; they are high in fat and phosphorus, so giving popcorn to your guinea pig is one of the most awful mistakes you can make.

Phosphorus causes magnesium deficiency and phosphate stones in the bladder, which is painful and dangerous.

Processed food, fried, cooked, baked, etc. are all foods that a guinea pig cannot digest.

You, as an owner of a guinea pig, must take care of your pet’s diet and strictly follow the timings of the meal.

Every day, your guinea pig can eat hay, carrots, kale, grasses, fruits, pumpkins, and many other fruits and vegetables.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Plain Popcorn?

So it’s clear that guinea pigs shouldn’t ever eat caramelized or salty popcorn.

Plain popcorn is always a good choice for people who want to lose weight but guinea pigs would become obese if they consumed it.

But can guinea pigs eat plain popcorn, without any additions?

They cannot eat it because of the reasons mentioned earlier.

Guinea pigs have a sensitive digestive system and cannot digest processed food.

So, the answer to this question is also a no, guinea pigs cannot eat plain popcorn.

However, most other rodents can eat popcorn but the digestive tract of a guinea pig is too sensitive to digest a lot of the food we would think is healthy for them.

Do Guinea Pigs Love Popcorn?

It becomes irrelevant whether guinea pigs can eat popcorn because, as already stated, guinea pigs cannot digest cooked or processed foods.

Whether the popcorn is plain, sweet, or salty, it is not good for your pet.

You still shouldn’t serve your guinea pig plain popcorn.

Interestingly, while popcorns are really bad for your guinea pig and can cause many problems, most guinea pigs will be happy to take a bite of this snack.

Seeing them happy and active, you feel happy.

That is why the answer to this question is yes, most guinea pigs love popcorn.

For that reason, some guinea pig owners give in and treat their pets with popcorn.

However, make sure that you:

  • Give your guinea pig only a few popcorns and only occasionally
  • Don’t give caramelized popcorn to your guinea pig
  • Observe your pets every time you give them popcorn
  • Make sure you are giving your guinea pig only plain popcorn

If you ignore these little things, it will hurt the physical health of your pets.

What Is the Nutritional Value of Popcorn?

popcorn in a bowlGetting the right amount of nutrients is the basic requirement of living organisms.

Without enough nutritional balance, living organisms cannot survive.

Food is the source of getting essential nutrition.

Just like any other food item, popcorn has nutritional value.

Popcorn is a corn-based product, and the corn itself is a high-calorie food item and is a whole meal for humans that’s too much for the sensitive digestive system of the tiny guinea pig.

Popcorn Nutrition Facts

One cup of simple plain popcorn has the following nutritional value:

  • Calories 71.1 kCal
  • Total Carbs 6.2 g
  • Protein 1 g
  • Fat 4.9 g
  • Glycemic Load 3.65

We have mentioned the caloric stats of popcorn above, let’s check the minerals and vitamins they offer:

  • Calcium 0.6 mg
  • Iron 0.3 mg
  • Magnesium 11.5 mg
  • Phosphorus 28.6 mg
  • Potassium 26.3 mg
  • Sodium 0.6 mg
  • Zinc 0.3 mg
  • Copper 0 mg
  • Selenium 2.1 mcg
  • Folate 2.5 mcg
  • Vitamin A 0.8 mcg
  • Vit B1 (Thiamin) 0 mg
  • Vit B2 (Riboflavin) 0 mg
  • Vit B3 (Niacin) 0.2 mg
  • Vitamin B5 0 mg
  • Vitamin B6 0 mg
  • Vitamin B12 0 mcg
  • Vitamin C 0 mg
  • Vitamin D 0 mcg
  • Vitamin K 8.5 mcg
  • Vitamin E 0.4 mg
  • Choline 1.7 mg

As you can see from this popcorn nutrition fact data, these figures are too much for the guinea pig’s sensitive digestive tract to consume and process.

Although these minerals are necessary for people’s bones, eyes, and reproductive systems, they are unhealthy for small-sized guinea pigs.

What Are The Risks of Feeding Popcorn To Guinea Pigs?

If they eat popcorn, guinea pigs can have serious health problems.

Besides, popcorn easily gets stuck into the teeth of your guinea pig.

And, although we can easily remove the stuck piece from our teeth, guinea pigs cannot do it.

Besides, popcorn is bad for your guinea pig because:

  • It is rich in nutrients that are not good for guinea pigs
  • It is processed food that guinea pigs cannot digest
  • It can choke your guinea pig

High Sugar Content

Most of the popcorn in our houses is processed.

Modified food items have a lot of sugar in them.

Such popcorn can kill a guinea pig.

Consuming an excess of sugar is bad for the small rodent.

Sugar poses a high risk of causing diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, which will ultimately lower the metabolism of guinea pigs.

They will become lazier and obese.

Popcorn Can Choke a Guinea Pig

Due to the small size of the respiratory and digestive tract of the guinea pigs, feeding them with popcorn is dangerous.

Popcorn can choke guinea pigs if it gets stuck in their trachea.

Popcorn Makes Guinea Pigs Obese

As popcorn has an immense amount of energy for the tiny stomach of a guinea pig, it is dangerous for the health of these little rodents.

Feeding your guinea pig with high nutritional value can trigger obesity and diabetes in guinea pigs.

What Can Guinea Pigs Eat?

Guinea pigs are plant eaters, so plants are the only food beneficial for them.

So can guinea pigs eat popcorn? Theoretically, yes, guinea pigs eat popcorn, but in reality, you should never feed it to your guinea pigs, not even with one kernel.

Apart from hay which should be the bulk of your pet’s diet, vegetables such as kale, fresh hay, lettuce, and parsley are among guinea pigs’ favorite foods.

Guinea pigs feed on grasses, fresh and raw vegetables, and fruits.

Other vegetables that are beneficial for your pet’s health such as peas, broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, artichokes, bell peppers (both green and red), dark green vegetables, and fruits.

Apples, strawberries, pears, peaches, kiwi, oranges, papaya, cucumber, and blueberries are fruits beneficial for your guinea pig’s health.

All these fruits and vegetables are good sources of minerals, vitamins, and proteins.

Make sure to wash them thoroughly and cut larger pieces into small bite-sized ones in raw form.

Make sure to take out the vegetables and fruits from the refrigerator.

Keep them outside for a while.

What Foods Guinea Pigs Should Not Eat?

There are a couple of things that guinea pigs cannot eat, that you should never feed your guinea pig.

Although guinea pigs are herbivorous (plant eaters); they cannot eat every plant and herb.

Again, we have to emphasize that guinea pigs cannot eat meat, processed food (cooked, baked, fried), and even some fruits and vegetables because of their nutritional content.

Likewise, you should never feed them foods high in sugar.

Your guinea pig’s diet should base on timothy hay, fresh and raw fruits, and vegetables.

What your guinea pigs need the most is fiber and vitamin C.

As timothy hay is high in fiber and you are feeding your pets with fresh fruits and vegetables, they also get sufficient amounts of vitamin C.

Likewise, you can feed your pets with guinea pig pellets enriched with vitamin C, which also contain timothy hay and dried nutrients.

You should never feed your guinea pig with the following:

  • Chocolate
  • Chips
  • Onions
  • Potatoes
  • Cheese
  • Seeds
  • Cabbage
  • Peanut butter
  • Meat
  • Mushrooms
  • Bread
  • Garlic
  • Dairy products
  • Rhubarbs
  • Avocados
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • Nuts

While some items on this list are healthy for humans, they are not healthy for guinea pigs.

Popcorn is also harmful to your guinea pig’s health.

Therefore, again we warn you that you can give your guinea pigs popcorn, but you shouldn’t.

Guinea pigs can digest only leafy greens, raw vegetables, and fruits (and, even then, not all types of vegetables and fruits).

What To Do If Guinea Pigs Eat Too Much Popcorn?

one popcorn kernelThe most important thing is that you do not give popcorn to your guinea pigs often or in large quantities.

Always keep an eye on what your guinea pig is eating.

Make sure to give them each meal yourself at the usual time, or you can seek the assistance of other family members for this.

However, if guinea pigs accidentally eat too much popcorn, take them to the vet immediately.

Follow the prescriptions of the vet and take good care of your guinea pig.

It is wise to take your pets to the vet for a regular checkup.

Foods For Guinea Pigs

Though certain food items are not suited to guinea pigs, there are a lot of others that can be served to them.

Let’s find out what these healthy options are:

  • Basil
  • Parsley
  • Carrot tops
  • Asparagus
  • Arugula
  • Marigold
  • Bell peppers
  • Swiss chard
  • Winter squash
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Summer squash
  • Green beans
  • Pumpkins
  • Zucchinis

You see, it is not hard to find good alternatives to popcorn and treat your pets with safe and healthy nutrients.

These are also essential for the good health of your guinea pig.

As you see, the list of alternative treats consists mostly of vegetables.

Vegetables are naturally good for the physical and mental growth of guinea pigs.

Final Thoughts

Can guinea pigs eat popcorn?

Undoubtedly, popcorn is a nutrient-rich food product and quite famous among humans.

However, you should not feed your guinea pig with processed food of any kind.

When guinea pigs have popcorn, they are highly likely to suffer from digestive issues and other health problems. They can become obese because it is an energy-rich food that contains excess carbohydrates.

The worst is that you’re risking your pet’s life, as your furry friend can choke on popcorn. 

Author

Tim Rhodes
Tim Rhodes

Hi there! My name is Tim Rhodes and I'm a guinea pig enthusiast through thick and thin. My mission is to teach others useful tips and tricks about these cute creatures. When I'm not writing, I enjoy kickboxing and work as an animal trainer.

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Last update on 2022-11-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API