It is movie night—your favorite movie is playing on the screen. You are all cozied up on the couch and immersed in the movie. All focused on the screen, you take some popcorn from the popcorn bowl, put them in your mouth, and drop some on the floor. You suddenly realize that it’s not only you who is enjoying popcorn—your guinea pig is nibbling on the popcorn that you dropped on the floor. Watching your guinea pig eating popcorn you get concerned, wondering: can guinea pigs eat popcorn? Are popcorn safe for guinea pigs? If not, why are popcorn bad for guinea pigs?
Guinea Pigs Diet
What do guinea pigs eat?
Guinea pigs are natural herbivores, they should be eating fresh timothy hay and plant-based foods—vegetables and fruits. The bulk guinea pig food should consist of timothy hay and guinea pig pellets. According to guinea pig nutritionists, our piglets should have access to timothy hay throughout the day, which not only eases digestion but also keep the guinea pig teeth growth in check. In addition to this usual guinea pig food, we should also offer vitamin C supplement pills or vitamin c drops for guinea pigs.
More so, fresh veggies can be offered to guinea pigs once a day, as a treat. The amount of fresh veggies for guinea pigs should not exceed one cup total. So, can guinea pigs eat popcorn?
Let’s find out!
Can Guinea pigs Eat Popcorn?
Yes and no!
When it comes to feeding popcorn to guinea pigs, owners and nutritionists are divided into two blocks. While some argue that it is okay for guinea pigs to occasionally have one or two kernels of popcorn, others argue that piggies should not have it at all. Since popcorn have no considerable nutritional benefit to offer to guinea pigs, we side with the latter block; it is better to err on the side of caution than end up getting our piglets in trouble.
Why Are Popcorn Bad for Guinea Pigs?
Popcorn make one of the most popular and healthiest snacks for humans, so is it that it is bad for guinea pigs to eat. Let’s explore why are popcorn bad for guinea pigs.
Guinea Pigs Cannot Eat Processed Food
Guinea pigs are natural herbivores, they can eat plant-based foods, herbs, vegetables, and fruits but never processed food. Their stomachs are just not designed to deal with processed food—friend, baked, cooked, or air-popped—so we should keep processed food away from them. Since popcorn are a processed treat, it becomes inherently bad for guinea pigs.
Popcorn Pose a Choking Hazard to Guinea Pigs
Popcorn do not only pose a choking hazard to our guinea pigs, but they also pose a choking hazard to us, humans. Many times, while snacking on popcorn, people experience a small piece of popcorn getting stuck in their throat, posing a minute choking hazard. When it comes to our tiny pocket pets—guinea pigs—the risk of choking is multiplied as they have really small respiratory and digestive tracts. this makes popcorn not only unhealthy but also a hazardous snack for guinea pigs.
Eating Popcorn Can Make Guinea Pig Obese
Popcorn is a caloric dense food not only for guinea pigs but also for humans. While we humans can easily use the energy provided by popcorn to go about our day, the immense caloric content that popcorn have to offer is just too much for our guineas.
So, guinea pigs eating popcorn would result in a rapid weight gain leading to obesity. This can result in deteriorating cardiac health, lower fitness levels, and poor blood circulation.
Popcorn Are Loaded With Phosphorus
Popcorn are loaded with phosphorous. Since phosphorous is considered dangerous for guinea pigs, we should not be feeding popcorn to our furry friends.
Phosphorus causes magnesium deficiency in guinea pigs, which leads to slow growth, stiffness in limbs, and many dental issues. More so, phosphorous is also responsible for causing phosphate stones in the bladder, which is a very painful disease for our little piggies.
Popcorn Are Loaded With Unhealthy Fats
Not only popcorn are caloric dense causing obesity in guinea pigs, but they are also high in unsaturated fats, which are considered more dangerous than calories. The unhealthy fat content of popcorn would not only make our guinea pigs obese but would also cause many chronic health issues such as blood clogging and cardiovascular diseases. Therefore, guinea pig owners are advised to keep their cute little friends away from popcorn.
Commercial Popcorn Are Laden With Additives
Many food additives and flavorings such as salt, caramel or chocolate, butter, etc. are added to popcorn to make them more appealing. While no doubt, these flavorings suddenly make popcorn a tempting treat for us, it makes it worse for our little friends. Besides adding to the caloric content of popcorn, many of the flavorings such as salt and chocolate can be dangerous for guinea pigs.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Plain Popcorn?
No doubt, air-popped plain popcorn are much less unhealthy for guinea pigs but they would still be posing a choking hazard and be offering too many calories and phosphorous to our little friends. Therefore, you should not even be feeding plain popcorn to your piggy.
Below we have listed some of the nutritional values of air-popped and unsalted popcorn. Take a look and decide it yourself: Can guinea pigs eat popcorn?
|Amount per 100 g
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Canned Corn?
Unfortunately, canned corn is also not healthy for guinea pigs to eat. Canned corn is a big NO-NO for our little piggies since many additives and preservatives are added to the canned products to increase their shelf age.
|No Canned Food for Guinea Pigs!
Let alone canned corn, we should not be feeding any canned food to guinea pigs since lots of salt and preservatives are used in the canning process to preserve the food for longer.
Healthy Alternatives to Popcorn for Guinea Pigs
So what, if guinea pigs cannot have popcorn, there are many other safe and healthy treats for guinea pigs. Below we have listed some of the healthy fruits and vegetables that you can share with your guinea pigs.
- Collard greens
- Sweet Potato
|Moderation is the key!
While feeding fresh fruits and vegetables to your guinea pig, you should keep in mind that more is not good, rather moderation is the key here. Eating any veggie or fruit in excess would be counterproductive.
Final Verdict: Can Guinea Pigs eat Popcorn?
While popcorn are not inherently toxic to guinea pigs, they are not the healthiest treat for guinea pigs as they do not have any substantial nutritional benefit to offer to our piglets. You should not be feeding popcorn to guinea pigs for the following six reasons. One, let alone popcorn, guinea pigs cannot eat any processed food. Two, popcorn pose a choking hazard to guinea pigs. Three, eating popcorn increases the risk of obesity in guinea pigs. Four, popcorn are laden with phosphorous, which often leads to the development of bladder stones. Five, popcorn are loaded with unhealthy fats, which lead to the development of cardiovascular diseases and blood clogging in guinea pigs. Six, commercial popcorn contain flavorings that could be dangerous for guinea pigs.