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Can Guinea Pigs Eat Popcorn? What You Need to Know!

Nicole Cosgrove

Guinea pigs do best with a diet that consists of timothy hay, guinea pig pellets, and a combination of fruit, vegetables, and herbs. You should avoid giving them sweet treats, and while air-fried popcorn might seem like a potentially healthy snack for your pig, it is a human treat that should not be shared with your guinea pig friend.

Although plain popcorn does not contain too many damaging ingredients, it is high in starch, which is undesirable, and there is a risk that your guinea pig will choke on the popcorn too. Stick to nutritional treats that help meet the dietary requirements of your pig.

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What Is Popcorn?

Popcorn is a kernel of corn with a hard outer shell and contains around 15% moisture. As it is heated, it quickly expands and pops. This snack can be eaten plain, but it is usually combined with sweet or savory ingredients to enhance and improve its flavor. Salted popcorn is popular and so is sweetened popcorn with a sticky toffee coating.

popcorns
Image Credit: PublicDomainPictures, Pixabay

Too Much Starch

Although it is not poisonous or toxic to your guinea pig, starch is not considered safe or healthy. It converts to sugar, which can negatively impact blood sugar levels and will eventually lead to your guinea pig being overweight or obese. The starch in popcorn is also bad for digestion and can cause sickness and diarrhea in your guinea pig. Both of these are serious problems for a small animal.

Difficult to Digest

Furthermore, popcorn can be difficult to digest. Plain popcorn is quite dry, and its shape means that it could become lodged or stuck in a guinea pig’s throat. This will cause them to choke and could prove fatal if you are unable to remove the popcorn quickly.

If your guinea pig has stolen a piece of popcorn and it has gone down safely, you should be fine, but you should monitor them to ensure that they do not have any adverse reactions afterward.

Can Guinea Pigs Have Any Popcorn?

Some owners and nutritionists say that it is fine for a guinea pig to have one or two pieces of popcorn on occasion, while others say that they shouldn’t have it at all. As there is no real benefit to feeding them this food, it is better to err on the side of caution.

guinea pig
Image Credit: Vicky Prince, Pixabay

Guinea Pig Diet

Guinea pigs tend to do best on a diet that is primarily made up of hay. The best hay for a guinea pig is timothy hay. Some variants are too sweet and contain too much sugar, while others are too starchy. Hay provides roughage, or dietary fiber. You should also feed pellets to your guinea pig, as well as a mixture of greens, vegetables, and herbs. These provide the vitamins and minerals that a pig requires.

Healthy Alternatives to Popcorn

Even if you are feeding them healthy treats, you need to limit the amount that you give to your guinea pig. If you aren’t careful, they could become overweight; guinea pigs will eat pretty much anything that you put in front of them.

Healthy treats include:
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Parsnip
  • Bell peppers
Other foods that you should avoid feeding them include:
  • Potatoes
  • Rhubarb
  • Chili peppers

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Can Guinea Pigs Eat Popcorn?

It may be safe to feed a guinea pig one or two pieces of plain, air-fried popcorn. However, according to some experts, even a single piece can be dangerous, especially since its shape and texture make it a choking hazard. Stick to healthy treats like broccoli, but remember that you should give even these treats in moderation while ensuring that your pig gets the right balance of hay, pellets, greens, and vegetables in their diet.


Featured Image: PDPics, Pixabay

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.