So, you’re on the couch binge-watching your newest Netflix obsession with your beloved bunny in your lap. Nothing pairs with a good binge session quite like a bowl of buttery popcorn, so you’ve one hand on your bunny and one in your popcorn bowl. But now your bunny is sniffing the air, curious about that delicious, buttery smell infiltrating its nostrils. Should you share a few kernels with your rabbit? No, you shouldn’t.
Popcorn is one of those human foods you shouldn’t ever offer your rabbit. Let’s take a closer look to find out why.
Why Can’t Rabbits Eat Popcorn?
While popcorn is incredibly tasty, rich in fiber, and high in iron, it is a food that’s only good for humans; and it’s not really that good for us to eat, either.
Let’s take a look at the nutritional aspect of popcorn. Popcorn, especially the buttered variety, is high in calories, which can cause your rabbit to gain weight. Plain popcorn may be low in fat, but when it’s doused in butter, it will no longer be so. It’s also relatively high in carbohydrates, at least from a rabbit’s perspective. The popcorn you buy at the movie theatre is often made with unhealthy oils, which can severely upset your rabbit’s delicate digestive system.
Now, how about the rabbit digestive system? Their system has evolved to handle specific foods, and grains, like corn kernels, are not one of them. Corn kernel hulls are indigestible, which may make popcorn a potential risk for blockages. Rabbits cannot digest popcorn as we can, which can wreak havoc on their delicate digestive system.
A diet too high in carbohydrates and fat can cause a potentially deadly condition known as gastrointestinal (GI) stasis. This condition occurs when your rabbit’s digestive system doesn’t work as it should, resulting in food and dehydrated hair mats forming an impaction.
Rabbits may also be at risk of choking if the kernels get stuck in its throat.
What If My Rabbit Ate Popcorn?
A few kernels of popcorn will not do any lasting damage to your pet, so you don’t need to worry if you catch your rabbit stealing a kernel or two from your bowl while you’re distracted. Things will likely go on as normal if the popcorn is plain without additional ingredients like salt or butter.
However, if your popcorn is buttered, oiled, or salted, you may notice your pet isn’t feeling too hot the next day. Make sure it has access to water, and keep an eye on its droppings, as it may get diarrhea.
If your rabbit has somehow gotten a hold of an entire bowl of popcorn, you may need to visit the vet for specialized treatment.
What’s a Healthier Treat to Offer My Rabbit?
If you want to give your rabbit a snack during movie time, you can offer many healthy options instead of sharing your popcorn.
Cut-up pieces of fruit work great as a snack for rabbits. They can digest the sugars in fruit, which they cannot do for processed types of sugars.
While it is improbable your rabbit will suffer any long-lasting effects from stealing a kernel or two of popcorn from your bowl, it’s best not to get into the habit of allowing that to happen. If you know your pet has gotten into a lot of popcorn and it starts acting out of character, we recommend reaching out to your vet for advice. But, of course, it’s always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to your beloved pets.