can guinea pigs eat popcorn

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Popcorn?

Written by: Annemarie Dutton

Popcorn is a yummy snack for humans, but if you are wondering whether guinea pigs can eat it, too, you are in the right place. Read this article to the end to get all the answers to your questions.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Popcorn? 

No, popcorn is not a healthy treat for guinea pigs hence, they should not eat it. Popcorn is a processed food, and because guinea pigs are rodents, they do not digest such foods properly.

Another reason to avoid feeding your guinea pigs popcorn is that it can choke them. Yes, as little as a single piece of popcorn is capable of choking your fluffy pet.

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What Is Popcorn?

Popcorn is a delicious snack made from flint corn. It expands and pops when exposed to heat producing a fluffy snack that can be enjoyed at home or outdoors. It can be sweetened or left plain.

Impressively, popcorn contains healthy nutrients like protein, fiber, and essential minerals. It is also a good source of polyphenols. Surprisingly, popcorn contains more polyphenols than many fruits and vegetables.

There is about 300 mg of polyphenols in one serving of popcorn. That is significantly higher than the 160 mg of polyphenols found in one serving of most fruits and vegetables.

Speaking of polyphenols, they are organic compounds that aid digestion and improve brain health. They also serve as antioxidants helping to fight against various infections and diseases. 

Disadvantages of Feeding Guinea Pigs Popcorn

Popcorn is a killer treat for your guinea pig if you feed it to them frequently or in large quantities. Sadly, the pets will not refuse this mostly sugar-coated snack if you give it to them or they come across it.

Hence, it is up to you, the pet owner, to keep popcorn away from your cavies or monitor them strictly if you let them have some. Nonetheless, below are some known disadvantages associated with feeding guinea pigs popcorn. 

Popcorn can choke your guinea pigs

As mentioned earlier, popcorn is capable of choking your pets, especially if the corn is not properly chewed before swallowing. And guess what? Due to the sweetness of popcorn, your pets might forget to chew properly before swallowing.

Another thing is popcorn requires a lot of chewing power from the teeth. Your cavies teeth are not strong enough to crush all the corn before swallowing, which can also lead to suffocation.

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Popcorn can lead to poor digestion

Guinea pigs are rodents with delicate digestive systems. Meanwhile, popcorn has a high starch content which is difficult to digest in rodents. Hence, guinea pigs might struggle with digesting foods like popcorn properly. When you feed your guinea pigs popcorn, which fails to digest properly, it can lead to gastrointestinal pain, diarrhea, and even death.

Popcorn can cause severe health issues in guinea pigs

The high starch content of starch in guinea pigs is converted to sugar in the body. Consequently, consuming popcorn can increase the blood sugar levels of guinea pigs causing other health issues like obesity and diabetes. 

How To Feed Guinea Pigs Popcorn

Although we advise against feeding your guinea pigs popcorn, some owners would not mind occasionally feeding their cavies a few pieces of this yummy snack. If you fall into this category of pet owner, here are some factors you should consider on such occasions.

  • Don’t give your cavies brown sweetened popcorn; instead, give them the plain type
  • Don’t forget to feed your cavies popcorn only on an occasional basis
  • Pay close attention to your guinea pigs when eating this snack and after.

Conclusion

Many might consider popcorn a harmless treat to feed their guinea pigs, but we strongly advise you to refrain from doing that. Popcorn contains a large amount of starch which is difficult for guinea pigs to digest. Your pet also stands at risk of choking on it. Although popcorn is delicious and healthy for humans, it is more harmful than beneficial to guinea pigs. Therefore, we recommend feeding your guinea pigs alternative treats like celery, cucumber, parsnip, carrot, broccoli, and bell pepper.

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