If you have a pet guinea pig, you might be looking for some new food to make their diet more exciting. Perhaps you’ve considered popcorn, which is a delicious snack for humans that other animals can consume, too. However, it’s high in fat and not suitable for a guinea pig’s digestive system
Let’s uncover whether giving guinea pigs popcorn has their best interest at heart or if it can be negative to their health.
Why Consider Popcorn for Guinea Pigs
Before we dive into the correct food to give a guinea pig, let’s briefly discuss why you might even consider giving them popcorn in the first place.
These animals consume a plant-based diet, and many popcorn flavors are suitable for vegans. Perhaps you’re looking for a new snack to treat them to in-between meals.
Some guinea parents might give their guinea pig one or two pieces every now and then to jazz up their diet. Plus, the packet form means that you’ll always have this food in the house should you run out of fresh vegetables.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Popcorn?
Some owners give their pet popcorn as a special treat, but it isn’t the best idea, as popcorn isn’t completely safe for guinea pigs to eat for the reasons below.
Guinea pigs have a plant-based diet, and their body is also built for consuming and digesting fruit and vegetables. Feeding these furry animals popcorn isn’t something their body is used to, which can present all kinds of health problems.
They Can’t Digest It
Guinea pigs don’t have a digestive system that can break down popcorn like humans. This is also because popcorn is a complex carbohydrate and is high in calories.
Too High in Fat
Popcorn can be high in fat and sugar, which can cause guinea pigs to be sick, dehydrated, and constipated. As a result, it can actually cause more harm than good.
There are some brands and flavors that are healthier (ones that are plain without any toffee/caramel flavoring), but it’s still pretty much impossible to buy a pack that offers any nutritional benefit.
Dangers of Giving Guinea Pigs Popcorn
As well as the reasons above, there are additional dangers of giving guinea pigs popcorn.
They Can Choke
The size and texture of popcorn can cause guinea pigs to choke. While you can reduce the chances of this happening (by boiling popcorn), the risks are too big, so it’s best not to chance it. You wouldn’t give a human something to eat that could risk suffocating or choking, so don’t take the risk with a guinea pig.
We mentioned that guinea pigs don’t have a digestive system that’s built for popcorn, but let’s talk about this a little deeper. Their digestive system is delicate and sensitive, meaning that it can’t handle hard or salty food.
Feeding your pet popcorn can result in diarrhea, stomach pain, and gastrointestinal issues since their bodies simply can’t handle the flavor and texture of popcorn.
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What Do Guinea Pigs Eat?
To keep your guinea pig healthy and happy, you should stick to a diet that’s right for them. This includes the following food:
This should be a food staple to ensure they consume enough vitamins and minerals. Stick to leafy greens, such as kale or broccoli, as these are a great source of Vitamin C. You should also bear in mind that guinea pigs don’t typically eat root vegetables, although you can give them some in small quantities as a treat.
It’s important that guinea pigs consume enough Vitamin C, so consider plant-based pellets suitable for guinea pigs to eat every day.
They’ll especially need more pellets if they’re growing, underweight, or pregnant. Alternatively, add some pellets to their food bowl each day to ensure they’re getting enough Vitamin C into their daily diet.
Hay and Grass
Opt for high-quality hay and grass, as these are a huge staple to a guinea pigs’ diet. In fact, they should consume this every day, as they graze on grass every day for long periods of time. It’s also important to know that these furry animals require hay and grass for their digestive system to function correctly.
Plus, when they’re growing, chomping on hay and grass helps their teeth to grow into the correct shape and length. However, an improper diet can contribute to poor dental health.
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Sue’s favorite pastime? Watching a good movie with a giant tub of popcorn by her side. Her friends and family know that if they want to get her something, popcorn is always a safe bet. Sue has an adventurous spirit and loves to travel exploring new places – she’s been to more than 40 countries!