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Can Guinea Pigs Eat Popcorn? Vet-Reviewed Facts & FAQ

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By Kerry-Ann Kerr

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Vet approved

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Lauren Demos

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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A Guinea Pig’s diet should be comprised mainly of hay, pellets, and a combination of fresh vegetables, fruit, and herbs. You might think you’re doing them a favor by giving them a treat that doesn’t fit with the rest of their diet. However, you need to be careful because some foods are harmful and can upset their stomach. Popcorn, for example, might seem like a relatively harmless treat, but unfortunately, it is not something you should share with that special piggy in your life.

Popcorn does not contain toxic chemicals, but it poses a choking hazard and is high in starch. So, we recommend avoiding feeding popcorn to guinea pigs and instead sticking to nutritional, safe treats.

Divider Guinea Pig

Is Popcorn Good for Guinea Pigs?

The short answer is no, but it’s a tricky subject because feeding your Guinea Pig one or two small pieces of popcorn occasionally won’t lead to many significant problems. However, popcorn only contains empty calories, is a choking hazard, and is a starchy, difficult-to-digest treat. There are far healthier treats out there. So, while your Guinea Pig might like the taste of popcorn, it doesn’t mean you should share it with them.

Popcorn Closeup
Image Credit: MolnarSzabolcsErdely, Pixabay

What Happens if Your Guinea Pig Eats a Piece of Popcorn?

As we said, there shouldn’t be any adverse effects if your Guinea Pig chomps on a piece of plain popcorn you’ve dropped on the floor. However, it’s essential to be aware of what can go wrong. Popcorn can be tricky to digest, and it’s very dry, so it can get lodged in their throat. This will make them choke, and it can be fatal if you can’t remove the popcorn fast enough. However, if the popcorn goes down safely, you can monitor them to ensure there are no adverse reactions.

The starch in popcorn isn’t good for the Guinea Pig’s digestive system and can lead to diarrhea and vomiting. If they eat too much, the starch converts to sugar, affecting blood sugar levels which can result in your Guinea Pig putting on weight.

What Happens if the Popcorn Isn’t Plain?

Most human food isn’t plain, and we like to add salt and butter to our popcorn. So, what should you do if your Guinea Pig eats popcorn with added flavors? Your first step is to call your veterinarian and tell them which seasonings on the popcorn they consumed. They will let you know what to look out for, if you need to bring your pet in for a check-up, and which worrying signs to be aware of. With small pets, there is less room for error than there would be for a larger animal; a spilled piece of popcorn is much more dangerous to a Guinea Pig than it would be for a dog.

Common signs that your Guinea Pig has eaten something they shouldn’t include:

  • Ataxia
  • Change in activity or lethargy
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Drooling
  • Muscle tremors
  • Reduced appetite
  • Seizures
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness

However, don’t wait for worrying signs to appear. Contact your vet immediately if you suspect your Guinea Pig has consumed flavored popcorn or anything else concerning.

guinea pig sleeping in its cage
Image Credit: Shchus, Shutterstock

Healthy Treats to Give Guinea Pigs

Fresh fruit is a fantastic treat for your Guinea Pig, but remember to share it in moderation because of its high sugar content. Safe fruit includes:

  • Apple (minus the pip, as it’s poisonous)
  • Banana
  • Blueberry
  • Cherry
  • Kiwi
  • Melon
  • Pear
  • Plum
  • Strawberry

Dangerous Foods for Guinea Pigs

Foods that are harmful or your should avoid feeding to Guinea Pigs include:

  • Avocado
  • Chives
  • Garlic
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • Mushrooms
  • Onion
  • Potatoes and skin
  • Rhubarb and leaves
  • Seeds and nuts
  • Tomato vine and leaves (but the fruit is safe)

Divider Guinea PigFinal Thoughts

Guinea pigs should not eat popcorn; it can cause stomach problems, poses a choking risk, and contains a high starch content that isn’t good for them. There is an even higher risk of an adverse reaction if the popcorn is flavored.

A Guinea Pig’s diet should be made up of hay, pellets, leafy greens, fresh vegetables, herbs, and fruit. Popcorn also offers empty calories, so your Guinea Pig will feel full and miss out on the essential nutrients they need to stay healthy. You can feed your Guinea Pig many healthier alternatives as yummy as popcorn.

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Featured Image Credit: Deborah Breen Whiting, Pixabay

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