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Guinea pigs make adorable pets and are generally easy to look after. The only factor to keep in mind is that they cannot eat everything. In fact, you have to be careful about what you include in their diet.
Certain snacks and food items can cause serious health ramifications and be fatal for your little pet. One of these is popcorn. Can guinea pigs eat popcorn?
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Popcorn?
As irresistible as they are for humans, popcorn does not make an appropriate snack for your guinea pigs. Even though popcorn is not toxic or poisonous for these cavies, it is a choking hazard for your furry creatures. Most importantly, popcorn can cause severe damage to your guinea’s digestive system, even the plain, unbuttered variety.
Moreover, popcorn offers no nutritional value to guinea pigs. They are simply empty calories, and, frankly, there are far better treats and alternatives to popcorn that you can offer your pet instead.
Nutritional Value of Popcorn
Popcorn is made from a kernel of corn, which expands and pops after exposure to heat. You can eat it plain, but most people prefer the salted, buttered, or caramel variety, which channels an enhanced taste.
One cup of air-popped plain popcorn has the following nutritional value:
- 31 calories in total
- 2 grams carbohydrates
- 2 grams fiber
- 4 grams fat
- 1 gram protein
Risks of Feeding Popcorn to Guinea Pigs
As we discussed earlier, popcorn should not be included as a part of your guinea pigs diet for several reasons:
- Guinea pigs have a very sensitive digestive tract compared to other rodents. Consequently, they are unable to digest processed food, like popcorn, effectively. Feeding raisins to your guinea pigs can also have problems in digestion.
- Popcorn is brimming with starch, which is another food element that is not considered safe or healthy for guineas. Starch is difficult to digest for guinea pigs and can cause an upset stomach and diarrhea. Crackers are also not healthy to feed in your guinea pigs.
- Starch also converts into sugar, which can elevate blood sugar levels. These spiked sugar levels can eventually lead to obesity and excessive weight gains, and diabetes in your guinea pigs. It can also make little pets lazy and lethargic. Feeding fruits like guava to your guinea pigs should also monitor.
- Popcorn is also likely to be lodged in the small respiratory tube of a guinea pig, resulting in choking. It can also get stuck in the upper digestive tract causing an uncomfortable sensation for the poor little animals.
Ideal Diet for Guinea Pigs
Guinea pigs require a well-balanced diet to thrive and grow. The primary component of their diet is hay (ideally Timothy hay), which provides the necessary fiber and roughage. The hay aids their digestive system to work better and trims their teeth, which grow continuously during their entire lifetime. Thus, make sure that it is accessible to them at all times.
Additionally, you can feed your guinea pigs with eggplants that are rich in fiber but just in moderation.
Guinea pigs also require nutrient-rich pellets for essential minerals and vitamins. These pellets also provide necessary vitamin C since guineas cannot produce vitamin C like humans. The ideal quantity of pellets for a 2 pounds guinea pig is 1/8 cup per day.
You should also offer your cavy a mixture of clean, fresh, colorful vegetables, dark leafy greens, fruits, and herbs for a well-rounded, healthy diet, brimming with minerals and vitamins.
What Happens if a Guinea Pig Eats Popcorn?
If your guinea pig has consumed a couple of popcorn, keep an eye on them to check if they appear sick or uncomfortable. Most likely, they will be completely fine. However, if they have eaten too much popcorn, you need to take them to the vet immediately.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Corn Kernels?
Guinea pigs can eat corn safely but not more than one or two times a week as a treat. Corn kernels have a high sugar content, which makes them unsuitable for guinea pigs’ diets. However, corn silks and husks have a high nutritional value, similar to the hay, so that they can be eaten every day or on alternate days.
Popcorn is a type of processed food that offers no health or nutritional benefits to your guinea pigs. On the other hand, it can cause severe discomforts for your little pet. Popcorns can cause digestion problems, high sugar levels, and choking.
Therefore, you should not feed your guinea pigs popcorn.