Question: Can rabbits eat popcorn?
Answer: Absolutely not! Popcorn is dangerous for rabbits.
Should Rabbits Eat Popcorn?
Rabbits eat almost anything given to them, so there’s a high probability that they will eat popcorn if they are offered some. However, rabbits should not eat popcorn, and owners should try as much as possible to keep this food item away from their bunnies.
Popcorn is harmful to rabbits and shouldn’t be eaten in any form – whether seasoned, unpopped, popped, etc. Popcorn is just as dangerous to a rabbit as fresh corn. Even if you offer kernels to your rabbit irregularly, it will still have negative impacts on them— this is why you have to eliminate it from your pet’s diet totally.
Popcorns are not recommended for bunnies because they contain empty calories that the rabbit does not use. Also, rabbits can’t digest the hulls of the popcorn, which could lead to some severe issues in the animal. It even gets worse if you offer the rabbits seasoned popcorn because this kernel contains high sugar and salt content, which your rabbits don’t need.
In essence, rabbits don’t have anything to gain from eating popcorn, but they have plenty to lose if they eat it. You could call it junk food for them, one that has almost immediate adverse effects on their health.
However, if your bunny happens to eat a tiny piece of popcorn – possibly a stray one – you don’t have to worry. Since it’s only a tiny piece, the kernel can go through the bunny’s digestive system without any complications. You should still monitor the rabbit, though, to be sure that nothing happens to it.
Is Popcorn Bad for Rabbits?
Popcorn – and any other thing made from corn – is bad for your rabbits to eat. True, they may not be poisonous, but that doesn’t mean that they are safe either.
One thing you have to understand about rabbits is that these creatures can’t throw up. This means that their stomach muscles don’t have enough power to force food out through their mouth. It’s all part of the bunny’s unique digestive system. Now, this might sound good, but it isn’t. Since a rabbit can’t vomit, then everything it eats has to pass through its digestive system, whether it’s safe for them or not.
So, when bunnies eat something as bad for their health as popcorn, the food item might not be able to pass through the rabbit’s system. Sadly, the bunny can’t vomit it either, so the popcorn in the stomach can lead to some really big issues.
Why Is Popcorn Bad for Rabbits?
Rabbits have a special and delicate digestive system, and that’s why owners have to be careful of what goes through this animal’s mouth. Generally, hay makes up 80% of the rabbit’s diet, while the remaining 20% consists of high-quality pellets, vegetables, and freshwater. Some kinds of fruit can also be fed to bunnies in little quantity.
Corn, or anything made out of corn, is classified as a vegetable, but this is one vegetable that bunnies can’t eat. For one, corns are grains, and rabbits shouldn’t eat grains because their digestive system doesn’t contain acids strong enough to break down the hard exteriors of grains. The sharp hulls of these kernels can even damage something in the bunny’s stomach and intestine.
Other reasons why bunnies should steer clear of popcorn are:
Gastrointestinal Stasis (GIS)
GI Stasis is when food doesn’t move or moves slowly in the bunny’s gastrointestinal tract. This usually happens when certain bacteria begin to inhabit the animal’s digestive tract and some food items become stagnant and decays in the stomach. Any rabbit that eats corn might suffer from this illness. Since rabbits can’t digest corn, it can obstruct the rabbit’s stomach and further create these bacteria once it begins to decay.
Bunnies that suffer from stasis lose appetite, and this even makes things worse. When there’s no fiber to get things moving in the stomach again, the stasis begins to worse, and it might eventually become fatal if the animal is not attended to on time.
Other signs of GIS are:
- Lethargy or laziness
- Abnormal feces
- Hunched posture, etc.
If you notice any of these symptoms in your pet, it could mean that he has eaten popcorn or something equally dangerous. In this case, it’s better to take the bunny to the vet. Generally, the doctor will stimulate the digestive system by giving your pet medication, fluid injections, and the proper diet.
Bloating is usually an after effect of GI Stasis. Since rabbits can’t vomit or even belch, gasses begin to build up when food is blocking the intestinal tract. Sometimes, these gasses can’t move out of the bunny’s body and continues to build up, causing a lot of pain for your animal. This bloating don’t usually stop until the stasis is handled.
No Nutritional Value
Popcorns don’t have any nutritional value for rabbits. Although they contain fiber, the fiber content isn’t enough to do much to the rabbit. Also, the rabbit’s digestive system can hardly break down the corn to extract the fiber in it, so there’s really no point.
Also, popcorn contains a high level of carbohydrates that your rabbit doesn’t need. If you keep feeding corn to your bunny, it will gain weight, which can finally lead to issues like obesity, and heart and joint issues.
Popcorns are harmful to your rabbit and can even kill your pet if you aren’t careful. If it looks like your bunny has ingested kernel in any way, you can do the following:
- Take away any remaining popcorn from your rabbit;
- Try to get your pet to eat some fresh hay to stimulate movement in the rabbit’s digestive tract;
- Over the next few days, incorporate some extra fiber diet and lots of water into your animal’s meal.
Over the next week, monitor the rabbit closely for signs that things are not going well with it. Once you see signs of discomfort or some of the symptoms listed above, you should contact a vet.