Whilst popcorn is low in calories and full of fiber, and is a great snack for a human who wants to lose weight, giving it to your rabbit may not be the best choice.
A rabbit may see popcorn and want to eat it all up, but there are many reasons why you should never feed your pet rabbit popcorn.
So, let us take a look at why you should not feed your rabbit popcorn, and the consequences of doing so.
Before We Get Into Details
Popcorn is not actually toxic to rabbits, though what they might contain could be dangerous to them. This is why it is best to never feed your rabbit popcorn.
Their nutrient needs are very different to ours, and this means we cannot feed a rabbit the same diet that we have. What may be considered healthy for a human can have the opposite effect to a rabbit.
To steer clear of even finding out what the effects may be, or having to rush to the vet, it is much better to just stick to a well balanced diet of food that you know a rabbit can enjoy eating, without any horrible side effects.
What to Do If Your Rabbit Has Eaten Popcorn
If your rabbit has only eaten a small amount of plain popcorn that has no added ingredients, then there is an unlikely chance that they will be harmed. In this case, just keep them hydrated and keep an eye on them. Any changes out of the ordinary or if they become unwell, take them to the vet straight away.
However, if your rabbit has ingested any other popcorn, such as the type with coatings, then it is highly likely that your rabbit may become unwell.
If the popcorn was highly salted, your rabbit may want to drink a lot more water to compensate. Also, the popcorn may promote digestive issues and cause diarrhea. When diarrhea is present, the rabbit will need to make sure he or she does not become dehydrated.
When Eating Popcorn Becomes Severe
Popcorn can be toxic to a rabbit, and that is why it is much better to avoid it altogether, especially if you do not know if there have been ingredients added to it.
In a more severe situation it can poison a rabbit. The signs can be an excessive amount of saliva and uncontrollable urination, amongst other unusual things. When this happens, you must seek help from a veterinarian.
What to Do If You Want to Feed Your Rabbit Popcorn
As mentioned above, there are instances when popcorn can be okay, such as if it is plain. Whilst it is okay to do, only feed them popcorn once in a while, as overfeeding them with popcorn can become dangerous overtime.
Never give a rabbit a bowl of popcorn to eat, as this will be too much. Instead, feed them one, and if you want to give them a second, wait a few minutes before doing so. Always remember it must be plain.
Also, never give your rabbit microwaved popcorn, or popcorn that is flavored. Instead, opt for air popped and plain.
You can always make your own using a frying pan. This way you can control how much oil is included (you want very little) and make sure there are no other ingredients added.
Why You Should Not Feed Popcorn to a Rabbit
Whilst you can give popcorn to a rabbit, there are many reasons why you probably should not. It is not just about the ingredients either, because it can affect the rabbit just by swallowing it.
Rabbits cannot digest popcorn very easily, which can cause issues to their overall digestive system. There is also a risk of choking if your rabbit is smaller. This is because the bits of popcorn can get stuck in the throat, respiratory tract or teeth.
What Is the Problem With Regular Popcorn?
The added ingredients in popcorn can cause major problems to their overall health. It is usually high in fat if it contains sweeter toppings which can contribute to high cholesterol and rapid weight gain in a rabbit.
A rabbit having high cholesterol means that there is too much insoluble fatty plaque surrounding the arteries. This can develop into something like cardiovascular disease.
Salt is another big problem. Popcorn can be salty rather than sweet, but too much for a rabbit can lead to hypertension and other heart problems.
Too much salt and sugar can both lead to diarrhea and poisoning, so it is always best to avoid these as added ingredients.
Healthy Treats to Feed a Rabbit
When it comes to a rabbit’s diet, the bulk of it will consist of hay and grass, with the latter not being fresh due to it fermenting too quickly.
Whilst a treat is great, make sure hay is always available for your rabbit to eat. Hay helps the overall health of a rabbit due to it being high in fiber, and contributes to the wearing down of teeth which they need to keep them from causing an issue.
A rabbit enjoys receiving different food throughout the day, so you can give them something like fresh leafy greens in the morning or evening. So, let us take a look at what they can eat:
Watercress, savoy cabbage, spinach, rocket, red cabbage, parsnip, mustard greens, dark leaf or romaine lettuce, salad peppers, broccoli leaves, cauliflower storks or leaves, coriander, chicory, cucumber, zucchini, brussel sprouts, asparagus and bok choy.
Whilst it is always fun to give different treats to your rabbit to avoid boredom, sticking to what you know a rabbit can eat is always best. Popcorn may be a tasty treat, and if given plain should not harm them, but the worrying thing is that it can.
Rabbits have plenty of choices when it comes to food, making it easy to plan different treats throughout the month. Sticking to the food they can easily digest is not only sensible, but is it not better to be safe than sorry?