Popcorns are one of the yummiest snacks to exist. Flavor and crunch all in one small bite, what more could you ask for? But…is it the same for animals? Are they able to enjoy it in a way similar to us? On our field day trips to zoos, most of us brought along with us a bag of popcorn to munch on. However, we are often told not to share our meal with the zoo rabbits. Why is that?
Don’t worry; we will attend to all of your questions and even those you wouldn’t have thought of. If you have a pet rabbit and you desperately want to share your movie snacks with your fluffy friend, this article is for you!
What do popcorns have to offer?
It is awe striking to think that bite-sized corn can have numerous nutritional benefits. But it is what it is! Popcorns are high in dietary fiber and low in calories. Isn’t it such a dream?. If that wasn’t enough, they are known to have a significant amount of antioxidants. It can be unarguably said popcorns are a healthy snack for you. The only point of concern that makes a difference is how they are prepared. If they are seasoned sparingly and are air-popped, there is nothing to worry about.
Can rabbits eat popcorn?
As you may have guessed already, your rabbit can not eat popcorn. Don’t get us wrong! If you allow your little friend to get his hands on popcorn, it will take the chance joyfully. In fact, they might eat anything that is fed by their human parents. They trust you THAT much. Therefore, keep its paws off the bag of popcorn.
As a pet parent, you should understand the difference between your body mechanism and the body mechanism of a tiny fluff ball. Popcorn in its rawest form is a grain-like any other such as oats. The point of conflict is that rabbits do not have the stomach capacity or the digestive juices needed to properly break a whole grain. Your rabbit is most likely to receive all the supplements and nutrients it needs through its regular food. You need not go out of your way to find an alternative that is additionally enriching. Most human foods are not beneficial for animals due to their high content of ingredients. More often than not, rabbits cannot tolerate what may seem to you as a ‘healthy’ snack.
Why are popcorns not healthy for rabbits?
To add taste and make it more relishing for one’s taste buds, popcorns contain sweeteners such as cheese, paprika, and chocolate. These can prove to be toxic to your rabbit as they are prepared according to human preference. To give an example, chocolate either itself or as a flavor can lead to fatality! This is because of an additive it contains that is venomous to your rabbit. Popcorns also contain surplus amounts of sugar and salt. Both of which are harmful in the long run to the rabbit. Sugar may lead to obesity and high levels of cholesterol in your rabbit. Therefore consequently, more deep-rooted and injurious health issues such as heart diseases. No difference is the case with salt, which is not your rabbit’s best friend.
Despite all of this, if we imagine a perfect world in which your rabbit can easily digest anything you can. There remains a massive health hazard. If your rabbit is of a smaller breed, its body structure is not going to be too accommodative as well. The rabbit may choke on the popcorn before it can even reach its stomach. The only way through this complication is to crush the popcorn. We would still suggest you not go for this alternative and instead let popcorn as a food option be.
Gastrointestinal stasis and Indigestion
We believe these issues are integral and alarming enough to deserve a subheading of their own. Popcorns, being whole grains have a huge probability of causing a blockage in the rabbit’s stomach. Even though it is true that popcorn has a notable quantity of fiber time, there is not much goodness in it for a rabbit. Its body does not have the potential to extract fiber, so that it may be used to get rid of the blockage. If your rabbit is suffering from GI or indigestion after eating popcorn, it may have symptoms similar to;
- Any visible sign of agony
Don’t hesitate to contact your vet if you observe these symptoms in your rabbit. Do so as immediately as possible and book an appointment. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
Immediate caretaking measures
Your rabbit has just eaten a hand full of popcorn from your snack bowl. And all the information you can find on the internet is petrifying. We understand how you feel. It is not the end of the world; first and foremost, take a deep breath. To take care of your rabbit, you need to be in control of yourself initially.
Provide it with hay
Give your rabbit the food healthiest for it in a dire circumstance as such. Fresh green hay is precisely what you need. Since it is full of nutrients and proteins, it will equip your rabbit with the energy it needs in no time. Additionally, it will speed up the metabolism and get your little friend to poop out the health hazard it ate beforehand.
Cut the roots of the problem.
Before you fall into the same situation of crisis yet again, hide all the bags of popcorns you might have in the house. It is preferable to put them on a higher spot in your household where there is absolutely no risk of the jumpy fellow grabbing at it.
Rush to get water.
There is nothing a glass of water can’t fix…well, almost. You cannot undo what has already been done, but you can better it. There are no ways to get rid of the salt or fat the rabbit would’ve ingested unless you consider holding it upside down till all the food comes out. We’re kidding; we know you would never do such a thing. Nonetheless, if there is something you can do, it is to lessen salt concentration in the rabbit’s body. This will only be possible through drinking a good amount of water.
There are perimeters you can take to try and get rid of any physical complications. Water is likely to push further any popcorn stuck in your rabbit’s throat and avoid choking. Albeit, this will only be possible if you respond immediately after the incident has taken place.
How to respond if the rabbit has eaten flavored or sweetened popcorn
More than anything else, this is a red flag. Especially if the popcorn that your rabbit got rid of its hunger on were chocolate flavored. If a while has passed and your rabbit hasn’t developed any alarming symptoms, it does not mean the risk has passed. It is necessary to contact a vet and ask for the proper treatment to follow or book the closest appointment to get a checkup.
Helping the process of digestion
For some upcoming days, introduce a diet that is rich in dietary fiber. It might be precisely what you need and also save you the trip to a vet. Dietary fiber will speed up and help the process of digestion. Once the bites of whole-grain are out of your pet’s body, there is not much you have to worry about. Obviously, other than making sure the rabbit doesn’t go on another experimental adventure with popcorn.
What are some healthy alternatives to popcorn?
There are quite some fruits and vegetables that you can give your rabbit instead of experimenting with popcorn. These are a complete duo, mouthwatering and packed with nutrients. To make things easier for you and save you time, we have done our research and listed a few of such foods as follows;
- Carrots (we guarantee your rabbit will adore these)
- Carrot tops
You may choose whichever of these is readily available for you.
If you insist on letting your rabbit try popcorn, make sure they are crushed and free of excessive salt. Flavored and sweetened popcorns are a no-no for rabbits. The ingredients added in popcorn to bring flavor to them are toxic and gravely injurious to rabbit health. It is preferred to prepare the popcorn you feed your rabbit at home. It should also be considered that they are not to be added to their routine food menu. The risks this crunchy treat brings are far more significant, considering the size of a single popcorn. We suggest you try out other harmless treats.