Last Updated on March 25, 2022 by Rei Garnet
While feeding small amounts of popcorn to rabbits is not harmful, feeding them large amounts of popcorn could lead to digestive distress like diarrhea, impaction, and GI stasis because popcorn or any corn-based food is not digested well by rabbits.
Popcorns are mostly made out of corn kernels and salt/sugar. All of which are not recommended to be fed to rabbits in large amounts.
If you notice any changes in your rabbit’s stool, both in size and consistency, immediately bring your rabbit to a veterinarian.
Now that I’ve given you the gist of the article, read on as I explain in more detail why rabbits can eat popcorn:
Risk of overfeeding popcorn to rabbits.
Corn-based food like popcorns carries a certain risk when fed in large amounts because rabbits have difficulty digesting it.
Here are some of the risks associated when you feed your rabbits large amounts of popcorn:
Diarrhea in rabbits is often caused by the wrong diet or when their diet is changed too fast. Feeding your rabbit large amounts of popcorn would check those two boxes I mentioned.
Gastrointestinal stasis is also possible when a rabbit is fed large amounts of popcorn, which are high in carbs and starch.
GI stasis happens when the balance of bacteria in your rabbit’s gut is disrupted due to a high-carb, low-fiber diet. This disruption would cause painful gas that would eventually lead to organ failure and death if not treated immediately.
The signs of GI stasis are:
- Hunched posture
- Decreased appetite/anorexia
If you notice any of these signs, immediately bring your rabbit to a veterinarian.
Since rabbits would have a hard time digesting corn, it could eventually lead to impaction. Impactions in rabbits are extremely lethal if not treated immediately.
Depending on the severity, some impaction would require surgery.
Healthy alternative to popcorn as treats.
If you planning on giving your rabbits popcorn as treats, these alternatives are much healthier:
Here are some alternatives that you can give to your rabbits one to two times per week as a treat:
- Apple (remove seeds)
- Cherries (remove seeds)
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Should you panic if your rabbit ate a little amount of popcorn?
While popcorn is not recommended to rabbits, it’s still not toxic. It’s just that popcorn or any corn is harder for rabbits to digest. Just feed them a lot of hay if you are worried. The extra fiber would likely fix the problem.
A rabbit eating small amounts of popcorn or any corn-based food is not a concern as long as the rabbit is on a fiber-rich diet. Just make sure that you monitor their stool for any changes both in consistency and size.
A rabbit that’s fed large amounts of corn like popcorn could lead to digestive distress like GI stasis, impaction, and diarrhea. It could also lead to obesity, especially to rabbits who are confined in small cages all day without access to regular exercise.
If your rabbit is exhibiting signs of digestive distress, immediately bring them to a veterinarian.
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