Can Hamsters Eat Popcorn?

Hamster Jun 23, 2021
Written by | Updated Oct 14, 2021
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Can Hamsters Eat Popcorn?

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No movie is complete without it: Popcorn is one of our favorite snacks – and it can be fairly healthy, too!

Just like us, you’ve probably found yourself wondering whether it’s OK to give a hamster popcorn. After all, it’s fun to share with our pets!

Can hamsters eat popcorn? If so, how much can they have and how often can they have it?

The quick answer to your question is yes, but there are some definite do’s and don’ts to be aware of before you give your hamster a delicious popcorn treat!

Keep on reading – our quick guide to popcorn for hamsters has the answers you’ve been looking for.

Popcorn Nutrition Stats

Before you add butter, cheese powder, or other flavorings to popcorn, it’s a fairly healthy treat that also happens to be very satisfying.

A cup of plain, air popped popcorn gives you approximately:

  • 31 calories
  • 2 g carbohydrates
  • 2 g fiber
  • 1 g protein
  • 4 g fat

Popcorn Nutritional Facts

Popcorn is a fantastic replacement for processed snacks like chips and corn puffs. While it might not be the most nutritious food on the planet, it does offer some nutrients. That’s more than we can say for some other fun snacks!

That same cup of popcorn offers approximately:

  • 7 iu vitamin A
  • 5 mcg folate
  • 7 mg choline
  • 5 mg magnesium
  • 6 mg phosphorus
  • 3 mg potassium
  • 6 mg sodium
  • 2 mg zinc
  • 1 mg manganese

Can Hamsters Have Popcorn?

Absolutely! You can treat your hamster to popcorn every now and then. Be careful, because you don’t want to give your little fuzzball too much of a good thing!

Be sure to give your hamster only fully popped air-popped popcorn and remove any sharp pieces that might get lodged in their pouch. Don’t offer your hammy friend partially popped kernels or old maids, as these can be very difficult to eat and could even be dangerous to your hamster.

Last but not least, be sure to remove your hamster’s piece of popcorn from the bowl before you add any butter or salt.

If you are eating microwave popcorn, and it has any type of coating or flavoring  on it, you want to keep your snack for yourself and your family or friends. The additives in most microwave popcorn aren’t safe for hamsters.

Is Popcorn Good For Hamsters?

We’ll say it this way: Popcorn offers some nutrients but it really shouldn’t be a big  part of your hamster’s daily  diet. When offered in very small amounts, it can be a nice treat.

Do Hamsters Like Popcorn?

Since hamsters tend to love crunchy things, most of them really enjoy popcorn. If you’re looking for a special treat for your hamster and you’d like to help them thrive by keeping things relatively healthy, then a tiny bit of popcorn is a great option.

How Much Popcorn Can A Hamster Eat?

Just like we need to watch our own intake, hamsters shouldn’t eat too much popcorn.

Here’s how much popcorn to feed your hamster:

Age Amount
Baby hamster None
Adult hamster 1 fully popped popcorn kernel

Since popcorn is high in fiber and easy for hamsters to digest, you don’t have to worry about a gradual introduction with this food. It’s something we normally focus on, but in this case you can go ahead and offer your hamster an entire piece of popcorn without butter or salt, and with all the sharp parts removed.

Watch your hammy for signs of indigestion for the next 12 hours or so. If everything remains normal, then you can add popcorn to their regular treat rotation.

How Often Can A Hamster Eat Popcorn?

Since popcorn is a special treat, it’s important not to give it to your hamster too often. Once per week is often enough, and popcorn shouldn’t be offered at the same time as other snacks.

The Correct Diet Is Important

Many people who are new to the wonderful world of hamster guardianship are surprised to learn that their fuzzy little pets are omnivores, capable of eating a variety of small creatures including things like crickets and mealworms. A hamster’s natural diet also includes lots of high fiber plants, seeds, and whatever else they are able to find in their daily travels.

Don’t worry if you feel squeamish about feeding freeze-dried insects to your hamster. High quality hamster food is nutritionally complete, with all the essential vitamins and minerals your pet needs to survive. This doesn’t mean that your hamster should live on pellets alone; In fact, the opposite is true.

Hamsters do best when they are provided with a wide array of different fruits and vegetables, as well as other supplemental items including plain, air-popped popcorn.

Here are our recommendations for feeding your hamster the right way.

  • Unlimited supply of fresh water – Remember to rinse and refill your hamster’s drinking bottle at least once per day.
  • Fresh hay such as Timothy – Provide an unlimited supply of fresh hay so your hamster can line their habitat with it. Besides nibbling, hamsters engage in natural behaviors when they’re provided with hay, and that helps keep them happy.
  • A little bit of birdseed for supplemental fat – About a teaspoon per week is plenty.
  • A little bit of fresh fruit and veggies – Tiny bits each day or every other day; remember to research new items to find the proper serving size. Always remove uneaten fresh food to prevent it from spoiling.
  • Chewable hamster toys – Your hamster’s teeth are always growing. Your pet needs to nibble on things like untreated softwood sticks, hay cubes, unbleached loofah, or coconut shell for hours each day.

What Are Other Healthy Alternatives To Popcorn In A Hamster’s Diet?

Since popcorn is an occasional treat, what else can you give your hamster at snack time?

Good news: there are plenty of options available!

Here’s a quick list of vegetables that appeal to hamsters:

  • artichoke
  • asparagus
  • sweet corn
  • baby corn
  • cabbage
  • cilantro
  • parsley
  • basil
  • mint
  • beets
  • beet tops
  • arugula
  • potato (cooked only)
  • sprouts
  • carrot
  • carrot tops
  • romaine
  • endive
  • swiss chard
  • bibb lettuce
  • spinach
  • escarole
  • buttercrunch lettuce
  • red lettuce
  • cucumber
  • celery
  • green beans
  • winter squash
  • pumpkin
  • summer squash
  • zucchini
  • parsnip
  • bell pepper
  • cauliflower
  • broccoli
  • broccolini
  • tomato
  • okra
  • watercress
  • yu choy
  • bok choy

This list is only the beginning!

There are hundreds of different foods that are safe for hamsters to eat, including a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. There are also foods that aren’t safe or that can be toxic to hamsters, so we recommend spending a few minutes researching each new item before you hand it over to your hamster.

Within a few moments, you’ll know whether an item is safe, or if it’s something that is best kept for your own enjoyment.

For now, why not give your hamster a piece of popcorn and see how they like it? We are pretty sure that the response will be favorable!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is popcorn safe for hamsters?

Yes! It’s safe to give a hamster popcorn so long as you remove any sharp particles from the fluffy white portion.

Can popcorn make my hamster sick?

Too much popcorn can give your hamster an upset tummy and prevent them from eating the nutrient rich foods that they need for good health. The best way to avoid issues is to offer small amounts occasionally.

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Anne is a wellness writer with a lifelong love of animals large and small. As a former veterinary technician, she has a passion for your pet’s well-being. Anne rescues and rehabilitates animals in need. She shares her farm with lots of critters including horses, sheep, dogs, cats, rabbits, and chickens.
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