Can Rabbits Eat Popcorn?
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Before you add any butter or salt, popcorn is probably one of the healthiest snacks you can have – so long as you aren’t watching your carbohydrates, that is!
Lots of people wonder if it’s okay to give popcorn to rabbits, and a quick search of the topic leads to a wide range of answers. While most experts weigh in with a resounding “no,” plenty of pet parents say that they’ve given popcorn to their rabbits without any problems whatsoever.
Some even say that their rabbits have eaten popcorn with butter and salt!
So, what’s the verdict? Can rabbits have popcorn? If so, how much can they have and how often can they have it?
It’s a tricky topic to be sure. Hang in there, because were about to tell you everything you need to know about popcorn for rabbits.
Popcorn Nutrition Stats
As crunchy snacks go, popcorn can be a healthy option for you. Feel free to indulge even though it isn’t safe to share with your bunny!
A one-cup serving of air-popped popcorn without butter or other additions offers an average of:
- 31 calories
- 2 g carbohydrates
- 2 g fiber
- 1 g protein
- 4 g fat
Popcorn Nutritional Facts
Popcorn’s main benefit is its ability to keep us from making less-healthy choices! While it’s a good source of fiber, it doesn’t contain all that many nutrients.
That same one-cup serving of air-popped popcorn provides 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 Rabbits Have Popcorn?
Yes and no. Rabbits are able to chew and swallow popcorn, but that doesn’t mean that they should have it.
Popcorn hulls – that’s the outer layer of popcorn in case you’re curious – are made up of a polysaccharide complex that’s very difficult for most animals to digest. Rabbits can’t digest this compound at all.
While a single popcorn hull might make its way safely out of your rabbit’s digestive tract, your bunny is at risk of intestinal blockage if they consume more than a tiny amount of popcorn.
It really isn’t worth the risk!
Is Popcorn Good For Rabbits?
Not really! A rabbit’s natural diet consists mostly of long-stemmed grasses. The fiber in these grasses keep the rabbit’s digestive tract moving.
Popcorn might be fine for you but it has the wrong nutritional profile for your bunny rabbit. Most of the calories and popcorn come from starch and sugar, and your rabbit isn’t able to digest these nutrients properly.
Here’s one more reason we don’t recommend popcorn for rabbits: Too much popcorn can lead to intestinal blockage and a condition called G.I. stasis, which can be deadly to your rabbit.
Do Rabbits Like Popcorn?
Yes, and that has led to quite a bit of confusion. Bunnies like lots of things that aren’t good for them and it’s up to us as pet parents to keep them from consuming things that aren’t healthy.
How Much Popcorn Can A Rabbit Eat?
Because we’re here to advocate for your rabbit’s health, we can’t recommend feeding popcorn to rabbits in any amount.
In case you’re here after the fact and your rabbit has already eaten popcorn, keep a close eye on them for signs of digestive distress. Bloating, constipation, and diarrhea can indicate trouble.
If your rabbit stops eating, drinking, or pooping as usual, call your vet for next steps.
How Often Can A Rabbit Eat Popcorn?
Your rabbit might see you eating popcorn and beg for a bite every time! But don’t give in to all that cuteness. Despite what you might have heard in the past, rabbits simply shouldn’t eat popcorn.
That makes our official answer to this question “Never!”
The Correct Diet Is Important
While you’re here, let’s take a quick look at a rabbit’s natural diet. Wild rabbits eat a wide variety of small plants including lots of different kinds of grass, clover, and even things we consider to be weeds, such as dandelions. Your bunny’s diet should consist of foods that are similar to those their wild cousins enjoy.
Here are our recommendations for feeding your rabbit the right way, every day:
- 24/7 access to fresh hay for nibbling; be sure to choose a variety of hay that’s suitable for rabbits.
- A serving of nutritionally complete rabbit food (different brands suggest different serving sizes so double-check the package for your bunny’s correct serving size).
- 24/7 access to fresh, clean water; rinse and refill your rabbit’s drinking bottle every day.
- Unsalted seeds such as pumpkin seeds, pepitas, and sunflower seeds, no more than a tablespoon per day unless they’re already mixed into your rabbit’s food.
- A daily “rabbit salad” made with 1 cup of leafy greens and veggies per 2 pounds of your bunny’s body weight
- Natural treats – crunchy colorful veggies and very small amounts of fruit are ideal. Check our guides for complete information on a variety of rabbit-approved treats!
Healthy food and clean water help keep your bunny in good shape. It’s equally important to keep your bunny’s hutch well cushioned with clean, dry bedding.
While we’re on the topic of your rabbit’s health, here’s one more thing to remember:
A rabbit’s teeth are always growing and it’s up to us pet parents to help keep those adorable bunny teeth from becoming overgrown, painful, and maybe even infected.
It’s a simple task to accomplish: Just keep your rabbit fully stocked with chewable toys such as applewood sticks, hay cubes, or coconut shells. These items are essential for your rabbit’s dental health, plus they prevent boredom.
What Are Other Healthy Alternatives To Popcorn In A Rabbit’s Diet?
Even though popcorn is off the menu, there are plenty of healthy treats for your bunny to try!
Here are some favorites:
- carrot tops
- romaine lettuce
- bibb lettuce
- butter lettuce
- bibb lettuce
- buttercrunch lettuce
- beet tops
- swiss chard
- green beans
- bell pepper
- summer squash
- winter squash
- bok choy
- yu choy
As you can see, there are plenty of great options!
Just as you did when checking to see whether it would be okay to give your rabbit popcorn, take a few minutes to research each new food you consider for your bunny. It’s the best way to make sure that you’re avoiding toxins and that your rabbit is getting the right amount of each food.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is popcorn safe for rabbits?
No, popcorn is in safe for rabbits. Even though popcorn might not cause problems immediately, small bits of undigested food can build up in a rabbit's digestive tract and cause serious problems over time.
Can popcorn make my rabbit sick?
Yes, popcorn can make your rabbit very sick. Even though some people disagree and continue to feed their rabbits popcorn, it would be irresponsible of us to suggest that giving popcorn to a rabbit is okay in any sense.
I toss out one cup of air popped popcorn daily along with peanuts for my squirrels and bird food for the birds and the wild bunnies in my back yard will eat some of it. I have had the same rabbits in my yard, living under my back deck for 3 years now. That is not their main diet as they eat mostly grass. I'm not sure who would add salt or butter to popcorn and feed it to rabbits but air-popped apparently has had no affect on the rabbits in my backyard.
If they seem to like it and it's just air-popped corn, it doesn't sound like it should be a problem! Thanks for the input, Wilma!