Hamsters are very cute, popular pets, and many people like to feed them people snacks—sometimes, this might include popcorn. However, can hamsters eat popcorn, or will it harm them?
Hamsters can eat small amounts of popcorn. However, the popcorn must be plain and air-popped with no butter, salt, or oil on it. Hamsters can’t eat microwave popcorn or popcorn kernels. Plain popcorn has many nutrients that can help hamsters and is a beneficial treat if given sparingly.
Now that you know that hamsters can eat popcorn, you may be wondering why the popcorn has to be plain and why hamsters can’t eat popcorn kernels. We’ll cover all of this below, so read on to learn how you and your furry friend can share a popcorn snack together!
Hamsters and Popcorn
Hamsters can eat popcorn as long as it is completely plain and is air-popped. This means that if you give your hamster some pieces of popcorn, make sure that it does not have any of the following ingredients on it.
Don’t feed hamsters popcorn that has:
- Popcorn seasoning
Hamsters can’t eat popcorn that has butter in it because it has a lot of fat which can make the hamster gain an unhealthy amount of weight and develop fatty liver disease or heart disease. These conditions can shorten the lifespan of your hamster. This means that hamsters can’t eat microwave popcorn because it comes with a lot of butter and salt on it.
Hamsters should not eat popcorn that has salt on it because if your hamster has too much salt in their diet, they can develop heart disease or kidney failure, so it is best to not give your hamster items that will add extra salt into their diet.
Popcorn typically has a lot of salt on it because people like salt on their popcorn, and popcorn seasonings typically contain salt as well.
Hamsters can’t eat popcorn that has sugar on it because they can develop diabetes if they eat too much over time. This is a serious problem, and they can eventually die from it! Because of this risk, it is better to avoid feeding your hamsters food that contains extra sugar.
Overall, if you do want to give your hamster some popcorn, go ahead, but make sure that it is air-popped and unseasoned.
How Much Popcorn Can Hamsters Eat?
How much popcorn your hamster can eat varies depending on what type of hamster you have. If you are unsure about the type of hamster you have, ask your vet. Before you give your hamster plain popcorn, make sure that all of the kernel slivers are gone because these can get stuck in your hamster’s cheek pouches and cause pain.
Syrian hamsters are slightly larger than many other hamsters, so they can eat the most popcorn. They can eat about 5 pieces of popcorn a week as long as they don’t receive all of the popcorn at once. They should only be given one or two pieces at a time, and they will likely save half of it in a secret spot in their cage so they can eat it later on. (Source)
Campbell’s Dwarf Hamster
Campbell’s dwarf hamsters can have about 3 pieces of popcorn a week. Since they have very small mouths, try to cut the pieces of popcorn in half before you give them the popcorn. You likely won’t see them eat a lot of the popcorn since they are nocturnal and will likely eat them at night while you are asleep rather than during the day.
Robovorski hamsters should only be given one or two pieces of popcorn a week because they are smaller than many other hamster types and can’t tolerate large amounts of popcorn. When you give them popcorn, crush it slightly so it is in smaller pieces that are easy for them to eat.
Chinese Dwarf Hamster
Chinese Dwarf hamsters should only be given 2 pieces of popcorn a week, but only give them one piece of popcorn at a time. Because Chinese dwarf hamsters like to burrow and make many tunnels, you will most likely see a few pieces of popcorn that you have given them in the past in the tunnels or their burrows so they can save it for later.
When you first give your hamster popcorn, cut it into smaller pieces so they can try a small amount of it and see if they like it. This also makes it easier for your hamster to eat. Popcorn may be bite-sized for humans, but hamsters have very small mouths, and if the pieces are large, they will have a hard time eating it and will likely not eat a lot of it.
Is Popcorn Healthy for Hamsters?
Popcorn can actually be healthy for your hamster to eat in very small amounts because it has fiber, vitamin A, folate, niacin, riboflavin, magnesium, calcium, and potassium.
It also doesn’t have a lot of calories and is low in fat when it is plain and air-popped, so it will not likely cause your hamster to develop heart diseases or diabetes if the popcorn that you give them is air-popped and completely plain.
Because of the amount of fiber that plain popcorn has, it is a great treat for hamsters that are being bred and hamster pups. Fiber helps support their digestive system, and the vitamins in popcorn strengthen their bones as well.
This means that popcorn is healthy for hamsters if it is given to them in moderation. (Source)
Many hamster owners only give their hamsters a few pieces of popcorn a week, especially because popcorn is supposed to be a treat for hamsters rather than as a consistent source of nutrients.
Although popcorn is healthy for hamsters, they are omnivores and need to have a variety of fruits and vegetables in their diet, not just treats like popcorn. Hamsters need a mixture of vegetables and pellets, although they can also be fed hay to add some extra fiber to their diet.
Hamsters really like eating fruit, but fruits have a lot of sugar in them, so you should limit your hamster’s fruit consumption as well as their popcorn consumption.
Although popcorn has a lot of fiber and other nutrients that can help hamsters thrive, it is not a nutritious food that should be regularly consumed by hamsters. Popcorn is a delicacy and should be treated as such.
If you give your hamster too much popcorn, their diet will become unbalanced and they will likely become sick.
Can Hamsters Eat Popcorn Kernels?
Hamsters cannot eat popcorn kernels, so do not give them to your hamster at any point in time. Popcorn kernels are very small and are a choking hazard for your hamster. The hull on the kernel is also very hard and will likely harm your hamster’s teeth, which will be detrimental to their overall health.
Popcorn kernels are very slippery, which makes it very easy for the kernel to slip into your hamster’s throat and block their airway while it is trying to break the hull.
The kernel can also cause your hamster to become constipated if they eat a popcorn kernel, especially because they can’t break it down properly because of the hard hull of the kernel. Constipation can be deadly for hamsters because their stomach and digestive systems are very small.
If the digestive system gets clogged, your hamster may not want to eat and other issues may occur that can cause serious harm to your hamster, even if the issue is resolved quickly.
If and when you give your hamster popcorn, make sure that you are only giving them pieces that are fully popped. Do not give your hamster popcorn kernels or half-popped popcorn because they can seriously harm the hamster.
Even if you are eating popcorn and want to get rid of your popcorn kernels that you aren’t going to eat, don’t give them to your hamster. It is best to feed them other things that are good for them to eat rather than give them a popcorn kernel that may cause them serious harm. (Source)
Can Hamsters Eat Kettle Corn?
Hamsters can’t eat kettle corn. Kettle corn has a lot of sugar and oil on it, and hamsters should only eat popcorn that is air-popped and plain with no salt, butter, or sugar. Sugar and other artificial sweeteners can cause many illnesses in your hamster, including diabetes and heart disease.
Small amounts of sugar may not harm humans, but hamsters are much smaller than humans and what you may consider to be a small amount of sugar can cause serious harm to your hamster.
Do not feed your hamster kettle corn because it has a thin layer of sugar coating the entirety of the popcorn, and sometimes that sugar coating hardens, which makes it difficult for hamsters to eat it.
Because of the sugar on the outside of kettle corn, kettle corn is also very sticky. If your hamster eats sticky kettle corn, they won’t be able to get it out of their cheek pouches and their cheeks can become impacted, which will cause serious harm to your hamster and will make them miserable for a long time.
Should I Feed My Hamster Popcorn?
If you want to give your hamster a few pieces of popcorn occasionally, then feel free to do so as long as it does not have any oil, butter, salt, sugar, or popcorn seasoning on it. All of the popcorn that you give your hamster needs to be plain and air-popped, and they should never be given more than 5 pieces of popcorn a week.
Popcorn is a treat for hamsters and should only be given to them occasionally. Although it does contain nutrients that can help your hamster, it is not a substantial food, and they need a balanced diet in order to grow and thrive.
Popcorn will not give your pet the balanced diet that they need, so popcorn should only be given to your hamster occasionally. Popcorn should not be their only treat either. Pumpkin seeds, carrots, grapes, bananas, and cabbage are great alternative treats for your hamster that you can give them if they have had their fill of popcorn.
If you give your hamster popcorn, make sure that it does not become stuck in your hamster’s cheek pouches and cause harm. Popped popcorn is very dry, and hamsters frequently keep their food, especially their treats, in their cheek pouches so they can save it for later.
However, if the popcorn becomes stuck to their cheek pouches because of how dry it is, it can begin to rot and cause your hamster’s cheek pouches to become impacted, which requires surgery to fix. Your hamster can become very sick if their cheek pouches become impacted, so make sure that does not occur if you feed them popcorn or any other foods.
If you want to feed your hamster popcorn but are worried about their cheek pouches becoming impacted, soak the pieces of popcorn in a little bit of water before you give it to your hamster. This should keep your hamster safe, but it may not like the popcorn as much as it normally would.
Popcorn is a great treat for hamsters especially because it can be easily hidden. Hamsters like burrowing and hiding their food so they can eat it later.
If you want to challenge your hamster’s mind and give them puzzles to solve, hide a few pieces of popcorn in their cage. Make it so they have to rely on their sense of smell in order to find the popcorn. If they have a hard time finding the popcorn when you hide it at first, add a few more fragrant treats in with the popcorn.
This will make it easier for your hamster to find the popcorn, and they will feel very accomplished because they found their treats.
So, in conclusion, popcorn is a great occasional treat for hamsters, but it should not be a regular part of their diet.
Additional Information On Animals Eating Popcorn
Are you curious about what animals can eat popcorn? Click here for an animal overview or click on an animal below to find out specific details: