Can Chinchillas Eat Popcorn? (Read This First!)

Can Chinchillas Eat Popcorn

Yes, chinchillas can eat popcorn in small quantities. Popcorn is enriched with carbohydrates, dietary fiber and other essential nutrients.

However, like any treat, popcorn should be given in moderation and not as a substitute for their meal.

Too much popcorn can be harmful to your chinchillas. It won’t likely make them sick immediately but can cause digestive issues like bloating and irregular stool.

Also, beware of the excess salt in the popcorns; they aren’t safe either.

Read to know more.

Can Chinchillas Eat Popcorn?

Chinchillas can eat popcorn, but it’s NOT RECOMMENDED.

This is because chinchillas are omnivores and usually eat a plant-based diet consisting of high fibrous grass like hay, pellets and water.

And popcorn is definitely not one of them.

Their diet mainly focused on high fiber, and low carbs and fats. 

Popcorn is enriched with fiber which is good for maintaining a healthy digestive system, but too much popcorn can be harmful.

If your chinchilla eats too much popcorn, they likely experience several digestive problems like bloating and irregular stool.

Also, popcorn is high in calories which can easily cause weight gain and leads to obesity and other health problems.

Therefore, chinchillas can eat popcorn in moderation, but it could be risky if they eat too much of it.

Is Popcorn Bad For Chinchillas?

Popcorn is not good for chinchillas. The reason is that chinchillas are omnivores and usually eat a fiber-rich diet like hay and pellets.

Popcorn is a good source of fiber, but it’s not a regular part of their diet.

The digestive system of chinchilla is sensitive and well adapted to digest a high-fibrous diet only.

If chinchilla eats too much popcorn, they likely experience digestive problems like gas, bloating and diarrhea.

Anything in excess can be bad for chinchillas, and the same goes for popcorn. So, if you are giving popcorn as a treat, you should at least limit the portion.

Why Chinchillas Shouldn’t Eat Popcorn

Chinchillas shouldn’t eat popcorn for various reasons. Firstly, popcorn is not a regular of their diet.

Chinchillas are folivores, meaning they must eat a high fibrous diet mainly consisting of fresh hay, grass and pellets. 

Popcorn is not suitable for chinchillas and can lead to gastrointestinal problems if they have enough of it.

Be aware that popcorn is often loaded with salt, which is dangerous for small pets, including chinchillas.

Reasons why chinchillas shouldn’t eat popcorn:

Digestive problems:

Popcorn can cause digestive problems. Chinchillas are omnivores; they can eat both plant-based food and meat. However, their diet usually consists of grasses like hay.

Popcorn is not something they usually eat. The issue occurs when they eat too much of it. Their digestive system is sensitive and requires a lot of fibrous food for smooth functioning.

Whenever they eat something less fibrous, like popcorn, they struggle to digest it, which leads to digestive issues such as gas and bloating.

Bloating is a serious problem for chinchillas since they cannot pass gas like us. It should be treated immediately before it turns into something serious like internal bleeding or infection.

Cause Obesity:

Another reason why popcorn is not recommended for a chinchilla is obesity. Popcorns contain a lot of calories which can lead to unnecessary weight gain.

One thing that needs to be understood is that chinchillas are plant-eaters. They usually eat a variety of grasses; hay, pellets and small amounts of fruits and vegetables.

Mostly, they are high in fiber and contain fewer calories, but popcorn is high in calories, especially buttered popcorn.

Usually, chinchillas do not need a high caloric diet, but if they eat more calories than they require, they likely get stored in their body as fat which leads to obesity which can significantly affect their overall health.

Choking Hazard:

Popcorn can easily choke on your chinchillas. 

The reason is, popcorns are small enough to swallow but also large enough to get stuck in their esophagus.

Like most rodents, chinchillas do not have the ability to vomit, which means if they choke on something, they can not do a thing to relieve the obstacle.

Choking can be extremely uncomfortable and even life-threatening. 

So, if you see your pet coughing, attempting to vomit or agonal breathing, it could be a sign of choking.

In this case, you should immediately take them to a vet.


Popcorn is relatively high in salt, which is dangerous for a chinchilla. Chins do not need high salt in their diet.

A cup of popcorn contains about 7-10g of sodium which is significantly high for chinchillas.

Sodium can be extremely harmful to chinchillas. It can cause a mineral imbalance in your chinchilla’s body, resulting in kidney stones.

Mover, excess salt can also cause dehydration in chinchillas, which can be life-threatening as they do not consume much water in their diet.

Popcorn As A Treat?

Popcorns can be given as a treat.

They are safe and perfectly suitable for an occasional treat; just make sure it’s not salted or buttered. 

They are enriched with fiber, fats and carbohydrates, which make them a perfect treat option for chinchillas.

The fiber content of popcorn helps maintain a healthy digestive system.

However, like any treat, popcorn should be given in moderation. Too much popcorn can cause digestive issues such as bloating.

Also, be aware of the choking hazard.

Can Chinchillas Eat Salted Popcorn?

No, chinchillas shouldn’t eat salted popcorn for various reasons. Chinchillas are omnivores and should eat a plant-based diet, mainly grasses.

The digestive system of chinchillas is highly sensitive; they cannot handle excessive salt like us; as a result, they likely experience digestive issues.

Moreover, excess sodium can lead to dehydration as well.

So, if you want to feed popcorn, the best is air-popped popcorn that’s too in moderation.

Can Chinchillas Eat Popcorn Daily?

No, chinchillas shouldn’t eat popcorn daily. 

As a general thumb rule, chinchillas shouldn’t eat any treats more than 2-4 times a week.

Chinchillas need a high-fiber diet to maintain a healthy digestive system. Popcorn contains fibers, but it’s not a staple part of their diet, so it can upset their stomach and cause other serious problems if they have enough of it.

I do not recommend giving popcorn to your chinchillas; instead, opt for other healthy treat options like grass, fruits and vegetables.

How Much Popcorn Can Chinchillas Eat?

Popcorns are safe and can be given to chinchillas, but it’s important that you limit the serving portion.

70%-80% of a chinchilla’s diet should consist of high fibrous fresh hay, commercial pellet and water, so if you want to treat your chinchillas, it should be within 10%-15% of their total food intake.

Roughly 3-5 pieces of air-popped popcorn one-two times a week shouldn’t cause any health issues.

However, you should try to avoid feeding any human treats to your chinchillas as most of them are highly dangerous for pets; if they had some, it’s fine, but it’s not recommended.

What snacks can chinchilla eat?

Final Thoughts

To sum up, chinchillas can eat popcorn but not recommended. Chinchillas have a sensitive GI tract that needs a fiber-rich diet to function properly.

And popcorn is no way near. 

Moreover, too much popcorn can cause digestive issues in chinchillas. Also, salt and toppings are no less harmful.

Instead of popcorn, you should opt for leafy vegetables or dried flowers such as timothy hay, rosehips, berries etc.

Your chinchilla will appreciate them more than popcorn.

Overall, popcorn can be a good treat option for your chinchillas but should be given in moderation.

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