Pumpkin is known not just for being delicious, but also for its many health benefits for humans. What about your pet rabbit? Can rabbits eat pumpkin?
Rabbits love pumpkins – it’s their second favourite flavour after carrots. However, it should be given as an infrequent, sweet treat, and in small amounts.
Your Pet Rabbits Depend on You To Get It Right
Rabbits are one of the most lovable pets. They are often seen as pets with floppy ears larger than their bodies, sweet eyes, cute whiskers, long front teeth, and furry faces.
It is easy and tempting to offer them human food such as pumpkins. But can rabbits eat pumpkin?
Rabbits are animals that feed primarily on hay and grass. Hay is low in calories and rich in fiber. Grass and hay are easy on the digestive system of your rabbit. Your rabbit’s diet may also include commercial pellets.
You can offer fruit and vegetable treats to your rabbit. So yes, you can feed your rabbits pumpkin with some considerations. Pumpkins have high nutritional value making them good for your rabbits but only occasionally and in small portions.
What are Pumpkins?
A pumpkin is a winter squash scientifically classified as a fruit. It is part of the Cucurbita pepo plant species. The pumpkin plant produces yellow or orange round fruits. The pumpkin fruit is known for its large seeds, pulpy flesh, and thick, textured rind.
Pumpkins are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, water, and antioxidants. Conversely, the fruit is low in calories because it is 95% water. So, can rabbits eat pumpkins, and do they enjoy eating this fruit?
Below are the do’s and don’ts of which parts of the pumpkin you may safely give your rabbit to eat.
Rabbits and Pumpkins
Rabbits are herbivores because they feed mostly on plants and plant matters. In the wild, a rabbit’s diet depends on what is available although they usually choose grasses and greens.
Can rabbits eat pumpkin? Pumpkins are both good and bad for your rabbits. Truth is that pumpkins are the second favorite treat of rabbits after carrots.
Pumpkins are safe for rabbits to eat in terms of toxicity and nutrition. Rabbits can eat the seeds, skin, leaves, and stems of the pumpkin.
You need to thoroughly wash the pumpkin before feeding it to your rabbit even if you are feeding them the skin. Washing gets rid of all traces of pesticide that can be dangerous to your pet.
Easy on the Pumpkin
You can offer raw pumpkin seeds and flesh to your rabbit. They are rich in Vitamins A, B, E, and K, fiber, iron, calcium, zinc, manganese, and Beta-carotene.
The pumpkin’s seeds and flesh, though, contain more sugar and carbohydrates than your rabbit needs.
Too much sugar can make your rabbit fat quickly and may lead to obesity. It may also deteriorate your rabbit’s dental health, as well as cause blockages and indigestion.
So, offer pumpkin seeds and flesh to your rabbit only in moderation.
The rind or skin of the pumpkin is not toxic to your rabbit if you wash them well.
The skin of the pumpkin can be quite tough, and your rabbit may choke while eating it. Eating the skin of the pumpkin may also cause some internal blockages.
If you offer pumpkin skin to your rabbit, watch closely while it is eating to make sure it does not experience any problems.
Pumpkin seeds, like its skin, can be choking hazards and can cause internal blockages for your rabbit. They are tougher than the leaves and flesh of a pumpkin making it harder for your rabbit to grind and chew them.
Avoid feeding your rabbit pumpkin seeds.
The pumpkin’s leaves are safe for rabbits if they are well washed. Pumpkin leaves have high fiber and low sugar contents making them great for rabbits. Pumpkin leaves also help grind down your rabbit’s growing teeth.
Pumpkins leaves are not as firm as the stem and skin/rind of the pumpkin. They are, therefore, not much of a choking hazard to your rabbit.
Like the pumpkin itself, offer a small amount of the pumpkin leaf to check if your rabbit likes it.
Feeding your rabbit with pumpkin stems presents the same problems as skins and seeds. They are tough and your rabbit will find it difficult to chew them. Your rabbit can also choke and have internal blockages with pumpkin stems.
Can rabbits eat pumpkin stems? Yes, your rabbit will eat all parts of the pumpkin because they are sweet but stick to the flesh and leaves of the pumpkin.
How to Feed Pumpkins to your Rabbit
Always make sure to feed your rabbit ripe, fresh, and raw pumpkin. Canned pumpkins can contain preservatives, added sugar, and other chemicals.
Be cautious not to feed your rabbit with too much pumpkin. It should only be a treat and not part of its regular diet.
The most important thing about feeding your rabbit pumpkin is to gradually introduce the fruit to its diet. Initially feed your rabbit with a small amount of raw pumpkin and watch out for any signs of indigestion.
If you feed your rabbit one tablespoon of pumpkin today, make sure it is part of recommended starchy vegetable and fruit intake recommended for your rabbit per week.
You can also measure your rabbit’s pumpkin intake by giving it 2 tablespoons of raw pumpkin for every pound of its body weight two to three times a week.
If you have a young rabbit, limit the pumpkin to only one tablespoon two to three times a week.
Whichever way you want to feed your rabbit with pumpkin, never feed it with cooked pumpkin. Never actually feed your rabbit with any cooked food.
Your rabbit will better digest raw food. Its digestive system can only process raw vegetables and grasses and not cooked or processed food.
Your rabbit will surely enjoy pumpkin because it has a sweet taste. The danger, though, is they may not eat as much grass, hay, or pellet food as they need. This can cause your rabbit to have a nutritional imbalance which may lead to some health issues.
Stop feeding your rabbit pumpkin if you notice any signs of indigestion, bloating, constipation, or diarrhea. On the other hand, if the digestive system of your rabbit can tolerate pumpkin well, it can be an essential part of its diet.
Final Thoughts On Rabbits Eating Pumpkin
Are pumpkins good for rabbit to eat? Yes, they can but they should only be offered as an occasional treat for your rabbit. It should not form part of your rabbit’s regular diet.
Eating too much pumpkin can make your rabbit ill. Fresh raw pumpkins make a nice treat for rabbits who love their taste.