Yes, rabbits can eat pumpkin.
Rabbits can eat pumpkin seeds (pepitas), too.
But rabbits should not be fed more than a tablespoon (about 15 grams) of canned or raw pumpkin flesh every day, although they can have up to half a cup (about 30 grams) of pumpkin peelings every day.
Rabbits can also have ground pumpkin seeds. You can give a small rabbit, like a Lionhead, up to 2 tablespoons (30 grams) of ground pumpkin seeds a week, and you can give a large rabbit, like a Flemish Giant, up to 5 tablespoons (75 grams)of ground pumpkin seeds a week.
But they like the peelings better than either pumpkin flesh or pumpkin seeds.
In this article, we will tell you everything about feeding small amounts of pumpkin as a supplemental food to your rabbits.
Pumpkin Flesh Is Packed with Nutrition for Rabbits
Pumpkins are native to North America. There is archeological evidence of pumpkins being grown in Mexico as long as 9,000 years ago.
Along with corn and beans, Native Americans used pumpkin to create a diet with complete protein that they could grow sustainably.
Probably, rabbits have been raiding pumpkin patches for as long as people have been growing them.
Pumpkin isn’t a good source of calories for hungry rabbits. It only provides about 30 calories of energy per 100 grams, compared to about 60 calories for hay.
Pumpkin won’t keep your rabbit from feeling hungry.
But it is an excellent source of beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene, and zeaxanthin, plant chemicals that the rabbit’s body transforms into the vitamin A it needs for healthy eyes, hair, and skin.
Pumpkin is a good source of hydration, which is very important to rabbits.
A rabbit that weighs about 5 pounds (2.4 kilograms) needs about half a pound (a little under a cup, or about 200 ml) of water every day. The moisture in pumpkin contributes to that total.
Rabbits need about twice as much water, in proportion to their body weight, as cats or dogs.
And pumpkin is a great source of fiber that rabbits need for digestive health.
There is about half a gram of fiber in 100 grams of raw pumpkin. There is about 8 grams of fiber in 100 grams of canned pumpkin.
Canned pumpkin, the mashed pumpkin, not the pumpkin pie mix, has three times as much fiber as hay. That makes it great supplemental food for rabbits.
Pumpkin Seeds Are Also Great Supplemental Food for Rabbits
Rabbits also get a lot of food value from pumpkin seeds.
If you live in the southwestern United States or in Latin America, or in a Latin American community elsewhere, you may know them as pepitas.
Pumpkin seeds are a good source of protein, fiber, and zinc.
Rabbits cannot store zinc in their bodies, so a few pumpkin seeds a day are a healthy treat for them.
Raw pumpkin seeds may come hulled or unhulled. The unhulled pumpkin seeds provide more fiber. Your rabbit will enjoy chewing them.
Hulled seeds often come in little bags roasted and seasoned. You want to give your rabbit raw pumpkin seeds without salt or chili powder.
You can process the sunflower seeds into a coarse grind or a powder, so your rabbit will not choke on them.
Also read: Can Rabbits Eat Salted Sunflower Seeds?
How Much Pumpkin Can You Give Your Rabbit?
When you are feeding your rabbit canned pumpkin (not canned pumpkin pie mix), a tablespoon, or about 15 grams, every day makes an interesting addition to your rabbit’s diet.
Just spread the canned pumpkin on top of their pellets
Raw pumpkin is a good addition to green leafy vegetables. Cut the raw pumpkin into strips your rabbit can nibble. One tablespoon (15 grams) a day is enough,
You can spread fresh pumpkin peelings on top of your rabbit’s hay. Half a cup, or about 30 grams, is enough.
You do not want to discourage your rabbit from eating hay.
It is important not to give your rabbit too many sunflower seeds. The oils in the seeds can give them diarrhea.
Different breeds of rabbits can eat different amounts of pumpkin seeds.
- An adult Polish rabbit should not get more than about 3/4 of a tablespoon (12 grams) of cracked or coarsely ground pumpkin seeds every week.
- An adult Netherland Dwarf can get up to 1 tablespoon (15 grams) of cracked or coarsely ground pumpkin seeds every week.
- An adult Mini Rex can get up to 1-3/4 tablespoons (27 grams) of cracked or coarsely ground pumpkin seeds every week.
- An adult Californian rabbit can get up to 4 tablespoons (60 grams) of cracked or coarsely ground pumpkin seeds every week.
- An adult Beveren rabbit or an adult English Lop can get up to 5 tablespoons (75 grams) od cracked or coarsely ground pumpkin seeds every week.
- An adult French Lop rabbit can get up to 6 tablespoons (90 grams) of cracked or coarsely ground pumpkin seeds every week.
- An adult Continental Giant can get up to 7 tablespoons (105 grams) of cracked or coarsely ground pumpkin seeds every week.
- An adult Flemish Giant rabbit can get up to 10 tablespoons (150 grams) of cracked or coarsely ground pumpkin seeds every week.
These are the maximums. You should stop giving your rabbit pumpkin seeds if it develops diarrhea.
Also read: Are Rabbits Herbivores or Carnivores?
What About Pumpkin Leaves, Stems, and Flowers?
If your rabbit hops into your pumpkin patch and eats a few leaves, stems, and flowers, chances are that no harm will be done unless they have been dusted with pesticide.
If your rabbit consumes pesticides, you should contact your veterinarian to ask what to do. You can also contact Animal Poison Control online.
Pumpkin leaves, stems, and flowers, however, do not make a suitable substitute for hay.
They are too rich in calcium, and they can cause the creation of sludge in the rabbit’s urinary tract, especially if the rabbit is eating other high-calcium foods, such as alfalfa.
Also read: Can Rabbits Eat Dandelions?
Frequently Asked Questions About Feeding Pumpkin to Rabbits
Q. How many pumpkin leaves can I give my rabbit?
A. You can feed your rabbit up to 2 or 3 pumpkin leaves by hand every day.
Hold the leaf in front of but slightly to the side of the rabbit, pointing the tip of the leaf toward the rabbit. Let the rabbit start nibbling at the end and take the leaf from your hand.
Q. Can I bake my rabbit a little pumpkin pie?
A. Rabbits get upset stomachs when they eat cooked food. They also get stomach upset when they consume sugar, eggs, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, or milk products.
Don’t bake a pumpkin pie for your rabbit.
Q. What can I give my rabbit when I carve a pumpkin?
A. Your rabbit will enjoy the moist, undulled seeds. Rinse them off and spread them on a baking sheet to dry before storing them in the refrigerator to give your rabbit in small amounts.
Do not give your rabbit any pumping seeds that have become moldy.
Rabbits enjoy the unprocessed flesh of the pumpkin, and the chunks of pumpkin you remove to make your Jack-o-Lantern’s eyes, nose, and mouth.
Q. Can I feed a pumpkin to my rabbit after I have used it as a Halloween decoration?
A. Halloween pumpkins are beginning to decay before you finish using them. Give your rabbits pieces of pumpkins from carving, not after you display them.
A better use of a used Halloween pumpkin is to cut it up and add it to your compost pile.
Q. How can I tell if my rabbit has been poisoned by a pesticide from eating pumpkin leaves or vines?
A. The symptoms of pesticide poisoning depend on which product your rabbit consumed.
There was a time when most non-organic gardeners controlled squash bugs on pumpkins with a product called Sevin (with an “i”).
This product was advertised as completely safe for people and for animals.
In fact, in the writer’s hometown, the local agricultural products salesman ate a bag of it to show how safe it was. He died of stomach cancer two years later.
Sevin contains a poison called carbaryl. When rabbits consume it, they appear very nervous. They may twitch, shake, and run around in circles. If they do not get veterinary treatment quickly, they will not live very long.
Don’t give your rabbit any part of a pumpkin plant that has been dusted with Sevin. If you do, get it to the vet right away.
Sevin is not the only pesticide used on pumpkins.
Neonicotinoid pesticides (products like Wondercide, Bonide, Dominion, Grub GONE, Optigard, Safari, BioAdvance Complete Insect Killer, and Ortho Bug Be Gone) cause dilated eyes and breathing difficulties.
These symptoms also occur when your rabbit gets into imidacloprid, thiacloprid, thiamethoxam, dinotefuran, acetamiprid, nitenpyram, or sulfoxaflor.
Don’t try to remember a complicated product name. Keep the container the product came in, so you can take it with you when you take your rabbit to the vet.
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