Can rabbits eat pumpkin? Raw pumpkin is a safe treat for rabbits.
Pumpkin is rich in fiber, Vitamin K, Vitamin C, antioxidants, and more. But, it also has high sugar levels, which can be bad for pet rabbits in large amounts.
Owners should also be wary of pumpkin seeds and rind. These pumpkin parts pose a higher risk of choking and internal blockages for bunnies.
In all, pumpkin can make a nice added treat for rabbits who enjoy the taste. But keep it as a treat rather than a large part of their regular diet.
Can Rabbits Eat Pumpkin?
Pumpkin is a popular, nutrient-dense food for people. And, when served raw, it can make a nice treat for rabbits.
Rabbits are herbivores that get all of their nutrients from plants and plant matter in the wild.
In the wild, rabbit diets can vary depending on what is available as the seasons change. But typically, bunnies will select nutrient dense greens and grasses to eat.
So where does pumpkin fit in?
Pumpkin is technically a fruit, since it contains seeds. But, it is a type of winter squash, popular particularly in autumn and around halloween!
Let’s take a closer look at pumpkin and rabbits.
Is Pumpkin Safe for Rabbits to Eat?
In terms of nutrition and toxicity, plain raw pumpkin is perfectly safe for rabbits to eat. This includes the skin, seeds, and even the stem and leaves.
However, the stem, skin/rind, and seeds can present a choking hazard.
They are much tougher than the flesh and leaves of a pumpkin. So, your bunny may have a harder time grinding and chewing them up.
This puts them at a higher risk of choking, or suffering from internal blockages.
Most pumpkin in the US is sold in cans, but in some places, and in a lot of the wider world, pumpkins are sold whole.
It’s important to wash pumpkin before giving it to your rabbit, even if you’re not giving them the skin itself.
Washing it will remove any traces of pesticides that could be present on the skin of pumpkin. Even in trace amounts, this can be dangerous to our pet rabbits.
Is Pumpkin Good for Rabbits?
Pumpkin is a very nutrient-dense food that can be a healthy part of your rabbit’s diet if they enjoy eating it.
This food is a good source of the following:
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
Pumpkin leaves especially are rich in fiber and low in the sugar found in pumpkin flesh. So, pumpkin leaves can be great for rabbits, as part of their diet and as a way to grind down their ever-growing teeth.
Is Pumpkin Bad for Rabbits?
Sadly, not everything about pumpkins is healthy for bunnies.
Despite its nutritional benefits, pumpkin is also high in sugar and carbohydrates.
If your rabbit eats too many sugary snacks, they may gain weight more quickly, potentially leading to obesity.
On top of that, their dental health can suffer. Excess sugar can lead to dental issues such as tooth decay.
Rabbits will likely enjoy pumpkin because of its sweet taste. But, if your rabbit fills up on this sweet treat, they may not eat as much hay, grass, or pellet food as they should.
This can cause nutritional imbalances. Which can lead to other health issues.
High sugar treats like this can also cause stomach upsets in rabbits if they eat too much, or if they are simply intolerant of the food.
So, if it is the first time your rabbit is trying pumpkin, only offer them a very small amount.
Watch them closely for signs of digestive upset, including:
- Disinterest in food
- Gurgling noises from stomach
Can Rabbits Eat Pumpkin Seeds?
The main problem with pumpkin seeds is the choking hazard they present.
Generally, it is not worth the risk to feed your rabbit pumpkin seeds.
As well as a choking hazard, they can also cause internal blockages.
Studies have suggested that pumpkin seed oil can have benefits for growing rabbits.
But, this is very different to pumpkin seeds themselves.
So, avoid offering your rabbit pumpkin seeds.
Can Rabbits Eat Pumpkin Leaves?
Pumpkin leaves are safe for rabbits to eat as long as they have been well washed.
The leaves of pumpkin plants are high in fiber, and can help your bunny grind down their ever-growing teeth, as well as offering some great nutrients.
Like pumpkin itself, offer a small amount of pumpkin leaf at first, to make sure your rabbit likes it.
Pumpkin leaves are less firm than the rind and stem of this fruit. So, they pose less of a choking hazard.
Can Rabbits Eat Pumpkin Skin?
The skin or rind of a pumpkin is not toxic to rabbits as long as it has been washed.
However, since this part of the pumpkin is quite tough, there is a higher risk that it could choke your rabbit, or lead to internal blockages.
So, if you do decide to offer this part of a pumpkin to your rabbit, watch them closely whilst they are eating, and afterwards to make sure they experience no problems.
Can Rabbits Eat Pumpkin Stems?
Pumpkin stems present a similar problem to pumpkin seeds and skins, in that they are very tough and harder for rabbits to chew.
This means, your bunny could choke on a hard piece of pumpkin stem.
Or, after eating a bit, your bunny could experience internal blockages.
Generally, it’s best to stick to the leaves and flesh of a pumpkin when offering this treat to your rabbit.
Can Rabbits Eat Cooked Pumpkin?
It’s best to give your rabbit raw pumpkin if you have decided to offer them this treat.
Raw food is better for your rabbit to digest, and firm textures from fibrous raw foods will help your rabbit’s dental health.
However, you must always wash raw fruits and veggies before offering them to your rabbit.
Stick to plain, raw pumpkin, rather than any cooked recipes with pumpkin in. These recipes may add extra ingredients which can harm rabbits.
Alternatives to Pumpkin
Not all rabbits will like pumpkin, and even if your bunny loves it, there are plenty of other treats you might want to try out, too.
Here are some foods your rabbit may love.
Does Your Rabbit Like Pumpkin?
Now you know everything about the question “can rabbits eat pumpkin”!
Do you like to offer pumpkin as an occasional treat to your rabbit, or does your bunny prefer other raw fruits and veggies?
Let us know what your rabbit thinks about pumpkin in the comments!
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References and Resources
- Bakeer, M. ‘Focus on the Effect of Dietary Pumpkin (Cucurbita Moschata) Seed Oil Supplementation on Productive Performance of Growing Rabbits’, Journal of Applied Veterinary Science (2021)
- Martins, H. (et al), ‘Seasonal and Spatial Variation in the Diet of the Wild Rabbit (Oryctolagus Cuniculus L.) in Portugal’, Journal of Zoology (2006)
- Jennings, K. ‘Pumpkin: Nutrition, Benefits, and How to Eat’, Healthline (2016)
- Sayers, I. ‘Approaches to Preventive Health Care and Welfare in Rabbits’, In Practice (2010)
- Makitaipale, J. (et al), ‘Health Survey of 167 Pet Rabbits (Oryctolagus Cuniculus) in Finland’, Vet Record (2015)
- Rooney, N. (et al), ‘The Current State of Welfare, Housing and Husbandry of the English Pet Rabbit Population’, BMC Research Notes (2014)
- Mayer, J. (et al), ‘Survey to Investigate Owners’ Perceptions and Experiences of Pet Rabbit Husbandry and Health’, Journal of Exotic Pet Medicine (2017)