Pumpkin is not poisonous to rabbits, but they shouldn’t eat it too often or in large quantities. If you check the lists of recommended foods for rabbits you will notice that pumpkin is not among them as it’s rich in carbohydrates and sugars which as we all know are not so suitable for rabbits.
You can give it some zest – the size of your thumb – but no more. For example, you can also give the pulp discarded from the Halloween pumpkin but keep in mind that not all rabbits love to eat the pumpkin especially the peel, and always remember to wash the outside of the pumpkin before cutting it.
Pumpkin peel, pulp and internal filaments (remember to remove the seeds) contain phosphorus, beta-carotene, other vitamins, and minerals but also a high quantity of sugars therefore too acidic and starchy to be administered regularly. This means that rabbits can eat pumpkin but in reasonable quantities and only as a reward as they may have stomach pain.
For an adult rabbit, the maximum is 50 grams, (2 tablespoons) per 7 pounds of body weight. For young rabbits (between 7 months and 1 year) it should be introduced only after successfully starting the introduction of fresh vegetables, only when they demonstrate that they tolerate these fresh foods well can they have some taste of sweet vegetables and fruit.
What about seeds, plants, or cooked pumpkin?
The inside of the pumpkin is fine but pay attention to the seeds. Rabbits should never eat them raw or cooked as they may choke or block the trachea or get stuck in their teeth. The seeds are not recommended even in the form of pellets due to the nutritional values that are too high for bunnies who could become obese over time.
Here’s a piece of advice you might get from other people but not worth considering. We read about people feeding canned squash to their rabbits to treat certain diseases such as digestive blockages or to provide them with extra fiber but why take that risk when the rabbit already has a digestive problem?
A spoonful of pumpkin puree will not be harmful to a healthy rabbit but for a suffering rabbit it’s better to contact a veterinarian, pumpkin is only a treat and not a staple of a rabbit’s diet as well as hay, the recommended vegetables, and high fiber content pellets. Try to give only hay, water, and a few good quality pellets until you go to the vet. As an extra, the best treat to prevent hairballs in the stomach is papaya or pineapple.
Avoid cooked food as a general rule. Rabbits have a stomach specially designed for raw food, the cecum, and intestinal flora are very particular in rabbits and it’s worth learning more. In the caecum, hay fiber and other cellulose foods ferment into balls called cecotropes that rabbits will consume to obtain vitamins and minerals.
Cooked or canned food can cause gastrointestinal stasis, gas, stomach pain, or liquid stools as it’s not suitable for the anaerobic conditions of the cecum, in particular, canned food is full of sugars and preservatives therefore not recommended for rabbits.
The plant is rich in calcium, they can nibble the leaves but it’s not a food that must be given too lightly, even the flowers are fine such as courgette or cucumber flowers but always make sure they are without pesticides (herbicides, chemicals).
Other things to consider when feeding pumpkin
Although pumpkin is full of beta-carotene which rabbits convert to vitamin A (eye health, healthy bone structure, reproductive and immune system) there are other good sources that are highly valued by rabbits, don’t just limit yourself to pumpkin and carrots to provide vitamin A to your beloved rabbit.
Like all fruits, an excess of sweet vegetables ( courgettes or peppers ) can damage Its intestines and even cause nutritional imbalances or even obesity.
Fresh food plays an important role in the rabbit’s diet. Fresh green leafy food (about 75% of the fresh part of the diet) and non-leafy food (25% of the fresh part of the diet: 15% leafless vegetables and 10% recommended fruits) allows the rabbit to test different textures, tastes, and colors helping It to prevent boredom.
Rabbits can try all kinds of squash for example butternut squash or spaghetti squash are fine if given in small quantities.