Can rabbits eat pumpkin?
Yes, rabbits can eat almost all parts of the pumpkin. The pumpkin rind, leaves, stem, and the insides are not toxic to rabbits but again it should be treated as a treat as pumpkin is high in sugar, very acidic and very starchy.
None of these things are good for your rabbit so it should only be given in moderation. As for the seeds, although there is nothing toxic about the seed itself it is a major choking hazard. I do not give Mr. Bunny, my current pet rabbit, any seeds due to the risk of them getting stuck in his throat or teeth. You will find that most vets feel the same way about this as we do.
How much pumpkin can my rabbit eat?
This is dependent on which part of the pumpkin you are referring to, below we have broken down the pumpkin to explain what is and is not ok and how much is too much.
Your rabbit should not consume more than about the size of a nickel and no more than once a day. Pumpkin is a treat so if this is your chosen treat for the day then your rabbit should not be given anything else that is considered a treat (fruits, starchy, sugary foods).
Your rabbits should not consume more than about a teaspoon of the insides of the pumpkin.
Your rabbit can eat pumpkin leaves but again in moderation. Pumpkin leaves, although it is a leafy green, contain an extremely high amount of calcium which is not something rabbits need a ton of. Too much calcium can cause significant bladder issues in your rabbit.
Quite frankly, most rabbits do not prefer pumpkin leaves so we do not give them to Mr. Bunny at all, why bother? If something is dangerous in large quantities and it is not enjoyable as a treat for your rabbit, then we don’t see the necessity in giving it to your rabbit, but if you want to give pumpkin leaves to your rabbit we advise no more than a ¼- ½ a leaf every 3-4 days.
Like pumpkin leaves, pumpkin stems are extremely high in calcium and are not really enjoyed among the rabbit community, wild or domestic, so we don’t recommend giving pumpkin stem to your rabbit. If you want to give your rabbit pumpkin stem it will not cause them harm in small quantities, but again about the size of a nickel would be plenty. High levels of calcium can cause kidney damage to rabbits!
Pumpkin seeds are considered a choking hazard for rabbits so we, along with many vets, do not recommend feeding them to your rabbit. They can also get stuck in their teeth which can drive your rabbit mad and make them uncomfortable. Rabbits should not eat any type of nut or seed!
Benefits of feeding pumpkin
Pumpkin is not all bad, it does have some great benefits. All parts of the pumpkin contain a major amount of fiber which is great for your rabbit’s digestion. Pumpkin also contains greatly beneficial vitamins such as iron, lutein, phosphorus, and beta-carotene. This makes pumpkin a great treat option, just remember, even with all of these added benefits, pumpkin should still be treated as a treat only. Not all rabbits like pumpkin but most love pumpkin so it is easy for your rabbit to get addicted to it, so it is particularly important to keep it at a minimum.
What types of pumpkin can my rabbit eat?
Pumpkin comes in a few different options, cooked, raw, and canned. You may have read in some online blogs and forums about rabbit parents feeding canned pumpkin to their rabbit to relieve constipation. The truth of the matter is you should only be feeding your rabbit raw, uncooked pumpkin.
- Cooked pumpkin takes a great deal of the nutrients away and leaves no benefits to your bun, it can also be harder for them to digest as it is softer/slimier and can slide down their throat without being properly chewed.
- Canned pumpkin should never be given to your rabbit as a treat, it is full of preservatives and added sugars that are not healthy for your rabbit. Using canned pumpkin medicinally to try and relieve constipation should be something you ask your vet about prior to doing.
WARNING: If your rabbit is constipated, they may be having a medical emergency called GI stasis. It is critical you reach a veterinarian ASAP if your rabbit stops pooping.
My vet does not agree with this method of relieving constipation in rabbits, this does not mean that your vet will feel the same way. Please do not attempt to feed your rabbit canned pumpkin without consulting with their vet first.
When can my rabbit eat pumpkin?
This is a great and important question. Best case scenario you should wait until your rabbit is at least 1 years of age before giving them pumpkin. We advise this because truly in the first year of your rabbits’ life you should be focused on promoting good health and proper eating habits.
Make sure your rabbit is constantly eating pellets, hay, fresh leafy greens, consumes enough water and is happy and health. Once these things have been achieved then and only then should you start incorporating treat like food items such as pumpkin. Waiting until your rabbit is a year old also allows time for their GI tract to properly mature. Once you decide to introduce pumpkin it is important to start slow, give your rabbit an exceedingly small amount, and see how they react and if their poop maintains frequency and consistency.
About the Author
My name is Vanessa and I love my buns. My current house rabbit is Mr. Bunny, he is a black and white Dutch that just turned 9 years old.
I believe that rabbits are a magnificent animal that make great pets for SOME people. My mission is to share what I have learned about rabbits over the past 20 years to improve the relationship between our pets and us. Please contact me or comment if you have any questions or comments.