Is it Safe for Pet Bunnies to Have Pumpkin Seeds?
Perhaps you are a newbie in rabbit rearing, or you just got your new rabbit, and you are wondering what sort of food they eat, this article is for you. Rabbit’s primary diet is hay, but you can also add other supplements like apples, pumpkin, and other fruits.
This article focuses on pumpkin as a supplementary diet for your rabbit. The scientific classification of pumpkin states it as a fruit belonging to the family of winter squash.
Pumpkins contain a high level of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, fiber, and water. Now the question is, do rabbits love to eat pumpkin?
Even with its nutritional value (which we explain later) and other advantages of pumpkin, you have to consider whether your rabbit will love it no not before feeding them with it.
In reality, rabbits can eat the seed and flesh of raw pumpkin. Pumpkin is rich in manganese, magnesium, calcium, zinc, iron, vitamin A and B, all of which are essential nutrients for your rabbit’s health.
However, pumpkin has more sugar and carbohydrates than your rabbit needs, so you have to make it moderate.
Rabbits are said to be grazing animals that majorly feed on grass and hay. If they take too much fat and carb, it can result in stomach problems, dental issues, obesity, and other health issues.
So, make sure that you do not offer your rabbit more than one to two tablespoons of pumpkin flesh, although this measure is subject to your rabbit’s body weight.
Can Your Rabbit Safely Eat Pumpkin?
Yes, pumpkin is a safe food for rabbits as long as it is adequately ripened. However, it should not be a regular treat to your rabbit so that the added preservatives, sugar, and chemicals will not harm them. The best thing is to give your rabbit only raw and fresh pumpkin.
When you feed your rabbit with too much pumpkin, they tend to have health challenges like obesity, gas, diarrhea, among others. Obesity can later lead to myiasis, GI stasis, pododermatitis, and pregnancy toxemia.
You can offer your rabbit a home-cooked pumpkin but note that your pet might not get satisfied with it because the pumpkin would have lost its munch. A pumpkin that is pureed and cooked has less carbohydrate compared to a raw pumpkin.
Ensure that you avoid feeding your rabbit with pumpkin treats like pumpkin cookies, pumpkin pie, and others because of the high fat and sugar level they have.
When you feed your rabbit with cooked, raw, or pumpkin treat, they tend to lose interest in it and prefer to eat high-fiber and lower-calorie foods like leafy greens and hay.
Do Rabbits Enjoy Pumpkin?
Naturally, everyone likes good sweet food and loves to eat it. This is your rabbit’s case; when you offer them pumpkin, they eat it because it is delicious.
While domestic rabbits tend to overeat pumpkins easily, wild rabbits have a higher tendency to bite pumpkins stems and leaves.
Therefore, rabbit owners should be careful and cautious of the rabbit’s sugar and carbohydrate intake. This should apply to all food in their diet; check the sugar level, and offer the food to your rabbit in small quantity.
Pumpkin is not left out, only feed rabbit with the recommended amount of starchy vegetable and fruits they can eat at a particular time,
Advantages of Pumpkin to Rabbits
Wild rabbits are quite different from local rabbits in the way they eat because their primary foods are twigs, weeds, and grass. These foods are low in carbohydrates, calories, and rich in fiber.
Protein, minerals, and vitamins gotten from vegetables, fruits, and leafy greens are also essential to your rabbit’s health. Asides from the nutrients mentioned above, pumpkin is also a great source of;
- Vitamin A: helps for healthy vision and coat, which is responsible for the functioning of kidneys, lungs, and heart.
- Vitamin K: helps to reduce the risk of blood clots, improves bone health, and enhances blood flow in their body.
- Water: Water is life to plants and animals. Pumpkin is filled with water accounting for about ninety-four percent. Water aids bowel movement and digestion. It also helps in preventing overheating and dehydration.
- Zinc: it is vital for many metabolic processes, which include protein synthesis. Protein synthesis boosts wound healing and coat health.
- Manganese: its function is to help in the finest metabolism of protein.
- Potassium and Magnesium: they help rabbits to relax their muscles and sleep well. They also help the heart.
- Folate: it enhances the body’s immunity and augments the production of red blood cells.
- Phosphorus and Calcium: it is responsible for healthy bones.
Here is a list of nutrients and calories per a hundred gram of raw pumpkin:
Energy 109kj, sugar 2.76g, fat 0.1g, vitamin A 426 ug, iron 0.8mg, calcium 21mg, vitamin K 1.1g, vitamin E 0.44mg, vitamin C 9mg.
Niacin 0.6mg, Riboflavin 0.05mg, Dietary Fiber 0.5g, zinc 0.32mg, potassium 340mg, phosphorus 44mg.
What Quantity of Pumpkin Can A Rabbit Eat?
Normally, you should give your rabbit only about two tablespoons of pumpkin flesh for every five pounds of body weight two to three times a week.
Serve younger rabbits whose digestive system is yet to get accustomed to pumpkin with only one tablespoon of raw pumpkin two to three times a week.
Here is a guide on the quantity of pumpkin your rabbit can take based on their weight and breed.
|Breed Quantity of Pumpkin per week Average Weight (lb)|
|English lop 5.6 14|
|Beveren rabbit 4.8 12|
|Mini rex 1.8 4.5|
|Dutch rabbit 1.6 4|
|Holland Lop 1.4 3.5|
|American rabbit 4.0 10+|
Can Your Rabbits Eat Pumpkin Seeds?
Yes, your rabbits can feed on pumpkin seeds but only as a special treat. Pumpkin seeds are also referred to as pepitas. They are nutritious and rich in vitamin B, A, potassium, copper, zinc, manganese, iron, and calcium.
The disadvantage of feeding your rabbit with pumpkin seeds every day is that they have a high level of fatty acids. A Rabbit’s digestive tract is more sensitive than that of humans. So rabbits cannot correctly digest fats.
Excess fat impedes digestion and proper movement of the GI tract. Too much fat also build up in the liver and arteries and lead to severe health complications.
Obesity and weight gain are some of the usual problems of fatty foods like seeds and nuts. Rabbit seeds are sometimes also not ideal for your rabbit because they can cause them to choke. The seeds can also get stuck in your rabbit’s teeth.
If you feed your rabbit with pumpkin seed for the first time, pay close attention and look out for them so they do not choke on it. Watch to see if they feel convenient after eating the seeds; if they do not, do not offer them seed again.
In summary, it is best to include only a pinch of pumpkin seeds in your rabbit’s diet. This will ensure that they do not consume too much fat.
Health Dividends of Pumpkin Seeds
Zinc is very vital in metabolic processes like growth and development, wound healing, protein synthesis, DNA synthesis, and a healthy immune system. Pumpkin seeds contain a significant quantity of Zinc.
Zinc is also essential for a healthy coat and skin in rabbits. Thus, it would help if you offered zinc to your rabbits daily in their diet because they cannot store zinc.
If you do not include zinc in your rabbit’s diet, it can result in your rabbit’s low development and growth. It can also lead to a weak immune system, depression, poor appetite, reproductive issues, and digestive issues.
The Journal of Animal Science proved that rabbits fed with a diet that lacks zinc grew poorly and had Pasteurella infections, skin alopecia, and lesions.
Note that you should not introduce pumpkin seeds as a supplementary diet if your rabbit does feed on enough zinc. You can consult your veterinarian on how to create a balanced diet with plenty of zinc for your rabbit.
Lastly, pumpkin seeds are rich in protein required for rabbits to grow and develop properly.
Can Rabbits Feed On Pumpkin Skin?
Yes, rabbits can eat pumpkin skin because it has even richer nutrients than the pumpkin flesh. Similarly, pumpkin skin has fewer carbohydrates and more fiber than pumpkin flesh.
All you need to do is to wash the pumpkin thoroughly to remove pesticides and fertilizers that might have been added to make it grow well.
Can Rabbits Feed On Pumpkin Flowers, Stems, And Leaves?
Rabbits can eat pumpkin stems and leaves, but you should avoid them. This is because these stems and leaves are high in calcium, which remains absorbed in the rabbit’s body.
However, too much calcium stores in the bladder in crystal form and causes paste-like, sandy, or thick urine. It also leads to an inflammation of the bladder. The crystal then shrinks and develops stones in the urethra, ureters, bladder, and kidneys.
On the other hand, pumpkin flower is safe for the rabbit’s consumption once they are free from fertilizers, pesticides, and other harmful chemicals.
By now, you will agree with us that pumpkin is an excellent diet for your rabbit as long as you offer it in moderation. Pumpkin is generally nutritious and healthy for your rabbits.
However, pumpkin seeds have high fat and can cause choking. You may grind the seeds and add them to your rabbit’s diet in small quantities.