Are Halloween Pumpkins Pet-Friendly?

PET CHECK BLOG - Autumn -Dog sitting amongst pumpkins

\\\ Pets Eating Pumpkins

updated October 2021

WHAT ARE PUMPKINS?

Are Pumpkins Safe For Pets To Eat?

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Millions of pumpkins are thrown away each year uneaten

The Halloween event sees an estimated 8 million or more pumpkins sold in the UK each year.

Most goes to food waste where the flesh is not eaten

A large proportion of the UK public simply does not realise they can eat the flesh of pumpkins.

The Guardian newspaper reported that 24 million pumpkins are purchased with a recent poll suggesting that less than half of those polled realised that pumpkins can be eaten by humans let alone dogs and cats!

Millions of tons of food go to waste where pet owners have not considered whether it’s safe to give to their pets. One farm in East Anglia grows over 1 million pumpkins where the majority of the fruit is thrown away by the British public after the event.

What Are Pumpkins?

Pumpkins are those very large orange blobs that UK supermarkets love to pile up like footballs at their front doors, when it gets to the start of pumpkin season, around the beginning of October, driven by the demand for celebrating Halloween, 31 October, each year.

Pumpkins are believed to have originated in North America and are a member of the squash family. They are classed as a fruit, and where the world grows more than 500 differing varieties. Pumpkins are very nutritious, packed with vitamins, minerals, and fibre and the seeds with zinc and antioxidants.

They do come in different colours and sizes, but the ones that children love to celebrate, hollowing out and carving a spooky face, is the large orange type, called the ‘Hundredweight’ pumpkin, (Cucurbita pepo pumpkin).

The event normally coincides with children’s UK Autumn Half-term school holidays, and a day can easily be spent hollowing out the pumpkin to make the most original spooky face. Good Housekeeping has some spooky and designer ideas on how to ‘customise’ a pumpkin.

The hollowing out and pumpkin carving provides lots of edible pumpkin and seeds that can be eaten both by humans and pets, but millions of us simply throw the whole pumpkin away, by the next day, 1 November, after illuminating the pumpkin with a candle that will flicker inside the hollow pumpkin, having put it outside our front door, or in our front room window, once it get darks on Halloween eve. It is supposedly meant to ward off evil spirits, going back to Celtic and Pagan times, becoming popular in the UK, to celebrate, during the mid-1990s.

It actually now causes one of the largest food wastes in the UK.

Are Pumpkins Safe For Dogs Cats And Rabbits To Eat?

Are Pumpkins Safe For Dogs Cats And Rabbits To Eat?

The simple answer is yes

Serving up this healthy treat in moderation is fine for dogs, cats, and pet rabbits. Read on.

Pumpkins contain Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Alpha-carotene, and Vitamin E, Calcium, Iron, and Lutein.

Dogs can eat pumpkins both the pulp and seeds, the pulp being low in calories. Purina, the pet food manufacturer, informs us that it wouldn’t really be that enjoyable for dogs, to consume all parts of the pumpkin, the leaves, and the hard skin, and eating too much may upset the dog’s diet. However, provided in smaller portions this makes a change to your dog’s diet as a healthy treat.

The best way to serve pumpkin is to simply puree the flesh without adding any other ingredients and save the seeds which can be toasted and eaten separately.

The pulp is low in calories and makes effective diarrhea and constipation remedy so it’s important to serve your dog, cat, or rabbit with a small amount.

Depending on the size of your dog, a couple of dessert spoons are sufficient when first giving your dog this new treat.

Cats can eat a couple of teaspoons of puree.

Rabbits according to their size can be offered less.

All pets should be fed as if pumpkin is a treat and not an everyday staple part of their diet.

Can Dogs Cats And Rabbits Eat The Pumpkin Seeds?

Cats can eat a couple of teaspoons of pumpkin puree

According to The Nest, cats enjoy pumpkins seeds more when lightly toasted. A couple a day can be a real treat ground down so that they do not choke, whilst dogs can eat either raw or toasted, and quantities depend on their size.

Some larger dogs that like eating broccoli stalks, gnawing away at them for some time, so may enjoy eating cut-up pieces of the raw pumpkin.

Rabbits can enjoy natural pumpkin seeds, ground down and given in a very small quantity as a treat as rabbits prime diet is quality feeding hay balanced with a diet of specially prepared pellets. A number of vegetables and fruit can be eaten but only as additional to their main diet according to Rabbit Care.

The seeds are nutritious containing antioxidants, which play a role in overall health, and Dogs Magazine considers they can be used as a natural alternative to help fight worming.

Remember not to add any seasoning, sauces, or fats to your pet’s pumpkin treat.

PET CHECK BLOG - Autumn - Girl with pet rabbit and pumpkins

An increasing amount of pumpkin recipes are appearing online

Toasted pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin curry

Roasted pumpkin

Pumpkin soup

Pumpkin pie

Pumpkin muffins

Pumpkin gnocchi

Human Pumpkin recipes

Try using up some of the natural pumpkin seeds if you haven’t before, lightly toasted in the oven without adding any other ingredients.

Tesco provide recipe ideas for left overs.

Country Living have a lovely article offering more than 60 ways to enjoy pumpkin recipes.

DON’T WASTE PUMPKINS

With saving the million of tons of wasted food in the UK why not try giving away some of your extra pumpkin by using the Olio Free sharing app this year where there are more than 3 million users happy to share foods? Help to solve the UK’s food waste problem.

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