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Can Horses Eat Pumpkin? What You Need to Know!  

Nicole Cosgrove

May 23, 2021

Whether it’s a festive fall treat or the occasional yummy snack, many horse owners wonder if they can feed their equines pieces of pumpkin. Natural herbivores, horses love to munch on a variety of fruits, grains, and veggies. But can they eat gourds? The short answer is yes! Horses can eat pumpkin! However, you need to take the proper precautions before feeding pumpkin to your pet.

Here’s everything you need to know about feeding your horse pumpkin.

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What is a Pumpkin?

A type of squash, pumpkins are actually considered to be fruits. This is because its seeds are stored inside the fleshy part of the plant.

Round, ribbed, and downright delicious, pumpkins also contain a large variety of essential vitamins and minerals, including fiber, potassium, iron, magnesium, protein, and Vitamins A, B12, C, and E.

Like humans, horses can certainly reap the health benefits of pumpkins!

Health Benefits of Pumpkins for Horses

Consuming pumpkin can help your horse’s health in a variety of ways. The fiber found in pumpkins will promote digestive health. Vitamin A is important for eye, bone, reproductive, and cell health while Vitamin E helps your horse to build strong muscles.

The minerals found in pumpkin, including calcium, potassium, copper, and phosphorus, can help all of your equine’s body parts to optimally function. Additionally, the high water content can keep your hoofed pal properly hydrated.

Horses can safely consume pumpkin flesh, rind, and seeds.

Are Pumpkins Bad for Horses?

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Credit: vprotastchik, Shutterstock

There are some risks associated with feeding your horse pumpkin. It can be a choking hazard if you give your horse large pumpkin pieces. Always chop pumpkin into small, bite-sized cubes before offering it to your horse.

As with any novel food, never incorporate large amounts of pumpkin into your horse’s diet. This can lead to digestive upset. Never give your horse more than a cupful of pumpkin a day.

If your horse suffers from HYPP, never give him pumpkin due to the high potassium levels found in this gourd.

Never feed your equine pumpkin that is mushy, moldy, getting soft, or starting to sag. Moreover, never feed a carved Halloween pumpkin to your horse. There may be candle wax or mold inside, which can be harmful to your pet’s health.

Preparing Pumpkin for Your Horse

Only feed your horse fresh, clean, and organic pumpkin. Cut the flesh and rind into small, bite-sized pieces to avoid any potential choking hazards. You can feed your horse raw or roasted pumpkin seeds. However, never give him salted seeds.

Natural canned pumpkin is perfectly safe for horses to eat. Always check the ingredients to ensure it is pure pumpkin. Never feed your horse canned pumpkin that contains added spices, sugars, or artificial flavors.

If you’re feeding pumpkin to your horse by hand, always place it in the center of your palm while keeping your hand flat to prevent any accidental nips.

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Conclusion

Pumpkins make a sweet treat for horses. They’re loaded with crucial vitamins and nutrients that can promote your horse’s health. Always feed your horse pumpkin in moderation and ensure the pumpkin is clean, organic, and fresh. Avoid feeding your horse large pumpkin pieces of pumpkin that is soft, moldy, or has been used as a Jack-O-Lantern. If your horse has HYPP, he should not be fed pumpkin.

This fall, consider offering your horse a festive treat by letting him snack on some pumpkin!

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Featured Image Credit: René Porter, Unsplash

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.