It’s that time of year again when pumpkins are aplenty. You may be wondering if your horse(s) can join in all the fun and enjoy a pumpkin treat too? Well, we think they will struggle with carving them or decorating with them but, you’ll be pleased to know that orange pumpkins, including the seeds, are perfectly safe to feed to horses as a seasonal treat! However, please be a little mindful about how and how often they consume them. As with all treats, little and often is key.
We recommend the following dos and don’ts:
- Slice the pumpkin into smaller pieces and feed one slice at a time to avoid choking.
- As with all good things in life, embrace quality not quantity! To provide you with some idea of how much to feed – one or two slices a day is more than enough but definitely no more than a couple of cups a day (a small pumpkin). It isn’t wise to suddenly start adding large amounts of novel food to a horse’s diet. Plus, if your horse becomes too familiar with getting treats too often, he will learn to expect them and misbehave when he doesn’t get what he wants.
- Remember, if you feed your horse by hand, place the pumpkin piece in the middle of your hand and keep your hand flat to avoid any nips.
- Don’t feed horses pumpkins that might have candle wax in them or that have started to rot, mould or are becoming soft inside. Likewise, avoid feeding a pumpkin that has been decorated or painted.
- Don’t forget to remove the stem as it may be a choking hazard.
- Pumpkins are part of the Cucurbitaceae family along with squash and gourds. While most of us lump gourds, squash and pumpkins into one hard-to-peel family, they aren’t exactly the same and it is very important to understand that while pumpkins and squash are safe to feed to horses in moderation, gourds should NOT be fed to horses.
- Always remember that public/unauthorised feeding of horses can be extremely harmful so never feed someone else’s horse without permission.
If you’re not keen on feeding pumpkin to your four-legged friends, just put the pumpkin in your horses’ stalls/garden whole for them to play withor cut into pieces and mix with their regular feed.
Can dogs eat pumpkin?
Yes, pumpkins and pumpkin seeds are healthy foods for dogs to eat. In fact, on top of being a great source of nutrients and fibre, there are many other benefits of pumpkin to your dog too. It’s always best to check with your vet to determine how much pumpkin is suitable in addition to your dog’s diet but, as a general rule, small amounts on an occasional basis should be fine. Plus, like horses, dogs love playing with whole pumpkins too, just make sure they are not playing with them on your carpet!