Human Foods You Should (And Shouldn't) Feed Your Horse

Human Foods You Should (And Shouldn't) Feed Your Horse

Posted by The Tried Equestrian on

Us horse people love letting our horses try new foods. The funny faces they make are amazing, and finding a new favorite is always the best. Some horses are picky eaters, and some will eat anything within reach, so make sure to only feed them safe snacks! Some foods that we would assume are safe are actually dangerous for horses, so make sure to do your research before your next horsey taste test. Here are a few foods that your horse might love, and a few more that are best to stay away from:

 horse eating watermelon out of a girls hand

1. DO feed your horse watermelon!

Many horses love watermelon, and even the rinds are usually a fan favorite. The high water content is great for hydration, but watermelon has vitamins and minerals that can help your horse. It contains vitamins A and C, as well as healthy fiber AND an amino acid that is known to increase blood flow.

2. DON'T feed your horse bread!

Bread seems harmless at first, but can actually cause lethal blockages, especially if fed in large amounts. When consumed, the bread can turn into a sticky, thick texture that has been known to cause colic.

3. DO feed your horse bananas!

Like people, horses benefit from the high potassium levels in bananas. Some people have been known to feed horses bananas (with the peel on!) for an extra boost at shows. The sweet taste means horses often like them, and they can even be mashed and mixed with medicine for easy feeding!

4. DON'T feed your horse avocados!

While many fruits and veggies are safe for horses, avocados are extremely dangerous. A substance called Persin comes from avocados, and it is highly toxic to horses. It can cause colic, as well as multiple other illnesses including neurologic dysfunction.

5. DO feed your horse grapes!

Grapes are small and easy to feed (they work great for stretching), and they are good for our four-legged friends. The fiber content in grapes, although not a lot in comparison to a horse's big body, can actually aid in digestion. Similar to other fruits, grapes are high in vitamin C and potassium, which are both very beneficial.

pictures of fruits that are healthy for horses

6. DON'T feed your horse chocolate!

If you have dogs, you know that chocolate is a no-go. It's the same for horses! The cocoa in chocolate contains theobromine which, when digested, can cause major issues. Even small amounts can be dangerous and large amounts can be fatal.

7. DO feed your horse pumpkin!

Pumpkins can make great treats, both raw and canned. It should be fed in moderation, but natural pumpkin can make a great treat, even for horses with Cushing's, PSSM, and insulin resistance. This is because pumpkin does not cause a glucose spike in a horse's blood when fed in small amounts.

8. DON'T feed your horse potatoes!

While potatoes may not be harmful in small amounts, its best not to risk it. Larger amounts of potato can cause many health issues including cramping, shortness of breath, and colic. The severity of the symptoms usually increases with the amount eaten. (Bonus tip: sweet potatoes and yams are for horses!)

9. DO feed your horse strawberries!

As you can see, many fruits are safe for horses, and can be a fun alternative to the traditional apples and carrots. Strawberries are a good size to feed safely, and contain magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, and potassium which are all good for horses (and humans)!

10. DON'T feed your horse dairy!

Once in adulthood, horses lose their ability to process lactose. This means that if a horse eats dairy, you'll most likely have a nasty case of diarrhea on your hands. To be safe, avoid feeding your horse yogurt, cheese, and other milk-based products.

pictures of dairy and other foods that are bad for horses

Feeding horses "human foods" can be a great way to save money and a trip to the feed store. The list of safe and dangerous foods goes on and on, so it's best to do a quick search before feeding anything new. When in doubt, you can't go wrong with sticking to the classics (carrots, apples, etc.). If you feel like treating your horse to something extra special, check out the Horse d'oeuvres treats. They're made with natural ingredients and we've found them to be a fan favorite around the barn!

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