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Which Natural Foods For Your Horse Should You Avoid?

Which Natural Foods For Your Horse Should You Avoid?

Who doesn’t love a good treat? Natural foods for your horse such as juicy fruits and crispy veggies are not only fresh and delicious, but they’re healthy too. When it comes to feeding your horse tasty snacks, they will go bonkers for freshly picked produce – but not everything should be on the menu. 

In celebration of National Food Safety Month, we created this guide on what natural treats are good (and not so good) to feed your horse.

Good Natural Foods For Your Horse

When choosing which goodies to give your healthy horse, most fruits and veggies pass the test. Here is a list of some good treat examples:

  • Pumpkin
  • Carrots
  • Apples
  • Watermelon
  • Raisins
  • Green Beans
  • Apricots
  • Pears
  • Mango
  • Oranges
  • Melons 
  • Celery
  • Strawberries 
  • Bananas
  • Snow Peas
  • Grapes

Before feeding your horse, remember to prep and wash the produce in clean water. For some extra fun during warmer days, put some of these fruit options in the freezer. Your horse will love the added benefit of cooling them down while they munch.

Dangerous Natural Foods For Your Horse – Avoid These!

While the natural foods above have the green light for snack time, there are also foods to avoid. Ranging from discomfort to severe health issues and poisoning, the dangerous food for horses on the list below should be avoided:

  • Acorns
    • Although they are small, acorn consumption can lead to severe colic or poisoning in large portions
  • Garlic, Onions, & Shallots
    • Foods in the allium family contain N-propyl disulfide, a chemical that destroys red blood cells and can cause anaemia. Although a tiny bit probably won’t cause a disaster, it’s best to avoid or provide supplements containing these foods in moderation.
  • Meat
    • Spoiler alert – horses are herbivores. Just a reminder. Never feed your horse meat or any product containing it. Their digestive system will thank you.
  • Avocados
    • In addition to the leaves and tree bark being poisonous for horses, all parts of the avocado fruit should be avoided. Consumption could lead to an irregular heartbeat, restricted breathing, colic, and even death in serious cases.
  • Tomatoes, Chili Peppers, & Eggplant
    • These items are members of the Solanaceae family, the same as deadly nightshade. Consumption of tomatoes (including their leaves) can lead to colic, a decrease in intestinal motility, an increase in heart rate, and hemorrhagic diarrhea. 
  • Fruit Seeds & Pits
    • This may seem like common sense, but pits and seeds contain cyanide compounds and are toxic in very large quantities. They are also a choking hazard, so be sure to double check your fruit before you feed your horse.
  • Pet Kibble
    • Dry cat and dog kibble may seem harmless, but they usually contain meat byproducts. As stated earlier, horses are herbivores – they won’t be able to properly digest it.

This isn’t a comprehensive list, so always double check if you’re unsure if a food is safe to give your horse.

Other Horse Health Care Tips

Now that you have an idea on which natural foods for your horse are safe and unsafe, make sure that you are feeding them correctly. Always cut up snacks into bite-sized pieces to avoid choking, and don’t overfeed them. I know that it can be hard to turn down those big sparkling eyes that ask for another bite, but feeding treats in moderation is key to a balanced diet – and a healthy horse!

Also, don’t be afraid to put the treats in a bucket when offering them, as certain horses can become nippy when hand-fed. If you’re ever worried that your horse has consumed something poisonous, call a certified veterinarian/horse health care specialist right away.

BRD Vet Rx has been in the horse health care business for almost 100 years, and helping horses stay happy and healthy is what we do. Learn more about what we do here.