8 Foods You Should Never Feed to Your Horse
Horses can have sensitive digestive systems. Any sudden changes to their diet, consuming mouldy hay or an overload of lush grass can all prove problematic. Treats may also cause issues and that includes some of the foods which you might have thought were perfectly safe. There are certain foods which you should certainly never feed to your horse.
Just like dogs, horses are sensitive to the chemical theobromine which is found in the cocoa which is used to make chocolate. Large amounts of cocoa can kill a horse but even a small amount can result in big trouble.
Both the fibres and the seeds of this fruit can cause a sticky mass in a horse’s digestive tract which is known as a phytobezoar. This can then become lodged and lead to a case of colic. While persimmons might not be something you generally consider feeding to your horses, it is worth making a mental note about the dangers of the fruit.
The flesh of the avocado isn’t toxic to horses, but the skin, pit, and leaves of the plant definitely are. So, it’s best not to take avocados anywhere near your horse, just in case!
These could contain potentially harmful plants or dangerous levels of chemical fertilisers. In addition, lawn clippings could cause colic or even laminitis because horses tend to over-consume them. As clippings can quickly become mouldy, they are best avoided.
Fruit with Pips and Stones
Large stones are a choke hazard and you wouldn’t want to be faced with a choking horse. Some fruits, including apricots, cherries and dates are perfectly acceptable treats for horses as long as you remove the stones first.
Bread might appear to be harmless, but all baked goods can become a nasty doughy mess and then cause a blockage which leads to colic. As bread is of little nutritional value and isn’t even that tasty it is best to keep it away from your horse.
Potatoes and Other Nightshades
Horses rarely develop a taste for plants in the nightshade family but there are always exceptions. Nightshades contain a compound called atropine which can impact the nervous system. A serious case of atropine toxicity could lead to convulsions and even death.
Yogurt and Other Dairy Products
Adult horses cannot digest lactose, which is present in all dairy products. Yogurt can be a healthy choice for people but will most likely give your horse an unpleasant case of diarrhoea!
If you enjoy treating your horse, stick to carrots, apples and proprietary horse treats and licks. They are the best choices for your equine friend and will ensure that you don’t have to tackle any unpleasant side effects or serious illnesses.