Strawberries are delicious, but can horses eat strawberries? While there’s no definitive answer to this question, most horse owners have found that strawberries are generally safe for their animals to consume, but with some caveats. Some say you can feed your horse strawberries occasionally, but you should know a few things before feeding them to your horse. Strawberries are not harmful to your horse in small amounts but can cause large amounts of stomach upset and digestive problems.
To keep your horse safe and healthy, learn how much you can safely feed him each day and how often you should feed him strawberries. Here’s what you need to know about whether horses can eat strawberries to decide whether your horse should be allowed to enjoy them.
Strawberries for Treats
“Should I have my horse eating strawberries,” many ask? You can give your horse a strawberry as a treat, but don’t let them eat too many strawberries. A good rule of thumb is to limit treats to 10% of their daily diet. So, if you feed your horse 1 pound of hay daily, they can have up to 1/2 cup of strawberries as a delicious treat. Consider only giving your horse strawberry snacks occasionally if you’re providing more.
A great way to track how much food you’re feeding your horse is by writing it down in a journal daily. If you notice that they’re not eating as much hay or apples are gone, it’s time to re-evaluate their current diet and adjust accordingly.
How many strawberries are safe for horses?
Generally, horses can eat between 0.5% and 1% of their body weight in fruits and vegetables daily. For a 1000-pound horse, that would be 5 to 10 pounds of fruit or vegetables. So, if you’re feeding your horse one pound of strawberries, you should offer him at least five to ten pounds of hay.
If you’re offering more than two pounds of strawberries, ensure the rest of his diet is also high in roughage. Most horses enjoy a refreshing snack, but nutritional deficiencies can occur if they start replacing horse feed with fruit instead. As with all food groups, don’t feed too much! Too many carbs can cause digestive issues like colic and diarrhea.
Ideally, you shouldn’t provide more than one to two strawberries daily and no more than six to ten per week. Before feeding the strawberries to your horse, ensure they are thoroughly cleaned because they may still have pesticides or other chemicals. Do not under any circumstances give your moldy horse strawberries or expired strawberries. Serve strawberries fresh, as that’s the way they’re easiest on your horse’s stomach.
Dangers eating Strawberries may pose to a Horse.
There have been several cases where horses have died from eating strawberries. In most cases, owners do not know that the horses have eaten strawberries, and it can take several days to figure out what caused the deaths. Most fruits and vegetables can be associated with digestive problems or other forms of colic.
Another issue that recently came to light is that strawberries grow on bushes containing a fungus called Downey mildew. This fungus can be deadly to horses and horses grazing on it. Do not permit your horse to eat strawberry plants; the safest fruits are ones that are picked and cleaned by you to get rid of any residual chemicals that may have been sprayed on or near a plant.
It is unsafe for horses to eat the plants they grow on, which can cause other health issues down the road. The type of mildew that infects strawberries can be deadly to horses with compromised immune systems. Sticky, white spores are dispersed in the air of the strawberry fields. The spores can land on the horse’s skin and clothes just by walking through the area.
Horse owners should be aware that strawberries grown in areas where dogs or cats live nearby will attract more flies that may carry fungal infections to the horses and horses grazing on those fields. Strawberry species that are produced for eating are known to have a certain amount of cyanide when they are eaten. Cyanide is a chemical that is naturally found in some plants, and it can be toxic to horses if they eat the plants. As long as you diligently clean the strawberries to horses for your horse, they are safe and a great snack for them to eat in moderation.
Nutritional Benefits of Strawberries for Horse
While there are many opinions on whether horses should eat strawberries, the truth is that they can enjoy many nutritional benefits from this fruit when it’s part of their balanced diet.
- Strawberries are a good source of vitamins C and K, fiber, and antioxidants.
- They can help reduce blood pressure.
- They can help improve your horse’s immune system, digestion, and overall health.
- An enzyme in the stomach called pepsin will break down proteins, including strawberries!
If you’re wondering how much to feed them, it varies depending on the size of your horse, but about one cup per day for a 500-pound animal should be plenty. Small quantities are essential for your horses’ digestive system and overall well-being.
Things to consider while feeding strawberries to horses
When feeding strawberries to horses, It is essential to consider some specific things. Make sure the strawberries are clean and free of pesticides. Always cut the strawberries into small pieces to avoid choking. Monitor your horse’s intake as too many sweets can lead to weight gain.
Offer only fresh strawberries that have not been frozen or stored for more than a day. Frozen or old berries could contain bacteria that may cause your horse stomach problems.
- The size of the strawberry. A whole strawberry may be too large for a horse to eat, so it is essential to cut them into smaller pieces.
- The sugar content in strawberries is also something to consider, as too much sugar can lead to health problems for horses.
- Feeding no more than a few strawberries to a horse at a time is generally recommended.
- Rotten strawberries should never be given to your healthy horses; many horses develop colic or abdominal pain.
If you are unsure whether your horse will enjoy eating strawberries, start with just one or two and work up. As an occasional treat, they’re a perfect cure to that sweet tooth animals have!
Be sure to cut the strawberries into small enough pieces that are easy for your horse to chew and swallow; handing them to your horse whole can cause a choking hazard. Remember that adding fruit other than hay, water, oats, or grain should only make up about 10% of their diet; a perfect treat, but by no means their main course!
Too many sweet foods like strawberries can lead to obesity and laminitis, an inflammation of the hoof’s sensitive tissue caused by poor blood circulation. So remember – moderation!
While some believe that feeding horses strawberries are harmful, the reality is that there is no evidence to support this claim. And in fact, many horse experts see numerous benefits from their horses eating strawberries, one being that they’re ingesting extra healthy vitamins, namely c e and k. Many horse owners have been feeding their horses strawberries for years with no ill effects. Just don’t feed your horse too many strawberries. If you choose to provide your horse strawberries, be sure to do so in moderation and closely monitor your horse’s health. As always, consult your veterinarian before making any changes to your horse’s diet or nutrition plan.
FAQS (FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS)
Q: How many strawberries can horses eat?
A: If your horse loves sweet treats, you can give them up to six or ten strawberries per week with an ideal amount of one daily. You must wash the fruit before feeding it so as not to have residue on them, mainly if pesticides are used in growing processes. Do not give them frozen or expired strawberries, only fresh ones.
Q: Do horse like strawberries?
A: Your horse will love a handful of strawberries, but you should be careful about how many they eat. One thing is sure, though- moderation works best for fruit and your beloved equine friend. Sugar overload that can come from fruit can causes insulin resistance and other health issues, even if your horse loves them.
Q: Can horses have cucumbers?
A: Yes, horses can eat cucumbers. A welcome answer for those of you with an overabundance in your garden. Cucumbers are a great source of vitamins such as vitamin A and K and potassium – plus their skin provides natural dietary fiber that helps keep them full longer.
Q: What fruit can horses not eat?
A: Some fruits, like peaches and avocados, can harm horses because they contain pits. These “stones” could cause your horse lots of pain if he eats them too much or is tricked by aerenchyma in plants with these types of food items as well.