For us humans, strawberries are probably one of the tastiest healthy snacks we can have.
They’re sweet, refreshing, and packed with vitamins and minerals that keep us happy and healthy.
But does the same go for horses? Are strawberries safe for them? Do they even like the taste?
In this article, we will answer all of these questions and more, so keep on reading to learn everything you need to know about using berries in your horse’s diet!
Strawberries can be beneficial to horses
As you already may know, strawberries are incredibly rich in a variety of vitamins and antioxidants, both of which can be beneficial for your horse’s health.
Now, of course, having too much of anything can’t be a good thing, and the same goes for strawberries.
Consider them to be an occasional treat and not a regular part of your horse’s diet.
In this way, your wonderful companion will be able to feel the full benefits of the fruit while avoiding potential issues that may arise from eating too many strawberries.
Since strawberries contain a lot of sugar, they can lead to digestive and dental problems if taken in large amounts.
So, again, the best way to ensure your horse gets the best of the fruit is by simply giving them a small number of strawberries from time to time.
Besides vitamins C and E, strawberries are also a good source of hydration during hot summer days.
Overall, as long as they’re given in a moderate amount, strawberries can be extremely beneficial for the health of your horse.
Make sure you slice them up before you serve them
Strawberries, and all berries in general for that matter, can lead to choking in horses.
We advise you to slice them up as much as you can before you give them to your horse.
A good idea is to create a strawberry mush to give to your companion, as it prevents potential choking issues completely.
Of course, if your horse is used to eating small berries already, there shouldn’t be any problems.
Still, as a precaution, it’s always better to at least slice them up into smaller pieces.
It shouldn’t take any longer than a couple of minutes, and it can potentially prevent danger to your lovely companion.
As such, it’s certainly something worth doing, especially if your horse is of a smaller breed.
Unwashed fruit shouldn’t be given to a horse
No matter if we’re talking about strawberries, raspberries, pears, or even apples, unwashed fruit shouldn’t be a part of your horse’s diet.
Harmful chemicals and residue left on the fruit aren’t something your horse should eat.
Because of it, we advise you to wash your strawberries thoroughly.
Once you do, they’ll be free of anything that might be harmful to your horse.
Use clean water and go over every single berry to ensure any trace of pesticide is removed.
You wouldn’t want your horse to get sick over something so trivial.
Washing your fruit before you feed it to your wonderful companion is quite simple and quick, so don’t forget to do it.
Just like you wouldn’t eat unwashed strawberries, you shouldn’t give them to your horse. Its health and well-being are your responsibility.
As we’ve already mentioned before, this goes for all fruits and veggies you buy at the store.
Chemicals used to grow these plants can cause an upset stomach and a variety of other issues that can easily be avoided by simply washing the fruit.
So, again, washing the berries before you feed them to your horse is of the utmost importance.
It should always be done, especially if you don’t know how the berries were grown.
Remember to throw stale berries away
The most common mistake horse owners make when it comes to including strawberries in their horse’s diet is leaving them out for too long.
If your horse doesn’t eat the treat right away, you should probably remove it from its reach.
Otherwise, your horse might end up eating moldy and rotten berries later on.
This could cause a plethora of digestive issues, including bloating and diarrhea, depending on the amount the horse has eaten.
Again, your horse doesn’t know the difference between rotten and fresh berries.
For that reason, it’s imperative that you remove any stale strawberries from its feeder before they go bad and become harmful to your horse.
Of course, if your horse ends up accidentally eating a rotten berry and gets an upset stomach, you don’t have to worry.
Just make sure they have enough to drink and feed them pellets that contain probiotics to help alleviate any stomachache the horses may have.
Additionally, make sure to always check for mold before you decide to feed your horse strawberries.
While eating a couple of moldy strawberries won’t seriously harm your horse, it’s still something that’s best avoided.
So, in conclusion, always make sure the fruit you feed your horse isn’t rotten.
Avoid frozen strawberries too
While some fruits can be served frozen to provide extra refreshment to your horse, frozen strawberries are simply better avoided.
As they start to defrost, they’re more susceptible to mold and bacteria, which is something you don’t want your horse to eat.
You should only serve them fresh, ripe, and thoroughly washed to ensure your horse gets the best of the fruit.
So, get to your local green market, pick out the freshest possible berries, wash them with some cold water, and only then bring them to your horse.
Otherwise, your horse might get sick, which is something that you should try to avoid.
Now, of course, if your horse accidentally ends up eating expired strawberries, and you notice signs of bloating and other digestive issues, don’t worry!
These issues are easily resolvable, as long as you don’t make the same mistake too many times.
All you need to do is to make sure your horse eats well and is properly hydrated.
The problems should be gone on their own in a day or two.
Of course, if they end up persisting longer than a couple of days, it’s time to involve your veterinarian.
Either way, frozen strawberries should be avoided as much as possible.
While they can’t seriously harm your horse, they can still cause some annoying issues that are easily preventable.
What to do if your horse has an allergic reaction to strawberries?
Just like humans, horses can also be allergic to certain types of food. Strawberries are no different in that regard.
If you notice any signs of respiratory issues or a skin reaction after your horse has eaten strawberries, cease feeding them the fruit immediately.
In the case of a severe reaction, make sure to contact your local vet immediately.
Don’t try treating the reaction on your own, as it could be extremely dangerous for your horse.
Besides that, there’s always a possibility the reaction is caused by something else, which is something you must check.
The vet will prescribe certain anti-inflammatory medications and, in some cases, even painkillers.
Of course, if it’s your horse’s first time eating strawberries, make sure to keep an eye on their behavior afterward.
If you happen to notice any signs of an allergic reaction, don’t hesitate to call the vet.
The most common signs include changes in behavior, bloating, diarrhea, problems breathing, rashes, and other changes to the skin.
In those cases, it’s simply better to be safe than sorry.
As we’ve said before, calling your vet as soon as you notice any of these changes is of the utmost importance.
They will know exactly what to do and what caused the problem.
Remember: just because your horse suffered through these symptoms after eating the fruit, it doesn’t mean the strawberries are what caused it.
In some scenarios, it could just be an unfortunate coincidence.
It’s why it’s so important to check with a professional veterinarian.
How to wash strawberries properly?
Washing strawberries for your horse isn’t much different from washing strawberries for yourself.
All you need is a colander and some cold water.
Place the berries inside the colander and let the water flow over it.
Move the fruit to ensure every side is properly washed.
As a general rule, 20-30 seconds over cold water should remove around 80% of pesticide residue from your strawberries.
You don’t need to use vinegar or salt, as some websites may suggest.
The healthiest and most effective solution is plain water.
Just like we’ve already explained before, washing the fruit before you serve it is of the utmost importance.
The pesticide residue left on the berries when you buy them at the store can be harmful to your horse’s digestive health.
It’s certainly an issue you’d want to avoid, so make sure you wash the berries following the instructions we left above.
Naturally, if you grow your own berries organically, without using any chemicals whatsoever, washing is not necessary, but still recommended.
Either way, this goes for every plant you decide to give to your horse.
Just like you wouldn’t eat it unwashed yourself, you shouldn’t give it to your stallion either.
Do horses like the taste of strawberries?
The answer to this question is yes – yes, they do!
In fact, for many horses, they can become their favorite treat!
However, make sure you consider the fruit as a treat – nothing more! Your horse shouldn’t be eating strawberries every day.
Around 10-15 strawberries per week should be the upper limit, and you shouldn’t treat your horse to them every week. Make it an occasional thing for the best results!
It’s just like how we humans like eating candy, but too much of it can cause us toothache and digestive issues, so we try not to overeat.
The same exact logic goes for horses and strawberries!
While they usually love the taste, eating too much is not good for their long-term health.
Besides that, some horses may enjoy the taste more than others.
Yup, horses have preferences too! It all boils down to the individual animal.
So, overall, most horses will love the sweet taste of strawberries.
If they, for some reason, refuse to eat them, then you can move on to other fruit treats we’ll talk about throughout the article!
What other fruits make a good treat for your horse?
We’ve already established that your horse can and should eat strawberries from time to time.
But what should you do when they’re out of season?
Luckily, there are many tasty, healthy alternatives you can provide to your horse when strawberries are unavailable.
Here we’ll list some of them along with the benefits they can provide to your companion.
Pears – pears are probably one of the most common treats people feed to their horses.
They contain high levels of fiber, vitamins C and K, as well as an abundance of antioxidants.
All of these, when given in moderation, can be an excellent health boost for your horse.
Apples – we’ve all fed apples to our horses before. They love eating them, and it’s not just about the taste!
Apples contain tons of potassium, vitamins, and minerals that are all important to your horse’s health.
Grapes – some horses enjoy eating both red and green grapes, while others may have a dislike towards the fruit.
As long as you remove the seed and wash the fruit thoroughly, it can serve as a great treat for your stallion.
Bananas – horses love everything that has high levels of potassium, and bananas are no different. They can even eat the peel!
Oranges – horses also enjoy eating oranges and orange peels. A good idea is to freeze them to provide a fresh treat during those hot summer days.
Whatever you do, though, remember to always wash the fruit as we discussed before!
Other berries: blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and red cherries (without the seed) can all be great alternatives to strawberries!
Besides these examples, there are tons of other fruits and veggies your horse can eat as a treat.
Just make sure you do your research before you introduce anything new to your horse’s diet.
This especially goes if your horse already has some health concerns regarding its blood sugar or its digestive system.
In those cases, the best course of action is to consult your local vet first.
Either way, the fact remains: many kinds of fruit can be incredibly beneficial to your horse, as long as they’re given in moderation and washed before consumption.
Fruits and plants your horse shouldn’t eat
While some fruits make excellent treats for your horse, there are also some types that could harm your precious animal.
Generally speaking, everything that has a pit inside of it is not suitable for a horse’s diet.
It’s not just about those fruits being a potential choking hazard – the “stone” inside of the fruit can be quite dangerous to your horse’s health, causing digestive issues and bloating.
Now, some fruit containing a “stone”, like mangoes, for example, can be fed to a horse, as long as the pit is removed.
Still, however, we recommend avoiding feeding your horse these types of fruits, as there are many other alternatives out there that are much healthier for their body.
Besides these types of fruits, horses shouldn’t eat some types of veggies either.
All parts of an avocado, for example, are extremely toxic to horses, and should never be fed to them under any circumstances.
The same can be said about rhubarb, which can cause kidney failure in horses due to large amounts of calcium oxalates inside the plant.
On the other hand, plants like broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower are fine in small amounts, but if fed in excess, can lead to colic problems.
Similarly, you should avoid feeding potatoes to your horse, especially if they’re too green, as they can cause toxicosis, especially in large amounts.
As we’ve already mentioned before, you should always talk to a professional vet if you’re not sure whether your horse should be eating something or not.
When it comes to your horse’s health, it’s always better to be safe than sorry, so don’t hesitate to do your own research.
Additionally, always remember that all horses are different. Just like humans, some horses can have intolerances or allergies to certain foods.
So, make sure you always keep an eye on your horse after they’ve eaten something for the first time.
If any unwanted reactions occur, make sure to call your vet as quickly as you can.
Allergic reactions in horses are uncommon, but they can still happen from time to time.
They range from mild to severe, but you shouldn’t risk waiting for too long!
We said it before, and we’ll say it again: your horse’s health should be your number one priority.
All in all, strawberries can make wonderful treats for your horses.
They usually love the taste, and the fruit has tons of vitamins and antioxidants that can be incredibly beneficial to their health.
Of course, they should be given in moderation. They’re treats after all!
Your horse shouldn’t be eating more than 10-15 strawberries per week.
If they go stale or get a bit moldy, make sure you remove them from the feeder immediately.
Besides that, if your horse ends up having an allergic reaction, or you see some negative changes in their stool, perhaps berries aren’t their thing.
You can always give them apples, carrots, pears, or even grapes instead.
Be it as it may, we can safely conclude that horses can eat strawberries from time to time.
In fact, they’re a great way to treat your horse to something sweet and healthy!
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