Horse owners often ask me about the safety of offering common foods as treats. Occasionally, some odd items are mentioned, such as French fries, garlic bread, or even chocolate! These are not exactly good for your horse and can be dangerous. So, let’s take a close at some choices.
Starch and sugar are out of the question for some horses. Fat deposits along the crest of the neck, rump, shoulders, or back, indicate insulin resistance. Starchy or sugary treats will raise insulin to dangerous levels, increasing laminitis risk.
Horses with Cushing’s disease also require a low starch/low sugar diet. Avoid the following:
Better low sugar/low starch choices:
Chocolate. You know about not giving it to your dog, but your horse is also sensitive to the toxic chemical found in chocolate called theobromine.
Stay away from milk products — ice cream, cheese, and even yogurt. I know — you’ve perhaps heard that yogurt is good for your horse because it’s a probiotic but it also contains lactose and grown horses are lactose intolerant. Your horse will get diarrhea and he will not like you.
Some commercial treats have added vitamins and minerals. You run the risk of either feeding too many nutrients (if your horse already gets a fortified feed), or not feeding enough (if you’re relying on the treats to act as a nutritional supplement).
Probiotics are added to some treats. But their microbial concentration is too low to make a difference, unless you were to feed the whole bag.
HORSES TRUST US TO TAKE CARE OF THEM. CHOOSE WISELY.
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