There are few pleasures like biting into a crunchy sweet apple, even for horses. However, animals’ diets differ significantly from ours. And they can’t eat just any delicious foods without you taking into account their benefits or drawbacks. So, can horses eat apples? We’re here to tell you all about it.
Yes, horses can definitely eat apples. But like many other fruits, they should eat them within certain limits and only as treats.
To elaborate, most vets advise that horses eat a maximum of two apples a day. This should provide them with essential nutrients and fibers. However, if your horse suffers from particular health conditions, that might render apples unfavorable for it.
Do Horses Like Apples?
Yes, horses love apples as much as we do. They love the sweet taste and the fact that it gives them energy. They also like chewing and licking the juices of the fruit.
Interestingly enough, horses are a bit like humans when it comes to food. Some prefer crunchy textures, while some prefer soft ones. Accordingly, your horse may or may not like apples.
Benefits of Feeding Apples to Horses
Apples are some of the most beneficial fruits for horses. First of all, they’re rich in many essential nutrients, such as vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium.
Second of all, apples are an excellent source of fibers, which play a massive role in your horse’s digestive process, keeping it as smooth as possible. Third of all, apples are full of antioxidants, and these help fight inflammation in your horse’s body and get rid of damaged molecules.
Drawbacks of Feeding Apples to Horses
In general, apples are a safe treat for horses. With that being said, we need to establish some pieces of information before you incorporate them into your horse’s diet. So, here’s a brief roundup of what you should look out for.
Many owners make the famous mistake of offering their horses a large number of apples at once. Instead, you should always feed your horse any food in moderation because horses tend to have very sensitive stomachs. And if you serve your horse too many apples at the same time, they may suffer from colic or a sick stomach.
Many horses suffer from dental issues due to their diets containing large amounts of sugar. And since apples are a bit solid with a crunchy texture, they require a lot of chewing. Accordingly, they might not be your best option if your horse suffers from dental issues.
Moreover, if you want to keep your animal’s teeth healthy, you can cut the apple into small pieces that are more chewable than the whole apple. Another healthy alternative is to puree your apples in a blender before serving them to your horse.
High Sugar Levels
Unfortunately, metabolic issues are pretty common in horses. For example, your horse may suffer from insulin resistance or Cushing’s disease. If this is the case, you shouldn’t serve it any foods that contain a lot of sugar, apples included. Instead, you should contact your vet and ask about a healthy diet that won’t worsen your horse’s condition.
Hyperkalemic Periodic Paralysis (HYPP) is a pretty common disease in horses. It renders your horse unable to utilize potassium as it should, causing the mineral to seep out of its muscles.
Since apples contain potassium, they may cause unfavorable health effects for your horse, including muscle convulsions. Consequently, we don’t recommend that you feed your horse apples if it suffers from this disease.
How Many Apples Should a Horse Have per Day?
Although apples are generally safe for horses, you should still serve them moderately. After all, apples are mostly given to horses as treats, and treats aren’t supposed to constitute a considerable portion of your horse’s diet.
As a result, it’d be best to give your horse a maximum of two apples on a daily basis. Most veterinarians and professionals recommend this to avoid harming your horse in any way.
How to Prepare Apples for Horses
We’ll give you a few ideas on how you should prepare apples before giving them to your horse.
Cut Them Into Small Pieces
When something gets dislodged in a human’s throat, they can throw it up right away. Alternatively, horses can’t do that because their digestive system only goes in one direction. Accordingly, it’d help if you took care of that when feeding your horse apples. Although most horses can eat whole apples, there’s a risk that they might choke on them.
So, it’d be best if you cut apples into small, more chewable pieces before offering them to your horse. Aside from being safer, this also tricks your horse into thinking you’re giving it more treats than usual.
Serve Them Peeled
While your horse can eat an apple’s peel with no problem, it might have some pesticide residues on its surface. Consequently, if you want to be safe, you can peel the apple before offering it to your horse. Otherwise, you can wash it thoroughly.
Moreover, you can purchase organic apples from the grocery store. Those are less likely to have pesticides on their peelings.
Mix Them With Bran Mash
If you feed your horse bran mash, you can easily incorporate apples into it. Just chop up two apples, and mix them with the mash before feeding it to your horse.
Bake the Apples
Baked apples are easy and delicious treats for horses, especially older ones who face difficulty chewing fresh apples. Nevertheless, it would be best if you made sure first that any ingredient you use is safe for horses. Also, avoid adding too much sugar.
Can Horses Eat Apple Seeds?
It’s preferable (but not necessary) to remove apple seeds for your horse. Like many other fruits, apple seeds have traces of amygdalin on them. When a horse eats a seed, this amygdalin turns into cyanide, which can be lethal in large amounts.
Since apple seeds are tiny, it takes an unreasonably large amount of apples to harm your horse. However, be on the safe side and remove the seeds or give your horse apples in small quantities.
Can Apples Kill Your Horse?
You should only worry about the possibility of apples killing your horse if you give it a whole bucket of apples to munch on. That’s why you should take care to keep your horse away from any unlimited source of apples, like an apple tree in your yard, for example.
Also, in addition to the fact that you should only feed your horse two apples per day, you shouldn’t serve them in one go. Instead, try feeding it one apple for breakfast and one as a treat later.
Also, it would help if you took care of those precautions because filling a horse’s stomach with apples can have many harmful effects. For instance, it can get colic, which can lead to laminitis. Laminitis is a severe medical condition that horses commonly suffer from.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Horses Eat Apple Cores?
While some owners worry about feeding their horses apple cores, it’s completely safe. There’s only the risk of your horse choking on the core, but you can cut it into small pieces if you’re worried.
Can Older Horses Eat Apples?
Older horses are more likely to suffer from dental issues. Accordingly, they might not be able to chew fresh apples like younger horses. Alternatively, you can bake, grate, or mash the apples before offering them to your horse. This way, they’ll have softer textures and be easier to eat.
Can My Horse Have an Allergic Reaction After Eating Apples?
Yes, many horses are allergic to apples. For that reason, you should always watch your horse’s behavior after feeding it apples or introducing any new fruits to its diet. If you notice any odd symptoms, contact your vet immediately.
To Wrap Up
Overall, apples can be crunchy, delicious, and refreshing treats for horses. So, if you want to feed your horse apples, you can do it safely in many ways. For starters, you can cut them into small pieces beforehand so that you reduce the risk of your horse choking on them. Second, you can mix them with bran mash to add nutritional value to your animal’s diet.
However, make sure not to feed your horse too many apples, so avoid giving your horse more than two apples per day. Now that you know if and how horses can consume apples, you can maintain a balanced diet for your horse!