While horses are proud and intelligent animals, they aren’t annoyingly picky when it comes to their diets. But some treats can be pretty unhealthy for them. As a result, you should keep their diet balanced. And in this article, we’re focusing on can horses eat grapes. So, tag along to find out if you can feed them to your horse.
While grapes can cause small animals to choke, horses take them pretty well. Not to mention, grapes have countless nutritional benefits. However, there are still some concerns you should know about before feeding your horse grapes.
Do Horses Like Grapes?
Yes, horses do like grapes. Who doesn’t enjoy a refreshing, sweet treat on a hot day when the sun is too much to handle?
As a matter of fact, owners also prefer feeding horses grapes because they’re effortless treats. For example, they don’t require any preparations beforehand. And horses can eat them without chopping or cooking. However, this doesn’t mean you should feed your horses grapes regularly.
Benefits of Feeding Horses Grapes
Firstly, we’ll talk about the many health benefits your horse will enjoy if you give it grapes as treats. So, here’s what grapes can offer horses:
As a known fact, grapes are an excellent source of hydration, as more than 82% of their composition is water. And while horses, in general, need so much more water than humans each day, they might still benefit from having a few grapes on a hot summer day.
Grapes contain a considerable amount of sugar, which can highly benefit your horse. And since horses are energetic animals, especially racehorses, they need large amounts of sugar to gain energy. However, with that being said, note that too much sugar can cause your horse to gain weight. Accordingly, it’d be best if you took care not to overdo it.
Grapes are rich in fibers, which are a must for horses because they make their digestion processes much smoother. And while some grapes aren’t nearly enough to cover your horse’s fiber intake, those grapes will still benefit its overall gut health.
Nutrients and Antioxidants
Like most fruits, grapes are pretty much full of nutrients. To name a few, they contain zinc, sodium, iron, calcium, potassium, and magnesium. The potassium in grapes helps in improving the nerve and muscle function of your horse.
As for vitamins, grapes are rich in vitamin C, which is essential for horses. This is mainly because it plays a massive role in supporting the immune system.
Finally, grapes are full of antioxidants, which work wonders for your horse’s overall health. They aid in cleansing the body of the toxins that build up during riding and exercise. Moreover, they have an anti-inflammatory effect.
Drawbacks of Feeding Horses Grapes
Despite their many benefits, grapes have some drawbacks to watch out for when you’re feeding them to your horse, and they’re:
Unfortunately, a lot of horses can suffer from insulin resistance during their life. This illness causes a malfunction in their ability to utilize sugars. As a result, their blood sugar levels rise, which causes undesirable health effects.
That’s why you should never feed your horse grapes if it’s insulin-resistant. If you suspect that your horse might be, you need to check with the vet first.
Tip: Green grapes contain less sugar than red grapes, so it won’t hurt to treat your horse to them every once in a while. But for ultimate safety, stick to low sugar treats.
As healthy as fruits are for animals, they can be dangerous if they’ve been treated with pesticides. As fruits that have skins, grapes may be sprayed with pesticides to improve their yield.
So, you should wash them thoroughly before offering them to your horse. And to be safe, you can purchase organic grapes, as they probably won’t contain any harmful pesticides. Nevertheless, they’re definitely more costly.
Horses can easily get addicted to the sweet taste of grapes. As a result, they might refuse any other healthy treat you offer them, such as vegetables. This may affect your horse’s overall health because it’ll overeat sugar without compensating for it with a healthy diet.
To keep a balanced diet, you should mainly offer your horse low-sugar treats so that it doesn’t get used to sweetness.
Many types of grapes contain seeds, and while they’re pretty tiny, they can still be a concern. The reason for this is that seeds may cause digestive issues for your horse. And it’s easily treatable, but it’ll be inconvenient for both you and your animal.
Accordingly, remove the seeds first, or stay away from feeding your horse grapes altogether. If you don’t want to go through the headache of extracting those seeds, you can look for seedless grapes in the grocery store.
Animals’ allergies are pretty unpredictable. As a result, you should always watch your horse closely after feeding it anything new. If you notice any odd symptoms after feeding your horse grapes, you should immediately contact your vet. And, of course, you shouldn’t feed your horse this fruit if they’ve reacted adversely to it before.
How Many Grapes Are Too Much?
After knowing the advantages and the disadvantages of feeding your horse grapes, you’re probably still unsure how many grapes are too many grapes for a horse. Well, we’ll tell you what amount of grapes is safe for your animal.
For one, you should know that horses are used to eating small amounts of food constantly. To elaborate, they won’t eat a huge meal and stay full for the whole day. Instead, they’ll wait for a treat every couple of hours. So, ideally, you should only feed your horse a maximum of 20 grapes per week, or even better, two weeks.
This is a reasonable solution to guarantee that your horse is satisfied with the treats without adversely affecting its balanced diet. Moreover, the horse won’t get addicted to the sugar in grapes.
Otherwise, you can make grapes a reward for your horse when it does something good. Finally, keep in mind that if you have already fed your horse many sweet fruits for treats, you should avoid giving them grapes. However, if grapes are the only treat, you can stick to the number we’ve mentioned.
Should Horses Eat Raisins?
Since raisins are dried grapes, many owners may wonder whether they’re as healthy for horses as the main fruit. Raisins contain the same nutrients as grapes, so you can feed them to your horse without a problem.
However, keep in mind that raisins are dehydrated; therefore, your horse will be missing out on a considerable advantage of grapes if you feed them raisins.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Feed My Horse Grapes Right After Riding?
No, you definitely shouldn’t. This isn’t limited to grapes, though. You shouldn’t feed your horse anything right after riding. Instead, wait till its breathing goes back to normal and its body temperature lowers again.
To elaborate, when a horse’s digestive system works, it leaves less room for its lungs to breathe properly. As a result, it may suffer from breathing problems.
Can I Feed My Horse Frozen Grapes?
Yes, you absolutely can. Horses love frozen grapes because of their crunchy, cold texture. You can pluck a few grapes and put them in the freezer on a tray. Once frozen, you can feed them to your horse. However, it would be best if you didn’t do that during the colder seasons.
Can I Give My Horse Grape Juice?
It would help if you didn’t give your horse grape juice. Juices are full of sugars, which can cause many adverse health effects if your horse consumes them in large amounts. Instead, give it water and a few grapes as a healthier option.
What Fruits Should Horses Not Eat?
As a rule of thumb, you shouldn’t feed your horse any fruits with large seeds without removing the seed first. Moreover, try to avoid feeding it apricots and apples because their seeds contain cyanide, which can be fatally toxic in large amounts. Alternatively, you can remove the tiny seeds first.
To Wrap Up
Since horses like to be fed many times throughout the day, you must give them healthy treats. And grapes are indeed beneficial to horses. However, you should offer them to your horse in limited quantities and wash them thoroughly beforehand to stay safe.
As always, consult the vet if your horse were to exhibit any worrying symptoms. But now that you know enough about the topic, you can keep your horse’s diet balanced and healthy!