Since peanut butter is more of a “human food” than an animal one, pinpointing whether it’d be healthy for your horse or not can be tricky. But can horses eat peanut butter? Is it even healthy, or will it cause problems to your horse’s functions?
You probably haven’t seen a horse casually enjoying a peanut butter sandwich in the wild, or at least we hope so. Continue reading to learn more!
Is Peanut Butter a Good Food for Your Horse?
The short answer is yes; peanut butter can be a delicious, healthy snack for your pet horse. In fact, many horses just love peanut butter, and once your horse gets a taste of it, it’ll keep asking for more.
However, you should be aware that overfeeding your horse with peanut butter can do more harm than good, but more on that later.
Benefits of Peanut Butter for Horses
Peanut butter has lots of health benefits for horses, which include:
High Protein Content
Providing your horse with enough protein is essential for its health. Protein boosts the immune system, transports nutrients into the bloodstream, and enhances metabolic functions. It also plays a vital role in strengthening your horse’s bones and muscles.
One serving of peanut butter contains 7 grams of protein, which makes up a good percent of your horse’s daily protein requirements.
Rich in Vitamins
Peanut butter contains a wide array of essential vitamins that include vitamins B3 and B6. Vitamin B3 enhances your horse’s nervous system, while vitamin B6 boosts hemoglobin production and improves the function of the digestive system.
Excellent Source of Minerals
Peanut butter is loaded up with magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc, all of which play an important role in maintaining your horse’s health. Magnesium prevents muscle tremors, wariness, nervousness, and excitability by making your horse calm, while phosphorus is essential for cell and tissue recovery.
As for zinc, it can do wonders for your pet’s skin health. It also accelerates bone development.
Side Effects of Peanut Butter Consumption in Horses
While peanut butter is generally considered safe for horses, overconsumption may lead to adverse health effects. Here are the negatives of feeding horses peanut butter:
Excessive Weight Gain
Peanut butter may cause unnecessary weight gain for your horse because they’re high in calories. For example, every 100 gm of peanut butter contains 600 calories, which is a lot even for a human.
Peanut butter contains a lot of sugar; a single serving will provide your horse with six grams of added sugar. This will not only make your horse more likely to gain fat but also raise its blood sugar levels and disrupt its functions.
How Often Should Your Horse Eat Peanut Butter?
It’s strongly recommended that you feed your horse one or two tablespoons of peanut butter per week at most. Any more than that would be a cause for alarm.
It might also be a good idea to start with one tablespoon per week for the first two or three weeks, then increase the serving size to two tablespoons. You don’t want your horse to eat large quantities of new food all of a sudden to keep its digestive system functioning properly.
Can Colts Eat Peanut Butter?
Colts (young horses) may be able to eat peanut butter, but it’s not recommended. Since their daily calorie requirements are less than fully-grown horses, even a single serving of peanut butter would be too much for them.
However, you could try feeding them a bit less than adult horses. For example, if a fully-grown horse eats two tablespoons of peanut butter per week, limit that to only one tablespoon for colts.
Is Organic Peanut Butter Better for Horses?
Definitely! Opting for organic peanut butter is a much safer option for your horse. Inorganic peanut butter contains artificial additives and preservatives, which can disrupt your horse’s digestive system.
And while organic peanut butter is more expensive, its benefits far outweigh the cost.
Can Horses Develop an Allergic Reaction to Peanut Butter?
There are very few recorded cases for peanut butter allergies in horses. Therefore, almost all horses should be able to eat peanut butter without any issues, provided that it’s stored properly and its expiration date is still due.
Improperly stored peanut butter may grow mold and other nasty stuff that your horse won’t like.
However, there’s still a small possibility that your horse could be allergic to peanuts, so they’d be allergic to peanut butter, too.
If you’re not sure what to do, it’d be best to consult a vet before feeding your horse peanut butter.
How to Feed Your Horse Peanut Butter
You can either feed your horse peanut butter as it is, or prepare a delicious recipe for it. This one, called “peanut butter bites,” will surely leave your horse asking for more!
- 1 cup of sweet feed or oats
- 1 cup of wholewheat flour
- 1/2 cup of peanut butter
- 1/2 cup of molasses
- 1/4 cup of water
- Set the oven at a temperature of 325°F/160°C
- Mix the sweet feed, peanut butter, and flour thoroughly
- Add water and molasses, then mix again
- Make balls using the mixture and put them on a greaseproof paper one by one
- Put the paper on a baking tray and heat for 10 minutes
- Wait a few minutes for the food to cool down, then feed it to your horse
What Other Foods Can Horses Eat?
Other than peanut butter, there’s a handful of foods that your horse can safely enjoy in moderation, which include:
Foods That Your Horse Shouldn’t Eat
Some foods aren’t suitable for horse consumption. In fact, many of these foods can be toxic and cause severe health issues or even death. These include:
- Caffeinated foods
- Meat products
- Bran products
Can a Horse Eat a Peanut Butter Sandwich?
No, any type of bread will alter your horse’s insulin resistance and may even cause laminitis, a condition that affects the tissues that bond the hoof wall to pedal bone. It can cause severe pain for your poor horse and may even lead to death.
Tips to Maintain a Balanced Diet for Your Horse
Just like any other living creature, horses require a specific amount of nutrients every day to stay healthy and function optimally.
To provide your horse with its nutrition requirements, keep the following tips in mind:
Control Your Horse’s Consumption of Grain
Horses shouldn’t eat more than five pounds of grain daily to prevent colic and other digestive diseases.
Don’t Make Sudden and Aggressive Changes to Your Horse’s Diet
When a horse gets used to a specific diet, it won’t probably be a big fan of making major changes to it. Not only will your horse hate it, but it may also cause health problems.
So, make sure to introduce new foods gradually.
Provide Your Horse With More Forage
Forage should constitute at least 50% of your horse’s diet, or roughly 11-15 pounds. It contains minerals, protein, and vitamins, all of which are essential for your horse’s health.
Ensure That Your Horse Stays Hydrated
Keep a source of clean water close to your horse so that it can drink whenever it needs. Horses must stay hydrated for their body functions to perform at optimal conditions.
Hydrated foods like cabbage can also help your horse reach its daily water requirements.
Adjust Your Horse’s Calorie Intake According to Its Physical Activity
Does your horse stay in the stable most of the day? Then you need to make sure that its calorie consumption is kept under control to prevent weight gain.
Alternatively, you can try to engage your horse in more physical activities.
Include Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamins and minerals are important for your horse’s immune system, teeth, bone, cardiovascular health, and organ function.
Support Your Horse During Stressful Times
Horses may go through stressful periods, just like humans. If you notice that your horse is a little bit under the weather, try to include a new food in its diet and see if it likes it.
Just make sure to consult a vet first since not all types of food are suitable for horses.
To sum it all up, there’s no harm in giving your horse some peanut butter every once in a while. It’s loaded up with minerals, proteins, and vitamins, making it an excellent source of nutrients for your horse.
Nevertheless, you still need to keep track of your horse’s peanut butter consumption since it’s high in calories and may cause unnecessary weight gain.
And remember, horses can’t vomit or burp, so if you carelessly overfeed your horse with any food type, its delicate digestive system won’t tolerate it.