If you are a horse owner, you’ll agree that your horse is family. As our companions, it is your responsibility for their health and safety. Part of this responsibility lies in what we feed them.
Horses enjoy a good treat, especially during training. However, when we offer them a treat, it is crucial to know if feeding them is safe for their digestive system. Uneducated individuals might assume that what’s safe to consume is just as suitable for horses. That said, this is not the case. Feeding your horse foods that are unsafe can cause your horse to become very ill.
It is important to note that horses are known herbivores, which means they survive mainly by feeding off of plants and plant-based feed. Thus, providing them with the foods we eat on a daily basis could disturb their natural diets. Before feeding your horse any food outside their diet, you need to do your research about whether that food is safe for them to have or not.
One of the most common questions related to horses and what they can eat is: can horses eat chocolate? We have gone ahead and done the research for you so that you can have access to the most reliable information. Continue reading to learn more!
Ingredients and the Effects of Feeding Your Horse Chocolate
Before we determine whether or not chocolate is safe for horses to eat, it is crucial to understand what chocolate is made of.
Chocolate contains two significant ingredients: theobromine and caffeine. Both are stimulants that give humans a buzz of energy. Unlike humans, horses have an adverse reaction to both of these chemicals. While a small dose will not hurt them in the long run, a large quantity of these chemicals can prove to be quite dangerous or even fatal in some cases.
Chocolate is calorie-dense. Feeding chocolate to your horse could cause a significant gain in weight and a decreased appetite. As a result, your horse will not eat as much of the nutritional foods they need daily. In addition, being overweight can cause many problems for your horse—for example, inactiveness and increased stress on the heart and lungs.
Another main ingredient in chocolate is sugar. Similar to humans, consuming too much sugar is bad for horses. Having too much sugar included in a horse’s diet can cause chronic inflammation and colic and lower its metabolism.
Caffeine, as we know, makes us alert and stimulates our minds. However, too much caffeine can make us anxious and stressed out. The same effects will apply to your horse. Furthermore, caffeine in large quantities can be dangerous and produce adverse effects. For example, an overdose of caffeine could put too much stress on your horse’s heart.
Therefore, feeding your horse chocolate can cause an array of problems. If your horse eats chocolate, one of the most common side effects you will notice will be an upset stomach. This is because a horse’s digestive system is not designed to digest chocolate and will have trouble doing so. As a result, your horse may experience diarrhea. Additionally, ingesting chocolate can also cause fatigue and frustration in horses.
Should You Feed Your Horse Chocolate?
In short, no. For all the reasons listed above, chocolate could be considered poisonous to your horse. Thus, it would be best if you refrained from feeding your horse chocolate, even in small quantities. If your horse manages to find and eat some chocolate, do not panic. We advise that you get a hold of your veterinarian as soon as possible. Observe your horse for signs of illness or displays of unusual behavior.
Our horses are family, which is why it is important that we pay special attention to their health and happiness. While you might be tempted to experiment with the types of treats you give your horse, some foods are not suitable for them to eat. In fact, feeding your horse these treats can cause severe effects that compromise their health and safety.
If you’re an avid chocolate and horse lover, you might have asked yourself, can horses eat chocolate? In short, the answer is no. Consuming chocolate can make your horse ill.
As we detailed earlier, chocolate contains ingredients that can have a negative impact on your horse’s health. For example, theobromine is a stimulant that can cause your horse a lot of stress and discomfort.
Apart from theobromine, there are several other factors about chocolate that can be unhealthy for your horse: an abundance of calories, a high sugar intake, and excessive amounts of caffeine. These factors can cause weight gain, fatigue, increased stress on the heart and lungs, inflammation, colic, diarrhea, and many more symptoms.
If you are thinking about giving chocolate to your horse, don’t. There are several substitutes to choose from if you want to give your horse a tasty treat. For example, try an apple or strawberries. Your horse will thank you for it.