Horses can eat strawberries! These fruits are not only sweet and juicy but with loads of nutrition. Your horses won’t only enjoy snacking strawberries but they can gain health benefits as well.
Animals can’t talk about what they feel but their actions show it. I notice that my horses don’t lift their heads until they finish eating all the strawberries that I give them. Because of this, it’s safe to say that strawberries are one of their favorite treats. So, I grow strawberries not only for consumption but for my horses too.
You can feed your horses strawberries every week as a treat. But before you do it, you have to learn the correct way of preparing this fruit. You have to be certain about what you feed your horse or else, you’ll have to deal with consequences.
Can Horses Eat Fresh Strawberries?
Horses can eat fresh strawberries. Make sure that they’re ripe without squishy parts. You can identify fresh strawberries through their bright red color and green cap. They should also smell good and sweet.
So, fresh strawberries are better than frozen ones as the latter can contain molds. You may sometimes miss seeing moldy and rotten strawberries. It’s acceptable to serve frozen strawberries but you have to let them thaw and check for flaws.
To play it safe, only buy fresh strawberries for your horses. Don’t leave them under room temperature as they can turn brown in a matter of a few hours. The ideal temperature for storage is 40 degrees Fahrenheit. You have to refrigerate them right away and make sure that they’re still good before serving them to horses.
Do Horses Like Strawberries?
Horses like strawberries as they’re open to other kinds of food aside from hay and grass. In nature, wild strawberries feed different kinds of animals. Insects like bees and butterflies feast on nectar and pollen.
Birds, bunnies, and even humans also forage the fruits. Some mammals munch on their leaves. So, it’s not surprising if horses like strawberries too. Both humans and animals like the sweet and refreshing taste. So, this fruit is a delectable treat for horses.
How Strawberries Benefit Horses?
Strawberries are nutritious fruits. Thus, horses can take advantage of the following health benefits.
91% of strawberries are water. So, it’s a way for horses to hydrate which is essential in summer. Yet, drinking water is always one of the basic needs of horses. Strawberries can’t replace it for good as they’re only considered occasional treats.
Good for the heart
A cup of raw strawberries contains 45 calories. It even gets better as there’s also a low amount of fat, carbohydrates, and sodium. The said serving has only one gram of fat and 11.67 carbohydrates. Sodium is a small amount of 1.52 mg.
It’s wonderful that strawberries have zero cholesterol. The heart shape of this fruit represents its ability to take care of the heart. Moreover, it encourages the presence of good cholesterol. Also, it lowers blood pressure.
A strawberry is an antioxidant due to its red color. Anthocyanin and flavonoids are antioxidants in their pigment. It can protect horses from free radicals and cancer. It has a role to counter arthritis and eye problems as well.
A Vitamin C Powerhouse
A cup of strawberries has more Vitamin C than an orange. This ample amount of Vitamin C is beneficial for horses. It promotes growth and development and enhances immunologic response.
The amount of Vitamin C in strawberries also works on better iron absorption. It can help injured horses due to its wound healing properties.
Other Essential Minerals and Vitamins
Apart from Vitamin C, there are other vitamins and minerals in strawberries. Even though they’re in small amounts, they’re valuable for horses. Vitamin B6, Vitamin B9, Vitamin E, and Vitamin K have an awesome effect! They’re good for brain activities and the production of red blood cells.
The minerals in strawberries are calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, and potassium. Each of them has positive effects on the health and well-being of a horse.
Can Horses Have Dried Strawberries?
Horses can have dried strawberries but without preservatives which can upset the stomach. They’re antioxidants like dried dates and figs. Dried fruits are rich in potassium, calcium, zinc, beta carotene, Vitamin B, and Vitamin K.
But some horses may choke when eating dried strawberries and other fruits. So far, it hasn’t happened to my horses yet. They chew treats that I give them without choking.
You have to cut dried strawberries into small species to ensure the safety of your horses. Then, you can observe them while eating. You would know if they can handle it well or not. Some horses may eat it in a hurry when they get excited about the taste of strawberries.
Can Horses Eat Strawberry Tops?
You don’t have to throw strawberry tops as horses can eat them. They’re healthy for horses because of their iron, calcium, and Vitamin C content. These leaves have tannins that promote digestion and relieve stomach cramps and nausea.
The high amount of caffeic acid from these tops is good for horses. This type of acid alleviates arthritis and inflammation. Wash the strawberry fruits and tops well to remove chemicals from pesticides. You don’t know what happens on farms.
It’s recommended that you have to leave the tops when storing strawberries in the fridge. They serve as a cover that stops unnecessary water from getting into the fruit.
Can Horses Eat Strawberry Leaves?
Horses can eat strawberry leaves. They even forage blackberry and raspberry bushes, dandelion, and thistle in the wild. Only chemicals from pesticides or insecticides can make strawberry leaves unsafe to eat.
These chemicals can make horses dizzy and nauseous. They also weaken the immune system. To not worry about anything, wash the leaves to remove any residue as well as any chemicals.
Are Strawberry Plants Toxic to Horses?
As mentioned, horses can eat strawberry fruit, tops, and leaves. Thus, they’re not toxic but some things would reverse this fact.
Strawberries are occasional treats for horses. It’s not recommended to have a regular ration. You rather need to introduce it to them little by little.
Since the digestive system of horses is sensitive, give them a small amount of nourishment at a time. Also, horses don’t burp like humans so it can lead to digestive issues.
Eating a lot of strawberries can agitate the system. Horses can have diarrhea, bloating, nausea, and general exhaustion of the digestive system.
A horse may not eat its main diet if you fill its stomach with strawberries. You have to bear in mind the sugar and acidic contents of these fruits. They can lead to colic, a horse disease that is not only painful but can be deadly.
Unwashed strawberries are unsafe due to the chemicals from insecticides and pesticides. These chemicals can make the horses dizzy and nauseous. They can weaken the immune system too.
You can find large-sized strawberries in the market. Some horses chew their food but some don’t. Cut the strawberries into small pieces to prevent them from choking.
Carelessness in preparing strawberries for your horse can cause an upset stomach. This is the same concern when it comes to the hay that you feed your horse.
But things can get worse. You should know that equines are sensitive to pollen. It follows that mold spores affect them in the same way.
Pollen as well as mold spores cause heaves or recurrent airway obstruction. This allergic condition is akin to asthma among humans. On the brighter side, it doesn’t alter a horse’s temperature and appetite.
But heaves have symptoms that make them uncomfortable. You can’t help but worry when you see them cough with a nasal drip. They struggle with breathing too, like when a person has a congested nose. This symptom is noticeable during exercises so a horse with heaves is reluctant to move a lot.
Never give moldy strawberries to your horse. Mold spores don’t only cause heaves as they can give off mycotoxins. Exposure to low amounts of mycotoxins can disrupt the organ functions of horses. This occurrence is gradual.
Mycotoxins are also a culprit of serious health conditions among horses. For example, these toxic compounds cause brain lesions, colic, hypersensitivity, and paralysis.
You have to find out if there are no adverse effects when your horses eat strawberries. This fruit is not the ideal treat for horses that are insulin-resistant due to its sugar content. Too much sugar weakens the teeth of horses too.
Some horses are allergic to strawberries. They experience allergic reactions and difficulty breathing. There are other worse cases linked with these fruits. FDA investigates why strawberries can cause E. coli, hepatitis A, and norovirus.
How Many Strawberries Can Horses Eat?
Horses can eat a cup of strawberries per week. A cup has 8 to 10 fruits depending on the size. To consider the sensitivity of the digestive system of a horse, don’t give this amount at a single meal. You have to divide it per day or every other day to avoid sugar spikes.
Horses love strawberries as a treat because of their taste. You can also feed them strawberry leaves and top. But you have to limit the quantity of their intake. Their main diet doesn’t include strawberries.
Sugar is not good for horses that are insulin resistant. It can also damage their teeth. To ensure that there are no adverse effects, wash the strawberry fruits, tops, and leaves. It’s to remove substances that can harm your horse.