Horses are voracious eaters that will eat almost anything that is offered to them. Horses love fruit treats like apples, peaches, berries, mangoes, watermelon, and plums. But what about blueberries? Are blueberries safe for horses.
This post contains all the answers and other interesting information on the equine diet.
Can horses eat blueberries?
Yes, horses can eat blueberries. Blueberries do not have toxic effects on horses. Their nutritional value is astounding.
Blueberry is a superfood. It contains a myriad of nutrients helpful to humans and animals alike. Blueberries contain vitamins, zinc, potassium, and other essential minerals.
But as all fruit treats, feeding blueberries to horses should be occasional. Too many blueberries can cause several problems to your horse’s health.
What are the health benefits that horses can get when they eat blueberries?
It’s good to know what you’re horses are getting from the food you’re giving them. Here are the nutritional benefits that horses can derive from eating blueberries.
Blueberries are rich in antioxidants
Blueberries are excellent sources of antioxidants like anthocyanin. Experts say that among common fruits, blueberries have the highest antioxidant content.
Antioxidants prevent cell damage by neutralizing the effects of oxidation. It reduces the risk of cancer by preventing the growth of cancer cells.
When horses eat blueberries, it keeps the cardiovascular and digestive systems
Blueberries improve brain function
Research suggests that the antioxidants in blueberries help prevent neurodegeneration in horses. This leads to improved cognitive function and other brain processes.
Blueberries boost the immune system
Blueberries contain pterostilbene. This substance helps boost the immune defense system of a horse’s body. Pterostilbene boosts the energy of cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide (CAMP). CAMP is a gene concerned with immune function.
Blueberries also contain flavonoid, which has anti-inflammatory properties and prevents bacterial diseases.
Wild blueberries counteract a high-fat diet
Eating bilberries (wild blueberries) can counteract the effects of a fat-rich foods.
Blueberries help digestion
Blueberries are rich in complex fibers. Feeding your horses blueberries helps ease a smooth flow of digestion.
Blueberries are a good source of vitamins
This fruit has a high amount of vitamins, minerals, and other micronutrients. Giving it as a treat for horses will give them the essential nutrients they need to stay strong and healthy.
Blueberries are high in vitamin C. It has anti-inflammatory effects and helps avert infections.
Blueberries promote cardiovascular health
Blueberries help lower blood pressure and keep the heart in good condition.
Blueberries prevent urinary tract infections
Horses can also have infections in their urinary systems. The nutrients in a blueberry help fight and prevent urinary tract infections.
What are the risks of eating too many blueberries?
While blueberries have nutritional benefits, blueberries can also have side effects.
Here are the few health risks in feeding excessive amounts of blueberries to horses.
Creates digestive imbalance
A horse’s digestive system is very delicate. Feeding it too many blueberries and other fruits creates an imbalance in their digestive flora. It leads to several digestive issues like diarrhea and colic.
Blueberries like other fruits are rich in sugar.
Too much blueberry treat can also result in drastic weight gain. A high sugar diet can lead to serious diseases like obesity and other related health issues.
Blueberries can cause choking on younger horses. It can quickly become serious because horses cannot vomit. If a colt cannot dislodge a blueberry that gets stuck in its throat, it can cause suffocation and death. If you see signs of choking, call a vet immediately.
How many blueberries can horses eat?
When it comes to giving your horse a snack, moderation is the key. To avoid any unwanted reactions, feed your horses only small portions of blueberries from time to time.
The safe amount to give your pet is s cup of blueberries a week. Giving them a treat too often will create a habit that is hard to break.
How to feed blueberries to horses
Giving treats is another way of bonding with horses. after reading the nutritional facts, you might be excited to feed this treat to your pets.
Horses will love blueberries in any way you feed it to them. Even so, here are some tips on preparing blueberry treats.
Cut-up fresh blueberries
Wash fresh blueberries to remove any chemicals on the skin. Cut them in half. After which, remove the pits and the stems. Serve them fresh and raw. Your horses will love these.
Blueberry and seeds mix
Elevate the flavor and nutrients of cut-up fresh blueberries by mixing chia seeds, nuts, and oat grains.
Blueberry biscuit is a yummy treat for horses. You can make homemade blueberry biscuits using a biscuit recipe and adding blueberries. But is, you are not a good baker, you can always buy them from grocery stores.
Blueberry fruit mix
Make a simple fruit salad for your horse by putting together cut-up blueberries and other fruits like bananas and apples. Horses will love this. Remember not to put any cream or other sweeteners.
If your horse is already overweight, has diabetes or equine metabolic syndrome, do not give it high-sugar treats. It can worsen its condition.
Horses love frozen treats, especially during hot weather. They go crazy on frozen treats like kids go crazy on popsicles.
To make it easier for your horse to chew frozen blueberries, you can thaw it just for a bit before feeding it to your pet.
What are other food and treats that are safe for horses to eat?
A proper food plan keeps a horse healthy. An equine diet can be delicate. Picking the right foods and treats for your horse will keep it in tip-top shape.
Here is a list of safe food for horses and the benefits they bring.
Fruits are great sources of vitamins and minerals, which are essential in the immune system. Feeding occasional fruits to horses will keep them active and strong.
The biggest nutrient that a horse can derive from eating bananas is potassium. Bananas are at the top when it comes to fruits with a high potassium content.
A horse that competes in races and other sports need potassium for optimum muscle function. Potassium helps with cramps and spasms.
You might have heard some say that pineapple is poisonous to horses. It is false. This fruit is very rich in vitamin C, which helps fight bacterial infections. Pineapples are excellent treats for horses.
Pineapple peel is hard and rough and can cause choking. Peel the pineapple cut it into rings, and then into quarters. If you feed a horse smaller pieces, you can prevent tummy upsets.
Yes, horses can eat coconut. Are you surprised? Don’t be. Coconut is a great source of vitamins. It is also rich in magnesium, zinc, and potassium.
To feed this delicious fruit to your pet, peel off the flesh and cut them into small pieces before giving it to your horse.
Make sure that you do not add any part of the husk. Horses cannot digest this and can lead to digestive problems.
Grapes are small, soft, and nutritious fruits that a horse can eat. These are a perfect snack for your horse.
Horses love apples. It can be cut into pieces and mix with other fruits for a horse to eat.
Pears are also a great source of nutrients. But the seeds should not be fed to a horse
Peach fruit is a great treat for a horse. Aside from the nutritional value, its sweet taste will delight your horse.
Berries are known to have a high amount of antioxidants and vitamins. Here are other berries related to blueberries that horses can eat.
Blackberries contain heart-healthy nutrients. They are tasty treats for horses, but you shouldn’t let them eat this out of the bush. While your horse will enjoy this, it can eat dirt, insects, and chemical that will upset its tummies.
Strawberry is one of the most popular berries. A horse can get vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and water from eating strawberries.
Raspberries can be alternatives for blueberries. They have almost the same nutritional value as blueberries.
Vegetables are rich in fibers that are needed by the digestive system. Vegetables also have minerals that contribute to a horse’s health.
Celery has a high water and fiber content. If your horses are having trouble with digestion and are often constipated, feed them celery.
When feeding leafy greens to your horses, remember to wash them thoroughly to remove pesticide that night cause gastric irritation.
Cucumber helps to hydrate your horses and prevent any inflammations.
Cucumber is a favorite snack of a horse. It loves the natural crunch and slightly sweet taste of this fruit.
Carrot can also be a delectable treat for your pet. It has high levels of vitamins. Like the cucumber, it’s crunchy and sweet.
Tender plant and grass
In the wild, horses eat mainly tender plant and pasture grass. Some owners with ranches can create a horse’s natural habitat and feed its natural food.
For owners that do not have the luxury of letting their horses graze and eat pasture grass, hay is the next best thing.
Hay and grass provide loads of fiber that help in a horse’s digestion.
Even so, hay may not always contain all the nutrients that a horse needs. In this case, the owner might need to give vitamin and mineral supplements.
Grain is a great source of nutrients. Horses can eat barley, oats, and corn grains.
Grains can be made into concentrate mixes. It is simply a mix of different types of grains and seeds.
A sugar cube is not a necessary food for a horse, but it’s an enticing treat.
Although, horses should not be fed a lot of sugar cubes. These can lead to health problems. It will do your horse a world of good if you limit its sugar intake.
What foods are toxic to horses?
Like dogs and other animals, some types of food cannot be fed to horses. These foods will cause toxic side effects to horses and dogs.
Chocolate is unsafe for most animals. Dogs and horses cannot eat chocolates. They contain theobromine that is harmful and even poisonous to horses.
Mild amounts of chocolate can cause psychological effects to a horse. Large portions can cause heart attacks, seizures, metabolic derangement, colic, and internal bleeding.
In extreme cases, a horse can die from eating chocolates.
Because lawn clippings consist of grass, many people think that they are safe for a horse. But the truth is, they pose potential health risks.
Lawn clipping can contain toxic plants and chemicals that can upset a horse’s stomach. Moreover, there is the risk of ingesting molds from clipping that have been sitting for days.
Apricots should not be fed to a horse because that can be a choking hazard. The pits of this fruit can get stuck in the esophagus of a horse. Also, pits of apricots are poisonous to horses.
Other pitted fruits are cherries, plums, and dates.
The fiber and seeds of the persimmon fruit can be lodged in the intestines of a horse and lead to gastrointestinal problems.
Final thoughts on “Can horses eat blueberries?”
Blueberry is so nutritious, it among the most popular fruits in the world. It contains vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients necessary to keep a horse healthy.
Despite the health benefits, blueberries can still pose some risks to their health if they eat too much. Only feed your horse a cup of blueberries a week to prevent the side effects of overeating this treat. Also, remember that when giving a blueberry treat to horses, remove the pit and stem to avoid choking and tummy upsets.
Aside from blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and other berries are healthy fruit treats that can be included in a horse’s diet. Fruits are naturally rich in vitamins that help boost the immune system of your horse.
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