Delicious and full of nutrients, strawberries are a delicious treat for us but can horses eat strawberries or are they better kept away from them? They love a treat just as much as we do and sweet ones are even better as many horses do have a sweet tooth. The problem is that not everything that is good for us will also be beneficial for a horse and some vegetables or fruits are very dangerous, avocado being one of these, but how about strawberries?
This fruit is rich in antioxidants, vitamins and fiber so they will boost a horse’s immune system and they also have some water which means that they are a source of hydration. They are a great source of vitamin C but they also have vitamins E and K as well as many minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium or phosphorus, all of which are important in the development and well-being of a horse.
Horses may find strawberries in the wild and they will certainly eat them there and as you probably can guess, they won’t be very picky to remove the leaves when they do this. If this is what happened in your case then you can rest assured since the leaves aren’t toxic either for them and thus they won’t cause any problems.
As with any fruit, you don’t want to exaggerate the quantity as they can cause damage to their digestive system and in addition, if they are full of strawberries they won’t have any room left for their regular meal. If this continues for a longer period of time your horse may develop nutrient deficiencies and have problems with their digestion.
Too much sugar is also problematic for horses, just as it is for us and if the horse has an insulin resistance then it is important to speak to a veterinarian so that you know exactly if strawberries are good or not.
Although you could allow you horse to simply take the strawberries that grow in your garden, there are some things to consider here. There are possible pesticides or other chemicals sprayed on them and these will probably be harmful to them so washing the properly is a much more cautious approach. One other thing that is worth mentioning is that mold can do them a lot of harm so it is better to throw away the ones that have gone bad instead of just throwing them to a horse.
Around six to ten strawberries given once or up to twice a week are considered the recommended amount and that should be safe for a healthy horse but if they don’t eat them right away take the ones left and either keep them cold for later or throw them away if they go bad because after a while they risk to upset a horse’s stomach.
Yes, strawberries area safe for horses if given as treats in small quantities and they do offer some nutritional benefits as well.