There is usually some confusion as to what kinds of fruits and vegetables horses can or cannot eat. Be aware that a horse will eat anything that seems edible to him, so he does not have an instinctive dislike for something that might be toxic or cause digestion problems. Keep in mind also that horses are herbivores and typically eat pasture grass, hay, and grains. Additionally, horses can be fed concentrates, and usually supplements (salt and minerals) are added to their diet.
Any other types of food, including fruits and vegetables should be rationed even if they are not harmful to horses.
So, can horses eat sweet potatoes? Yes, horses can eat sweet potatoes, but not in large quantities.
Some horses like sweet potatoes a lot and owners are tempted to feed them sweet potatoes in excessive amounts, but this is not good practice. Typically one average size sweet potato is a good measure for a nice treat for your horse. Another common question is do you need to cook sweet potatoes or can horses eat raw sweet potatoes? You do not have to cook sweet potatoes, horses can eat raw sweet potatoes. You can chop a sweet potato in smaller pieces and a treat for your horse is ready.
Table Of Contents
- Can Horses Eat Potatoes?
- Can horses eat sweet potato peelings?
- Why Are Potatoes Not Good For Horses?
- Why are sweet potatoes good for horses?
- How to tell if My Horse Had Eaten potatoes?
- I Found My Horse Eating Potatoes. What’s next?
- How Do I Keep My Horse Away from Potatoes?
- Is Sweet Potato good for stomach ulcers?
- Does sweet feed cause ulcers in horses?
- Can horses eat mashed potatoes?
Can Horses Eat Potatoes?
A very important thing is not to mix up potatoes and sweet potatoes when talking about a horse’s nutrition. Regular potatoes are toxic for horses, so the answer to whether horses can eat potatoes is definitely no. This is particularly the case for raw potatoes. Do not feed raw potatoes to your horse. If potatoes would be cooked then perhaps horses would be ok with eating them, but still do not do that. Do not try to feed horses some types of food simply because you eat those foods. Horses have a digestive system adapted to their most common diets: grass, hay, grains, so any other type of food might cause them digestion issues. Thus to conclude, horses cannot eat potatoes because potatoes are toxic and harmful to horses.
Can horses eat sweet potato peelings?
As sweet potatoes are generally fine for horses to eat, the sweet potato peelings are also safe for horses to eat. It is a completely different issue whether your horse actually likes sweet potato peelings. But, if your horse wants to eat them, it is safe. As a matter of fact, sweet potatoes peelings are healthier than the flash. Sweet potato peelings contain twice as much antioxidants and are a good source of fiber. Thus, the answer is definitely yes; horses can eat sweet potatoes peelings.
Why Are Potatoes Not Good For Horses?
You have probably heard that potatoes are bad for horses and should not be given to horses in any forms, especially raw, but why are potatoes not good for horses? The answer is in fact that horses have quite different digestion than humans. Potatoes are harmful to horses because as part of perennial nightshade family of plants they contain solanine, alkaloid which breaks down into deadly toxic in horse’s intestines. Additionally, green tomatoes contain atropine which is particularly toxic. In very small amounts potatoes might not cause any serious harm to your horse, but given the potential harm, potatoes should be completely avoided in a horse’s diet.
Why are sweet potatoes good for horses?
Sweet potatoes contain some beneficial nutrients for horses, but still avoid giving them to your horse in a large quantity. In a small amount sweet potatoes can be good for horses because sweet potatoes contain fiber, vitamins and minerals. More precisely, sweet potatoes contain vitamin A (good for bones and eyes), vitamin C (for immune system), vitamin B5 (improves digestion), vitamin A (good for skin), potassium (muscle health) and manganese (reduces inflammation). Additionally, sweet potatoes can help with stomach ulcers. Sweet potatoes are good for treating ulcers because they contain methanol, flour, vitamins A and C, and beta-carotene. They can be helpful on their own, but sometimes veterinarians will prescribe feeding your horse sweet potatoes in order to enhance reaction to conventional medicines for stomach ulcers.
How to tell if My Horse Had Eaten potatoes?
Effects of potato consumption on a horse mainly depend on the amount of potatoes eaten. Usually, small amounts won’t cause any serious problems, but the reaction of each individual horse cannot be easily predicted, especially because horses have quite sensitive digestion systems. Some of the common symptoms of potato poisoning are abdominal swelling, cramps, diarrhea, excessive thirst, and in some more severe cases ataxia, respiratory distress, confusion. In the more serious symptoms veterinarian should be consulted as these may be signs of potato poisoning but may also indicate to other illnesses. To determine the exact cause, the veterinarian will most probably do a blood test. However, if you have witnessed potato consumption or consumption of any other suspicious plant keep a sample and show it to the veterinarian.
I Found My Horse Eating Potatoes. What’s next?
An important thing to remember as a general guideline is not to panic even though the situation may not look good. If you have seen your horse eating potatoes then make sure to determine the quantity. Keep in mind that a small quantity in a majority of cases won’t make any problems or milder digestion issues. However, a larger quantity can be dangerous. If in fact your horse has eaten a large quantity of potatoes then make sure you contact a veterinarian as soon as possible. Veterinarian will most probably do some test and examine your horse, but there should not be serious consequences if the veterinarian is promptly alarmed. Treatment that includes activated charcoal will most probably undo harm alongside other common treatments of potato poisoning.
How Do I Keep My Horse Away from Potatoes?
A very good and natural remedy for keeping horses away from the potatoes is in the fact that horses do not find potatoes tasteful. Most often horses will take a few bites and leave the potatoes without any further interest. However, as a horse owner you should always examine closely the spaces that your horse occupies most of the time. When examining their most commonly used spaces look for any plants and weeds that should be avoided by horses. The safest thing you can do in order to keep your horse away from potatoes is to remove and eliminate any plants and weeds that should not be eaten by a horse. This might not be the quickest strategy but will certainly bring more ease to your mind than relying on horse’s natural dislike for potatoes.
Is Sweet Potato good for stomach ulcers?
Sweet potatoes do have some positive effects for your horses, but do not confuse them with regular potatoes since there is a huge difference. Sweet potatoes are good for treating stomach ulcers if in fact your horse likes to eat sweet potatoes. However, there are quite a few less problematic herbal and medicinal treatments for stomach ulcers in horses. Nevertheless, sweet potatoes in rational quantities can be an option for treating stomach ulcers in horses. Sometimes even veterinarians will prescribe eating sweet potatoes to your horse in order to treat stomach ulcers.
Does sweet feed cause ulcers in horses?
Horses have in their natural nutrition continuous supply of food, high in fiber and low in starch. If horses are predominantly fed food high in starch and low in fiber this can cause several digestion problems. Yes, sweet feed in excess can lead to ulcers in horses because this is not the way they are accustomed and it is not their natural behavior. For their general health it is good to keep horse’s nutrition as close to the natural as possible. This means that horse’s food should predominantly be grass, hay, oats, and everything else that is edible by horses should be fed in moderation, including food high in sugar.
Can horses eat mashed potatoes?
As a general rule, potatoes should be avoided in a horse’s diet. Raw potatoes are especially harmful for your horse, so you should keep potatoes away from your horse at any time. A very small amount should not cause any serious damage, but still, keep it away as it is not worth the risk. When it comes to cooked potatoes, for example, mashed potatoes situation is not much better. Horses can eat mashed potatoes, but it is not recommended. You might think that mashed potatoes are fine for your horse as you like them, but keep in mind that there is a huge difference between a human’s and a horse’s diet. Simply put, you would not eat hay even though your horse finds it delicious.