Feeding bread to horses is a common practice almost everywhere. Although there are many specialized equine feeds available, yet, people often tend to feed bread to their horses. But, can a horse eat bread? Is bread a good option for a horse? Keep scrolling, we will explore this question in this article.
Usually, the bread is made of wheat flour, yeast, salt, and water. Apparently, there isn’t anything in the bread that is harmful to horses and can add some calories to the proportion. However, feeding bread solely is never enough for a horse, as a horse needs more than what bread offers. Mostly, bread is inadequate in vitamins A, D, E as well as minerals like zinc and copper, all of which are needed in the horse’s diet.
Let’s take a closer look at how much bread can your horse consume, the dos and don’ts of feeding bread to horses, and more.
Should You Feed Your Horse Bread?
Whatever the recipe is, usually the large portion of the bread is wheat – which means low calcium, and high phosphorus. High phosphorus can cause severe calcium deficiency as phosphate binds to calcium which in turn reduces calcium absorption. Horses need more calcium to retain their bone strength, so feeding horses a high amount of phosphorus can make their bones weak.
Whether or not horses can eat bread is a complex question that has more to it than the eye meets.
To tackle the problem of nutrient deficiency from bread, you should opt for good quality hay and pasture for your equine friend. One more thing to add here is that the age of the horse also matters. Older horses do not need much calcium, in fact, lower calcium intake is preferred.
Another issue with an only-bread diet for horses is that wheat lacks protein. That means you will have to add protein supplements to your horse’s diet if you are feeding him bread. Bread also has starch which is an issue because many horses have resistance to starch. If, by any chance, your horse has metabolic syndrome, bread can cause Laminitis.
Hence, bread is not an ideal feed for horses. Having said that, you still can feed your horse bread occasionally; as a treat. But, feeding your horse bread as a sole feed is not a good option to go for.
Dos and Don’ts of Feeding Bread to Horses?
As discussed above, bread can be fed, however, not so often. And chances are that you’ll sometimes choose to give your horse bread. For such instances, here are some dos and don’ts of feeding bread to horses:
- Choose bread that doesn’t have poppy seeds or chocolate in it.
- Never feed a lot of bread to your horse – it can cause severe problems in your horse, which you don’t want.
- The bread should be given gradually, once in a while. Bread is not meant to be a regular feed for horses.
- If by any chance, your horse has resistance to starch, don’t feed him bread with a high starch proportion – it can cause laminitis. Instead, choose bread with high fiber to low carb ratio. However, not giving them bread at all is ideal.
- Bread with high sugar and fat proportion is only suggested if your horse is lean, and you want him to put on some weight.
Feeding bread to horses is absolutely fine as longs as you consider some things. Also, consulting with an equine diet specialist is highly recommended.
Health Risks Associated With Horses Eating a Lot of Bread
Bread, when overfed, can led to some serious ailments in horses. This is why you need to be very careful while choosing the frequency of bread feeding. If your horse eats a large quantity of bread, it can cause the following ailments:
Abdominal Pain or Colic
The starch in bread can be very problematic for your horse. In hindgut, the starch fermentation can help bacterias grow – which can result in lactic acid production which eventually can cause severe pain in the horse abdomen.
In horses, the hoof wall and coffin bone are connected through the laminae and a problem with laminae results in laminitis, which is a highly debilitating illness. It is also recurrent, which means that laminitis episodes can occur again and again. This is why it should be prevented in the first place.
The disturbed pH can also weaken the bones and lead to Laminitis.
Bread has high portions of starch that can prompt medical conditions, for example, Equine Rhabdomyolysis.
A horse’s muscle tissues are obliterated in ER. The symptoms are stiffness, over sweating, inability to move, respiratory problems, and fatigue.
Foods You Shouldn’t Feed Your Horse
Horses, no matter how tough they look, have a very sensitive stomach, a little change in diet can impact their overall health very quickly. Some foods, you might think are perfectly fine, can be harmful to horses. Moreover, what diet is fed in what quantity also matters a lot. Thus, while deciding your horse’s diet you need deep consideration.
Here are some foods that should never be a part of your horse diet:
The first ingredient that you should keep away from your horse is chocolate. No matter how tasty chocolates are; they are not suitable for horses. Cocoa present in chocolate contains theobromine. And horses have high resistance towards theobromine. A large amount of chocolate can even lead the horse to death.
And if you’re wondering a little chocolate might do no harm, then think again. Because even the smallest amount of theobromine can cause severe health problems in horses.
Even though chances of feeding persimmons to a horse are less, still, it is important to talk about its dangers for horses. Persimmons fruit has seeds that cannot be digested by horses; hence, can end up making a mass in the digestive tract. They probe a danger as they can cause severe colic pain in horses.
Generic benefits of avocado might allure you into feeding your pet with this nutritious fruit. But, the fruit that is super beneficial for you is not so appropriate for your horse. Its skin and seed can be harmful to the health of your horse.
Hence, we suggest you eat as much avocados as you want to – but don’t feed it to your horse.
You might have a beautiful lawn in the backyard, full of grass, and different plants. And chances are that your horse might love to roam into that lawn. There is no harm for your horse in walking around the lawn and enjoying it – however, the yard can have different types of plants; and some of them can be harmful to your horse. And as we know from the examples of fruits, not all plants are suitable for horses.
Moreover, your gardener (or you) might have used some fertilizers to grow that beautiful grass and plants. Those fertilizers can also be toxic for your horse.
Tomato is one of the primary ingredients for most of our favourite dishes, but can a horse eat tomatoes? The answer is a big no. Tomatoes contain atropine – which can be lethal for a horse’s nervous system. It can cause very severe problems such as convulsions that can be fatal for your horse.
Make sure you keep the tomatoes in your kitchen, and not in your horse’s diet.
Other Milk-Related Products
Now let’s find out, can a horse eat cheese or other milky products? Well, every dairy product has the same ingredient – lactose. Horses, especially older ones, don’t have the ability to digest lactose.
Thus, lactose intake results in diarrhea in horses. This is why it is highly advisable not to feed them cheese and other milky products.
FAQs Related to Feeding Bread to Horses
Still a bit skeptical about what should your horse eat? Worry not, we have you covered. Here are a few frequently asked questions that will help clear all your queries.
Can you give your horse whole wheat bread?
Horses can digest bread. If you plan on giving them bread then always opt for plain bread. Opting for bread such as garlic bread or chocolate bread can be harmful to your equine’s health.
Simple bread isn’t fatal for horses and can be given in moderation. Even though bread is high in calories it provides minimal supplemental value. Therefore making it a constant element of your horse’s eating routine can affect the supplemental intake of the horse. You can, however, feed them bread occasionally as a treat.
Is bread dangerous for horses?
While bread isn’t poisonous to horses, it isn’t healthy for them by the same token. Overfeeding bread can cause Laminitis, abdominal pain, Equine Rhabdomyolysis (ER), and other diseases.
You can feed your horses 1-2 ordinary, estimated cuts of bread. More than that isn’t great for them.
Can your horse eat raisin bread?
You can safely feed your horse raisin bread without stressing.
There are numerous organic products that horses can and should not eat. But there’s nothing wrong with raisin bread that should keep you from adding it to your horse’s diet. If seedless, raisins make extraordinary treats.
Be that as it may, much the same as customary bread, utilize it as a once-in-a-while treat.
Can bread kill horses?
Bread doesn’t kill horses but that doesn’t make it healthy either.
Bread may seem, by all accounts, to be innocuous, yet baked products can turn into a frightful uncooked wreck and afterwards cause a blockage that prompts colic. As bread is of minimal health benefit and isn’t even that delicious, it is ideal to keep it far from your horse.
Can young horses eat bread?
The answer to this question is, no, for young horses are more likely to have scratch-resistance than adult horses. The starch in bread can cause severe health issues in young horses. Moreover, over intake of starch can hinder proper bone development in young horses.
Can you feed moldy bread to your horse?
No, you should always feed bread that is fresh and dry. Mold bread has mycotoxins that can harm the horse. As horses don’t have the ability to digest mycotoxins. If moldy bread is fed to horses, it can cause many respiratory, immunological, or gastrointestinal diseases.
Horses’ digestive systems can digest bread but feeding bread to them isn’t the best choice. Bread comes up short on every fundamental supplement and contains a lot of starch (that prompts various illnesses in horses).
You should refrain from giving bread to horses and on the off chance that you want to offer them bread, do it with some restraint. Otherwise, it will lead to serious health issues. Don’t feed them rotten bread as well because it can make a pony exceptionally sick and can, sometimes, even be deadly.
A healthy horse is a happy horse, and what can make us happier than our happy, healthy horses?