Yes, Just the thought of watermelons is enough to get you drooling on a scorching day, but can a horse eat watermelon too? Indeed! You can definitely offer watermelons to your equine as an occasional surprise. The fruit consists of 90% water and horses tend to love its sweet taste. In fact, your steed is most likely to happily eat up the rind of the watermelon too!
Horses eating watermelon may appear as an odd sight at first, but once you realize how much these animals enjoy the treat, your mind is likely to wander off to imagine what other fruits can horses eat. For now, let’s just stick to watermelons.
In this article, we’ll be going through the benefits of horses eating watermelons, how to feed watermelons to your horse, when should a horse not eat watermelon, how safe the fruit is for horses, etc. As a bonus, we will also be sharing a few unique ways to help you introduce watermelon into your horse’s diet smartly. Are you ready? let’s start!
Health Benefits of Eating Watermelon for Horses
Horses generally tend to relish sweet treats. If your steed has a sweet tooth too, chances are that watermelons will serve as a sheer delight. Feeding watermelon to horses is not only a safe practice; it provides numerous health benefits as well. This means you don’t have to feel guilty for the sugar rush when including the fruit in the animal’s diet.
Now, if you are wondering how feeding watermelons to horses can be beneficial in any other way except that it consists of 90% water content, you are in for a surprise! Watermelons not only serve as a refreshing snack during hot summer months, but they are also packed with vitamins, minerals as well as many other nutrients that your steed can benefit from. Besides, the fruit is fat-free, has low sodium, consists of only 30 calories per 100g, and contains zero cholesterol. Check out the breakdown of its nutritious value below:
- Calcium – strengthens the hooves, bones, and teeth of a horse. It also ensures that the heart, muscles, and nerves of the animal are functioning well.
- Magnesium – plays a crucial role in reducing insulin resistance and alongside various other anti-inflammatory benefits.
- Iron – facilitates the digestive process, produces energy for the horse, and enhancing its immunity.
- Phosphorus – mainly helps in filtering out waste from the kidneys while managing how the equine stores energy in its body.
- Amino Acids – aid in relaxing blood vessels and increasing blood flow. The amino acids in watermelon also help in reducing blood pressure, combating fatigue, and maintaining good vascular health.
- Potassium – helps in improving the functionality of the muscles, nerves, and heart.
- Vitamins – vitamin A helps in boosting the immune system and vision along with supporting bone health, whereas vitamin B6 converts carbohydrates and fats in the fruit into energy when digested. Furthermore, vitamin C keeps the horse healthy by repairing tissue and cell damage while simultaneously strengthening the immune system.
- Fiber – approximately 17% of the watermelon rind consists of fiber, which is an extremely important part of a horse’s healthy diet.
How to Feed Watermelon to a Horse?
Horses can eat watermelons but if you are feeding it to them for the first time, there are certain factors that you need to keep in mind. Remember, it is not viable to present them with a huge watermelon to devour under any circumstances. Doing so can be hazardous rather than beneficial to the equine’s health as it has a sensitive digestive system.
So how should you feed your horse watermelons for the first time? Keep reading to know!
- Wash the rind of the watermelon thoroughly before offering it to your horse. The rind is eatable too and should be free of dust and pesticides for obvious reasons.
- Introduce the fruit gradually into your pet’s diet even if you are just giving it as an occasional treat. To begin with, offer only one or two watermelon chunks instead of a whole slice.
- When feeding watermelons to your horse for the first time, make sure to chop the fruit in small pieces, and otherwise the animal is likely to choke on the unfamiliar treat.
- Refrigerate the watermelon chunks before serving them to your horse during humid weather. This will soothe their thirsty throats while serving as a sweet surprise at the same time.
- To make your equine’s regular meal more appealing, mix in a couple of watermelon chunks and see how it reacts to the new flavor. Moreover, combining watermelon with oats, coconut oil and wheat can result in tastier treats.
- Make sure to monitor your horse for any adverse reactions to eating watermelons in the initial phase. In case you do notice some side effects, consult a vet immediately.
Can Horses Eat Watermelon Rind and Seeds?
If you’re all set to discard watermelon seeds and rind before feeding the fruit to your horse, hold on right there. The bitter-tasting rind that apparently holds no worth to you is actually quite advantageous to a horse’s health. Not only is the rind extremely high in fiber, unlike the watermelon flesh which is mainly water, it is also rich in nutrients and minerals.
Regardless, it is important to feed watermelon rind to horses in the right way. First, wash it properly to remove harmful pesticides and then chop it up for the steed to easily chew on. Some horses actually enjoy the crunchy shell of the watermelon more than its fleshy part.
On the contrary, watermelon seeds can be harmful to horses as they contain cyanide just like in the seeds of apples, cherries, and a few other fruits. Hence it is preferable to throw them. However, there is no need to panic if your pet indulges in small amounts of watermelon seeds along with the fruit itself. Just make sure not to feed watermelon seeds to a horse intentionally or in large quantities.
Is Sugar in Watermelon Harmful for Horses?
By now you are probably already content that horses can eat watermelons and gain excellent health benefits. However, the one thing that might still be troubling you is the high sugar content of the juicy treat. Is it really safe for your beloved pet in the long run? Well, the answer to this is yes, absolutely. The fruit is made up of 90% water with roughly only 9 grams of sugar in a cup of diced watermelons. This isn’t a lot considering that most of the foods in a horse’s regular diet like pasture grass and carrots contain a reasonable amount of sugar too.
It’s true that horse food that has high sugar content can cause serious health problems like laminitis and colic, but watermelons are completely safe to consume in moderate quantities. Besides, too much of any food is likely to lead to unpleasant consequences. Nonetheless, despite being a sweet-tasting treat, the sugar level in watermelons is not as high as many of us might think.
When Should You Not Feed Watermelon to Your Horse?
As much as your steed may enjoy the rind and flesh of this refreshing fruit, there are certain dietary and dental conditions in which you should avoid feeding watermelon to your horse. Wondering how and when watermelons can become a dangerous feast for your equine? We’ve enlisted it right here:
Horses suffering from dental issues are likely to have difficulty in chewing the hard rind of watermelons. Coaxing them to continue eating may eventually cause them to lose all interest in any food that needs to be munched on.
If your horse has any type of insulin resistance, no matter how mild it may be, it is advisable to skip feeding watermelons to the equine due to the sugar content.
Hyperkalemic Periodic Paralysis
Horses with Hyperkalemic Periodic Paralysis should steer clear from foods consisting of potassium. Although the potassium level in watermelons is not too high, Equines with HYPP are prone to suffer from episodes of severe weakness by consuming even a small amount of potassium. Hence it is best to avoid feeding watermelons to horses in such a case.
Nevertheless, even if your horse has no health issues, you should always ensure that it only devours on watermelons occasionally and in limited amounts.
Watermelon Treats for Horses
Instead of simply chopping up the watermelon and offering it to your horse as a boring treat, try to come up with variations to make the food interesting. Here are a few options you can play around with to see which one becomes a hit with your steed.
Peel off the watermelon rind and freeze the fleshy part after cutting it into bite-sized chunks. You can offer it to your horse in moderation on warmer days as an energizing treat. Your steed will definitely enjoy the crunchiness of frozen food. However, make sure the pieces are small enough to prevent choking.
Some horses prefer the crunchiness of the watermelon rind more than the juiciness of its flesh, while for others it’s vice versa. Nonetheless, you can discard the seeds and cut the fruit in small pieces to feed your horse both the rind and flesh together for maximum health benefits.
This is perhaps the most fun way to feed watermelons to your horse. All you have to do is peel off the rind and cut up the fruit into pieces. Next, put them in a bucket of water before freezing it. Your horse can playfully lick the frozen treat and eat it as it melts. This one is super refreshing on a hot day.
Bran Mash with Watermelon
Bran Mash is extremely handy when it comes to introducing new foods to a horse’s regular diet. You can mix in small chunks of watermelon along with other fruit and veggies that your equine loves eating and see how receptive it is to the new flavor.
FAQs Related to Feeding Watermelon to Your Horse
If you are still unsure of how horses can eat watermelons, what the benefits are and when they should not be eating the fruit at all, take a look at the FAQs below:
How much watermelon can a horse eat?
Horses should be given watermelon moderately. Regular or excessive intake of the fruit, be it only the fleshy part or the rind as well, can lead to adverse health conditions. This includes gastrointestinal problems like colic as well as cardiovascular issues such as irregular heartbeat. Feeding watermelons to horses should thus be an occasional treat.
What benefits do horses get from watermelon rind?
Although seemingly useless, the watermelon rind is full of fiber, potassium and a few other vital minerals and vitamins. Fiber is an essential part of a horse’s diet whereas potassium improves appetite while fighting off weakness and fatigue. Furthermore, the other nutrients collectively help in enhancing the vision, bone health, cardiovascular health, and psychological well-being of the animal.
What are horses not allowed to eat?
Horses should never eat chocolates, dairy products, potatoes, avocado, bread, and lawn clippings as each of these are likely to upset their gastrointestinal system.
Can horses eat cucumbers?
Yes, horses can eat cucumbers. They are a superb source of important nutrients like potassium and vitamins A, C, and K. Moreover, cucumber skin is known to provide horses with dietary fiber intake.
What fruits are safe for horses?
Horses can consume various fruits without showing any signs of adverse side effects. These include watermelon, apple, coconut, apricot, blackberry, peaches, banana, pineapple, strawberry, plum, orange, pear, and grapefruit.
Can horses eat watermelons? They sure can, and some even enjoy the sweet treat along with its hard outer shell! As a matter of fact, the watermelon rind contains a lot of fiber as well as several minerals and vitamins that are beneficial for a horse’s health. The fleshy part of the fruit consists majorly of water content which is equally important to keep your steed well hydrated and fit overall.
Nonetheless, when feeding watermelons to horses, it is vital to wash the rind properly to rid it of any toxins that can be harmful to the horse’s sensitive digestive system. Furthermore, cutting the fruit into small pieces is necessary so as to prevent choking hazards. Also, watermelons should only be given in moderation to equines. Adding it as a regular treat to their diet can do more harm than good, health-wise.