Can horses eat almonds?
How about other types of nuts?
Below, we’ll explore the answer in detail and help you safely feed your equine friend.
We have a lot to discuss, so let’s get started!
Related: Can Horses Eat Candy Canes?
Table of Contents
Can Horses Eat Almonds?
Almonds are some of the healthiest foods for people. They are good sources of magnesium, protein, Vitamin E, fiber, and healthy fats.
But can you feed your horses almonds? Will they have the same health benefits?
Yes, horses can eat almonds.
They contain Vitamin E, Biotin, unsaturated and monosaturated fats, manganese, copper, and other nutrients that are good for a horse’s hoof health.
Almonds will also improve your horse’s overall immune system, improve gastrointestinal health, and even contribute to preventing inflammations.
However, as with even the healthiest foods on the planet, there are right and wrong ways to feed your horse almonds. Let’s discuss.
Feeding Almonds to Horses
While most people mistake almonds for nuts, they’re actually fruits known as drupes.
They grow in trees like plums, and once they’re ready for harvesting, the dry hull is removed.
Horses not only benefit from the nuts/fruits, but they also benefit from the hulls.
This is because the hulls are super fibers, which should make at least 45% of a horse’s diet, especially racehorses.
Unlike in most fruits or nuts, the super fibers are easy to digest, and they are directly absorbed into the horse’s system.
However, it would take lots of almonds for the horse to benefit from all the nutrients almonds have to offer.
This could expose them to digestive problems due to the higher fat content.
Horses lack a gall bladder, which produces bile that helps break down fats.
If you want her to gain specific nutrients, you can opt for specific supplements to include in the horse’s diet instead.
For instance, if your horses need Vitamin E, try feeding them Nano-E.
Are Almond Leaves Toxic To Horses?
Yes, almond leaves are toxic to horses. Leaves from plums, cherries, peaches, and several other fruits are also toxic to horses.
A good example is the Bitter Almonds (Prunus Dulcis), a variety of sweet almonds.
The trees, leaves, and pits of the Bitter Almonds contain cyanogenic glycosides, purnasin, and amygdalin.
Even though bitter almond trees may not always have enough cyanogenic glycosides to cause cyanide poisoning, there are special cases where the levels are higher.
- When the tree is actively growing,
- After you’ve sprayed 2,4-D herbicides
- During drought and frost seasons.
- After applying nitrate fertilizers
- Low phosphorous levels in the soils.
- Cool, moist soils
Cyanide poisoning could lead to the following symptoms;
- Trouble breathing
- Rapid breathing
- Difficulty breathing
- Pink/red mucous membranes
- Death within a few hours.
Contact your vet as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment.
Can Horses Eat Almond FloUr?
While it’s tempting to give your horses raw almonds, almonds are best served as flour or when processed.
In this form, it will be easier for them to chew or digest. ¼ cup of almond flour per day is enough to keep your horse happy and healthy.
Can Horses Eat Nuts?
Since almonds are mistaken for nuts, we might as well review whether can horses eat peanuts.
And the answer is no. It’s not a good idea to feed your horse nuts. Not all nuts are toxic, so below are the main types to avoid.
1. Black Walnuts
It’s not clear the exact toxin that black walnuts contain, but it causes negative effects within a few hours of eating it or the shavings from a black walnut tree.
Your horse will exhibit symptoms such as edema in the neck or the legs, flaring nostrils, laminitis, colic, and mild depression.
The husks can also develop a mold that may cause liver cancer.
If your horse is reacting to black walnut shavings in the beddings, just remove them, and the symptoms will subside.
You should also contact your vet as soon as you can.
Also known as horse chestnuts, buckeyes are harvested from the American or the Ohio buckeye tree.
They contain tannic acid and aesculin, which are both toxic to horses.
Some of the symptoms caused by buckeyes include excitement, diarrhea, convulsions, and drooling.
Don’t plant these trees if you rear horses since they’ll often feed on them if there’s nothing else to eat. The levels of these toxins reduce as the tree ages.
3. Sago Palm
These plants are common in areas with warmer climates, such as in Texas, Florida, or Southern California.
Most animals are attracted by this plant, especially the nuts.
However, sugar palms contain a toxic compound known as cycasin, which’s more concentrated in the nuts.
Ingesting them could lead to diarrhea, drooling, or depression.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to reverse the effects of these nuts. But the vet can ease the symptoms with charcoal or other types of medication.
Acorns are harvested from oak trees, and they contain tannic acid. Most horses don’t love them due to their bitter taste.
However, according to PetMD, some horses may get addicted and seek them out when there are healthier foods available.
Avoid feeding horses acorns or any other oak tree byproducts.
When ingested, acorns may cause symptoms similar to other fatal diseases. So, contact your vet ASAP for diagnosis and treatment.
What Should a Horse Really Eat?
Horses are herbivores (pure vegetarians, so to speak).
So their foods should contain lots of fiber. The reason they lack a gall bladder is that they eat non-stop.
If you’re not keeping your horse busy with another activity, she will spend most of her time eating. The healthiest foods for a horse include;
- Fresh tender grass pasture or other plants.
- Hay for those in areas where green pasture is scarce.
- Grains such as oat or corn. Avoid feeding them wheat.
- Salt, minerals, and supplements.
Treats can include;
- Sunflower seeds
- Hay cubes
- Sugar cubes
Almonds have lots of nutritional benefits for horses. However, due to their higher fat content, they are better served in small amounts as treats.
You can feed your horse minerals and supplements if they have a certain deficiency.
Avoid feeding her the leaves, backs, flowers, or any other parts of the almonds, or any other fruit, since they may be toxic.
Horses also shouldn’t feed on buckeyes, acorns, sago palms, and black walnuts.
Can horses eat almonds? What do you think? Share below!
Siun is an all-around animal lover, with a passion for horses. She grew up in the United States, competing in the hunters, equitation, and jumpers. Now living in Ireland, she competes with her own showjumping horses. She is experienced in the care and training of horses, as well as teaching riding lessons. She loves to combine her love for horses with her work. When not working, Siun will be found at the stables, rain or shine.
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