Can horses eat celery, lettuce, and cabbage?

These vegetables are one of the healthiest foods for humans, but you’ve got to wonder how safe they are for your equine friend.

But that’s why we’re here with another one of our what horses can eat articles.

Let’s dive in. 

Related: Can Horses Eat Cow Parsley?

Can Horses Eat Celery?

The usual horse diet consists of forages, such as hay, grass, and different types of grains.

However, a well-balanced diet should also include fruits and vegetables. 

That’s because fruits and vegetables are rich in essential vitamins and minerals, beneficial for your horse’s organism and immune system.

Moreover, many horses enjoy a little variety in their diet and can’t get enough of healthy treats, such as apples and carrots. 

But what about celery? Is it beneficial or toxic?

You’re right to wonder because many common foods are dangerous for animals. For example, chocolate is toxic to horses and other pets. 

a lady feeding a brown horse celery but can horses eat celery?

Fortunately, celery isn’t one of the toxic plants. So, don’t start panicking if your horse has managed to take a bite or two of a celery stalk. 

In fact, celery is a healthy treat for horses, which you can include in your horse’s regular diet. This crunchy vegetable is rich in vitamins, minerals, and fibers and has little sugar.  

More about the health benefits of this vegetable in a moment. But first, let’s talk about if horses can eat celery stalks, celery leaves, or the whole plant. 

Can Horses Eat Celery Stalks?

celery on a white plate

The stalk is an ideal snack for any horse, even for overweight ones.

It’s crunchy, moist, and an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. 

As the equine nutritionist Fiona Watkins explains, “the texture in celery is high in cellulose, which makes it very good for chewing.”

And chewing stimulates saliva production, which can reduce gastric ulcers.  

The danger is that your horse can choke on the celery stalk. Dental issues, age-related problems, and prior choking accidents put your animal at risk. 

Moreover, some horses tend to tear huge chunks of food and swallow them without chewing properly.

Since horses can’t vomit, it’s easy for these large pieces to get stuck in the throat.

So, can horses eat celery sticks? Yes, they can and should as long as owners are careful. 

Always cut the stalk into small pieces to reduce the risk of choking. The same goes for other vegetables and fruits, including carrots! 

You can also cook the stalk to make it soft enough to chew for horses with dental problems. But cooking also strips this common vegetable from a lot of its nutrients. 

Can Horse Eat Celery Leaves and Seeds?

two horses about to eat a celery: can horses eat celery? are they safe?

Just like the stalk, celery leaves are beneficial for horses. In fact, the leaves contain the largest amount of nutrients and are the tastier part of this vegetable. 

Celery seeds are also safe for horses. They’re used as a warming tonic to deal with stiffness/lameness due to their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

In fact, studies state that seeds have “anti-inflammatory effects that can be compared, to some degree, to those of non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs.”

Seeds also have a calming effect on some horses and support your animal’s liver, kidneys, and urinary tract. 

However, these seeds aren’t suitable for all horses, especially pregnant mare. Always consult with your vet before you give any to your horse. 

Is Celery Toxic to Horses? 

white horse staring at the celery: can horses eat celery?

Veterinary and horse specialists alike consider celery non-toxic and safe for horses of all sizes and breeds. 

Still, there are some risks when you feed your horse celery. The good news is that you can minimize them very easily.  

First, always go for fresh celery. Parasites, mold, rot, and microorganism can wreak havoc on your animal’s digestive system or cause an allergic reaction.

Then, wash this vegetable well before feeding the stalk or the leaves to your horse. It’s vital to remove any traces of chemicals, pesticides, and fertilizers.

Otherwise, you can poison your horses, even if you feed them in small quantities. And don’t forget to cut the stalk and leaves into small pieces to avoid choking. 

Moreover, too much of this green vegetable won’t be good for your horse’s digestive tract. Veterinarians recommend two pounds of celery 2-3 times a week. 

Watch this video for more information:

Can Horses Eat Cabbage? 

brown horse with a cabbage: can horses eat cabbage?

While delicious, cabbage is a common vegetable that could be dangerous for horses, even in limited quantity. 

Scientists have discovered that cabbage and other cruciferous family members contain raffinose, a type of sugar. It causes intestinal gas.

It seems trivial, but colic, gas-related pain, and digestive upset can be fatal for horses.

And when you’ve got safer horse treats, it’s better to stay away from cabbages. 

Can Horses Eat Red Cabbage?

Compared to green cabbage, the red variety contains more nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.

It’s also famous for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. 

But can horses eat red cabbages? 

Just like green cabbage, Red cabbage contains raffinose, which makes it bad for your horse’s digestive tract.

As such, you should avoid red cabbage as much as possible.

Still, some owners feed cabbage to their horses with no problems. But it’s something you should do with extreme caution and after talking to your vet. 

Can Horses Eat Lettuce?

brown horse and two lettuces: can horses eat celery?

Unlike cabbage, lettuce is easy to digest, has limited sugar content, and is rich in water. That makes it a tasty treat for horses. 

But unlike other common vegetables and fruits, lettuce doesn’t have many beneficial vitamins. It’s not enough to satisfy your horse’s dietary needs. 

On the bright side, lettuce contains plenty of water, which helps keep your horse hydrated in hot weather. And it’s inexpensive and widely available. 

Nutritional Benefits of Celery for Horses 

Now let’s see the nutritional benefits of this crunchy vegetable and why it’s such an excellent snack for your horses.

According to its nutritional profile, this one stalk of this crunchy vegetable contains 5.6 calories, 0.1 g fat, 32 mg of sodium, 1.2 g of carbohydrates, and 0.6 g of fiber. 

But what all this means for your horse? Let’s find out together.

#1 Healthy Digestive System

Fiber is necessary for the proper function of your horse’s digestive system. It helps your horse absorb the nutrients from its food and is highly digestible. 

Celery can be an excellent source of fiber because one stick (40g)has  0.6 g of fiber content.

Horses need to consume 1.5 of their body weight in forage to get enough fiber. 

#2 Improved Hydration 

One of the best things about celery is that it’s mainly made of water.

As such, it’s an excellent treat for your horse on a hot day and can help keep your horse hydrated.

#3 Low in Carbohydrates and Sugar

It’s no surprise that nutritionists recommend celery when you’re trying to lose weight.

It has a low carbohydrate count, meaning this vegetable can help your horse maintain a healthy weight.

Most insulin-resistant and diabetic horses can also enjoy this low-calorie treat since it’s unlikely to raise their blood sugar levels. 

#4 Superb Source of Vitamins 

Celery is also an excellent source of vitamin A, Vitamin B, Vitamin C, and Vitamin K. It’s also rich in potassium, sodium, magnesium, and phosphorous.

But why is that beneficial for your horse? Here’s a quick rundown: 

  • Vitamin A has antioxidant properties, allowing cells to fight the free radicals, while Vitamin C is essential for the production of collagen and tissue repair.
  • Potassium, magnesium, sodium are necessary for normal muscle function and contraction.
  • Phosphorous is also obligatory for normal skeletal development and bone growth. 
  • On the other hand, Vitamin K is essential for blood clotting, and a deficiency in this vitamin results in hemorrhage. 

As you can see, you’ve got plenty of reasons why you should include celery in your horse’s well-balanced diet. 

Can Horses Eat Celery: FAQs

Can Horses with Metabolic Issues Eat Celery?

Celery is low in carbohydrates and has a meager amount of sugar in it. As such, it’s an acceptable treat for horses with metabolic disorders, such as insulin resistance and diabetes.
Still, you should consult with your vet before you add anything to your horse’s daily diet to ensure proper blood sugar control. 

Can Horses Eat the Leaves on Celery?

Yes, the leaves are as safe for horses. In fact, celery leaves are richer in nutrients than the stalk and have a chewy texture. 

What Vegetables Are Good for Horses?

Besides celery, horses can eat pumpkin, beetroot, swede, cucumber, among a few. But what about carrots? Do horses eat carrots?
Yes, horses can eat carrots, but you should be careful since carrots are a choking hazard. Always cut them into small cubes and don’t leave any unsupervised. 

How Much Celery Should You Feed Your Horse?

In general, veterinarians and nutritional specialists recommend no more than two pounds 2-3 times a week. Overfeeding might result in gastrointestinal discomfort, so be careful.

How to Prepare Celery for Your Horse?

Chop the stalks into small cubes and add some peanut butter. You can also mix it with your horse’s bran mash. 

Conclusion

Can horses eat celery? Yes, they can. Stacks and leaves can be an excellent treat for horses as long as you wash them well and feed them in moderation.

But don’t be surprised if your horse turns their nose at this delicious treat! Not all horses are fans of it, and that’s normal. 

What do you think about celery and horses? Does your horse like this crunchy vegetable, and how do you prepare it for your horse? Tell us in the comment section. 

References:

  • Battaglia, Beatrice, and Mario Angelone. 2019. “Clinical Effects of the Extract of the Seeds of the Indian Celery—Apium Graveolens—in Horses Affected by Chronic Osteoarthritis.” Animals : An Open Access Journal from MDPI 9 (8). https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9080585.
  • “Odd Things That Horses Eat | Equine Science Center.” n.d. Accessed June 8, 2021. https://esc.rutgers.edu/fact_sheet/odd-things-that-horses-eat/.
  • “To Treat or Not to Treat.” n.d. Oldwick Saddlery. Accessed June 8, 2021. https://oldwicksaddlery.co.uk/news/to-treat-or-not-to-treat/.

Do your horses love celery, cabbage, and lettuce? Please share with us!

Grigorina S
Grigorina S

Grigorina loves her pony “Tim”. She cannot stop singing cute songs to him and brushing him on a daily basis.