Can horses eat cucumbers?
They’re a healthy ingredient to add to human meals or are great as a snack.
But is it safe to give cucumbers to your steeds?
Do they even like cucumbers, and would these veggies offer them any real health benefits?
Keep reading to find out!
Also check: Can Horses Have Turnips?
Can Horses Eat Cucumbers?
In a word, yes. Cucumber is a healthy, safe snack for the majority of horses.
Why do I say the majority? What about the cases where it isn’t?
We’ll get to that in just a moment…
We get all manner of food-related questions here at HorseVills. Can horses eat potatoes? Can they eat broccoli? Bananas? Tomatoes? Pizza???
Eating nothing but grains can get a touch dull, and treats can help to enrich your horse’s life.
Researching healthy horse snacks is a responsible approach to finding new treats for your horse to eat.
Always keep in mind that we write about horses in general.
Every horse is unique; consult a vet or other professional if your horse has any particular health issues.
And I wasn’t joking about pizza; people really do ask that!
Is it Safe to Feed Cucumber to Horses?
As we covered earlier, it is safe to feed cucumber to most horses.
There are plenty of reasons why you might consider giving your horse cucumber as a snack.
We’ll look at those soon…
First, I want to tell you about the adverse effects cucumber can have on some horses.
Trapped Gas / Colic
Cucumbers contain a substance called cucurbitacin which can cause a build-up of gas in the digestive system of horses and humans alike.
Unlike humans, horses can’t release trapped wind through burping. Indeed, trapped gas is a source of colic in horses.
Start by giving your horse a small amount of cucumber and see how they respond.
With plenty of healthy horse snack alternatives out there, there’s no need for your horse to suffer unnecessary discomfort.
Hyperkalemic Periodic Paralysis (HYPP)
Hyperkalemic Periodic Paralysis is an equine genetic muscular disease that leads to increased potassium levels in the blood.
Horses with HYPP can suffer from muscle tremors, paralysis, cardiac arrest, and respiratory failure.
Sources of potassium like cucumbers and bananas could cause significant problems for horses with HYPP. Seek an alternative snack based on veterinary advice.
Benefits of Feeding Cucumbers to Horses
Technically a fruit, cucumbers are often labeled a vegetable. Regardless, there are some pretty healthy upsides to feeding your horse cucumber.
But then, you knew that already when you asked, “Can horses eat cucumbers?”
Cucumbers are low in calories, high in antioxidants, and jam-packed full of vitamins.
A cucumber is 95% water, so it’s a great source of additional hydration for your horse, especially on a hot day.
It’s no replacement for water but a great supplement.
The low-calorie count and minute amount of sugar in cucumber makes it a great snack choice for horses that need to lose a few pounds or watch their blood sugar and insulin.
Feeding your horse cucumber won’t tackle these conditions, but it won’t do anything to make them worse.
Preparing Cucumber Treats for Your Horse
There isn’t a huge amount of work required to prepare cucumber horse treats. However, there are a few things to consider.
Keep it clean
Just as you would when preparing fruit and veg for your own consumption, wash the cucumber well before giving it to your equine friend.
This will help remove any chemicals, bacteria, or other nasties left over from the retail process. Even organic cucumbers need a quick rinse.
Skin on or off?
This comes down to preference. Your horse can eat cucumber with or without the skin.
Most of the nutrients in cucumber live in the skin, so unless your horse shows a preference for peeled cucumbers, they’ll get more benefit if you leave the skin on.
Cut your cucumber into appropriate-sized chunks that your horse will be able to chew.
If your horse has dental problems, you could juice your cucumbers and add that to your horse’s feed.
Cucumber juice is a great way to impart some extra goodness.
How many Cucumbers?
While there are some articles online suggesting you cap cucumber intake at two cucumbers per week, I haven’t been able to find any evidence for this figure.
What is clear is that snacks and treats should only make up a tiny amount of your horse’s diet.
If you need a specific number, ask your vet or a trusted professional.
Horse Eating Cucumber FAQs
Can horses eat cucumber salad?
No. While most horses can safely eat cucumber, some cucumber salad ingredients are toxic to horses. Onion and avocado are examples of harmful ingredients that often feature in a cucumber salad.
Are cucumbers poisonous to horses?
Cucumbers are not poisonous to horses and can have some positive health effects. However, horses that suffer from gas, colic, and hyperkalemic periodic paralysis can suffer adverse reactions from eating cucumber.
You asked, “Can horses eat cucumbers?” We found out that the answer is that generally, they can.
There are a few occasions when they would make less appropriate snacks, such as where eating cucumber could worsen an existing medical condition or other harmful effects.
Assuming your horse is healthy and enjoys eating cucumber, moderation is the key to avoiding any digestive complications.
Prepare the cucumber according to your horse’s needs and start by feeding a small amount. See how your horse reacts and look for signs of distress indicating trapped gas.
Thanks for being a responsible horse owner and researching before feeding. Your horse will love you for it!
- Toxic and Non-Toxic Plant List – Horse n.d., ASPCA, viewed 23 May 2021, <https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/horse-plant-list>.
- Douglas, E n.d., Why Do Cucumbers Upset My Stomache?, livestrong.com, viewed 23 May 2021, <https://www.livestrong.com/article/471722-why-do-cucumbers-upset-my-digestion/>.
- O’Brien, A DVM 2012, Question of the Week: Gas colic or ulcers?, Horse Illustrated, viewed 23 May 2021, <https://www.horseillustrated.com/horse-experts-horse-vet-advice-gas-colic>.
- Young, A 2019, Hyperkalemic periodic paralysis (HYPP), UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, viewed 23 May 2021, <https://ceh.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/health-topics/hyperkalemic-periodic-paralysis-hypp>.
- Link, R 2017, 7 Health Benefits of Eating Cucumber, Healthline, viewed 23 May 2021, <https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/7-health-benefits-of-cucumber>.
Can horses eat cucumbers in your opinion? Does your like them? Share your experience in the comments below!
Barry Stingmore is a British content writer living in Fuerteventura, Spain. An animal lover at heart, he shares his home with a dog and four rescue cats and has a passion for writing about animals big and small.
He has only ridden a horse once but spent a lot of time working alongside them in the British police.
Barry loves finding answers to your animal-related questions, the more research involved the better! You can rely on him to find the facts. You can rely on him to find the facts.
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