Definitive Guide on Feeding Honey to Horses

Can horses eat honey?

It would seem like a healthy treat, given its many health benefits. 

But does it mesh with a horse’s digestive system?

Let’s take a look and find out! 

Also check: Are Banana Peels Good for Horses?

Can Horses Eat Honey?

brown horse eating grasses. can horses eat honey too?

Horse owners will be happy to know that horses can eat honey.

However, moderation is key when providing a horse with this treat due to the high sugar levels

But if you keep a horse’s honey intake down, it can offer some fantastic improvements in their health.

So it becomes a relatively easy and fun way to reward a horse from time to time. 

More on the benefit of honey later…

Is Honey Safe for Horses?

You don’t have to worry about any dangerous side effects from feeding a horse honey. After all, supplement or natural honey isn’t toxic or hazardous for them to consume.  

fresh honey in a jar. is honey safe for horses?

Honey is completely natural and perfectly safe for a horse to eat.

Of course, it does have certain things about it that make moderation a necessity. 

But giving honey to an adult horse who doesn’t have a metabolic disorder can be helpful in many ways.

For instance, most horse owners swear by its ability to entice a picky eater.

It’s also helpful when trying to hide a bit of medication in the horse feed. Your horse will be too busy snacking on honey to notice they took some medicine.

I should note that honey’s supplement form is often made with garlic oil, as well. It’s a crucial, safe ingredient that helps respiratory and circulatory function. 

Related: Is Watermelon Good for Horses?

Benefits of Honey to Horses

I previously mentioned a few benefits to giving your horses honey.

But this section will provide more in-depth reasoning of why honey is an excellent treat for a horse: 

Provides Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Honey provides anti-inflammatory properties, which help a horse’s body heal faster.

It’s one of those health benefits that can be helpful for a wide array of conditions, even arthritis. 

In fact, various inflammatory ailments can hinder a horse. It becomes a much more significant issue when they start getting up there in years. 

But honey has proven to reduce inflammation and allows a horse to age more gracefully.

It’s an easy way to help alleviate their pain and make their lives a lot less burdensome. 

Loaded with Vitamins and Minerals 

As you’re beginning to realize, honey is a lot more than a sweet treat for your horse.

It happens to contain a long list of nutrients, such as calcium and protein, that’ll help keep your horse in good shape.

Honey also is an effective antioxidant that relieves oxidative stress in various organs.

Combating this oxidative stress will help manage and alleviate conditions like diabetes, cancer, and hypertension.

Offers Antibacterial Properties

Numerous studies have shown that honey’s effective at fighting against bacteria.

It’s an overlooked benefit, but it shouldn’t be considering how dangerous bacterial infections are for horses.

Horse owners must do everything in their power to contain a bacterial infection quickly.

Honey’s acidic nature helps by limited the chances of one occurring when a horse has suffered minor wounds.

How does it do this? It minimizes the pH level of the wound’s surface. It ends up ensuring your horse remains as healthy as possible when healing from an injury. 

Helps Ensure Smoother Digestion

Honey can have a rather staggering impact on equine digestion. If your horse has digestive issues, a small portion of honey can do amazing things. 

In particular, experts have found manuka honey to be outstanding for equine digestion.

But any worthwhile types of honey with at least a UMF of 10 will do wonders.

Boosts Performance

You’ll often see professional jockeys giving their horse honey.

It’s a common practice because it offers a natural energy boost to promote better athletic performance. 

For instance, honey becomes a natural energy booster by improving oxygen passage to muscle tissues.

It’ll ensure your thoroughbred is ready at all times and aids in performance quality.

How Often Should You Feed Honey to Horses? 

fresh honey in transparent jars

If you intend on giving a horse honey, limit it to once a week or when it’s needed.

A need might arise when dealing with infections or have a cough. 

But giving them too much will lead to weight gain as honey contains a lot of sugar: one tablespoon will come with 17 grams of sugar. 

It’s why experts recommend honey as a treat rather than a diet staple. This amount of sugar ends being a sizable portion of their daily expected intake. 

Exceeding their expected sugar intake range regularly can lead to illness and high blood pressure.

Horses are also known for their sensitive digestive system, which doesn’t mesh with overeating sugar. 

If they do overeat sugar, it could cause gastrointestinal problems. It’s best to keep the amount of honey in their diet low to avoid these issues. 

I’d recommend keeping it to one or two tablespoons per week. Otherwise, things could unravel relatively fast when it comes to your horse’s weight and health.

Related: Do Horses Eat Sugar Cubes?

Honey for Horses FAQs 

Do horses like honey and bananas?

Horses have a long history of liking both honey and bananas. More importantly, both foods are safe for a horse with a normal metabolism to eat, in moderation. They are both full of sugar, which makes limiting intake crucial.

Can Honey Treat Cough in Horses?

Honey has proven to offer horses relief from cough. It’s a natural product with calcium and protein, which allows it to work as an antioxidant.

Are Eggs Good for Horses?

Eggs are an excellent source of protein, amino acids, minerals, and vitamins for horses. Experts agree that mixing in eggs with feed isn’t a problem if your horse doesn’t mind.

Conclusion

I hope you found our article helpful enough to all your questions about honey and horses.

But if you have any more, please let us know in our comment section. I’d be happy to help in any way possible. Thanks for reading!

References:

  • Albaridi, Najla A. 2019. “Antibacterial Potency of Honey.” International Journal of Microbiology 2019 (June): 1–10. https://doi.org/10.1155/2019/2464507.
  • Barakat, Christine. n.d. “More Evidence That Honey Helps Equine Wounds Heal.” The Horse Owner’s Resource. Accessed June 16, 2021. https://equusmagazine.com/horse-care/honey-aids-wound-healing.
  • “Can You Feed Horses Honey?” 2008. Horse and Hound Forum. May 6, 2008. https://forums.horseandhound.co.uk/threads/can-you-feed-horses-honey.155245/.
  • Equus. n.d. “The Healing Power of Honey.” The Horse Owner’s Resource. Accessed June 16, 2021. https://equusmagazine.com/horse-care/healing-power-honey-16517.
  • “Feeding Sugar to Your Horse: Is It All Bad News?” 2018. Your Horse. June 27, 2018. https://www.yourhorse.co.uk/horse-care/feeding-your-horse/feeding-sugar-to-your-horse-is-it-all-bad-news/.
  • Gunnars, Kris. 2018. “10 Surprising Health Benefits of Honey.” Healthline. 2018. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-benefits-of-honey.
  • “How Manuka Honey Is Beneficial to Equine Digestive Health.” 2015. Emerald Valley Equine. December 30, 2015. https://emeraldvalleyequine.com/how-manuka-honey-is-beneficial-to-the-equine-digestive-tract/.
  • “How Much Sugar Is in Honey, Maple Syrup, and Agave Nectar?” n.d. MyRecipes. https://www.myrecipes.com/extracrispy/how-much-sugar-is-in-honey-maple-syrup-and-agave-nectar.
  • Moussa, Ahmed, and Aissat Saad. 2012. “How Honey Acts as an Antioxidant?” Medicinal & Aromatic Plants 01 (05). https://doi.org/10.4172/2167-0412.1000e121.
  • Research, Kentucky Equine. n.d. “Is Your Horse a Picky Eater?” The #1 Resource for Horse Farms, Stables and Riding Instructors | Stable Management. Accessed June 16, 2021. https://stablemanagement.com/articles/dealing-15856.
  • Whelan, Corey. 2016. “Honey vs. Sugar: Which Sweetener Should I Use?” Healthline. Healthline Media. November 2, 2016. https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/honey-vs-sugar.
a man giving treat to his white horse

Do you give honey to your horses? Do they like it? Share with us!

Ben R.
Ben R.

My name is Ben Roberts, and I absolutely love animals. So, naturally, I love writing about them too! I have three dogs and one old cat, plus experience with horses. Each one of them provides me with a new adventure every day. And the best part is they’re all best friends. Well, except the cat when he gets a little annoyed.

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