Can horses eat peanut butter?
If you’re in the habit of sharing human foods with your equine friend, you’re probably wondering if peanut butter is a healthy treat.
Fortunately, we’re here to talk about everything you should know about horses and peanut butter.
Let’s get started!
Related: Can Horses Have Peanuts?
Can Horses Eat Peanut Butter?
While a horse’s diet consists mainly of different types of grains and hay, researchers at Rutgers University have discovered that horses eat a lot of “odd things with apparent relish.“
Unfortunately, equines often consume human foods or toxic plants, which can upset their sensitive digestive tract.
As such, the question isn’t, “Can horses eat peanut butter?”
If you give it to your horse, he/she will eat it with pleasure.
Instead, we should ask ourselves, “Is peanut butter okay for horses?”
In general, veterinarians and equine nutritionists agree that nut butter is acceptable as an occasional treat and in minimal quantities.
And when we say minimal, we mean no more than two tablespoons a week.
That’s because this delicious treat is rich in sugar and fat, which can lead to weight gain if you feed it too often.
Sugar is also not good for your horse’s blood sugar levels.
So, while horses can eat peanut butter, it’s not the healthiest snack for them.
Fruits and vegetables, such as bananas, strawberries, apples, celery, lettuce, and carrot tops, are a healthier option.
Can Horse Eat Peanut Butter Treats?
Peanut butter treats are acceptable when they contain horse-friendly ingredients, not harmful ones, such as chocolates.
Never feed your horses peanut butter cookies because you’re going to poison them!
Instead, use this popular recipe for homemade horse treats to spoil your horse:
- Measure one cup of oats, one cup of flour, 1/2 cup of molasses, 1/4 cup of water, and 1/2 cup of smooth nut butter.
- Preheat the oven to 325°F and mix the oats, flour, and peanut butter.
- Add the water and the molasses and mix all the ingredients well.
- Make small balls and place them on a baking sheet.
- Bake the homemade treats in the oven for 10 minutes.
- Serve as an occasional treat, no more than two cookies a week.
- Store them in an airtight container.
READ MORE: How Much Alfalfa Pellets to Feed a Horse?
Can horses eat crunchy peanut butter?
Like creamy peanut butter, crunchy one is suitable for horses as an occasional treat.
The crunchy bits are likely too small to be a choking hazard since horses’ troats are wider than humans’.
In fact, the crunchy variety has more fiber and folate, both essential for maintaining a healthy digestive system and bowel health.
But it has a little less protein and less Vitamin E.
It’s up to your horse and what texture he/she likes the most.
Check: Can Horses Eat Almonds?
What Are the Health Benefits of Peanut Butter?
Nut butter is full of vitamin B, zinc, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorous. It’s also is a great source of protein, which is important for a healthy diet.
But what does this mean for your horse, and what are the health benefits?
- Zinc is an essential mineral for bone development, proper enzyme functions, and tissue health. It has powerful antioxidant properties and is important for healthy hooves and smooth coats.
- Magnesium is necessary for over 300 metabolic processes and is obligatory for proper nerve and muscle function.
- Without enough magnesium and potassium in their diet, horses are likely to suffer from muscle tremors and nervousness, among few.
- Vitamin B6 supports all metabolic functions in your horse’s body and is essential for normal blood sugar levels, hormone production, and joint/muscle development.
- Horses need plenty of protein in their diet for tissue repair/growth, maintain the body’s pH, and regulate metabolic functions. And 100 g of peanut butter contains 25 g of protein!
As you can see, peanut butter has several health benefits for your horse and can be an excellent source of essential vitamins and minerals.
Is Peanut Butter Safe for Horses?
When you don’t exceed the allowed amount of peanut butter per week, it’s not toxic to your horse and unlikely to cause digestive upsets.
Of course, if your horse has a nut allergy, you shouldn’t feed them any nut products since you risk an allergic reaction.
Talk to your vet about a food allergy test and always introduce new foods slowly into your horse’s diet to avoid gastrointestinal issues.
Is Organic Peanut Butter Safe for Horses?
Nowadays, people are “nuts” about organic products, so you’d be right to wonder if your horse can have organic peanut butter.
Organic nut butter is safe for horses since it contains only natural ingredients and is free of chemicals, pesticides, and other additives.
Since horses have very delicate digestion, going organic is a smart choice.
It lessens the risk of colic or your animal having an allergic reaction to the artificial ingredients.
You can also try to prepare nut butter at home to ensure it contains only horse-friendly ingredients.
It’s not that hard when you’ve got so many online tutorials to guide you, such as this one below.
However, opt for a brand without xylitol. While the natural sweetener isn’t nearly as toxic to horses as to dogs, they have shown some sensitivity to it.
Can Horses Have Peanuts?
Since we’re talking about peanut butter, you’re probably wondering about horses and peanuts.
So, can horses have peanuts? Peanuts are an acceptable horse treat, as listed by the MidSouth Eventing&Dressage Association.
However, you should keep a couple of things in mind before you offer them to your horse.
First, always shell the peanuts! The shells don’t have any nutritional benefits, and they’re a choking hazard, especially for elderly horses with dental problems.
Then consider the nutritional benefits. While peanuts are high in potassium and fiber, they’re also high in fat. That’s a problem for overweight horses and ponies.
Veterinarians and specialists also recommend that you don’t give peanuts to horses with thyroid problems.
As they explain it, peanuts contain chemicals that “inhibit thyroid function by altering iodine metabolism.” Fortunately, thyroid problems are rare among horses.
When Should You Avoid Feeding Peanut Butter to Horses?
Nut butter can be beneficial for your horse’s health since it contains vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.
But you should avoid feeding it to your horse in several cases.
Obesity and Overweight
Obese or overweight horses should be on a special low-calorie diet to lower their weight.
Nut butter is the last thing you should give to such horses since it’s rich in sugars, fats, and calories.
Your horse is likely to gain more weight if you include nut butter in their diet, even as an occasional treat.
And being overweight is bad for your horse because it increases the chances of bone/joint issues.
On the bright side, nut butter can be an excellent addition to your horse’s diet if your animal struggles to gain weight and needs high-calorie treats.
Do you know that horses can have elevated levels of blood sugar?
In these cases, your horse’s cells can’t absorb glucose well, even though their bodies produce plenty of insulin. That’s why we say they’re insulin-resistant.
Unfortunately, insulin resistance can lead to a very high blood sugar level, which can be deadly for your horse.
As such, you should avoid foods that can elevate blood sugar.
Talk to your veterinarian to determine which treats are suitable for your horse and in what moderation you should feed them.
Most people think that horses don’t have food allergies. While a rare occurrence, it’s possible for horses to be allergic to nuts, one of the most common allergens.
The usual food allergy symptoms in horses include itchiness, inflamed skin, diarrhea, hair loss, colic, and papules.
If you notice that your horse has any unusual symptoms after consuming nut butter, ask for a food allergy test.
But keep in mind that it takes time to diagnose food allergies in horses.
Can Horses Eat Peanut Butter FAQs
Can Horses Have Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches?
No. Bread and jam are bad for horses because they’re very rich in carbohydrates. Too many calories and sugar can lead to weight gain and problems with blood sugar. Horses also can’t digest bread well. It can get lodged into their digestive tract, causing nasty colics and upsetting your horse’s sensitive digestive system.
How Often Should You Feed Peanut Butter to Your Horse?
Equine nutritionists recommend that owners feed no more than two tablespoons of peanut butter once a week. However, if your horse has never had any nut butter before, you should start with a quarter of a tablespoon for the first few weeks. Then slowly build up the quantity.
Is Peanut Butter Safe for Colts?
Young horses have a very delicate digestive system. You should stick to your colt’s usual food since any new treats can have unwanted side effects.
Can horses eat peanut butter?
Our four-legged companions can enjoy the occasional tablespoon of nut butter, as long as they aren’t allergic to nuts or have underlying medical conditions.
If you’re not certain how suitable peanut butter is for your horse, talk to your veterinarian or equine nutritional.
And avoid any peanut butter – chocolate combinations or jelly sandwiches.
- “All about Protein.” n.d. Hygain Australia. Accessed June 9, 2021. https://hygain.com.au/blogs/library/protein.
- DVM, Grant Miller. n.d. “Thyroid Dysfunction.” Expert Advice on Horse Care and Horse Riding. Accessed June 9, 2021. https://www.equisearch.com/HorseJournal/thyroid-dysfunction-6363.
- “MidSouth Eventing and Dressage Association – Can My Horse Eat That?” n.d. Mseda.org. Accessed June 9, 2021. https://mseda.org/MSEDA-news/5052212.
- “Odd Things That Horses Eat | Equine Science Center.” n.d. Rutgers University. https://esc.rutgers.edu/fact_sheet/odd-things-that-horses-eat/.
- “Xylitol Is in Everything.” 2016. Pet Poison Helpline. February 29, 2016. https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/uncategorized/xylitol-its-everywhere/#:~:text=Xylitol%20is%20a%20sweetener%20that%20is%20highly%20toxic.
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Grigorina grew up surrounded by animals – dogs, cats, cows, goats, sheep, and horses and that has shaped her into what I am today – a crazy cat lady who always has a place for one more cat (or a dog). She has two female cats – Kitty and Roni, and two tomcats – Blacky and Shaggy, but she also feeds her neighbors’ cats when they come for a visit. I just can’t say no to them. Follow her on FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM
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