Can horses eat pears?
All horse owners love to spoil their animals, but not all fruits and vegetables are safe for equines, no matter how tasty they are.
So, are pears a suitable treat for horses or something you should avoid at all costs?
Keep on reading to find the answers.
Related: Can Horses Eat Pumpkin?
Table of Contents
Can Horses Eat Pears?
Equine nutritionists say that forage “is a primary source of the basic nutrients needed.”
But horses love to snack on many odd things to diversify their “boring” diet, as stated by Rutger’s University.
And fruits and veggies are an excellent source of essential minerals and vitamins necessary for proper body functions.
That’s why a well-balanced diet should include different types of grains, along with safe fruits and vegetable treats for horses.
But can horses eat pears? After all, some common fruits and veggies, such as avocados and tomatoes, are toxic to horses.
Fortunately, pears aren’t one of them, and horses can eat pears and enjoy them without suffering any ill effects.
Just make sure to choose ripe pears since they’re easier to chew.
In fact, pears are a healthy treat for your equine friend because they are rich in fiber and essential nutrients, beneficial for horses. More about that later.
However, as with most fresh fruits and vegetables, you should give horses pears in moderation.
Horses have a sensitive digestive system, and too many treats are likely to lead to upset stomachs and colics.
CHECK: Horse Treat Names
Can Horses Eat Pear Seeds?
Pear seeds contain amygdalin, which can release cyanide in the stomach. Cyanide is poisonous for humans and animals alike when consumed in large doses.
While you’ll have to give your animal quite a lot of pear seeds for them to get sick, it’s better not to risk it at all.
Always remove the seeds and stem before feeding horses pears.
Keep in mind that pears aren’t the only fruit whose seeds contain cyanide. Apple seeds, cherry pits, apricot pits, and peach pits are also potentially dangerous for animals.
Can Horses Eat Canned Pears?
While fresh pears have numerous health benefits for horses, we can’t say the same for canned ones.
That’s because canned fruits usually contain added sugar and preservatives.
In general, too much sugar isn’t good for horses and can lead to weight gain and metabolic disorders, such as insulin resistance.
Preservatives and other additives are also bad for a horse’s sensitive digestive system in the long term. So, opt for fresh fruits and vegetables, organic preferably.
Can Horses Eat Pear Tree Leaves?
Most inexperienced owners think that horses can eat all tree leaves.
However, on some occasions, trees and horses don’t mix because of cyanide leaves or toxic pine needles.
Fortunately, pear trees aren’t among the toxic trees for horses.
Still, it’s not a good idea to let your horse gorge itself on pear leaves because it can lead to colic.
What Are the Nutritional Benefits of Pears for Horses?
Besides being tasty and sweet, pears have many health benefits for humans and horses alike. Let’s see them, shall we?
High in Fiber
Pears are high in fiber, which is great for the digestive system and gut health. More importantly, pears are high in pectin, a soluble fiber.
Pectin supports your horse digestion in several ways:
- Slows down digestion
- Allows horses to absorb nutrients from their food better
- Forms a protective barrier over the stomach lining and reduces the likelihood of stomach ulcers
Full of Vitamins and Minerals
Pears are an excellent source of vitamin B6, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E. They’re also rich in folate, copper, and potassium. But why are these so important for horses?
Vitamin E is essential for maintaining proper neuromuscular functions, while Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. It protects cells from oxidative stress and free radicals.
Vitamin B6 regulates metabolic functions and plays a role in maintaining normal blood sugar levels, hormone production, and muscle development.
Potassium and copper also support all metabolic functions and are necessary for a strong immune system.
Pears are over 80% water, making them one of the fruits with high water content.
As such, pears are an excellent refreshing snack for horses.
Are Pears Safe for Horses?
As we already explained, pears are a safe treat for horses. They aren’t among the toxic fruits and veggies from the nightshade family, such as tomatoes, papers, and potatoes.
Still, you should keep a few things in mind when you include pears in your horse’s diet.
Pears you buy from the markets might have been sprayed with pesticides. These can be dangerous for humans and horses alike.
Moreover, bacteria and dirt accumulate on the pear’s rind and can have an ill effect on your horse’s digestion.
To reduce the risk, you should wash the pears well before you feed them to your horse.
It’s far easier for horses to choke on dry food than people assume. A choke in horses can cause severe damage to the esophagus and cause inhalation pneumonia.
Choke in a horse is an emergency and requires immediate veterinary intervention. If not treated quickly, a choke can cause rupture of the esophagus and even death.
Always cut any pears and other hard fruits into edible chunks and feed them to your horse one at a time.
If your horse stops eating suddenly and “gags”/ coughs, call your vet. The discharge of saliva from the mouth and nose is also a sign of choke.
High Sugar Content
Too many pears can be bad for your horse, despite their nutritional benefits. That’s because pears are high in sugar, and gorging on this tasty fruit can lead to weight gain.
Moreover, eating too many pears can upset your horse’s digestion or make your horse turn their nose at the usual forage.
If your horse has a sweet tooth, you can try molasses since molasses contains 50% sugar and has numerous benefits for horses. An occasional sugar cube is also acceptable.
How Much Pears Can Horses Eat?
On average, horses can eat up to two pounds of pears twice a week. As such, you can offer a chopped medium-sized pear as a treat every day.
Of course, if your horse has, or is at risk of metabolic diseases or laminitis, you should take care with high sugar treats. If in any doubt, you should discuss it with your vet to ensure you’re providing a well-balanced meal.
Horses Eating Pears FAQs
Can Horses Eat Cooked or Canned Pears?
Cooked pears have less nutritional value than raw ones, but you can still give them as an occasional treat as long as you don’t add extra sugar. But canned pears aren’t such a great treat for horses. Pears have high sugar content, and canned ones are even sweeter and full preservatives, which can upset your horse’s digestive tract.
How to Prepare Pears for Horses?
To prepare pears for your horse, follow these steps:
Wash the pear to remove bacteria, dirt, and pesticides
Remove the stem and seeds
Cut the pear into edible chunks
Offer your horse the pieces one at a time
What Fruits Can Horses Eat?
Besides pears, horses can eat apricots, blackberries, peaches, mangoes, strawberries, plums, tangerines, watermelons, among a few.
But what about bananas and cooking apples? Is banana safe for horses, and can horses eat cooking apples?
Yes, and yes. Both are healthy treats for your equine friends when cut into edible chunks and fed in moderation.
Is a Pear Core Safe for Horses to Eat?
Horses shouldn’t eat pear cores. While the flesh of the fruit and the rind (skin) are safe, the core is far too hard and poses a choking hazard, especially for older horses with dental problems.
Many horses go crazy for pears because of their crunchy texture and sweet taste. And you can spoil your horse with pears as long as you don’t overindulge them.
For a well-balanced diet, don’t forget to include other safe fruits and vegetables!
What do you think about pears and horses? Does your horse like eating pears? Share your opinion in the comment section.
- “Choke in Horses.” Vca_corporate, vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/choke-in-horses.
- “Do Pectin and Lecithins Help Equine Gastric Health?” The Horse, 12 Feb. 2018, thehorse.com/148009/pectin-lecithins-help-equine-gastric-health/. Accessed 27 June 2021.
- “Horse Feeding Basics.” The Horse, 13 Dec. 2019, thehorse.com/111874/horse-feeding-basics/.
- Odd Things That Horses Eat | Equine Science Center. esc.rutgers.edu/fact_sheet/odd-things-that-horses-eat/.
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