Are horses allowed to eat peanuts?
For many people, peanuts are a delicious snack that is an inevitable part of a cozy evening watching TV. Peanut butter is also very popular.
But are peanuts also a healthy snack for horses?
In this post, we’ll tell you why peanuts split horse owners and why it’s not always good to feed peanuts to your animals.
Are horses allowed to eat peanuts?
Opinions differ widely on the question of whether a horse may eat peanuts. While one side sees the many advantages of the legume, the other side is very skeptical about feeding peanuts.
The reason for this skepticism is the fact that peanuts have a comparatively high allergen potential, which can lead to health consequences.
In addition, peanuts often contain aflatoxins, mold spores that are invisible to the naked eye and highly carcinogenic.
Peanuts should therefore be fed – if at all – only very irregularly and in tiny amounts. In addition, the legumes should always be shelled before feeding. Discolored or damaged nuts should be discarded!
In the following, you will learn in more detail about the advantages and disadvantages of feeding peanuts and which recommended alternatives are good for a small snack.
Why are peanuts good and bad for horses at the same time?
Peanuts have a high potassium content as well as some healthy fats.
This fact makes them very healthy.
However, the high fat content also entails side effects. Especially for overweight horses, high-calorie snacks should be avoided.
Also horses with thyroid problems should not be given peanuts to eat.
It is self-explanatory that the same applies to allergy sufferers.
If you do not know whether your horse is allergic to peanuts, you can either feed a single peanut on a trial basis or have a potential allergy checked by a veterinarian.
You can see that peanuts offer some advantages, but you should rather go for alternatives that will also taste good to your horse and are less dangerous.
Here you will find a small selection of tasty and healthy snacks for your favorite.
What healthy alternatives are there that you can feed instead of peanuts?
- walnut leaves
While walnuts themselves are not suitable for feeding to horses, the leaves of the walnut tree bring some benefits.
If your horse’s stomach and/or intestines are irritated, walnut leaves have a soothing effect.
In addition, the walnut leaves can be used supportively for the treatment of diabetes, because also here a positive effect is shown.
The leaves have the property to purify the blood as well as to build up the metabolism. If the leaves are applied in case of worm infestation, liver disorders or also inflamed lymph nodes, your horse will regenerate faster.
Watermelon is a welcome change and delicious refreshment, especially in summer.
If you occasionally feed your horse a little watermelon, you will not only give him great pleasure, but also actively support the health of your animal.
Watermelon is a real vitamin bomb, and you can even feed the rind in small quantities. The seeds of the fruit are not a problem and do not harm the health of your horse.
- sesame seeds
There is nothing wrong with feeding your horse a handful of sesame seeds every day. Especially old and underweight horses benefit from feeding sesame seeds, as they are rich in (healthy) fats and thus provide your horse with a lot of energy.
However, keep in mind that these fats can quickly become rancid, especially in summer when temperatures are high, so don’t buy too much at once.
In addition, you should always store the seeds dry, cool and protected from light.
Especially horses with dental problems will be happy about a banana as a snack, because bananas can be easily mashed, so chewing becomes unnecessary.
In addition, the fruits contain many vitamins and are rich in potassium.
However, since excess potassium can lead to health problems, you should not feed your horse more than three or four bananas a day.
It is best to break the banana into two or three pieces to make it easier for your horse to eat. However, bananas are not very suitable as a training snack due to their soft consistency.
Fennel not only tastes very fresh and delicious, but is the ideal prebiotic for various diseases. For example, fennel has an antispasmodic effect, from which especially colic-prone horses can benefit.
In addition, fennel has a high vitamin C content, which strengthens the immune system of the animal.
Also horses with digestive problems or animals prone to allergies usually tolerate fennel very well. Fennel even has a positive effect on bronchitis, because the ingredients promote the drainage of mucus and thus clear the airways.
If you do not want to give up feeding peanuts despite all the suggested alternatives, you will find a short instruction in the next section on how you can best feed your horse peanuts.
What is the best way to feed peanuts?
If you feed peanuts very rarely and in small amounts, your horse should be fine.
Under no circumstances should peanuts be fed regularly. Four or five (shelled!) peanuts every few days – or even better, every few weeks – will not harm your horse.
However, it’s better if you reach for one of the alternatives we’ve listed for you above.
Since peanuts carry a high allergy potential, if your horse has never eaten peanuts before, you should first feed a single peanut to see if your horse is allergic.
If the answer is ‘Yes!’, then you should of course stop feeding it immediately.
FAQ – frequently asked questions
- what are aflatoxins and why are they so dangerous?
Aflatoxin is a highly toxic metabolite of the mold ‘Aspergillus flavus’.
This mold preferentially attacks peanuts and is not visible to the naked eye. The aflatoxin is very toxic and also carcinogenic.
The pathogen is even resistant to salting and roasting processes as well as to kitchen processes (e.g. baking and cooking), which makes it even more dangerous.
- How can an allergic reaction manifest itself in horses?
How an allergy manifests itself in a horse can vary greatly.
A very common sign is a sudden onset of itching, which can develop into eczema over time unless feeding of the trigger is discontinued.
However, an allergy can also be manifested by coughing, breathing problems, colic as well as fecal water.
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