When it comes to the dietary needs of your horse, you need to be careful to protect their health and well-being. With so many unsafe foods for horses on the market, it can be tricky to find snacks that are… well, safe.
That brings us to the question, “Can horses eat bananas?” Well, the simple answer is yes. But there are still some factors to consider before you introduce this fruit into their diet.
In this quick and easy guide, I’ll explore these factors, so that you can feed your hungry horse without worrying about upset tummies or other unnecessary health complications. So, let’s get to it.
Nutritional Content Of Bananas
If you give bananas to your horse as a special treat, knowing the nutrient content of each banana can be helpful for bulking up their diet. Plus, it can help you to know how many bananas to feed your horse without overdoing it.
Every 100 grams of banana has the following nutrients:
· Dietary fibre: 2.6 g
· Magnesium: 27 mg
· Polyunsaturated fat: 0.1 g
· Potassium: 358 mg
· Protein: 1.1 g
· Saturated fat: 0.1 g
· Sodium: 1 mg
· Sugar: 12 g
· Total carbohydrates: 23 g
· Total fat: 0.3 g
· Vitamin A: 64 IU
· Vitamin B6: 0.4 mg
· Vitamin C: 8.7 mg
The Health Benefits Of Feeding Your Horse Bananas
As I mentioned, most horses can safely have bananas! In fact, bananas are a fantastic snack to feed your horse and can actually be incredibly beneficial to them. Combined with a healthy diet and high-quality horse feed, a few bananas now and then will give you a well-fed (and well-nourished) horse.
Good source of potassium
Firstly, bananas are full of potassium, which helps to promote an all-around healthy horse. Not only is potassium great for their hearts, but it’s also important to keep their muscles and nerves functioning properly.
Good source of vital vitamins
Vitamin B6 and Vitamin C have many of the same benefits for horses as they do for humans. Vitamin B6 will strengthen your horse’s digestive system by turning carbs into energy and healthy fats. Vitamin C can boost their overall immune system – an absolute must for happy, healthy horses.
Good source of energy
When you feed your horse bananas, you’re not only giving them a delicious treat to munch on. You’re building up their immune systems and boosting their energy levels; an excellent way to fuel up for training or riding.
Potential benefits for stomach ulcers
It’s important to note that many horse owners believe bananas can help to ease the discomfort of horse stomach ulcers. There are even rumours that feeding horses bananas can stop ulcers from appearing in the first place. Of course, there’s no scientific research to back up these claims (yet), but it couldn’t hurt to let your horse eat bananas anyway.
How to Incorporate Bananas into Your Horse’s Diet Safely
There are a few ways to introduce bananas into your horse’s diet. However, no matter how you choose to feed it to them, it’s important to introduce them slowly.
Horses have extremely sensitive stomachs, and giving them too much of a new food too quickly can cause digestive upset. It’s best to try and limit the amount of banana you give to them initially – even if they have a serious case of a sweet tooth.
You can feed horses bananas by mashing them, cutting them up, or adding them to horse bran mash. If you have a fussy horse, frozen bananas are a good way to add interesting texture to their food. If your horse is a notorious glutton, try giving it mashed-up banana instead -this will help to reduce the risk of choking.
How Much Banana Can Horses Eat?
There are no specific scientific guidelines about how many bananas you can give your horse. Still, many horse owners suggest giving your horse a maximum of two bananas a week. Otherwise, they may have an upset stomach.
If your horse doesn’t respond well to having bananas in its diet, it may be best to avoid feeding it altogether. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!
Should Horses Eat Bananas?
It’s perfectly safe for most horses to eat bananas. So, if you want to give your horse a delicious snack that packs plenty of nutrients and can potentially help with their digestive tract, then yes, you should feed bananas to your horse.
However, there are still some circumstances that call for a cautious approach.
You shouldn’t feed bananas to these horses…
Rather than feeding bananas to every horse you meet, remind yourself that there are some instances where bananas aren’t safe for certain horses.
Obese or insulin-resistant horses shouldn’t be eating bananas, for example. Or, at least, not regularly. This is because bananas are naturally high in sugar – too much sugar for these horses to handle.
Horses with Hyperkalemic Periodic Paralysis (HYPP) should stay away from bananas entirely. These horses need to keep their potassium levels low, so you may be better off giving them a different fruity snack.
Can horses eat banana peel?
After you’re done feeding bananas to your horse, don’t throw away the banana peels! Although some horses may not like the bitter taste of a banana peel, there are plenty who are happy to munch on the thick, chewy skin.
If your horse doesn’t turn its nose up at the peels (or it’s hungry enough to devour the whole banana – skin and all), it’ll enjoy a few extra nutritional benefits. Just be sure to cut up the flesh and peels when you’re giving it to your horse. Big chunks can be a choking hazard.
Can eating too many bananas make your horse sick?
Too many bananas won’t necessarily make your horse sick enough to need veterinary attention. However, they may have a lot of discomfort and pain in their stomachs. Try to give them bananas in moderation and avoid giving them to certain horses altogether.
Can horses eat dried banana chips?
Horses shouldn’t eat banana chips. Chips are small and can be a choking hazard. Plus, the drying process strips them of almost all of their nutritional value. If you want to ensure your horse can safely eat bananas, fresh bananas are always best.