can horses eat bread

Can Horses Eat Bread?

When it comes to feeding our horses, there are tons of questions that pop up concerning what is safe for them to eat. While there are plenty of fruits and veggies that have a seal of approval for horses to eat, that leaves other foods like bread in a grey area. So, can horses indulge on bread?

In this article, I wanted to take a closer look at whether this staple human food was safe to give to horses, too. I also wanted to explore whether bread could be part of a healthy diet for my horses, or if I should avoid it altogether.

The simple answer is yes, horses can have bread, but it’s not really recomended. There are a couple of things you need to know before you give this to your horse. It probably won’t do them any harm in small doses, so If your horse grabs your cucmber sandwich, don’t panic but don’t make it a habit either.

Nutritional Content of Bread

If you have been feeding bread to your horse, it’s important to know what this food contains. The nutritional value of bread usually changes, depending on what type of bread you’ve been giving your horse.

For example, the nutritional content of one slice (around 32 grams) of whole wheat bread includes the following:

  • Calories: 82

  • Carbs: 13.8 g

  • Fat: 1.1 g

  • Fibre: 1.9 g

  • Manganese: 0.7 mg

  • Protein: 4 g

  • Sodium: 144 mg

  • Sugar: 1.4 g

Are there Health Benefits to Feeding Your Horse Bread?

Bread provides a high amount of carbohydrates which can be used and burned as energy for training purposes. However, besides being a slight energy booster, bread offers little nutritional value to your horse. So it’s best not to feed bread to your horse regularly.

There aren’t many health benefits to feeding bread to horses. Also, depending on the type of bread it could contain a lot of salt sugar and preservatives so unless you made it yourself, I’d avoid even giving them a little nibble.

Can I Incorporate Bread into My Horse’s Diet Safely?

Although bread isn’t toxic to horses, too much bread can cause health problems. Generally, you can give your horse a piece of bread as a snack every now and again. But you will still need to consider what bread you’re giving your riding buddy.

Shop-bought bread usually has a ton of processed sugar and additives in it that can make your horse sick. So, if you’re set on feeding horses bread, you’ll want to ensure that it’s homemade and that it doesn’t contain any ingredients that are harmful to horses.

As long as the bread is homemade or contains standard ingredients, it’s safe for your horse to eat very samll amounts of bread on occasion. If you’re buying bread, it shouldn’t contain any other ingredients besides wheat flour, salt, yeast, and water. Other additives may potentially lead to health problems in your horse.

Generally, you won’t need to do anything special to prepare the bread. Still, you should be careful to break it up into smaller pieces to avoid choking.

Horse shaped bread

How Much Bread Can Horses Eat?

We wouldn’t recommend it, but if your horse likes it and you know they don’t have any allergic reactions, a few small pieces as a treat would be more than enough.

You would be better providing your horse with high-quality horse feed that meets all of its nutritional requirements.

What Are Some Horse-Safe Alternatives to Bread?

While some horse owners feed their horses bread, there are better alternatives to give your horse. These alternatives have more nutrients and are all-around better for your horse’s body.

So, if any of your horses tucks into bread regularly and you want some healthier alternatives, you may want to try some of these foods instead:

  • Apples

  • Berries

  • Barley

  • Bananas

  • Hay

  • Oats

  • Carrots

Should Horses Eat Bread?

Although horses can have bread, it doesn’t mean that they should. Since bread barely has any nutritious value to your horse, it’s not necessary to add this food to its diet.

You Shouldn’t Feed Bread to These Horses…

Bread contains high levels of starch, which can lead to severe weight gain in horses if their diet isn’t monitored correctly. It may even lead to obesity in your horse, which can cause several health issues.

Additionally, if your horse suffers from insulin resistance or equine metabolic syndrome, this could potentially lead to laminitis (commonly called founder when severe).

Laminitis occurs when there is inflammation in the tissues (called laminae) that connect the horse’s hoof wall to the inner structures of the foot. These tissues help to support the weight of the horse, but when inflammation occurs, they can become weakened or damaged.

This condition can be extremely painful for your horse and can cause walking issues and lameness.


Can horses eat banana bread?

Horses can have small amounts of banana bread as a yummy snack or a reward after training. However, banana bread usually contains high levels of sugar and butter that aren’t part of a horse’s natural diet. So, while your horse can nibble on a small piece of banana bread from time to time, we do not recommend it.

Can horses eat seeded bread?

Horses can have seeded bread. In fact, most of the seeds actually have nutritious value for your horse. But, much like any other kind of bread, they shouldn’t be given seeded bread in excess. Instead, you can provide your horses with a handful of seeds and eliminate the need for bread altogether.

Can horses have raisin bread?

Be very careful giving raisin bread to horses. Raisins are high in sugar and can cause potential health problems. This is especially true if the bread already contains sugar. Combined with the sugar from the raisins, your horse may not react well.

Can horses have mouldy bread?

No, your horse should never be given mouldy bread. Or any type of mouldy food, for that matter. Mould produces harmful toxins, which can lead to severe illness or even fatalities. Generally, consuming mouldy bread can cause colic and digestive issues, among other health problems.

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