Can horses eat celery? Most definitely!
Actually, celery is one of the more beneficial treats you can feed your horse. I’d even go so far as to suggest including it as part of your horse’s dietary plan. It’s a succulent and crunchy vegetable that doesn’t contain much sugar and is full of fibre, minerals, and vitamins.
In this article, I’ll cover what you need to know about horses and celery, beginning with how nutritious it is for your horse.
Nutritional Content Of Celery
Feeding your horse an 80-gram portion of raw celery will provide the following nutritional benefits:
- 1.2g of fibre
- 0.4g of protein
- 0.7g of carbohydrates
- 0.2g of fat
- 256mg of potassium
- 32mg of calcium
- 12.5mg of phosphorus
- 17.6mcg of Vitamin A
The Health Benefits Of Feeding Your Horse Celery
Celery is high in fibre which, along with the fibre contained in a horse’s regular grass and hay, is really good for its digestive system.
The phosphorous that celery contains aids in keeping your horse’s teeth healthy and bones strong.
The high levels of potassium in celery balance the electrolytes in your horse’s body, helping its muscle and nerve functions. It’s also good for keeping your horse’s osmotic pressure in balance. This means better cellular functionality within its body.
Celery provides vitamin A to your horse, which fights any dangerous free radical cells present in its system. This vitamin is also excellent for equine eyesight and keeps its skin healthy.
Finally, celery is a natural hydration agent for horses, as it’s full of water.
How To Incorporate Celery Into Your Horse’s Diet Safely
Can horses eat celery stalks and leaves? Should you feed a horse a celery stalk whole? Do all horses enjoy celery?
These are all good questions that you should know the answers to. When you feed your horse celery, there are several ways to incorporate it into the diet without affecting its health negatively – including how to prepare celery for your horse. I’m going to run through some of the things you can do to feed celery to your horse safely.
Only use fresh, organic celery
If you buy your celery, make sure that it’s organic and fresh. Most horses love the fibrous crunch that the vegetable gives, but old, moldy celery is never a tasty treat. Besides that, it’s also not safe for horses to eat. Make sure the celery is parasite-free and not treated with pesticides.
I suggest horse owners grow their own celery. In that way, you can be sure it can be safely eaten. Whether homegrown or bought, always make sure you rinse the green vegetable well under running water. After that, leave it to dry before feeding the fresh celery to your horses.
For extra safety, rinse the celery, or any other vegetables, in salt water before feeding it to your horse.
Feed your horse celery stalks and leaves, but cut the celery first
Horses can’t vomit. A horse’s digestive system allows continued food movement through its digestive tract. Its design prevents food regurgitation from the stomach. As such, when a horse eats, it runs a greater risk of choking on food than we do.
Horses eat all parts of celery – both stalks and leaves. However, it’s important when feeding celery to your horse that you cut each celery stalk into small blocks. Likewise, don’t feed your horse huge clumps of celery leaves all at once. Instead, dice them to make swallowing and digestion easier.
Mix celery with tasty treats that horses love
In most instances, a horse will welcome the offer of crunchy celery. On occasion, your equine buddy might be fussier and turn up its nose at the green vegetable, though. In these instances, get more inventive to incorporate healthy celery into your horse’s diet.
I’ve found that almost every horse will eat peanut butter. Adding peanut butter when feeding a horse celery encourages even the most resistant of them to accept the offering.
Another way of getting horses to eat celery is to add it to the horse’s bran mash
How Much Celery Can Horses Eat?
There is only a certain amount of celery horses can eat without running the risk of repercussions. Remember, feeding your horse too many treats is counterproductive, and celery is no different.
Nutritionists and veterinarians suggest that you should limit a horse’s celery consumption. They believe in sticking to, at most, three kilograms of celery per week for a 500kg horse. You should then split this amount over at least two to three days. I believe it makes sense to feed your 500kg horse a maximum of 750g of celery three times a week to be safe.
What Are Some Horse-Safe Alternatives To Celery?
You may not have access to celery stalks or leaves but still want to provide your equine friend with the nutritional benefits that celery gives. Celery seeds are available as supplements from most equestrian suppliers. They’re great for cleaning out a horse’s urinary and digestive system.
Celery seeds are especially good for older horses. When older horses with metabolic issues eat celery seeds their bodies warm and toxins start leaving their systems. This benefits their condition.
Feed celery seeds with your horse’s food at a rate of 20 grams daily for a 500-kilogram animal.
Should Horses Eat Celery?
Considering all I’ve mentioned above, the answer is generally a resounding YES!
You shouldn’t feed celery to these horses…
The one exception is if your horse suffers from hyperkalemic period paralysis (HYPP). HYPP is extremely rare in horses and leads to weakness, muscle tremors, and paralysis. These different attacks are irregular and may cause a horse to breathe loudly due to affecting its airway muscles.
As celery contains high levels of potassium, it’s dangerous for horses with HYPP. This is due to potassium levels in a horse’s bloodstream being the root cause of HYPP. The medical name for high potassium levels is actually hyperkalemia.
Both celery stalks and celery leaves’ nutritional value are beneficial to most horses. They also enjoy its crunchiness and taste. Like everything else, I’ll remind you that ‘moderation’ is an important word, though. Too much celery can cause digestive issues or, in extreme cases, the onset of HYPP.
Can celery replace other essential components in an equine diet?
No, celery doesn’t replace other essential components in an equine diet. Over and above celery, you should feed a horse balanced concentrates and high-quality horse feed. Also, be sure to add any necessary supplements. Feed celery only as a supplemental hydrating source and to add a little variety to the diet, rather than as a staple food.
Are there any concerns or risks associated with feeding celery to horses?
Celery is safe for many horses, but there may be the odd one or two that are sensitive or allergic to it. You will notice if there are any adverse reactions after feeding celery. Allergic reactions or digestive upsets are likely easy to pick up. If you identify these, stop feeding your horse the celery and call your veterinarian to have a look.