Although horses primarily thrive on hay and grass, they have a natural curiosity towards new foods. Of course, it’s natural to want to give your horse anything its heart desires, but it’s important to know which foods are safe for horses and which aren’t. And that brings us to the question: Can horses eat grapes?
The short answer is yes. Horses can have grapes. However, before you go give your horse any new fruit, it’s important to know how to do it safely. Luckily, that’s where this guide comes in. In it, I’ve answered all the questions you may have about feeding horses grapes. So read on to find out more.
Nutritional Content of Grapes
Grapes are filled with vitamins and minerals that are incredibly beneficial for horses. And it should come as no surprise that these healthy treats are a total hit with horses because of their natural sugar content and sweet taste.
The nutritional content for 100 grams of grapes includes:
Carbs: 18 g
Dietary fibre: 0.9 g
Fat: 0.16 g
Protein: 0.72 g
Sugar: 15.48 g
Vitamin A: 5 mcg
Vitamin C: 4 mcg
Vitamin K: 14.6 mcg
The Health Benefits of Feeding Your Horse Grapes
Although most animal owners dread the thought of their pets getting hold of grapes, they’re extremely beneficial for horses. In fact, feeding grapes to your horse can help to provide it with a balanced diet and improve the horse’s health.
Some of the most important health benefits of feeding your horse grapes include:
Grapes are a great way to add a little extra hydration to your horse’s diet. In fact, grapes are made up primarily of water (82% to be exact).
Still, it’s important to remember that grapes aren’t a replacement for water. Your horse should have clean, fresh water available to it at all times to ensure it’s getting enough hydration throughout the day.
Grapes have a naturally sweet taste, which can be attributed to their sugar content. Although your horse should only have a few grapes at a time, this small sugar boost can help to give it energy. This may be particularly helpful for horses during training. However, they may still enjoy the energy boost for their day-to-day activities in the pasture.
Because of their fibre content, grapes are fantastic for your horse’s digestive system. Although a handful of grapes won’t be enough to completely transform its gut health, there is still merit in giving your horse grapes to aid in digestion.
One of the most important nutrients found in grapes is vitamin C. Vitamin C is a natural health booster, which means these sweet fruits can help to strengthen your horse’s immune system and overall health.
Antioxidants are helpful for reducing inflammation and cleansing your horse’s body of nasty toxins. These toxins build up over time and may result from vigorous training. So, for horse owners with particularly active horses, feeding these horses grapes can help to cleanse their bodies from time to time.
Just remember that your horse can only safely eat a few grapes at a time, so try not to overdo it.
How to Incorporate Grapes into Your Horse’s Diet Safely
You should also limit the number of grapes you give your horse to 10 – 20 grapes. It may be best to spread this amount out over the week if you don’t want to spike your horse’s blood sugar. Plus, only giving your horse one or two grapes at a time can help to reduce the risk of digestive problems.
For horses that have never had grapes before, you should start slowly and gradually increase the number of grapes you’re offering them. For example, start with one or two grapes and see how your horse reacts.
If you’re already feeding your horse other fruits, you should lower this number to around 5 – 10 grapes a week. Too many sweet treats can cause sugar addiction and throw off the balance of your horse’s diet.
You can either feed your horse whole or half grapes, depending on how well it chews. Whole grapes may cause choking, so if your horse usually gulps down its treats, you may want to consider slicing them in half. You should also rinse the grapes off to remove any pesticides or harmful chemicals that may be on their skin.
It’s important to remember that no matter what horse-safe treats you’re providing, your horse should also always have high-quality horse feed, hay, and fresh water available.
Should Horses Eat Grapes?
Your horse should eat grapes. If they are given sparingly, fresh grapes can be incorporated into a well-rounded, healthy diet for your riding companion. However, as with most fruits, there are some exceptions you should be aware of.
You Shouldn’t Feed Grapes to These Horses…
Insulin-resistant horses should never have grapes. Thanks to their high sugar content, grapes are notorious for increasing blood sugar levels. Although a regular horse may also experience small blood sugar spikes if they eat too many grapes, diabetic horses may have more severe reactions. In these cases, it’s best to stick to low-sugar fruits instead.
It may also interest you to know that some horses may be allergic to grapes! So if you notice any strange behaviour after feeding your horses grapes, it’s best to consult a veterinarian or avoid giving them grapes altogether.
Can horses eat raisins?
If your horse eats grapes, then you should be able to safely offer it some raisins as well. Because raisins are high in sugar, you’ll want to limit the amount you give to your horse. You can also buy raisins made from green grapes (sultanas) for a snack that is slightly lower in sugar.
Should I feed my horse seeded or seedless grapes?
Ideally, you should be feeding your horse grapes without any seeds. Grape seeds can sometimes cause digestive upset in your horse and, while it’s nothing serious, it can cause bloating and discomfort.
Can horses have frozen grapes?
Horses can have frozen grapes and may even appreciate an ice-cold treat during warmer months. If you’re freezing grapes for your horse, you’ll want to pop them in the freezer for a few hours or a day to make sure they’re properly frozen and crunchy.