Showering our equine friends in tasty treats is one way of showing love and affection for them. Horses will eat treats as often as we offer them. But we need to make sure that the treats we feed them are safe to eat or beneficial to their diet. It’s a big bonus if they contain nutritional value.
So, can horses eat pears?
Yes, they can!
Your horse won’t have a problem eating pears as they have a sweet taste which usually makes them a favourite for horses to eat.
Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about feeding pears to your horse.
Nutritional Content of Pears
First, a quick breakdown of what a single medium-sized pear contains:
Fat: 0.285 g
Carbohydrates: 26.9 g
Sugar: 17.2 g
Fibre: 5.52 g
Protein: 0.676 g
Small amounts of iron, calcium, magnesium, folate, Vitamin B6 and riboflavin
Pears are High in Fibre
Pears are high in fibre which will aid your horse’s digestive system. Fibre also contains pectin which slows digestion and allows nutrients from food to properly be absorbed. A medium-sized pear has roughly 6 grams of fibre.
Pears are abundant in vitamins and minerals
Pears contain important nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, potassium and Vitamin C. Per 100 grams, a pear will have around 8.3 mg of calcium, 12.5 mg of magnesium, 129 mg of potassium, and 4.8 mg of vitamin C.
Pears help hydration
Pears are mostly made up of water (80%). This high water content of around 82.8 ml allows the horse to gain extra water in their diet and remain refreshed.
The Health Benefits Of Feeding Your Horse Pears
Improves digestive health
Due to the pear’s high fibre content, they are excellent treats that can aid the digestive system. Pears can help horses to have regular bowel movements. Pears also act as food for the healthy bacteria in the horse’s stomach. A healthy stomach means better immunity, meaning the horse will age better and have less constipation.
Pears have a high flavonoid antioxidant content. This is a fighting agent against inflammation. A high amount of flavonoid antioxidants will lessen the horse’s chance of heart disease, obesity, and other health conditions.
Improved energy levels
Carbohydrates are an excellent source of energy, and since pears are high in carbs, they are an ideal treat for horses. Feeding your horse pears will aid their energy levels.
Better heart health
Pears can improve heart health because of the number of antioxidants they contain. Specifically, pears contain procyanidin and quercetin. These are antioxidants that will decrease inflammation in the heart and increase good cholesterol levels.
How to Incorporate Pears into Your Horse’s Diet Safely
Figuring out what type of treat your horse prefers can be a fun experiment! You can also tinker with creative ways of offering pears to your horse. But your horse may or may not be used to pears so it’s best to introduce them slowly. This will also allow their digestive systems to adjust to them.
Before doing this, you need to prepare pears properly.
Raw pears should be cut into small, edible chunks. If the piece of pear is too large it can be a choking hazard for your horse. It’s also best to offer ripe pears to your horse because it will be easier for them to chew. This will avoid any issues in your horse’s digestive tract.
Here are some ways to incorporate fresh pears into your horse’s usual diet safely:
Cut up your pear horse treats into reasonably sized pieces and offer them to your horse.
Make a bran mash mix
Combine small pear pieces with your horse’s bran mash. Simply mix wheat bran with enough warm water to make a soft mixture, and then add your chopped pears.
Cook and cool
Cooked pears are much easier for horses to eat especially if they have teeth problems. Cooked the pear in water and allow it to cool before feeding it to your horse.
Make an oatmeal pear treat
By mixing oats, water, molasses and pears, you can quickly whip up a special treat for your horse. Perfect for those avid bakers.
How Many Pears Can Horses Eat?
You can feed your horse up to two pounds of pears twice a week. You can offer a chopped medium-sized pear as a treat to your horse every day. Just remember, to avoid overfeeding pear treats as they are high in sugar. Pears in moderation are a-okay!
Types Of Pears That Are Unsafe For Horses
Fallen fruit on the ground from pear trees may seem safe for horses to consume. However, we can’t always assume that every natural fruit and its parts are healthy and safe for horses. Let’s take a closer look at the individual parts of a pear and how safe they are for horse consumption.
Pear seeds, leaves, and cores
Pear Seeds – So, can horses eat pear seeds? The answer is yes, but not too many. Pear seeds contain cyanide which is a poisonous substance and can be dangerous to your horse. A few seeds here and there won’t cause any immediate harm to your horse, but it’s a good habit to remove the seeds first. Better safe than sorry.
Pear Cores – Horses can’t eat pear cores because they are hard for the horse to chew and can thus lead to choking. Remove the core and seeds together to save time.
Pear Leaves – Even though the leaves on pears aren’t toxic to horses and may be consumed straight from the pear tree, it’s still best to avoid feeding them to your horse.
Are Cooked Or Canned Pears Safer?
Canned Pears – Avoid canned pears as they contain a lot of added sugars and preservatives. This can result in your horse gaining weight and possibly displaying other health issues. Fresh pears contain enough natural sugar; we don’t need to add to it.
Cooked Pears – Cooked pears are fine for your horse to eat too. Make sure they have had plenty of time to cool down and that you haven’t added anything to them. Leave them as natural as possible – don’t add any refined sugar or spices
What Are Some Horse-Safe Alternatives To Pears?
Apart from pears, there are many other fresh fruits that are healthy for your horse to eat.
Here is a list of the most common, horse-safe fruits:
Melons (Watermelon, canteloupe and honeydew)
Should Horses Eat Pears?
Even though pears have nutritional benefits for horses, we need to ask ourselves “Should we feed them to horses?” In this case, we certainly should! Just not too many pears.
You shouldn’t feed pears to these horses…
Horses with laminitis
Horses with insulin resistance
Horses suffering from HYPP (Hyperkalemic Periodic Paralysis)
What fruit can horses not eat?
Fruits that are harmful to horses include those with a “stone” or pit in them. This is because it can cause the horse to choke. Horses can’t eat apricots, peaches, cherries, plums and others. Once the pit is removed though, the fruit is safe to eat. Avocados, however, are poisonous and should not be fed to horses.
What is a horse’s favourite snack?
Apples and carrots are the typical treats for horses. But you can offer your horse any of the above-mentioned fruits. Just make sure you feed your horse a well-balanced diet.