Have you been wondering if your horse can safely eat bananas? Well, they can! Bananas are an excellent source of nutrition for both us and our horses! They can be served as tasty and nutritious treats for our favorite equine friends.
Can horses eat bananas? Horses can safely eat bananas in moderation. Bananas are both nutritious and palatable, making them easy to chew and digest. They can be fed to horses in a variety of ways, but you should always take precautions in feeding any new treats to your horse.
Horses naturally tend to prefer a banana flavor over other flavors, so a real banana is a truly decadent treat for many of them.
There are some dangers in feeding bananas to some horses, however, the following information will help you decide whether or not they are the right treat for your horse. (source)
Bananas are Healthy for Most Horses!
Bananas are healthy for most horses and many horses absolutely love them. Bananas contain potassium, magnesium vitamin C and vitamin D. In moderation, bananas can be very beneficial for horses.
Many horse owners find that their horses enjoy eating bananas and look forward to getting them as a treat. As with any new food source, you will want to introduce it slowly to your horse.
Feed them just a couple bites the first time and make sure they have no allergies or discomfort after eating it. You should always limit the number of bananas that you feed your horse on a weekly basis.
In small amounts, bananas are good for horses. If you feed them too much, you can cause them to suffer digestive discomfort.
How Many Bananas Can I Feed My Horse?
Most horse owners suggest only feeding a couple of bananas per week. You could feed a quarter of a banana each day as a small treat.
Know that if left to their own devices, a horse will eat as many bananas as you offer, but that doesn’t mean that they should be eating more than 2 a week.
Overfeeding any treats including bananas can greatly reduce the health benefits and cause adverse side effects. One tip is to feed small banana treats in between a normal feeding time and not immediately before you feed them their regular feed.
This will make sure they still eat all of their regular feed as they should. Always consult your veterinarian before adding food to your horse’s diet, especially if they suffer from any digestive or metabolic disorders.
Feeding Bananas To Your Senior Horse
Bananas are the perfect treat for senior horses! Since bananas are naturally soft and mushy, they are easy for senior horses to eat, especially those with dental issues.
Remember, never overfeed a horse any treat, including healthy ones like bananas. If your older horse suffers from any type of illness, speak with your vet before adding banana treats to their diets. (source)
Can A Horse Eat Banana Peel?
It is safe to feed horses the banana peel, but keep in mind that many horses do not enjoy eating the peel. They prefer the actual banana part instead.
If you have ever bitten into a banana peel yourself, you probably understand why they wouldn’t like it very much.
If you find that your horse does indeed like to eat banana peelings, make sure that you remove any stickers first. Also, try to make sure the banana is organic before you feed your horse the peeling.
An organic label typically means that the banana peel should be free of harmful sprays and chemicals. It may also be beneficial to cut up the peel before you feed it to your horse.
Be careful feeding banana peeling to a horse with teeth issues as they may have difficulty chewing the peel.
Different Ways to Prepare Bananas for Horses
Straight from the Peel
The easiest way to feed your horse bananas is to feed the bananas fresh peeled. Many horse owners say that they feed their horses the bananas with the peel still on, but your horse may not like it. Every horse is different.
Some horses may not like the consistency of room temperature bananas, so freezing them might be the way to go. This will make them crunchy and more enjoyable for some horses.
Baked Banana Treats
There are some baked treats that you can make for horses using bananas as one of the main ingredients. Make sure all of the ingredients that you use are safe for horses.
Mixing with Bran Mash
If you feed your horse bran mash, you can include some bananas in it as an added treat. Remember, moderation is key.
Banana Treats to Avoid
Avoid feeding your horse processed banana treats like banana chips. These have higher concentrations of sugar in them and the process of drying them removes most of the healthy nutrients anyway.
Banana cakes or banana pudding should be avoided as well as these are also usually full of added sugar. These items should be especially avoided for horses with metabolic issues.
While these items probably aren’t toxic (always check ingredients on processed foods), stick with the real thing and your horse will love you even more for it.
Horses With Metabolic Issues and Bananas
Horses that suffer from metabolic issues should stay away from bananas and banana treats. Horses that are insulin-resistant have to be monitored on their sugar intake and bananas are naturally high in sugar.
Some horses have genetic issues that require a reduction in certain nutrients in their diet. Hyperkalemic periodic paralysis (HYPP) is a disease that requires the horse to maintain a diet low in potassium. Bananas contain high levels of potassium and should not be feed to horses suffering from HYPP.
If your horse suffers from any digestive or metabolic issues, be careful adding any treats to their diet and always consult with your vet first. (source)
Bananas As a Cure for Horse Stomach Ulcers
There is quite a lot posted in horse forums around the internet with equestrians who swear by feeding bananas to help prevent ulcers in horses. The most common recommendations are:
- Feed one whole banana 10 minutes before a meal.
- Feed two bananas per day (peel and all)
- Start horses off on normal bananas and transition them to the overripe bananas that are starting to go mushy.
The thing with all of these recommendations is that it was very hard to find any veterinary resource on the topic. What I did find was an interesting article from an Australian website that suggests that bananas were used by equestrians at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.
This article goes on to say that the high phospholipid count in bananas is what helps prevent acid damage to the stomach and, thus, prevents ulcer formation. (source)
Whether or not that is true, I don’t know. We already know they are safe to feed so as long as you are sure to consult your veterinarian if you think your horse DOES have an ulcer, feeding bananas may not prevent them but it probably won’t hurt either.
Bananas Can Be a Sneaky Way to Feed Medication
If you find that your horse likes bananas, you may also find that you can use a banana to hide pills that your horse doesn’t like to take.
You can press the pill into the banana, or you can hide it in mashed up banana. Either way, you can use the banana’s unique consistency to your advantage.
Side Effects of Too Many Bananas
If too many bananas are fed at one time, they can cause digestive problems in horses. Horses are susceptible to digestive issues when new foods are introduced, so overfeeding a treat like bananas can cause major problems.
Too many bananas can also cause their sugar levels to spike. This is an especially detrimental issue to horses with insulin issues and can even be dangerous for healthy horses.
The excessive sugar content in multiple bananas fed at once could cause a sugar high. Your normally calm horse could get overly excited and possibly injure themselves as a result.
Things to Keep in Mind
- Feed bananas and all other treats to your horse in moderation.
- Stick with feeding only 2 bananas per week, unless your vet says more is okay.
- Look out for any changes that may be associated with the new treats.
- Never replace their main food source with bananas.
Frequently Asked Questions
Though no scientific studies have been conducted, most sources seem to indicate that feeding horses up to two bananas per day should cause no ill effects in horses with normal metabolism.
Bananas and honey are both safe foods for a horse with normal metabolism to eat, in moderation.
Many online sources suggest that bananas can be a good preventative for horse ulcers due to the high phospholipid presence. There have not been any scientific studies to directly address this, but, bananas fed in moderation do not have any negative effect.
In general, yes, however, there are some things to consider including palatability as well as origin of the produce. If feeding banana peels, ensure they are washed and free from pesticides.
Bananas are a great treat for most horses and can be safely fed to your horse as long as you don’t overfeed them. There are many different ways to prepare bananas for your horse, so you may need to try out a few if your horse doesn’t like the first one. It is possible that your horse won’t like bananas at all, but if it does, you may have just found him or her a new favorite treat!
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