Is your horse picky when it comes to treats? You should try feeding them celery! Celery is a unique vegetable that often gets overlooked, but it is actually a very healthy treat for most horses. It is also easy to find at year-round at your local grocery store, so there is no fear of running low on your horse’s new favorite treat.
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Can horses eat celery?
Horses love to eat celery and it is healthy for them too. Celery is low in sugar, making it an excellent choice for those horses with metabolic issues such as insulin resistance.
Celery is a crunchy, wet vegetable that can be fed as a tasty treat for many horses. It can be fed to horses in a variety of ways but there are some precautions that should be taken when feeding celery as a treat.
Trying to figure out what treats are safe and healthy for your horse can be a challenge, especially if he or she tends to be picky about what they eat.
Thankfully, celery might just be the perfect delicious, low carbohydrate treat for your horse.
There are, however, a couple of situations where celery may not be the right choice for your horse. Use the following guide to help you decide if celery is the right treat for your favorite horse.
Celery is An Ideal Treat for Horses
Celery is very healthy for horses and it is low in sugar which makes it the perfect equine treat!
It contains vitamin B6, vitamin A, and vitamin C. It is also an excellent source of fiber, which is vital for a horse’s digestive system. (source)
Horses have to have fiber in their diets and the majority of their fiber comes from grass and/or hay. By feeding celery as a treat, you are adding a quality, albeit small, source of fiber to their diet. (source)
The texture of celery also is an added bonus for many horses who enjoy chewing and crunching up their foods.
Celery is also low in calories so it is a great treat for overweight horses. It gives them something tasty without causing additional weight gain like many horse treats do.
Common Questions for Feeding Celery
Can horses eat the leaves on celery?
If you buy fresh celery that hasn’t been cut up, chances are it will still have some leaves on it. Don’t worry, it is safe for your horse to eat celery leaves.
Many horse owners feed it to their horse and they don’t seem to have any issues. The leaves are actually thought to be even more nutritious than the celery stalks. (source)
Some horses seem to enjoy the leaves more than they do the celery itself.
Can horses with metabolic issues eat celery?
Probably. Celery is actually low in sugar and carbohydrates. As a result, celery just might be the perfect treat for your horse if he or she suffers from a metabolic issue such as insulin-resistance.
Horses that suffer from metabolic disorders usually cannot eat foods with high levels of sugars or carbohydrates.
You always should consult with your vet before adding any new treats to your horse’s diet, especially if they have a metabolic disorder.
Preparing Celery for Your Horse
Many horse owners simply let their horses eat a celery stalk out of their hand, biting off a couple of pieces at a time. This will work just fine as long as your horse can safely chew and swallow the celery.
If you have a horse that tends to eat too quickly or is unable to chew properly for any reason, you may want to chop up the celery and feed it to your horse in small pieces.
This just helps to avoid choking and the expenses that accompany such a trauma.
You should make sure to wash the celery before you feed it to your horse to remove any pesticides or bacteria.
Think about it, celery has through a long journey before reaching the grocery store you purchased it from. Multiple people have handled the celery throughout its lifetime and pesticides may have been used during its cultivation.
Whether you buy organic or non-organic celery, you should always wash it off before you or your horse eats it.
The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) recommends using salt water to rinse off all of your vegetables, including celery. Afterward, use cold water to rinse off any saltwater residue. (source)
After you let the celery dry, you are safe to feed it to your horse.
Unique Ways to Prepare Celery Treats for Your Horse
Add Peanut Butter
Yes, horses can eat peanut butter. Horses that do not have any metabolic issues can safely eat both peanut butter and celery, so there is usually no issue with feeding it to them together.
Many horses enjoy peanut butter, so they might enjoy a little of it on their celery treat. If you decide to add peanut butter to their celery, just make sure that you don’t feed them too much of it at once.
Remember that some peanut butter is higher in sugar and it may not be healthy for horses in large amounts.
Again, always consult your vet if you are unsure about adding food to your horse’s diet.
Mix Celery in a Bran Mash
Many horse owners mix up a bran mash for their horses as a treat and include different fruits and veggies.
You can add chopped up celery in your horse’s bran mash as a nutritious and tasty additive. This will just help add more fiber to the mash and gives the horse a little added flavor.
Baked Celery Treats
Some baking-inclined horse owners like to create and bake their own horse treats at home.
If you are one of these people, consider adding chopped celery to the mix. Just be sure that the ingredients that you use are all safe for horses.
Some Precautions Regarding Feeding Celery to Horses
Take caution with giving celery to horses that have dental problems.
Celery is a rather crunchy vegetable, so you should probably not feed it to horses with dental issues, especially if they have significant tooth loss.
You may be okay to feed them celery if you can cut it up in very small pieces to prevent choking, but there are plenty of soft treats available that you can feed your horse instead.
In this case, celery may not be the right choice for your horse if they are having trouble chewing up their food properly.
Avoid feeding celery to horses with HYPP.
Celery contains a relatively high amount of potassium, approximate 286 mg per serving, so it is not considered an acceptable treat for horses suffering from Hyperkalemic periodic paralysis (HYPP).
Horses that have HYPP must be monitored on their potassium intake. Celery just has too much potassium to be considered healthy for horses with HYPP and should not be fed to them for any reason. (source)
Things to Keep in Mind
- Feed all treats in moderation to avoid digestive upset.
- Watch your horse for changes when feeding any new treat.
- Rinse celery before you feed it to your horse.
- Consult your vet if you are unsure if celery is right for your horse.
- Use caution when feeding celery to horses with dental issues.
- Do not feed celery to horses with HYPP.
If you were wondering if horses can eat celery, now you know they absolutely can!
Celery may seem like an odd choice as a treat for horses, but it could be the perfect choice for your horse, especially if it suffers from insulin-resistance.
Its low sugar content combined with its crunchy, fibrous texture actually make it an ideal treat for many horses. Celery is nutritious, low in calories, and safe for most horses to eat.