If you put food in front of them, it’s a no-brainer that your horse will eat whatever it is that you’re offering! Bananas are yet another thing that you can offer to your horse that they will gobble up in no time at all.
Sometimes a horse may turn away from a food that they are unfamiliar with, but for the most part horses will usually eat bananas like there’s no tomorrow.
With that in mind though, is it actually a good idea to feed your horse a banana? If you want the short version, the answer is yes – bananas are totally safe to eat! Horses also really like sweet foods, which is a huge reason why they’re so popular among our equestrian friends.
Bananas And Whether They Are Healthy For Your Horse
Bananas are super good for humans – they’re one of our five a day! But what about horses?
Thankfully, bananas are a great choice for horses since they contain lots of potassium and a whole bunch of other vitamins and minerals that are good for them. Your horse can enjoy a healthy snack all while getting all of the things that they need in order to thrive.
- Potassium – Potassium is important because it helps to keep your horse’s cardiovascular system in good working order. It’s also important for ensuring that the nerves and muscles work as they should.
- Vitamin B6 – Vitamin B6 is vital for making sure that your horse gets plenty of energy from fats and carbohydrates. It’s good for digestion.
- Vitamin C – This helps to repair cells and tissues in the body, and helps your horse’s immune system as a whole
- Digestion – if you aren’t giving your horse too many bananas then they can be beneficial both for gastrointestinal issues and for your horse’s digestion in general
- Energy – if you want a horse with plenty of energy, bananas are a good choice. They’re an especially good idea if you are a keen rider for competitions and races.
It’s important to note that yes, bananas are very good for horses, but only fresh ones. Things like frozen bananas or dried banana chips aren’t good for them because they are so small and solid, so there’s a risk that the horse can end up choking.
Not only that, but when bananas are dried it removes many of the vitamins and nutrients so it’s not as good for your pet.
Should I Give Banana Peels To My Horse?
Many of us wouldn’t even dream of eating a banana peel – they taste super bitter! With that being said though, it is not the same for horses. Banana peels are okay to feed to your horse, though not every horse will be fond of them.
Be careful to wash it before you give it to your horse so there aren’t any harmful substances on it, and be sure to get rid of stickers. When you have done that, your horse is free to eat the peel.
What you may not know is that banana peels also have many of the same benefits that you would find with the main part of the banana. It’s full of vitamin B12 and B6, so it’s very good for your horse.
Give it a try with your horse – there’s always a chance that they may not like it, but try feeding it again in a few days or so as they may just be feeling a little bit picky on that day.
Can Every Horse Have Bananas?
Can you feed any horse a banana? Well, in most cases it’s totally okay to give a horse bananas. As you may expect though, there are always exceptions to that rule. There are always going to be circumstances where you shouldn’t feed bananas to a horse.
One instance of this is that you shouldn’t feed horses that are obese bananas, in addition to insulin resistant horses. This is because you need to be tremendously careful about how much sugar you give them, so it’s usually better not to risk giving them bananas.
In addition to this, if your horse has a muscle disease like Hyperkalemic Periodic Paralysis – HYPP for short – you shouldn’t give them bananas since the amount of potassium that they can consume is much more limited than that of a normal horse. This is because the disease can cause different mutations that can be influenced by potassium.
In some cases, you may not be certain about whether your horse is able to eat bananas. What then? Well, in these cases your best bet is to speak with your vet. They can give your further advice, and advise you about the portion sizes that your horse should be having.
Are Bananas Good for Stomach Ulcers?
You may be surprised to learn that bananas can help your horse to get rid of gastric ulcers. In addition to this, if you are feeding them correctly then the chances of getting them to begin with can be greatly minimized.
Why is this? Well, bananas contain a lot of phospholipids, and these help your body to make more mucus in your stomach. This then lines the stomach and protects the walls of the stomach from getting hurt by acid.
Some information does suggest that unripe bananas are an even better choice because they make even more mucus, but this theory has yet to be confirmed. Unripe bananas can be helpful for increasing the cell growth in the digestive tract though, and can help to fix any damage that has happened as a result of stomach ulcers.
What About Elderly Horses?
Elderly horses can often benefit from having bananas. This is especially true as some older horses can suffer from dental problems, which can mean that it’s challenging for them to chew food.
You should check the softness of the bananas – if they aren’t soft enough then you may need to mash them up before feeding them to your horse.
It’s a good thing to know that your elderly horse should be having the same portion sizes as any other horse – don’t give them more just because it has been mashed. The only exception to this is if the veterinarian has instructed you to the contrary.
The problem with mashing or blending fruits is that the process removes water, trapped air and sometimes can completely change the makeup of the banana.
It can look like there’s not as much there but that is most certainly not the case. They’re still getting the same amount of sugar, so you don’t want to add more sugar on top of it as it can be bad for your horse.
The Correct Banana Intake
In truth, there’s not one specific amount of bananas that’s right for a horse. In most cases though, people will usually say that your horse shouldn’t eat more than two bananas each week.
They should only be having bananas as a small part of a balanced weekly diet. This is because all bananas contain a lot of sugar. This can result in dental issues and problems with health in general.
Not only that, but if your horse is eating excessive amounts of sugar then they can get too much energy. This may sound like a good thing but it’s not necessarily. It’s even worse if they have no way to burn all of the extra energy they are consuming.
In addition to this, bananas include starch – a lot of it too! This is hard for a horse to properly break down in bigger doses. Bananas contain pectins too, and this is a sort of fiber that can remove water from the horse’s intestines. Your horse may become constipated as a result.
In most cases, your horse may be able to eat a dose larger than two bananas each week and they’ll be fine. As such, it’s a good idea to speak to your vet first as they will give you a better idea of how much your horse can eat and how they should be eating it.
A First Time Feeding Of Bananas
This is your first time feeding your horse bananas – how exciting! It’s best to slowly introduce your horse to bananas.
Start off with a little amount, since their digestive systems are super sensitive. This can mean eating large amounts of new food in one go can upset their digestion. Your horse is also less likely to get colic if the introduction to the foods is gradual.
There are some horses that also don’t like bananas very much, so it won’t be of consequence if they don’t like it and you only give them a small part of the banana.
The Right Way To Feed Banana To A Horse
Many people choose to feed bananas to their horse whole without doing anything else to them. Most horses won’t have a negative reaction to this, but it’s usually best to divide it into smaller pieces or mashing it first. This will be better for the horse since they will be less likely to choke.
It’s also possible to give your horse a banana alongside something else. For instance, you can give them a bit of peanut butter with it or you can turn them into frozen lollies for your horse to enjoy.
Bananas And Medicine
It can often be difficult to get a horse to take their medicine. After all, nobody enjoys taking medicine, regardless of the benefits that it brings. With that being said, you can often disguise medicine with other foods to get your horse to take it. Bananas are a good choice for this.
To do it, cut a little bit of the banana out and put the tablet in the center. They’ll be so wrapped up chewing on their yummy treat that they won’t even notice the tablet you’ve put in there. Powder forms can be more tricky, but even with this you can simply mash up a bit of banana and mix it in with the powdered tablet.
You may need to deworm your horse with deworming paste too – they won’t like that! In this case, get a syringe and some mashed banana – put it on the syringe and they won’t be as angry at you for using it because it tastes nice.
Rinse the old tube of deworming paste and fill it with banana and inject it as you usually would. It’s a much easier way to medicate your horse without repercussions.
Horses absolutely love bananas in many cases, making them a great choice for a treat for your pet! They enjoy the taste and are sure to be craving more. Of course, as with any food moderation is key. You should ensure that you are following the right dietary guidelines and gradually introducing your horse to new foods.
In the event that you are unsure about whether your horse can eat bananas, always speak to a vet for advice first who can give you more guidance to follow.
If your horse doesn’t like bananas, then no worries! There are plenty of other foods that they can enjoy that are also good for them.