Horses love treats, that much is clear but trying to think of something besides a carrot or apple is tough, one to consider is, can horses eat banana peels? Is feeding a horse banana safe? And do horses even like them?
Are Bananas Safe For Horses To Eat
Horses have a sensitive digestive system. You are right to check if something you want to feed your horse is safe before trying it. The good news is that bananas and their peels are safe for horses to eat.
However, you should take precautions by getting to know the health of the horse you want to feed a banana to. Certain horses should not eat this tasty treat. If your horse requires a low sugar diet, such as those with or at risk of laminitis, maybe think twice about a banana.
Bananas, like any fruit, have high sugar content. Surprisingly, an apple has a lower glycemic index and sugar level than a banana. The average apple contains 10.4 grams of sugar, compared to 12.2 grams in a banana.
Another horse that should have very controlled banana consumption, is one that suffers from Hyperkalemic Periodic Paralysis (HYPP). These horses must keep their potassium levels very low. As bananas, and even their peels, have high levels of potassium it is best to avoid this treat altogether for HYPP horses.
Too much potassium can also affect a healthy horse. High levels of potassium can affect a horse’s muscles preventing relaxation and leading to stiffness. It can also reduce absorption through the gut wall of other important nutrients, such as calcium.
Do Horses Like Bananas
Many horses enjoy the taste of bananas, some even love it, making them their favorite treat. So yes, horses can eat banana peels. However, the peel does have a more bitter taste than the flesh of the fruit.
Check out this cute horse enjoying his banana treat!
Some horses might love the flesh of a banana but turn their nose up or spit out a banana peel. While others genuinely can’t wait to devour a banana, peel, and all, like a cookie monster. Just make sure you’ve rinsed the banana skin and removed any stickers before feeding it to your horse.
It is also a good idea to remove the stalky part of the banana peel, as this could cause a choke. One great feature of the banana is its softness. This makes it the perfect treat for an older horse that has dental issues that prevent it from eating food that requires more chewing.
The best way to feed a horse with dental problems a banana is to mush it up before offering it. Remember, doing this will make it look like there is much less, so don’t add more, as the sugar content is still the same.
Not only can horses eat banana peels, but you can also feed them to a donkey.
While donkeys need careful control of their diet to prevent obesity, it is safe to feed them bananas, peel or not, as an occasional treat. It is best to feed donkeys chopped bananas to prevent any choking.
Bananas And Stomach Ulcers
It is a commonly held belief that bananas have a soothing effect on the stomach. Some studies have found the feeding banana powder to animals helps reduce the effects stomach acid has on the stomach lining.
This protection comes from the high content of phospholipids found in bananas. While feeding a horse with ulcers bananas won’t cure them, it can provide some relief from the pain they cause. It is also considered an ulcer preventive.
Can Horses Eat Banana Peels And Bananas In Unlimited Quantities
Just like other sugary treats, bananas should be fed in moderation, even to a horse with no health issues. The best practice to follow is to only offer one banana as a treat a couple of times per week. The high sugar levels affect not only insulin levels but also the horse’s energy levels.
Bananas also contain high levels of starch. Too much starch in a horse’s diet can negatively affect digestion. Hence, keeping this treat in moderation is important.
How To Feed A Horse Banana Peels And Their Flesh
When introducing any new food to a horse, first give it a tester. Ensure that your horse doesn’t have an allergic reaction or upset digestive system from eating the banana. Once you confirm your horse can safely eat banana peels or their flesh, gradually increase the amount to a full banana over time.
Giving a horse medication is a challenge, and some horses will sniff out something unwanted in their food very quickly. Using some banana to hide medicine is a great trick for hiding pills or nasty tasting powders.
It is safe to say that horses can eat banana peels if they don’t have any underlying health concerns. However, if your horse doesn’t like the peel, it doesn’t mean it won’t like the soft, sweet banana flesh.
Do you have a horse the loves bananas? Or any questions? If so, let us know in the comments below.