Like most horse owners, you get a certain joy out of spoiling your horse a bit and giving them something you know they like. Often, this takes the form of sweet treats like apples, carrots, and other fruits or vegetables. Horses, being herbivores, can eat a variety of different fruits and vegetables without ill effect, but are grapes among those foods?
Grapes are delicious and healthy treats for a human, and luckily, they’re also safe for your horse. If you’ve been munching on grapes and wishing you could share the pleasure with your equine buddy, then you’re in luck. But while grapes make a great occasional treat, they shouldn’t be a staple in your horse’s diet.
Are Grapes Good for Horses?
We know that grapes are safe for horses to eat. No major health problems will occur from feeding your horse a handful of grapes every so often. But do grapes have health benefits for horses like they do for people?
Grapes are made up mostly of water. In fact, 82% of a grape is just water. This is great for helping to hydrate humans, though horses need so much water that a few grapes aren’t going to have any impact on their hydration. Horses regularly drink between 5 and 10 gallons of water each day.
Grapes are also full of fiber, which is a nutrient that aids in digestion. Horses, like humans, require substantial amounts of fiber. Though they’re not getting a ton from the grapes you offer as a treat, the fiber in those grapes will contribute to overall gut health for your horse.
Grapes are also packed with vitamin C and potassium. Vitamin C is essential for horses as it supports their immune health. Potassium aids in muscle and nerve function, so it’s also a benefit for your horse.
Downsides to Feeding Your Horse Grapes
While grapes are safe for horses to eat, they’re not an ideal food for horses to eat regularly. This is for several reasons. First, grapes have a pretty high sugar content. It’s easy for a horse to overeat sugar, which can cause issues such as weight gain.
Furthermore, horses can become addicted to the sweet taste of grapes. If this happens, your horse might begin to refuse other types of foods, including the healthy vegetables, hay, and grain that they need to survive. So, it’s important to avoid addiction to the sugary sweet taste of grapes.
How Often Can Your Horse Eat Grapes?
It’s generally best if you only feed your horse grapes as a treat. You should only offer grapes to your horse about one or two times a week. Each time you offer grapes to your horse, you can give them between 10 and 20 grapes without worrying about any adverse effects, including addiction.
Grapes are at the top of the list of fruits that you can feed your horse. They’re full of water, vitamin C, potassium, and fiber; all of which are great for your horse. Still, your horse could easily become addicted to the sweet taste of those grapes, which can result in feeding problems such as refusal to eat the healthy foods your horse needs. So, limit feeding your horse grapes to just one or two times each week and they’ll make a tasty, healthy, and safe treat.