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Can Horses Eat Peanut Butter? What You Need to Know

Oliver Jones

Peanut butter is another one of those food stuffs that seems to be found in every kitchen– except those with allergies. Humans love it, but let us find out if horses can feed on peanut butter, too. The answer is yes, but in moderation.

divider-horseDo Horses Like Eating Peanut Butter?

cute-bay-horse-eating_Anastasija-Popova_shutterstock
Credit: Anastasija Popova, Shutterstock

Ever since people began domesticating horses, they have shown a tendency to prefer some foods in the human diet over others, which is natural. Peanut butter has multiple nutritional benefits that could be useful to your horse’s health. You just have to moderate the amount you are feeding them.

How Healthy is the Butter?

You are now aware that horses generally like peanut butter. Perhaps, yours is no exception. The vital question to ask at this point is; is it actually healthy for horses?

To answer that, you must acquaint yourself with the various nutrients that this snack contains.

Health Benefits

  • Proteins: like humans, horses need proteins for a number of reasons. First, they are responsible for the body’s immunity, regulation of body metabolism, and even transportation of nutrients throughout the bloodstream. Peanut butter has an estimated 7 grams of proteins that will go a long way in serving these roles.
  • Vitamin B3: the butter also contains essential vitamin B3, which aids a horse’s nervous system function smoothly.
  • Vitamin B6: your horse needs adequate hemoglobin to function effectively. Vitamin B6 that is available in the butter will see to that. Besides, it will also improve food digestion.
  • Phosphorus: from time to time, your horse’s cells and other body tissues will require some repairs after they are worn out. There are around 107 mg of phosphorous in peanut butter for that purpose.
  • Zinc: It is essential to maintain your horses’ hooves. It will also be necessary for the development of their bones.
  • Magnesium: The absence of magnesium in your horse’s body can be fatal to their health. For instance, they can easily become tired and nervous. Peanut butter has around 57mg of this vital mineral. Your horse will need it.

The Right Way of Feeding Peanut Butter

If you are a new pet owner, you probably might be confused about the right amount of peanut butter to feed your horse.

Feed moderately (two spoonsful maximum) and not more than once a week. It is advisable to keep the quantity as low as possible. Follow these two feeding rules to make sure it’s safe for consumption.

peanut butter on bread
Image Credit: Shutterbug75, Pixabay

Safety Hack: Colts and Peanut Butter

It will be in the best interest of your young horses to keep peanut butter away from them. While adult horses might be in a position to consume the snack, their young ones probably don’t have what it takes to digest peanut butter fully.

Horses Eat a Peanut Butter Sandwich?

It is highly inadvisable to give your horse a combo of peanut butter with bread. Not that it is toxic, no. These two will be too much to handle and might affect the horse’s insulin levels and even metabolic functions.

Are Peanut Butter Cookies Any Safer for Your Horse?

Yes, peanut butter cookies are safe but should be given as a treat. They have a high amount of potassium, while peanut butter sometimes includes salts and sugar. A little spoon is enough, but a large amount can cause serious health issues.

Organic vs. Inorganic Peanut Butter

Just like sugars, organic peanut butter tends to be way healthier than inorganic ones. Wondering why? Inorganic food substances are always filled with artificial additives and some preserves to enhance their taste and durability.

It would be best to feed your horse with homemade peanut butter. Before you cringe, making peanut butter is easier than you think. You just have to do a bit of research, and voila, you will be having all the steps with you.

When to Avoid Peanut Butter for Your Horse

In some cases, you should consider not feeding your horse with peanut butter. For example, consider the following;

1. In case the horse develops equine metabolic complications.

If at any point the horse develops insulin resistance, you should avoid giving it peanut butter. It contains high levels of sugars and will only worsen the situation.

2. If it has allergic reactions.

The body will react to peanut butter as it does to nuts. Thus, you want to keep peanut butter away from your horse if it has allergic reactions to nuts.

pretty-young-woman-with-a-browne-horse_Wallenrock_shutterstock
Credit: Wallenrock, Shutterstock

Side Effects of Peanut Butter

In most cases, horses can comfortably consume foods that have allergens like nuts without any allergic reactions. However, there are rare cases where their systems just can’t take it. If yours is one such horse, you might want to be very careful before feeding it peanut butter.

Be observant and note how it behaves.

Risk Factors

The health benefits that can be gained from taking peanut butter cannot be gainsaid; likewise, the risks associated with too much consumption of the same.

High Calories

As noted earlier in this article, peanut butter contains a high number of calories per serving (about 600 k/cal). This is too high even for human beings. What is the implication of this?

Too many calories are never great. They pose a risk to the animal’s health and can even result in obesity and overweight.

Sugar

Peanut butter contains a high number of sugars. These may cause a spike in the blood sugar level of your horse. If this continues gradually, you will soon be looking at an obese horse, among other lifestyle diseases.

Peanut butter can be helpful to your pet’s nutritional needs if appropriately given.

What Should you Use to Replace Peanut Butter?

While horses shouldn’t miss out on satisfying their sweet tooth, `peanut butter is not all healthy, and you might want to consider other options.

Here’s a list of other options you could be overlooking:
  • Apples
  • Carrots
  • Strawberries
  • Bananas
  • Pumpkin
  • Celery

You will be surprised how much your horse will love these food options. They have their health benefits too, so you might want to try them out.

spoonful of peanut butter
Image Credit: Pixabay

horse shoe dividerThe Bottom Line

We can conclude that horses can safely consume peanut butter in limited amounts. Please remember that it should be a seasonal ‘treat.’ It is crucial to limit their consumption to 1-2 tablespoons. Don’t even try experimenting with this for horses with allergic reactions or metabolic syndrome.

Generally, a horse’s digestive system is not adequately adapted to break down processed foods. Peanut butter is not an exemption. As such, feed them peanut butter moderately to avoid health issues. Always consult your vet whenever you are unsure because it’s better to be safe than sorry.

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Featured Image Credit: Shutterbug75, Pixabay

Oliver Jones

Oliver (Ollie) Jones - A zoologist and freelance writer living in South Australia with his partner Alex, their dog Pepper, and their cat Steve (who declined to be pictured). Ollie, originally from the USA, holds his master's degree in wildlife biology and moved to Australia to pursue his career and passion but has found a new love for working online and writing about animals of all types.