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Can Horses Eat Watermelon? What You Need to Know!

Dean Eby

Most of a horse’s diet consists of hay and grass. Grain makes up a majority of the remaining nutrient needs. Treats account for only a small percentage of a horse’s total intake, but everyone knows that horses love certain treats, such as carrots or sugar cubes. Horse owners love their horses like anyone loves their pets. As such, they often start to feel bad about the lack of diversity in a horse’s diet and begin looking for new treats to offer to their pal. Watermelon seems like a safe choice, but discerning horse owners like to be certain before feeding their horse a new food.

Luckily, watermelon is a treat that you can offer your horse, though you shouldn’t do it very often. The next obvious questions are: how much watermelon can a horse eat? What parts of the watermelon are safe for horses? Are there any health risks associated with feeding watermelon to horses? By the end of this article, you’ll have the answers to all of these questions.

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Is Watermelon Safe for Horses?

horses eating watermelon
Image Credit: Aleksandar Dickov, Shutterstock

Watermelon is safe for horses to eat. Of course, not all horses will like watermelon. They have individual tastes just like people. But if your horse seems to like watermelon, it’s completely safe to feed them some in moderation. As long as you don’t overfeed this fruit to your horse, they won’t suffer any negative side effects.

Does Watermelon Have Any Benefits for Horses?

The main benefit your horse could get from eating watermelon is simply enjoyment. Horses enjoy treats that are a break from their standard hay and grain. But there are also some health benefits, albeit minor, that horses can gain from eating watermelon on occasion.

For instance, watermelon is about 90% water, so it will aid hydration, though horses need so much water this is a very minor benefit. Watermelon also contains several vitamins and minerals, including vitamins C and A, phosphorus, and magnesium. There’s also a little bit of fiber in watermelon, though not enough to make much difference for your horse.

Can Watermelon Be Bad for a Horse?

You’ve likely heard the saying “everything in moderation.” Well, this holds true for horses too. Watermelon is a rather sugary fruit, containing roughly nine grams of sugar per cup. Granted, horses naturally eat a lot of sugar. Even grass can be 25% sugar at certain times of the year.

However, when a horse’s sugar intake gets too high, it can result in laminitis or colic. That said, you’d have to feed your horse a ton of watermelon to cause such an issue.

Some people also worry about toxins in watermelon that might have a negative effect on a horse’s health. This is a sensible thought since many fruits contain toxins that can be harmful to animals when ingested; particularly in the seeds and skins. But watermelon is devoid of these harmful toxins, so there’s nothing to worry about when feeding it to your horse.

sliced watermelon
Image Credit: Pixabay

What Parts of the Watermelon Can a Horse Eat?

Because watermelon doesn’t contain toxins, you can feed any part of it to your horse without having to worry about negative health consequences. Watermelon flesh is tasty and full of water. The rind and seeds are also safe for horses to eat. Watermelon seeds are too small for a horse to choke on. The skin of a watermelon is similar to the skin of a cucumber, and it’s also safe for horses to eat.

How Often Should You Feed Watermelon to a Horse?

Though watermelon doesn’t pose any dangers for your horse, it shouldn’t be a staple in their diet. It’s too sugary for regular consumption. So, watermelon should be used only as a treat. You can offer it to your horse in small amounts a few times a week without having to worry; just don’t give your horse watermelon every day.

horse eating watermelon
Image Credit: Edoma, Shutterstock

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Conclusion

Watermelon is completely safe for horses to eat. In fact, they can even benefit from the vitamins and minerals that watermelon contains. But watermelon is also full of sugar, which you don’t want to overfeed your horse. So, don’t make watermelon a regular part of your horse’s diet. Instead, offer it to them as an occasional treat and you’ll have nothing to worry about.


Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

Dean Eby

An avid outdoorsman, Dean spends much of his time adventuring through the diverse terrain of the southwest United States with his closest companion, his dog, Gohan.  He gains experience on a full-time journey of exploration. For Dean, few passions lie closer to his heart than learning.  An apt researcher and reader, he loves to investigate interesting topics such as history, economics, relationships, pets, politics, and more.