We offer our horses a lot of specific foods that are safe for them to eat. Horses can enjoy delicacies like crisp apples, delicious sugar cubes, or fresh peppermint sticks in moderation. However, what about the richer candies we like to indulge in? Can horses eat chocolate?
Can Horses Eat Chocolate?
In a nutshell, horses cannot consume chocolate. Let’s discuss why consuming it poses such a risk to them now.
A herbivore, horses are. They graze on natural shrubs and grasses in the wild. A plant-based diet consisting of forage such as grass, alfalfa, and hay, along with a little amount of premium grain like barley, is also consumed by domesticated horses.
Horses do not consume chocolate. This is due to theobromine, the primary ingredient in cocoa beans, which is poisonous to them even in little doses. Horses should be kept on a tight diet since their delicate digestive systems are not designed to handle unfamiliar foods.
That granola bar with chocolate chips that you’re snacking on at the barn in between rides? This is one of those occasions where keeping things to yourself is OK!
You should be aware that dark chocolate contains more theobromine than milk chocolate, particularly if you’re eating it as a snack. The best course of action is to never, ever bring chocolate near your horse.
However, errors do occur, so it’s helpful to know what to anticipate if your horse accidentally eats something they shouldn’t have.
What Happens if a Horse Eats Chocolate?
Because horses and other mammals metabolise theobromine far more slowly than humans do, chocolate is hazardous to them, even in little amounts. This includes dogs.
A horse’s digestive tract may respond negatively to chocolate, leading to internal bleeding or even colonics. Their neurological and cardiovascular systems are also impacted, which increases the risk of a heart attack or seizures. Due to the caffeine in chocolate, they may also seem agitated and shy.
If you witness your horse eating something prohibited or notice that they are acting strangely, contact your veterinarian right away. The faster they arrive, the faster a diagnosis can be made, giving you the chance to perhaps save your horse from a dangerous illness.
If your horse consumes even a small bit of chocolate, time is of the essence. Horses who consume too much chocolate may, regrettably, die from theobromine toxicity, which can have lethal consequences even at tiny dosages.
But how much is too much exactly?
To what extent is chocolate toxic to horses?
500 oz. (nearly four gallons) of milk chocolate is enough to cause major problems for a 1,000-pound horse. If the chocolate is 100% cacao or dark chocolate, the amount is much lower.
However, it’s advisable to completely avoid giving chocolate to your horse. They are unable to throw up strange foods that don’t set well with them due to their sensitive digestive systems. For that reason, limit your intake of chocolate to delicacies like molasses, carrots, or oats.