There’s horses and then there is celery. Horses tend to want to try to eat the darndest of things. So should you let your horse eat celery as a snack? Can horses eat celery without worry?
Dr. Jess explains the answer below:
What Do Horses Typically Eat?
Today’s horse typically has meals made out of three main categories: grasses, hays, and grains.
Most horses are allowed turnout (time outside) in pastures or paddocks. Not only does this time allow the horse to move and get exercise, but horses are grazers, so they will typically eat grass when in their pastures.
Sometimes horses need a grass supplement because the grass quality is not sufficient or is low in supply.
The most common supplement is to supply the horse with hay.
Many horses are given grain and other oral supplements to help fulfill nutritional requirements that may be lacking in their diets or to fulfill their need for extra calories for horses in high-intensity sport competitions.
Let’s Talk Celery
Good… now that the celery talk is out of the way, we can move on….
Naw, I’m kidding.
Let’s talk about what celery is here for just a second. It’ll help us determine if it is acceptable to our horsey friends or not.
Celery is a vegetable that has long been used in cooking. Most times, the thick, crisp, fibrous stalk is the part consumed.
Celery stalk is long and tough, tapering to bright green leaves at its top.
Celery contains many different types of vitamins and minerals, such as Vitamins A, B, C, and K.
It contains Phosphorus and Magnesium.
It’s got fiber. It’s got water.
All these things are fine for a horse to consume in small amounts so far, so……
Can Horses Eat Celery?
Mechanically, yes they can chew and swallow and digest celery.
Now should horses eat celery?
A bite or two as a snack won’t hurt them.
Let me repeat! A few bite-sized snack pieces.
Remember horses can choke, espcially if there is a delicious snack in front of them just waiting to be devoured!
Don’t feed your horse an entire handful of celery stalks either. One or two bites is enough.
Feeding too many treats to horses can lead to some pretty bad behavioral issues as well as gastrointestinal (stomach and intestine) issues that we’ll have to talk about another day!
Celery in moderation!
- celery stalks
- kitchen knife
- cutting board
- plastic ziploc bag
- Purchase bright green fresh stalks of celery
- Using a kitchen knife and cutting board, cut the celery stalks into bite-sized pieces, including the leaves.
- Place the bite-sized pieces in a ziploc bag, remove the extra air from inside the bag.
- Seal the bag up and place the bag of cut celery in the fridge until you are ready to serve the pieces to your horse.
- Depending on how fresh the celery was at purchase, you can store this cut celery in the fridge in it's sealed bag for up to 5-6 days,
- Check for parasites, mold or over-ripe pieces of the vegetable before serving to your horse.
- Be aware that these bite-sized pieces can be a choking hazard. Serve horses these snacks carefully.
What About My Horse That Can’t Have Sugar?
Yes! This is a great treat for horses who need to watch their sugar intake! Celery is a much better alternative to sweet treats!
Can They Eat The Celery Leaves?
Yeah, those are fine in moderation as well.
Could Celery Be Harmful To My Horse?
Glad you asked a vet!
Yes, celery could have potential to harm your horse.
For starters, there is a risk of choking on the celery, like we discussed above.
Secondly, it’s produce, which means that there is a chance of parasites or microorganisms on the celery that your horse’s gastrointestinal system may not play well with. Colic or allergic reactions are never fun to mess with when it comes to horses.
I’m a vet, I have to throw out the risks associated with horses consuming celery. I’ll also add – I’ve fed my own horse celery as a snack many times!