Cranberries are close relatives to the beloved blueberry. Horses are allowed blueberries because they are full of nutrients, so can horses eat cranberries and benefit from them too? Read on to find out whether cranberries can be fed to horses.
Can Horses Eat Cranberries?
Yes, horses can eat cranberries. They are perfectly safe for horses to eat because they are not poisonous and they’re actually very healthy for your equine friend.
However, cranberries are very sharp and the taste can put some horses off. Some equines will happily eat a few cranberries given to them, while others may take a bite and spit it back out, finding them too tart to be a real snack.
You shouldn’t allow your horse to eat tons of cranberries because it can make them sick. These treats are quite acidic, so eating lots of them can lead to stomach upset, vomiting, or diarrhea. Most fruits and vegetables can make a horse unwell if they eat too much of it, so remember moderation is the key for a healthy and happy horse.
Can Horses Eat Dried Cranberries?
Dried cranberries are non-poisonous and perfectly safe for horses to eat just don’t overfeed them. Some dried cranberries may be sweetened, which can negate all the good stuff the berry has. The extra sugar is no good for your equine friend.
You should never give mixed berries and nuts to your horse because they may contain other toxic dried fruits.
If you’ve got a pack of natural dried cranberries without any additional ingredients, feel free to offer your horse a few.
Dried cranberries are, of course, more concentrated than regular cranberries. This means they still offer the same nutrients but it’s easy to eat more of them without realizing because they’re smaller. Just make sure to ensure moderation so your horse doesn’t devour loads of them and end up with an upset stomach.
Can Horses Have Cranberry Juice?
Technically speaking horses can have cranberry juice, but you will have to be careful. Most cranberry juices contain high levels of sugars and sweeteners which they’re not good for your horse and shouldn’t be included in their diet.
Cranberry juice is not as good as a whole cranberries because it is missing some of the goodness that are in the fruit. Firstly, there’s no skin so there’s almost no fiber and many of the polyphenols and antioxidants are missing. This is because the juice is sieved and strained to get anything that is not liquid out.
Speaking of sweeteners, don’t feed your horse any cranberry juice with unnamed sweeteners. Because one common sweetener, xylitol, is highly poisonous to horses. So if there’s any risk it’s in the carton, so do not give it to your horse. Many juices that don’t contain added sugar do contain sweeteners, so be aware and always check the label.
Are Cranberries Good for Horses?
Yes, cranberries are good for horses because there’s nothing poisonous or “bad” in those berries, instead there’s plenty of goodness.
Cranberries are excellent antioxidants due to containing high levels of vitamin E and C. These are important for a healthy skin and bones and also help in reducing inflammation and combating cell damage, which help prevent the risk of cancer. Cranberries also have manganese, a mineral that acts like an antioxidant sidekick and improves their function. It’s also vital for your horse’s metabolism, such as enzyme production and allowing their body to use carbs and proteins correctly.
Research also found that cranberries can help increase the digestibility of a horse’s diet. In other words, eating cranberries my help some horses to absorb more nutrients from their food. It’s believed that cranberries do improve a horse’s intestinal function.
Studies of cranberry extract fed to mice found that it has benefited them in many different ways, ranging from reducing intestinal inflammation to decreasing visceral fat, and improving insulin sensitivity. From this, it’s possible that cranberries could help reduce the risk of diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
Recap: Can Horses Eat Cranberries?
Yes, horses can eat cranberries. Berries are highly nutritious for your equine friend. Depending on your horse’s specific taste, they may not enjoy their tart taste on their own. Horses can also eat dried cranberries but you should ensure they are unsweetened and don’t contain other dried fruits that may be poisonous to horses.
Cranberry juice and sauce may be safe for horses to eat. However, they may some contain additional ingredients, such as sugar and sweeteners. These ingredients aren’t good for your equine, so it’s best not to feed them to your horse.
If you want your horse to benefit from these berries, it’s best to offer them whole or unsweetened dried cranberries.