I love dates, and my horse seems to have a bit of a sweet tooth. If your equine has a penchant for sweets you might wonder “Can Horses Eat Dates?” so let’s take a look at whether your equine can enjoy one, or if they’re another food horses can not eat.
Can Horses Eat Dates?
Yep, horses can eat dates. What’s more, most horses find the sticky, sweet treat delicious!
Dates are a healthy fruit full of vitamins, fiber and minerals. They also taste incredible and are so sweet they are usually used as a natural sweetener in some foods.
You can safely share this treat with your equine friend. Just remember to remove the pit before feeding it to your horse.
Dates aren’t safe for every horse to eat though. They include lots of natural sugars which can lead to weight gain if overeaten or when a horse is not eating a balanced diet. They are also not suitable for equines with diabetes because of the high amount of natural sugars inside them.
Are Dates Bad for Horses?
Dates aren’t bad for horses. They are safe to eat and contain lots of nutrients. However, like with many human foods, there are things you should consider when it comes to feeding them to your equine friend.
Firstly, dates are full of natural fiber. This is usually great for your horse’s gut, but too much isn’t good for them. If your equine consumes lots of dates it can lead to side effects and upset their stomach. Small amounts of fiber can ease constipation and firm up your horse’s stools, but too much fiber can cause them diarrhoea.
Secondly, dates are contains lots of natural sugars. While this does make them deliciously sweet, it can cause problems if your equine is eating them regularly. Horses don’t need lots of sugar in their diet, and too much of it can make them hyperactive or even lead them to diabetes and high blood pressure in the long term.
Dates are dehydrated, which means that their nutritional content is highly concentrated. That includes the vitamins and minerals, but also the sugar and calories. This is important to remember because although dates are relatively small, they’re still nutritionally dense so your horse shouldn’t eat a lot of them.
Finally, if your horse happen to devour a whole date, the hard pit inside the fruit may cause problems. It’s easy to prevent such problems though by just removing the pit before giving it to your best buddy.
Are Dates Poisonous for Horses?
No, dates are not poisonous to horses. They are perfectly safe for your equine to eat. You don’t have to worry about them being toxic.
Are Dates Good for Horses?
In addition to wondering “can horses eat dates?” you’ve probably wondered whether they are as healthy for your equine friend as they are for you. Well, as far as sweet snacks go, dates are actually quite healthy!
Dates are full of fiber which is good for your horse’s digestive system, it helps them in keeping their bowel movements regular and it also feeds the good bacteria in their gut. It also help in preventing diarrhoea and firming up their stools.
Dates are also rich in minerals such as potassium, manganese, magnesium and copper.
Potassium contributes to maintaining and regulating all the electrical impulses in your dog’s body. These are important because they allow their muscles to stir, and the nerves to send signals, and it helps their heartbeat to stay regular. Potassium also helps to your equine’s enzyme function and the balance of fluids in their body.
You may think of copper as the metal we use for wires and pennies, but it’s in fact an important mineral for humans and animals alike. Your horse needs copper for healthy collagen, bones and connective tissues, and it also helps them in absorbing iron, (which it’s useful for healthy blood cells as well as preventing anaemia.).
Magnesium is a mineral that helps your horse’s body to absorb other vitamins and minerals. Meanwhile, your horse needs Manganese in their diet to create and maintain enzymes and for metabolizing protein and carbs and also for making energy.
Dates also contain a good amount of vitamin B6, also referred to by pyridoxine. B6 helps in using amino acids, which means it has a big impact on your Horse’s overall well-being from growing and repairing muscles, to a healthy skin, and as well as keeping their organs functioning.
There are also high amounts of polyphenols (a natural compound with powerful antioxidants) in dates. They act as an anti-inflammatory and they are believed that they help prevent certain diseases such as cancer.
How many Dates can a Horse Eat?
The issue with dates is the stacks of sugar they contain. A single date weighs around 27g and it contains around 17g of sugar! Because of this. Even a healthy horse should only eat two pitted dates at most.
Recap: Can Horses Eat Dates?
Yes, your horse can eat dates and they will certainly find this sticky, sweet snack irresistible. However, because they are very sugary you shouldn’t let them eat a lot, only allow them two dates at most.
However, if your horse has diabetes or is obese and it needs to limit their sugar intake, then dates aren’t the perfect treat for them and you should go for healthy snacks that don’t contain as much sugar or calories, such as radishes or cucumber.