Can Horses Eat Kale?

Can horses eat kale

Kale, former garnish, now superfood, is so popular nowadays. It appears in health foods, smoothies and salads, and is believed to have numerous health benefits for people‚ however, can horses eat kale?

Some food such as blueberries can make a great treat for our horses but others, like broccoli and cabbage, are actually dangerous. Kale is a close relative to broccoli and cabbage, so it’s important to check whether or not kale is safe for horses.

Can Horses Eat Kale?

No, they shouldn’t. Kale is a vegetable that belongs to the Brassica family, which includes broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower, all of which are known to be toxic and can cause health issues to horses

Kale contains several potentially harmful natural substances, such as isothiocyanates and calcium oxalate.

Calcium oxalate, according to vet Mara Ratnofsky, can cause medical problems such as kidney and bladder stones. These issues usually resolve with veterinary treatment, but are a good argument against feeding kale ribs to horses as a tasty treat. Horses that are prone to kidney or bladder stones should avoid other foods with high calcium oxalate contents. These include leeks, spinach, okra, collards, parsley, quinoa, and kale.

Isothiocyanates, which also exist in broccoli, can cause another problem. Isothiocyanates have been associated with a lower risk of developing cancer in human beings. In horses, they can cause mild to potentially severe gastric irritation.

Since kale and broccoli contain similar amounts of this compound and are from the same vegetable family, we can conclude that while kale could be safe in small quantities, it should be avoided as a regular treat.

Kale can also interfere with thyroid function if fed regularly. Horses with hypothyroidism could suffer medication interactions if fed large amounts of kale regularly.

Can Horses Eat Curly Kale?

horses can eat curly kale in the same way that they can eat regular kale, but the same rules apply. Curly kale is the most common kind of kale and your equine can eat a little raw or steamed curly kale as a healthy addition to their diet. But just like regular kale, it must be served in moderation and it isn’t safe for all horses to eat all the time.

Can Horses Eat Raw Kale?

raw kale is safe for horses to eat, but it’s better to avoid it as it’s more difficult to digest compared to cooked kale. If your horse has a sensitive stomach you might find that raw kale gives them some tummy trouble and gas.

You can make raw kale easier for your horse to digest by simply pureeing it before feeding it to them. Otherwise, cooked kale is much gentler on their gut and easier to digest, so it’s often best to lightly steam, boil, or bake kale before feeding it to your steed.

Can I Give my Horse Kale?


While in most cases, feeding occasional, small-to-moderately-small amounts of kale to horses won’t cause any damage, some may caution against feeding kale as a treat or as a part of a homemade diet, particularly if there are underlying health issues or concerns. There are plenty of green alternatives for your horse to snack on that don’t pose any potential health problems. Peas, green, beans and cucumbers are safe for most horses, and your veterinarian can provide you with more information about healthy treats and homemade diets.

Is Kale Poisonous to Horses?

When a horse eats a lot of kale, two different problems can occur, and they are anemia and gas or bloat, and both can be serious issues, anemia can lead to death. Bloat can also kill a horse if it is not treated properly.

My Horse Ate Kale‚ What Should I Do?

If your horse eats kale, the best thing you can do is watch him closely for signs of intestinal upset or kidney and bladder stones. Vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty urinating are all signs that your horse could be suffering from a condition such as bladder stones that requires veterinary attention.

A small amount of kale is probably harmless, but not all horses react the same way. Your horse’s size and health also plays a role. You can always call your vet with any concerns you may have.

Recap: Can Horses Eat Kale?


Most healthy horses can eat kale as long as it is served plain and in small amounts. Like many other vegetables, kale can offer plenty of nutrients, however, it is possible to have too much of a good thing, and overfeeding can lead to sickness.

horses with bladder or kidney problems should steer clear of kale though because of the high oxalate content which can lead to kidney stones and bladder stones. Kale isn’t suitable for horses with thyroid issues either as the high levels of iodine can interfere with their medication and impact their thyroid function.

Generally, horses owners should avoid giving kale to their horses, however horses can eat kale as long as they are healthy and they’re only eating kale in small amounts. Instead of overdoing it with the kale, why not feed your horse a complete and balanced horse food that already has a perfectly portioned amount of the nutritions it needs already?

If your horse shows any signs of poor health after eating lake, contact your veterinarian.

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