Blueberries are not the only safe fruit for horses to eat. There are a lot of other fruits that your horse can enjoy too. But when it comes to feeding your equine new treats, it’s important to ensure their safety first. One fruit you may consider feeding your horse is plums. So below, we’ll discuss the question “can horses eat plums?”.
Can Horses Eat Plums?
The answer is yes. Plums are very healthy for horses as long as you feed them in moderate amounts. But, before you offer your horses plums, you should know that horses that are suffering from certain diseases need to avoid plums, and we will discuss the reasons why later on in this article.
The flesh and skin of the plum are completely safe and non-poisonous for horses. However, you should never give them the pit or pip of the plum.
Health Benefits of Plums For Horses
Plums are not very rich in nutrients as many other fruits. However, like most fruits and vegetables, they contain lot of essential vitamins and minerals.
A good source of antioxidants
First of all, plums contain antioxidants which are beneficial for horses, especially active ones. Because It helps in riding your horse’s body from the too many toxins that can accumulate after doing his exercise.
So giving your horse treats that are high in antioxidants is very beneficial for your horse health.
A good source of vitamins A, C and K
- vitamin C is important for your horse’s immune system. It is also helps in reducing inflammation and maintaining healthy bones and cartilage.
- Vitamin A helps in supporting healthy eyesight, as well as maintaining their skin health.
- Vitamin K is good for your horse’s muscles and bones.
Rich in minerals
plums comes with several essential minerals. They are a good source of copper, potassium and magnesium. All these minerals help support horses’ nervous system and muscle function and recovery.
A great source of fiber
Fiber not only helps with digestion and regulating bowel movements, but it also reduces constipation and helps in maintaining blood sugar levels.
The water content of plums is also pretty high, so they can be a hydrating and refreshing treat for your horse, just like they do for us.
However, plum flesh have high sugar content, so make sure to always feed in moderation, as too much sugar can cause weight gain and obesity, which can increase their risk of developing other health problems such as diabetes.
Are Plums poisonous for Horses?
Although plums themselves are not poisonous for horses, and they can be safely enjoyed as a tasty snack, there are still some risks you have to know about before feeding the fruit to your horse. Whilst they provide some nutritional benefits and the fleshy part is generally harmless, the pits are especially dangerous for our steeds.
Cyanide and Plum Poisoning
You should know that many parts of the plum, such as the roots, stems, pit and the foliage contain amygdalin, which when consumed is broken down by the body into hydrogen cyanide. Cyanide is as poisonous to horses as people when consumed in high doses.
If your horse eats enough plum pits, he may end up very sick. Plum poisoning from cyanide is deadly if not treated properly. Luckily, there is only a small amount of amygdalin in each plum pit, so horse would have to eat many plums to reach the toxic dose.
Some horses are more susceptible to cyanide poisoning than others. such as horses with liver disease, which reduce the liver’s ability to filter toxins from the body.
Cyanide causes the cell’s respiration to stop, which means that despite the high levels of oxygen in the blood, the body can’t use it, resulting in respiratory collapse. If left untreated, the poisoning can be fatal, so it’s crucial to recognize the symptoms early.
Some of the symptoms of cyanide poisoning in horses are reddening of the gums, mouth and tongue, in addition to breathing difficulties, dilated pupils, tremors, panting, rapid breathing, agitation, foaming at the mouth, collapse, and seizures. If your horse has any of these symptoms after eating a plum, contact your vet right away.
You should prevent your equine from accessing to plum pits. Of course, accidental ingestion can occur. If you think your steed may have consumed a plum pit, contact your veterinarian right away.
The plum pit can cause many problems if eaten. Not only are because they are a choking hazard, but also because they might become lodged in the digestive tract, leading to an obstruction. If not treated, it can cause death, so you should speak to your vet if you think your horse might have eaten a plum pit.
Signs of obstruction to watch out for are diarrhea, vomiting, a painful tummy, constipation, loss of appetite, lethargy and weakness. If your equine might have eaten a plum pit and showed any of these symptoms, contact your vet straight away.
High Sugar Content
Fruits usually contain high levels of sugar, this also goes for plums. Although they are natural sugars, they are still bad for horses especially in large amounts. Too much could lead to weight gain, obesity and other related health problems like diabetes.
The flesh of the plum contain the highest amount of sugar content. Whether it’s tinned, canned or dried plums, they are not good for horses. Dried plums or those preserved in tins include added sugar, which can cause an upset tummy and lead to weight gain and obesity.
Plums, like all other sweet foods, should be consumed in moderate quantities and reserved as an occasional snack for your horse. Horses with diabetes are especially sensitive to high-sugar foods, so contact your vet first before giving your diabetic horse any sweet treats.
Can Horses Eat Plum Pits?
No, You should never give a horse plum pits or any large pits of any fruit. Because the shape and size of plum pits make them easily lodged in horse’s windpipe. So you should always remove the pits before giving them to your steed.
Another problem with plum pits is that they contain a substance called cyanide which is very poisonous to horses. The plum trees leaves also contain cyanide. So you should prevent your horse from feasting among ripe plum trees.
Can Horses Eat Prunes?
Yes, horses can eat prunes. They are just dried plums so they are safe for horses to consume, just make sure they are pitted.
Researches in humans shows that something in prunes helps to stop and even reverse bone loss. It’s possible this benefit transfers to horses, so the occasional prune can help keep their skeleton strong.
However, prunes offer more calories than regular plums since they’re naturally dried, which removes the moisture and concentrates all the nutrition, making them denser than plums.
Are Cooked or Raw Plums Better for Horses?
Like all fruits and vegetables, raw plums usually have more nutrients compared to cooked plums. Therefore, raw plums are healthier for your horse than cooked plums.
Cooked plums are safe for your horse to consume. But, if you’re giving them cooked plums from a can, ensure that they are not containing additives, flavorings or syrup. These ingredients are harmful for the health of your horse.
Are Plum Trees Poisonous to Horses?
Yes, all the parts of the plum tree are poisonous to horses except the fruit’s flesh.
The plum trees belong to the “prunus” family, which includes other trees such as Apricots, cherries, and peaches. All parts of this family of plants are poisonous to horses except the fruit, i case it’s edible. In which case, the fruit is sometimes safe for hoses to eat, but you have always to check before and consult your veterinarian if the fruits are safe for your equine.
Gages and Damsons are two varieties of the plum therefore these same principles apply for these fruits and trees as well.
Make sure that your horse doesn’t indulge himself in the fallen fruit. Wind fallen plums are tempting for hungry equines, and your horse is likely to eat them whole and make themselves sick.
Firstly, most horses do not know when should they stop and will overindulge. And with sugary and fiber-rich foods like plums, Overeating will lead them to stomach upset, diarrhea, vomiting. Secondly, your horse is likely to eat the stone if left unwatched. Finally, fallen plums could begin to ferment, producing alcohol that can intoxicate your horse.
So if you are fortunate enough to own a plum tree in your backyard, or even pass during your walks , make sure that your horse doesn’t pick the fallen plums.
Recap: Can Horses Eat Plums?
Yes, horses can eat plums as long as you remove the pit. However, as with any new food that you introduce to your steed, you should introduce it slowly and in moderate quantities to avoid illness.
Prunes are just dried plums, so they are safe too, but their nutritional content is more concentrated so the amount your horse can safely eat is a lot smaller. It’s also necessary to never let your equine eat the plum’s pit because swallowing it can lead to injury or sickness.