Can horses eat celery? Not only is the answer yes, but horses actually love celery. Celery is one vegetable that is safe for horse consumption, and when given as a treat, it supplements your horse’s regular diet with beneficial vitamins and minerals. Unlike humans who discard its leaves and munch on the celery’s stalk, horses will devour both parts. Feeding celery to your horse can be a way to promote its overall wellbeing. As long as you are careful about how celery is served to the horse and are conscious of controlling portion sizes, celery can help keep your horse healthy and happy.
Nutritional Benefits of Celery for Horses
When it comes to nutritional value, celery is low in calories but high in fiber, vitamins A and C, collagen, and phosphorus. The equine digestive system relies heavily on fiber for proper development and functioning. The bacteria within your horse’s hindgut digest the fiber, which provides energy for your horse. As gut-fill helps keep an equine’s gastrointestinal track healthy, fiber is like a sponge, too. It soaks up and stores water inside of the gut for when your horse needs it.
Vitamin A benefits both people and animals in a variety of ways. Its antioxidant properties help protect creatures from free radicals within the body. (Free radicals are organic molecules that can cause damage to one’s health.) Vitamin A is an essential part of your horse’s diet. In addition to supporting the immune system, vitamin A is essential for the proper functioning of its reproductive system and vision. Vitamin C also protects your horse by being an antioxidant. Additionally, when a body is injured, vitamin C supports the healing process. Vitamin C is required for a body’s formation of muscle, blood vessels, cartilage, and even collagen that forms in the bones. Unlike humans, horses are able to make vitamin C. Depending on the amount of exercise, work, or training a horse is doing, however, the natural system may need supplemental vitamin C to sustain optimal health in periods of elevated activity or during stressful situations.
Collagen is an essential protein. Your body and your horse’s body are full of it. It is a main ingredient of connective tissue. It is present in skin, bones, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage. Adding supplemental collagen to a horse’s diet may be especially important for those that are highly active or those aging and developing arthritis. Phosphorus is another essential compound required for forming strong bones. Likewise, healthy teeth contain a great deal of phosphorus.
Celery bolsters the health of equines in a variety of ways, but it should be fed to them in moderation. While some believe feeding their horse up to two pounds of celery a day is a great snack, it is more likely that your veterinarian will only recommend a frequency of this once or twice a week. It is possible to overfeed celery to a horse. When this happens, the animal will be too full to eat according to its regular meal regimen. This can result in it not getting other essential nutrients required for its health.
With a bevy of essential vitamins and minerals readily available, celery makes a great snack for your horse.
If you do decide to give your horse celery, be sure to inspect it for mold, rot, and pests. If any of these are present, discard it at once. Celery can also be a choking hazard. Chop it up into strips manageable for consumption.