Can Horses Eat…?

What to Do If Your Horse Has Eaten Something It Shouldn’t


If you’re ever in the situation where you’re unfortunate enough to be a situation where your horse has eaten something it shouldn’t then we’re here to help you through the ordeal.

Firstly, keep calm. Whilst we advise that you don’t feed horses some food such as tomatoes or chocolate it is unlikely that you’ll see adverse effects if you’ve only fed your horse a small amount. Keep an eye on your horse for a couple of hours and if they don’t show evidence of discomfort or stomach upset then it’s unlikely that they’re having any problems.

However, if your horse has eaten a food or plant listed on our poisonous food’s page then you may wish to contact your vet. Most vets have telephones lines that they can be contacted at during the day, and we advise that you have this number saved in your phone at all times in case anything ever goes wrong when looking after your horse.

There are many different symptoms of a horse having eaten something poisonous or toxic so we won’t try and list them all here. However, some general symptoms you’re going to want to be on the lookout for are:

  • Pawing and Scraping
  • Stretching
  • Flank Watching
  • Biting the stomach
  • Pacing
  • Repeated Flehmen response
  • Rolling
  • Groaning
  • Excess salivation
  • Loss of appetite

If your horse is experiencing any of these symptoms or otherwise acting in as if it is unsettled then you should contact your vet as soon as possible.

If you are with your horse outside of your vet’s business hours then there are other sources that you can contact to get help with your problem.

For instance the ASPCA have an Animal Poison Control Centre that is available to contact by phone 24/7. The telephone number for this centre is (888) 426-4435.

Outside of the United States you will need to do some research as to which local charity has poison control units. For instance, the RPSCA has an excellent support section on their website for readers in the United Kingdom.

The main thing to remember with your horse is to never feed anything to your horse that you are unsure about! Even if we’ve said it is okay for your horse to consume do not to do if you aren’t comfortable and confident in feeding it to your animal. Furthermore always make sure that any food you feed your horse is clean and free of any mold, bacteria or decay.

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