Do you ever wonder how many of your favorite dishes contain potatoes? At least everybody likes fries. So potatoes are healthy for humans, and they taste well; but are they good for horses too? Well, the answer to this question is a bit tricky.
Recently I read somewhere that potatoes are not suitable for horses and it was hard for me to accept. I discussed it with some fellow fanciers, and they told me the same. Ultimately, I had to research online and here is what I found.
Can horses eat potatoes? No, potatoes are toxic for horses. Potatoes belong to the nightshade family, which means they are extensively poisonous. They can cause gastrointestinal distress and can lead to life-threatening problems. The solanine and chaconine in raw potatoes are poisonous for horses. Furthermore, potatoes are rich in starch which is not suitable for horse health. Besides, potatoes can lead to unnecessary weight gain.
Recommendations while Feeding
Vegetables such as potatoes can upset the horse’s stomach. Horses should not be fed potatoes in any case, especially in raw form. In fact, the smell and toxic substances in potato plants keep horses away from eating potatoes.
The horse body is not capable of breaking down large quantities of carbohydrates which results in weight gain. Furthermore, horses cannot vomit naturally; if they accidentally eat potatoes and experience stomach upset, there is no way to expel out potatoes naturally.
But some horses like potatoes and they are prone to eat naturally grown potatoes at farms. Just like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants, potatoes are wild plants that are naturally toxic. It is recommended to frequently look for any toxic fruit and vegetable plants on your farm. If found, such toxic plants should be removed immediately.
Clearly raw potatoes are bad for horses but what about the cooked and baked potatoes? Well, the answer is still NO. Potatoes are bad for horse health in all forms. However, if a horse accidentally eats a bit of potato, it will not harm, but feeding potatoes in any considerable quantity can be harmful.
Can Horses Eat Potato Peels?
Now you must be wondering, what about potato peels? Are they also toxic? Yes, even potato peels are toxic for horses. According to a study, the toxic substance solanine is up to ten times greater in potato peels as compared to potatoes. Potato peels are also rich in starch, and they can swell up throat; leading to serious choking.
But I have read at some forums, people claim that their horses like potato peels and they have never fallen ill because of potato peels. In fact, many people do that, they gather kitchen waste and feed it to their horses; not realizing that they are actually feeding poison.
I wanted to find out, why their horses never fell ill, and I consulted with a veterinarian; he told me that some horses have a stronger immune system and they are better at fighting off the toxicity in potato peels whereas the others are not. In general, horses have a sensitive digestive system even if they look very strong. Horse breeders must avoid feeding potatoes to their horses.
Potatoes Nutritional Facts
Why can’t horses eat potatoes?
There is no side effect of eating potatoes if you feed according to recommendations. However, potatoes can be harmful to your horses if you feed in large amounts. Some farmers feed potatoes to horses because they are cheap. Feeding of potatoes with recommendations is necessary otherwise alkaloids present in potatoes can be harmful to horses. Another case like damage potatoes or feeding without cutting into pieces can be harmful too.
Are Raw Potatoes good for horses?
Raw potatoes are not good for horses. Feed them in a proper way like by cutting into small pieces. Horses do not like nightshade family however if you feed the recommended quantity, there is no harm.
Can Horses eat mashed potatoes?
An excessive amount of potatoes is not good for horses. Nightshade’s family is overall not good for the equine family. It does not matter about mesh or pieces, it is about how much you feed horses daily.
Horses have no interest in the nightshade family and even toxic for horses. According to our recommendations, you should not feed as a proper diet. However, some times pieces can be given to them. Damage or Raw potatoes should be avoided to feed.
Also, Read Can Horses eat strawberries
Also, Read Can Horses Eat Celery
Hi, I am Waqar and active in the horse world since 2012. I have MSc (Hons) in Agriculture from the University of Agriculture Faisalabad. I love to solve equine health care issues and note down in the form of research papers.
I have written hundreds of equine health care, accessories, names, and history-related blogs. My equine related work is watering a lot of horse-related magazines and blogs.