can horses eat cucumbers

Can Horses Eat Cucumbers?

Written by: Annemarie Dutton

You might be looking for a delicious, crunchy treat for your horse.  What about cucumbers?

Cucumbers are safe for most horses.

Let’s take a closer look at cucumbers, analyze their nutritious value, and if they are safe for horses to eat.

The Nutritional Information Of Cucumber

Nutritional information of one-half cup (52g) of cucumber according to the USDA.

NutrientAmount
Calories8
Fat0.1g
Sodium1 mg
Carbohydrate1.9 g
Fiber0.3 g
Sugar0.9 g
Protein0.3 g
Vitamin K8,5mcg
Vitamin C1.5 mg
Potassium76,4 mg

Cucumbers have vitamins, minerals, low sugar, and are low in calories, suitable for horses with weight gain and insulin-resistance problems. Like other foods, however, there are facts that horse owners should know.

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Health Benefits of Feeding Cucumbers to Horses

Vitamin A:

Vitamin A functions as a powerful antioxidant for horses. The vitamin works to support their reproductive functions and vision and gives a significant boost to their immune system.

Vitamin C:

Horses need Vitamin C to boost their immune system. Vitamin C fights against free radicals and neutralizes them. It also keeps a horse healthy during stress.

Potassium:

Potassium plays an essential role in normal muscle contraction and relaxation. It also controls osmatic pressure.

Fiber:

Fiber keeps the gut full and the horse hydrated by acting as a water reserve. It helps maintain digestive health.

Vitamin K:

Vitamin K helps in blood clotting, a deficiency of which can lead to bleeding.

Antioxidants:

Cucumbers have high amounts of beneficial antioxidants, components that help reduce inflammation in an equine’s body.

Water:

While horses require drinking water to stay hydrated, they also require hydrated foods to supplement their daily fluid needs.

Cucumbers are up to 95% water, making them especially important for horses that require extra hydration.

Low Carbohydrates and Sugar Content

Cucumbers are low in calories, carbs, and sugar, which means that horses can eat them and not gain weight.

Health Risk Of Feeding Cucumber To Horses

Cucurbitacin:

Cucumbers contain cucurbitacin that causes gas to build up in some horses.

Since horses cannot burp or belch, it can cause discomfort or even colic. Worse still, a gas rupture may occur in your pet because horses do not have a two-way food transport system in their food pipe, making it hard to burp or vomit.

If you notice that your horse has any discomfort after eating a cucumber treat, you should stop feeding cucumbers to them altogether.

There are plenty of other nutritious veggies that your horse will love.

Hyperkalemic Periodic Paralysis (HYPP):

Some horses can suffer from a disorder called HYPP. As the name suggests, it is a severe condition and requires the horse owner to be vigilant about controlling their horse’s diet.

Paralysis happens when the horse consumes anything high in potassium. Therefore, horse owners with horses that suffer from HYPP should avoid carrots and other potassium foods.

Tooth Issues:

Horses with dental problems should not eat large pieces of any food, including cucumbers.

Prepare the cucumbers in a way that will make them easier for the horse to chew and digest.

You should also do this for horses that eat their food too quickly and have a history of choking on their food.

Overfeeding:

Overfeeding is also a valid reason to feed your horse cucumbers. Your horse should eat 1 to 2 cucumbers per week.

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Can Horses Eat Cucumber Skin?

Yes, the skin of a cucumber is edible and generally safe for horses to eat. However, some horses can be sensitive to it and may experience an allergic reaction.

If your horse is sensitive to cucumber skin, it is best to peel the skin off before feeding them the cucumbers.

If you are not sure whether or not your horse is sensitive to cucumber skin, start by feeding them peeled cucumbers and see how they react. If there are no problems, then you can try feeding them unpeeled cucumbers at a later time.

Can Horses Eat Cucumber Seeds?

Yes, cucumber seeds are part of the cucumber’s flesh, making them healthy and easy to digest.

Horses enjoy these crunchy seeds. They have enormous health benefits too.

Cucumber seeds contain beta-carotene and fiber, helping horses with immunity, normalizing bowel movement, and achieving a healthy weight.

How Often Can Horses Eat Cucumber?

Cucumbers should be considered a treat for your horse, not a staple diet. As much as cucumbers are fibrous, rich in water, and contain vital nutrients, you should offer them to your horse in moderation. Provide only one or two cucumbers a week.

This precaution is critical, mainly since the veggies cause gastrointestinal complications.

Regulating the quantities will offer the horse’s digestive system stability and consistency, preventing gas build-up and colic.

How to Prepare Cucumber For Your Horse

Wash It

You should always wash any vegetables before feeding them to your horse as it removes any unhealthy chemicals or bacteria on the outside.  Buy organic cucumbers as they are free from pesticides and other harmful substances.

Peel

Decide whether you want to leave the peeling on or take it off. Either way is safe for your horse.

Try feeding a small piece with peeling and one without to see if your horse favors one or the other.

Chop, Slice, or Shred

The easiest way to feed a cucumber to your horse is to cut it up into round slices and feed it piece by piece. Remember to think about your horse and any issues they may have, including dental problems.

If you feel that your horse will have a hard time chewing the cucumber up or you think it will eat it too quickly, you can always chop it up into smaller pieces.

You can also try shredding it or even blending it in a food processor. You can then sprinkle that on your horse’s hay or grain for an easy-to-eat treat.

Summary

Your horse will enjoy the refreshing taste of cucumber in its feed. Cucumber is safe to feed your horse in moderation as a treat.  

However, as with all foods, it is best to moderate your horse’s intake, perhaps once or twice a week. If you do, count on these veggies for natural hydration, low calories, low carbs, and low sugar content-nutritional values that help lower blood sugar and reduce obesity in horses.

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