Bread is one of the most important parts of human diets throughout the globe but can horses eat bread? Some animals have problems with it due to the content of the dough but are horses similar in this situation? Let us find out more about this since most of us always have some spare bread lying around and it can be very convenient to give some to your horse once it gets tougher.
Throughout the history of mankind bread has been a staple food in most of the Occidental diets and this means that there are countless varieties available today so it may be difficult to generalize. One thing that is certain though, is the fact that all bread is made from some type of grain and since they are intended for human consumption this means that they are closely regulated.
The most common bread is made with wheat flour and that is safe for horses even if whole-grain wheat is known to cause impaction issues for them. You can find bread with a large variety of seeds in it and among the ones that you should avoid we should mention poppy seeds since they can lead to positive results on a drug screening. Chocolate is also a definite no for horses so keep that away from them.
It is recommended for horses if you want them to gain weight since it provides a lot of nutrients but this can become problematic if your horse is already having too much weight.
Regularly eating bread can lead to stomach problems and even to tooth decay so it should be kept in small quantities. Consider it a treat instead of an essential part of a horse’s diet. Since it isn’t too sweet and doesn’t have a great smell, some horses might be reluctant to eat it but putting some peanut butter will definitely make it more tasty if you feel that you really want you horse to have a treat.
Keep bread in moderate amounts, around one or two slices a day should be enough since it won’t provide a horse with all the nutrients they require. It they only eat this for a period of time along with hay, they the horse will suffer from nutritional imbalance and various vitamin deficiencies. There isn’t sufficient vitamin A, D and E to meet their nutritional requirements and the same holds true for minerals like calcium or copper, selenium and zinc.
Bread has high starch content as well and this has been shown to increase the risk of many health problems such as rhabdomyolysis which will cause muscle damage and even problems with the formation of bones for younger horses.
Starch is problematic for the intestines too since the horse has a limited capacity to digest things like starch so it will pass in the large intestine and colon where it will start to ferment and thus produce bacteria that will drop the pH levels and due to this cause laminitis, abdominal pain and eventually weight loss.
It is safe for horses in small quantities, as treats, but it doesn’t provide them with all the nutritional elements they require and thus it should be just an occasional part of their diet.