Can Horses Eat Bread? (A Complete Guide)

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If you are a horse owner and you love your horse, you are probably always on the lookout for foods it can enjoy, and foods that you should avoid feeding to it. That may lead you to wonder if they can eat bread and we’re going to explore that question today.

Remember, there are quite a lot of types of bread, so check before feeding!

Can Horses Eat Bread?

Bread may not seem like it would cause a problem, but it is not actually very good for your horse. The doughy texture can compact in your horse’s digestive system and cause a blockage, and it has minimal nutritional value. In general, baked goods aren’t a great choice for horses.

Can Horses Eat Bread

You probably don’t want to be feeding your horse bread on a regular basis. Besides the potential issues it can cause, it offers little nutritional value to your horse and is, therefore, a waste of stomach space and time, not to mention food.

There isn’t much point in feeding a horse bread, even if it seems keen.

VeterinaryPartner points out that many people give bread to horses, and although horses can eat bread, it does not offer any significant nutritional benefits. It has high starch quantities and lacks zinc, vitamin A, vitamin D, and vitamin E.

Horses need these nutrients and vitamins, and because bread doesn’t contain them, the horse will have to go elsewhere to get them. You should instead find foods that give horses what they need for a balanced diet and avoid feeding bread to them in general.

Many people like to give their horses sandwiches, rolls, or even buns and iced pastries as treats. A lot of owners will encounter no issues with this, but that still doesn’t mean it is very good for the horse overall.

You have full choice over what to feed your horse, but it’s important to be responsible and look after their health as best you can. This includes not feeding them bread in large amounts or possibly cutting it out entirely.

Horses don’t need bread in their diets, and it can do more harm than good.

Benefits

There aren’t really any major benefits to a horse eating bread, except that the horse may get some enjoyment out of a small snack of bread. Some horse owners enjoy sharing their food with their horses, and if you have sandwiches, it is okay to feed your horse a morsel or two if it is interested.

If your horse is underweight, the number of calories in bread may help it to gain a bit of fat, but there are better alternatives to help solve this problem. If you try to feed your horse a lot of bread, it may not get the other nutrients it needs.

However, bread isn’t toxic to horses, so if you want them to eat a little bread from time to time, this should be okay.

Risks

There are quite a few risks associated with feeding bread to equines. EquiSupermarket says that bread can cause a blockage that leads to colic, and most horses don’t like it much anyway.

There are further issues, too. There is a lot of phosphorous in bread, and this can lead to problems with calcium absorption, which will start weakening the horse’s bones if it is allowed to go on for too long.

This can be a particularly major problem for young horses, which are still growing, but adult horses may also suffer if their bones are weakened by a lack of calcium. You can’t correct this by increasing the amount of calcium in the horse’s diet, because it’s an issue with absorption, not with the nutrient being absent.

Furthermore, you may already know that wheat grain is rarely fed to horses because the gluten starch can ball up in the stomach, causing a blockage. Bread is made of wheat flour, and it presents a similar risk, potentially leading to colic.

Remember, horses cannot vomit, so if a food is not agreeing with them, they have no choice but to try and digest it. This is why you shouldn’t feed them things like lawn clippings, which could contain toxic plants or mold spores.

They also cannot burp to release gasses the way other ruminants can, and this means foods that don’t suit them can cause a lot of discomfort and health issues. It is not a good idea to feed your horse something like bread.

Types

There are, of course, many different kinds of bread, and you might be wondering if any types are better for horses, or if you should completely avoid all bread.

Let’s break this down and look in more detail.

1. Can Horses Eat Dry Bread?

Dry bread, as long as it has not had a chance to go moldy, is reasonably safe for horses to eat, yes. Indeed, dry bread has a decreased chance of causing an internal blockage, so it may be a safer option if you do wish to give bread to your horse.

However, it should still be fed in moderation, as it doesn’t have more nutrients than fresh bread. Some people get stale bread scraps from their bakeries for their horses and this is okay to do in moderation, but you should be careful. Don’t let your horse eat a lot of dry bread.

2. Can Horses Eat White Bread?

Again, white bread is not toxic to horses, but it contains even less nutritional value than other kinds of bread. The goodness from the grains has been processed out and it contains very little besides sugar and salt.

It is not great for horses, but many people will feed it in small quantities as a snack. If you break a bit off your sandwich to share, it won’t do your horse any harm provided they are eating an otherwise balanced and nutritionally rich diet.

Alongside a high-quality horse feed, white bread is fine as a treat.

3. Can Horses Eat Banana Bread?

You probably already know that horses love bananas, and bananas are considered a healthy snack. You might then be wondering about banana bread. Is this an okay food, or should it be avoided?

Banana bread is often alright for horses, although it does depend on the specific recipe. You should not feed a horse banana bread that has nuts in it, for example.

You also need to think about the sugar content. If you are making banana bread with your horse in mind, consider reducing any sugar that the recipe calls for so your horse isn’t getting too much. This has health benefits for any human consumers too!

Again, moderation is important. A little bit of banana bread is fine and will give your horse a potassium boost, but a lot is potentially harmful.

4. Can Horses Eat Garlic Bread?

Garlic can be an excellent choice for feeding your horse, and many equine owners are aware of its value. HorseAdvice says that it can reduce blood pressure, help with respiratory problems, and repel flies.

It is also anti-inflammatory and has antibiotic effects, so it’s very good for your horses (although it is possible to feed them too much).

So, what about garlic bread? This may not be such a great option. The quantity of garlic is not likely to be high, and garlic bread contains butter.

Horses cannot digest lactose, and therefore dairy products should not be fed to them. It is not a good idea to give your horse anything with butter on it.

While a small amount is unlikely to do your horse major harm, it is still better not to give them butter at all.

5. Can Horses Eat Moldy Bread?

No, you should never feed moldy bread to your horse. Mold spores can vary enormously in how threatening they are, but if you wouldn’t eat the bread yourself, you shouldn’t give it to a horse.

According to AllPetMagazine, the mold may produce mycotoxins, and the spores could cause inflammatory diseases.

It is possible for moldy bread to lead to respiratory illnesses, immunological problems, gastrointestinal issues, and reproductive complications. Do not give your horse moldy bread.

In the worst-case scenario, eating moldy bread could kill a horse, if the mold was a particularly toxic one.

6. Can Horses Eat Raisin Bread?

In moderation, raisin bread should be okay for your horse. Most horses enjoy raisins and will like having raisin bread as a treat. However, raisins are sugary and should not be fed on a regular basis, whether in bread or on their own.

7. Can Horses Eat Rye Bread?

Rye grass is okay for horses to eat, but no studies have been done on whether rye bread is a suitable food. It may be best to avoid this until more is known about whether the bread is suitable or not.

8. Can Horses Eat Seeded Bread?

HorseSport says that many people feed their horses a variety of seeds (without the bread), including flaxseed, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, and hemp seeds. If you are doing so, you might be wondering about seeded bread.

Seeded bread should be okay for a horse, as long as the seeds in it are suitable. However, you may wish to avoid feeding a performance horse anything containing poppy seeds, as these can cause a horse to test positive for drugs.

Seeds offer lots of benefits to horses, including a high dose of protein, and some amino acids, including omega-3 fatty acids. However, they are quite fatty, so when fed in conjunction with bread, you will need to watch your horse’s weight.

You may find it easier to feed your horse seeds separately, rather than with bread, but a horse can eat seeded bread.

9. Can Horses Eat Sourdough Bread?

You may not want to feed sourdough to a horse. It is possible that it would do no harm at all, but sourdough is made using live cultures, and these could be dangerous to a horse.

There doesn’t seem to be any information about horses eating sourdough, so it is better not to test this with your own horse until experts can weigh in.

10. Can Horses Eat Wheat Bread?

Yes, horses can eat wheat bread. However, you should remember that wheat grain can cause blockages in the horse’s system, and wheat bread should be fed in moderation if at all, to minimize the issues it could cause.

Do not feed wheat bread in great quantities, no matter how much your horse loves it.

Loaf Of Bread

How Much Bread Can I Give My Horse?

This really depends on the horse and the rest of its diet, as well as whether you are trying to help your horse gain weight or not. ESDCTA suggests no more than one or two pounds per day, slowly building up to this.

If you wish to feed more than this, you should get advice from a nutritionist.

Is Bread Good For Horses?

Not really, no. Bread can serve as a treat for your horse if you like, but many people think it isn’t a good idea to feed to them because it is sugary and lacks nutritional value.

You would be better off, in general, finding fruits and vegetables that your horse enjoys, and using these as treats. While a little piece of your sandwich is fine to share, your horse probably shouldn’t have bread in significant quantities.

Is Bread Toxic To Horses?

No, bread is not toxic to horses as long as it doesn’t have unusual additives in it. They should be able to eat it without any issues, but it isn’t great for them.

Moldy bread could be toxic to horses, so never feed your horse this. Throw it away instead. Stale bread is okay to feed, however.

Conclusion

Horses can eat bread, yes, and it has been part of the horse’s diet for many years. However, we now know that bread has very little nutritional value and it should only be given as a treat, in conjunction with a balanced diet.

You shouldn’t give your horse bread regularly or in great quantity. Instead, provide plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables as treats.

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