Is Sunflower Oil Good For Horses? (A Complete Guide)

If you’re a horse owner, you’re likely looking for the best products to keep your horse in good health. You may have heard about the different types of oils available for horses, such as sunflower oil.

So, is sunflower oil good for horses? 

Sunflower oil can be a suitable type of oil to choose when feeding horses. When providing oil to a horse for several body condition processes, nutritionists state that pure oils like sunflower oil or corn oil instead of a blend of oils, such as vegetable oils, are likely your best bet.

However, if you’re feeding a horse to improve its essential fatty acid content, you will need to choose unprocessed oils that have not gone through heat treatment. This likely eliminates supermarket sunflower oils.

Is Sunflower Oil Good For Horses?

More Information

Sunflower oil, which comes from the seeds of sunflowers, is commonly used as a cooking oil.  You may find that, sometimes, people use sunflower oil as medicine, according to WebMD

Since you can use sunflower oil to replace unsaturated fats in your diet, it may help prevent heart disease. There aren’t as many studies on this in horses, but it certainly adds benefits to their health. 

The Equus Magazine from the Equine Network reports no “bad oils” or fatty acids for horses, especially since horses need both omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. 

Nonetheless, some oils are superior to others when adding oil to horse feeds. 

In horses, you will want the correct ratio between omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. You can find omega 3 fatty acids in fish oil, while vegetable oils contain omega 6 fatty acids. 

While sunflower oil is perfect for healthy horses, flaxseed oil may be a better option since it has the same ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 acids as found in pasture grasses.

Another excellent option for both younger and older horses is to feed them linseed oil. 

This type of oil has a good mix of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, improving their immune system, blood clotting factors, skin cell growth, and mane condition.

Benefits Of Sunflower Oil For Horses 

Sunflower oil has benefits for many animals, including humans. So, is sunflower oil good for horses? 

The answer is yes. 

Whether you are feeding your horse extra calories from sunflower oil or sunflower seeds, you will find that it helps your horses with numerous health benefits, such as:

  • Weight gain
  • Healthier skin
  • Shinier mane

Furthermore, sunflower oils and seeds are safe for horses to eat. However, if you add sunflower seeds to horse diets, make sure it is in small amounts (anywhere from 2 to 4 ounces in total). 

In addition, some sunflower oils have plenty of omega 6 fatty acids, which can benefit horses by improving their inflammatory immune response and strengthening their skin health. 

You will want to add fish oil to a horse’s diet so that your horse also has a steady stream of omega 3 fatty acids. In addition, sunflower oils are a great source of vitamin E. 

Another excellent health benefit of sunflower oil for horses is that it includes plenty of protein. However, one thing to remember is that sunflower seeds and oils lack lysine, which is an essential amino acid needed for growth. 

Keeping this in mind, you should ensure your horse’s diet includes this amino acid in other foods or as a supplement. 

In addition, if you want foods good for your horse’s digestive system, add some stabilized rice bran to its diet, which is easily digestible.

Related Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Below are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about sunflower oil for horses. 

Is Sunflower Oil Good For Horses’ Hooves?

If you are thinking of applying oil to a horse’s hooves, you can use sunflower oil or any vegetable oil to accomplish this. 

Horses’ hooves should maintain a natural amount of moisture. However, their hooves can become dry and brittle if the weather is hot, dry, or extra cold with little humidity. 

Horse owners may want to use coconut oil as well to help their horses avoid the brittleness in their hooves. 

Vegetable oils like sunflower oil or olive oil are a more cost-effective solution to this problem. 

You’ll need to mix your oils with lanolin, which will keep the moisture locked in upon applying it to horse hooves. You can also add some Aloe vera as well as essential oils.

You will also need to boil the mixture. Click here for step-by-step instructions on making hoof oil.

What Oils Are Safe For Horses?

Oils with the correct ratio of omega 3 fatty acids and omega 6 fatty acids are the safest and best choice for horses. Always check the ingredients label on the oils before using them. 

The proper ratio will ensure your horse will have a robust immune system and decreased inflammation. The best choice is oils with more omega 3 fatty acids than omega 6.  

Canola oil and soybean oil are the safest choices in terms of fatty acid content, while corn oil is inferior due to its ratio of omega 3 to omega 6. 

Fish oil is also an excellent supplement to add to your horse’s diet.

Which Oil Is Best For Horses?

When it comes to having a high amount of omega 3s and a smaller amount of omega 6s, the best oil to choose for horses is linseed oil

However, if you prefer to have your horse’s diet include sunflower oil to improve its energy consumption, you will also need to add fish oil to your horse’s feed. 

Fish oil will add the omega 3 acid that sunflower oil is lacking. You will also want to start with only one-quarter cup of oil per day to get your horse acclimated to its new diet. After that, you can bring the amount up. 


The best oils for horses involve those with the correct ratio of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. A combination of sunflower oil with fish oil is an excellent option for your horses if you’re looking to increase their mane and skin health.