Can Horses Eat Potatoes?

Last Updated on March 8, 2023 by Woody Pet

3 Factual Reasons Why Under NO Circumstances Can Horses Eat Potatoes

Many horse owners love the idea of sourcing nutrition from their garden’s produce for their adored equines’ diet. With that in mind, the familiar plants available in almost any garden that you might be thinking of feeding to your horse are potatoes. But before you do that, here’s a prompt caution: 

Not under ANY occasion can horses eat potatoes.

Feeding our horses with plants that we cultivated ourselves is a method most of us would agree on because it’s more practical and safer. But potatoes are an exception that might cause risk to your lovely equines’ health- and even death as a worst-case scenario.

Given their delicate digestive system, not every common crop that you grow in your greenery patch is edible for your horse. Here are answers to why that’s the case, and it’s best that you keep these reasons in mind for the safety of your dear equines.

3 Reasons Why in No Way Can Horses Eat Potatoes

1. Potatoes are Members of the Nightshade Family – Horse Owners, Be Wary of Similar Plants

Known as one of the most toxic varieties of wild plants, plants from the nightshade family are scientifically proven to cause gastrointestinal distress, not only to horses but to other animals as well. Despite nutritional values that members of the nightshade family have that are not available in other plant species, such types must be avoided for the well-being of your horses.

Another thing to remember is to take extra care when handling tomato plants near your ponies, because under no occasion can horses eat tomatoes as well. “How so?” you might ask. Well, many fruits and vegetables from this family of flowering plants, not just potatoes, are staples to pastures where your horses usually graze.

Other plant species from the nightshade family that might be growing just around the corner of your vegetable patch are tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers. Pay attention to these crops when preparing what goes into your equine’s meal. Not, in any event, can horses eat tomatoes or tomatillos, eggplants, and capsicum as they are just as toxic to horses as potatoes are.

2. Potato Plant is Poisonous to Equines – Can Horses Eat Potatoes Peeling as an Alternative?

As someone who tends to the well-being of horses, there’s more to consider when responding to the inquiry on whether can horses eat potatoes. It’s the fact that potatoes are especially poisonous to the equines you care for.

can horses eat potatoes peeling

The health risk is even more imposing when the potato is uncooked and raw. If you’ve been contemplating the event in-case can horses eat potatoes peeling as a substitute for the actual plant, it’s an absolute no for the right cause.

The primary ground for avoiding raw potatoes is the hefty amount of solanine in it. Symptoms of potato poisoning depend on the amount ingested and the harmful effects brought by the trace of solanine range in varying degrees. 

For milder cases, excessive drooling, swelling of the abdominal area, uncontrolled thirst, and diarrhea may be present. The more intense poisoning symptoms, on the other hand, include hyperventilation, loss of appetite, and death. When observing early indicators of potato poisoning, the best course of action is to consult a veterinarian.

You should also know that solanine is highly concentrated in the green parts of the potato, especially on the skin. So, be mindful that not in the slightest amount can horses eat potatoes peeling, let alone can horses eat potatoes in their raw form.

Regardless of potential harm, the concern of solanine in raw potatoes can be resolved by cooking it with heat to break its composition. But traces of it can’t be cooked out completely, thus risks are still present.

3. Potatoes are Not Favourable Nutriments for Your Horse – Better Plant Options

An additional ground as to why not under any condition can horses eat potatoes, and perhaps the most reassuring one, is their intrinsic tendency to avoid the potato plant. Equines genetically don’t find potatoes palatable and will definitely avoid ingesting it. 

can horses eat sweet potatoes

Furthermore, we can all agree that there is better organic feedstock out there for your precious equines. Speaking of other options, one similar selection that you might have explored is whether can horses eat sweet potatoes.

There is a common misconception that sweet potatoes are related to potatoes, but that is a myth. As mentioned earlier, potatoes belong to the nightshade family of flowering plants. Sweet potatoes, meanwhile, are from the morning glory family.

From this botanical relation, you can derive the answer to the inquiry of whether can horses eat sweet potatoes or not. It is, therefore, safe to feed it to your ponies without the fear of solanine-induced poisoning.

Talking more about the nutritional value of potatoes, another cause for avoiding potatoes for your horse’s meal is because it’s not as wholesome as other vegetables. Potatoes have higher starch content that can make the diet regime of your equines prone to issues, like weight gain and an increase in sugar blood level. Hence, it’s really better to just go for other plant options.

Thoughts and Conclusion

It’s no surprise that horses are unique creatures that many of us admire. What’s more fascinating about them is their digestive system which is more complex in comparison with other mammals. An extra fact to add to your understanding of horses is their physical inability to regurgitate.

Taking this into consideration, it serves as a sturdy cause to put more caution when preparing what’s on your horse’s meal. Because unlike us humans who have it simpler, it’s a lot more difficult for them to process what their bodies can’t ingest. 

If you’re a horse owner delving into the nutrition that your adored pet deserves, or simply anyone interested in the well-being of horses, it would be useful to retain the reasons mentioned above as to why in no case can horses eat potatoes. Best believe that such grounds are on the basis of their health and function as magnificent equines.


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