Can horses eat watermelon? H&H investigates…

  • Can horses eat watermelon? The answer is yes, and the fruit can offer nutritional benefits.

    However, although watermelon is perfectly safe for most horses to eat, that may not be the case for all equines. If you want to feed your horse watermelon, introduce the food slowly into their diet and closely monitor how they react. If you have any medical concerns after your horse has eaten watermelon, contact your vet.

    How much watermelon can a horse eat?

    Your horse can eat the ripe part of a watermelon, including the seeds and, in small quantities, watermelon rind is fine to feed them too.

    A good option for feeding your horse watermelon is using it as a reward or a treat to help curb the amount you feed.

    Is watermelon good for horses?

    Watermelon, unsurprisingly, contains mostly water. One serving of watermelon contains approximately 90% water and 10% sugar. It also contains vitamins A and C, magnesium and phosphorus. The rind is a rich source of fibre and the amino acid citrulline, which  converts to arginine in the horse’s body. Arginine produces nitric oxide used to relax blood vessels and increases blood flow to particular areas.

    Can eating too much watermelon make your horse unwell?

    Your horse would have to eat a very large quantity of watermelon for it to cause issues.

    The rind does not contain any toxins that pose any dangers to your horse. The seeds in watermelon carry a minute quantity of toxins, but so do all seeded fruits, and the levels of toxins are very unlikely to cause problems. The seeds are also very small so the chances of causing choke are incredibly small.

    As with any treats you give to your horse, you should feed watermelon in moderation.

    How should you feed watermelon to horses?

    It is best to cut watermelon into slices and feed it as you would a carrot.

    It is recommended that you wash the watermelon prior to feeding it to your horse to help ensure any pesticides or herbicides that have previously been sprayed on the watermelon are rinsed clear. Wash the entire outside of the rind with cool water and a scrub brush before cutting into the fruit.

    Is it OK to feed watermelon to a horse I don’t own?

    Please do not feed anything to a horse that is not in your care without the owner’s permission. Your intended kindness in giving the horse a treat could make the animal very sick, or even result in their death if they have any underlying conditions. In addition, if there is a group of horses in a field and you start feeding them, this could result in a horse being injured as the herd squabble or fight over the food. Both sickness or injury from unauthorised feeding could result in an expensive and unavoidable vet bill.

    • Is your horse partial to an unusual form of treat? Let us know your stories by emailing hhletters@futurenet.com, including your name, nearest town and county, for the chance to have your letter published and you might win a bottle of Champagne Taittinger

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