With Halloween approaching, it’s never more tempting to treat your favorite equine friend to some of the festive bounty. After all, they deserve to have a ‘sweet’ life too!
Treats to share with your equine partner:
Hard candies such as Jolly Ranchers, mints, and butterscotch discs
Sugar in a traditional crunchy form is always a win! Just make sure you treat with fingers out and candy in the palm of the hand to avoid overly eager teeth!
Classic orange pumpkins are abundant this time of year and a great treat for your pony pals! Fresh is best! The easiest and safest way to feed pumpkin is chopped into smaller, manageable pieces. And don’t skimp on the seeds! Pumpkin seeds, safe to feed raw or cooked, are an excellent source of zinc, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, and copper. Pumpkin seeds are also a safe treat for metabolic horses. (If sharing pumpkin, make sure your pieces are free of wax, candle soot, and any sign of rot, as well as being stalk-free, as these can present a choking hazard.)
Though the heated subject of taste debate in humans, most horses are delighted by these colorful little kernels of pure sugar! If you’re not a fan yourself, we’re sure your horse would love to take any and all candy corn off your hands.
Fruity candies such as Smarties, Skittles, or Necco wafers
Fruit plus candy is a perfect combination that almost every horse can appreciate!
Rice Krispie treats
Cooked or puffed rice cereal is horse-safe, and melted marshmallows are easier on teeth then intact pillowy marshmallows.
Treats to avoid:
The smallest amount of the chemical theobromine,found in the cocoa used to make chocolate, will test positive on drug tests. But a large amount can be toxic, causing damage to the central nervous system, heart and kidneys.
Tough chewy candies such as taffy and gummy bears
These super sticky treats could be very frustrating for horses because the candy will stick to their molars and could be hard to swallow.
Even though licorice is considered safe, it is a substance that will come up positive in drug tests. Best to avoid Twizzlers and other variations that are flavored with licorice root if you expect to hit the show scene with your equine partner.
A whole bag of candy
A little extra Halloween treat is fine for most horses. But just as with kids coming home from trick-or-treating with bags full of candy, you’ll want to moderate their consumption to avoid the problems that come from overindulgence. If your horse has equine metabolic syndrome, Cushing’s, or Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy (PSSM), it may be the safest bet to skip the candy altogether and indulge in a low sugar horse treat or some extra scratches.
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