Having healthy horses makes every passionate horse owner happy. Giving your horses the proper nourishment is one way to keep them in shape. They vary from humans and other carnivores, like dogs, in that they possess a distinct digestive system. Making the proper meal selections will be much easier if you are aware of how your horses' digestive system works.
Usually, little amounts of dog food are okay for horses. However, being "safe" doesn't imply dog foods are beneficial for horses, just like people shouldn't constantly consume chocolate or alcohol. Horses and dogs have quite different digestive systems. Therefore, if your horse consumes too much dog food, it might become ill.
Additionally, horses don't get much nutrition from dog treats. Equine and canine nutritional needs are very dissimilar. If your horse relies too much on dog food, it won't get the minerals and vitamins it needs. Occasionally giving your dog a portion of food could be OK, but safer and better options are available.
Accidents sometimes happen despite your utmost attempts to keep dog food away from your horses. When your horse consumes dog food, you can start to worry. Find out if horses can consume dog food in the next paragraphs and what to do when it does.
Can Horses Eat Dog Food?
No, is the response to this question. Although they can, horses typically shouldn't consume dog food. Dog food satisfies their dietary requirements, which are very different from those of horses. Dog food probably won't harm your equine buddy, but safer and better options are available.
Dog food is food that has been specially prepared and is meant to be consumed by dogs as well as other canines of a similar species. Dogs are regarded as omnivores with a tendency toward carnivory. Dogs have shorter digestive tracts than other carnivores, making them more suitable for consuming meat than plant-based foods.
Most commercially available dog food is prepared with materials suitable for animal feed and sold either dry in sacks or wet in cans. Most conventional dog foods are prepared with ingredients that some authorities, as well as dog owners, believe to be undesirable or useless. These include things like meat and bone meal, animal digest, offal, animal by-products, and sucrose or fructose.
Dry dog food typically comprises bagged pellets that have a water content of 3–11%. It comprises a substantial percentage of pet foods. Since dry food preparation is a productive approach to delivering an uninterrupted supply of feed in a wide variety, it is well-liked in the pet food market. It is economical to operate, uses a lot of feed, and is energy effective. Dry food is practical and often affordable.
A firm or gentle-sided container is typical packaging for wet or canned dog food. Wet food has a substantially greater moisture content than dry or semi-moist food, containing around 60–78% water. Food in cans is industrially sterile. On a dry-matter basis, a particular wet meal will frequently have higher protein or fat levels than a comparable pellet.
Why You Shouldn’t Feed Dog Food to Your Horses
Dogs and horses possess extremely distinct food requirements and digestive processes, which must be noted first. Dogs have a single stomach compartment and a short digestive tract, but horses have two stomach compartments and a lengthy digestive tract, making them herbivores. They need to eat a lot of fibre because of this. Small amounts of the diet must be consumed on a regular basis. The reason your horse never stops eating is explained by this. Dogs, however, prefer longer mealtimes than shorter ones.
Second, dog food typically contains meat; thus, it is not a good source of nutrients for horses. Since they are herbivores and consume a plant-based diet, which their systems are uniquely adapted to digest and assimilate, this is the case. As a result, dog food won't give them the nourishment they need to keep healthy and won't do anything to support their sensitive digestive systems.
Furthermore, some dog food usually contains dairy ingredients such as milk and cheese, which are difficult for horses to digest because they are lactose intolerant. Therefore, feeding dog food to horses could potentially threaten their health as they are exposed to lactose, which they cannot digest.
Also, potatoes, which are occasionally included in dog food, are hazardous to horses as well, with uncooked potatoes being more harmful than cooked ones. Due to their accessibility and low cost as a source of carbs, potatoes are frequently included in dog food labels and recipes, so it's important to be aware of this.
Additionally, horses' physiology and anatomy make it clear that they are unable to vomit. This implies that they wouldn't be capable of bringing dog food back up if it was eaten. It could cause toxins to accumulate in their digestive tract, which might be lethal.
How Does Eating Dog Food Affect Horses?
Horses frequently have loose faeces, flatulence, and stomach problems. This is because dog food is low in fibre and high in grains, both of which affect the pH of your horse's hindgut.
A change in hunger or drinking patterns, a change in faeces or evidence of diarrhoea, an alteration in temperament or behaviour, a shift in weight (either rise or reduction), and a probable change in your horse's coat or foot condition are all other symptoms to watch out for.
What You Should Do If Your Horse Consumes Dog Food
If your horse has recently nibbled on some dog food, chances are good that you are in a panic. You'll be relieved to hear that it's not a huge problem. Since dog food contains a large amount of grain, you might not detect any abrupt changes in behaviour if your horses only take a little. However, if your horses ate too much, they may develop colic.
It is better to avoid feeding your equine friend dog food if it doesn't like it.
It's crucial to keep in mind that just because your animal isn't exhibiting symptoms after consuming inappropriate food, like dog food, doesn't imply they aren't feeling some distress as a consequence of doing so. Therefore, it might not initially appear that the dog food your horse may have consumed is harming it. Their digestive microbiota could be subtly being impacted, though.