Can Horses Eat Lavender?

Can Horses Eat Lavender?

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Lavender is a herb that can provide a variety of benefits when fed to horses, making it an ideal snack or treat. With its strong aromatic properties, lavender can help soothe anxiety and encourage relaxation or even provide a boost of energy. Not only that, but lavender can also aid in digestion and help boost immunity. 

However, it is important to remember that moderation is key when feeding lavender to horses. Too much lavender can cause digestive problems such as colic or diarrhoea in horses. To avoid these health issues, offering the herb in small amounts and only as an occasional snack or treat is best. Furthermore, different types of lavender can be safely fed to horses and it is important to understand how each type affects the horse and what the recommended amounts are. Additionally, understanding any potential digestive problems from excess consumption is important to avoid any health issues for the horse. 

With these considerations in mind, this article will provide helpful tips on how to feed lavender to horses, what types of lavender are safe for consumption, and how often they should be given.

Can Horses Eat Lavender?

Indeed, horses can eat lavender. Lavender can be safely consumed by horses, but the quantity of lavender they consume must be appropriate. The suggested amount of lavender for horses is no more than a few leaves and/or flowers per week. In excess quantities, in horses, lavender can cause digestive upset, such as colic or diarrhoea. To avoid any health issues, lavender should only be offered to horses as an occasional snack or treat.



Lavender is a type of flowering perennial plant that belongs to the mint family. It is native to the Mediterranean region and is known for its sweet, floral fragrance. Lavender is known for its calming effects and has been used for centuries for its medicinal benefits. It has been used in teas, perfumes, and cooking to add flavour and scent. The flowers, leaves, and stems of the lavender plant are all edible, and they can be boiled, dried, and ground to make a powder that can be added to foods. Lavender is high in antioxidants and vitamins, making it a beneficial addition to a horse’s diet. In moderation, it can also help improve digestion and reduce stress levels in horses.

Benefits of Feeding Lavender to Horses

Lavender has calming and soothing properties

Lavender has natural calming and soothing properties that can help reduce stress and anxiety in horses. It is often used to help relax horses before and after strenuous activities such as exercise, racing, and competing. The scent of lavender can be soothing for horses, as well as for human beings. In addition, lavender has been found to have calming effects on the nervous system and can help reduce muscle tension and spasms.

It can promote appetite and digestion in horses

That's correct. Lavender can help improve appetite and digestion in horses by stimulating the appetite-regulating hormones, such as ghrelin, thus helping them better process their food. It also contains compounds that can reduce flatulence and bloating, thereby improving overall digestion in horses.

It is high in essential vitamins and minerals

Lavender is a good source of essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, vitamin C, manganese, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. Vitamin A helps support healthy eyesight, while Vitamin C boosts their immune system. Manganese helps in the formation of strong bones, while magnesium helps regulate energy production. Potassium helps regulate water balance, and zinc helps support healthy skin and coat. Additionally, the antioxidants found in lavender can help fight off free radicals and protect against disease and infection.

It is rich in antioxidants

Lavender contains a range of antioxidants that can provide many health benefits to horses. These antioxidants, such as flavonoids, polyphenols, and vitamins, help fight cellular damage caused by free radicals, supporting the immune system and helping reduce inflammation. Additionally, the antioxidants in lavender can help prevent premature ageing and provide anti-oxidative defence for horses.

Lavender has anti-microbial properties

Lavender contains antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties that can help keep your horse healthy. The antibacterial properties of lavender can help to combat bacterial infections, while antifungal properties can help protect your horse from fungal infections such as thrush or ringworm. Additionally, the antiviral components of lavender can help protect against viruses, like equine influenza.

Types of Lavender for Horses

Different Varieties of Lavender

There are various types of lavender that can be fed to horses, including English Lavender, French Lavender, and Spanish Lavender. Each type has its own unique set of properties and benefits for horses, so it is important to do some research on which type is best for your horse's needs.

Recommended amount

The recommended amount of lavender for horses is no more than a few leaves and/or flowers per week. It is important to not overfeed lavender, as it can cause digestive issues. Additionally, it is best to introduce lavender gradually into your horse's diet so they can adjust to the new food.

The Potential Risks of Feeding Lavender to Horses

There are potential risks associated with feeding lavender to horses, including 

  • If consumed in excessive amounts, lavender can cause digestive upset, such as colic or diarrhoea. 
  • It can also lead to an imbalance in electrolytes if fed in large amounts. 
  • Lavender can interact with some medications, so it is important to consult your veterinarian before introducing it into your horse's diet. 
  • If not stored and served properly, lavender can grow mould or become contaminated, both of which can be hazardous for horses.

Tips for Feeding Lavender to Horses

How to store and serve

When feeding lavender to horses, it is important to consider how to store and serve it. The best way to store lavender for your horse is to keep it in an airtight container and away from direct sunlight or humidity. As for serving, you can either treat your horse with lavender leaves or flowers, or you can offer it as a snack. If your horse has a delicate digestive system, it is best to offer just a few leaves or flowers at a time, and then gradually increase the amount over time.

Treating or snacking

Treating or snacking with lavender is a great way to introduce it to your horse. As mentioned before, it is best to start with a small amount, such as one or two leaves or flowers, and then gradually increase the quantity over time. As a treat, you can offer your horse lavender flowers or leaves mixed in with their regular feed. Additionally, you can make a snack by combining the leaves and /or flowers with other horse-safe herbs and grains, such as oats, barley, and grass.

Final Words

Lavender is a nutritious and beneficial herb for horses that can safely be consumed in moderation. Different types of lavender have different recommended amounts and frequencies, so it is important to research any variety of lavender before introducing it to your horse. Additionally, digestive issues can arise with an excessive amount of lavender, so it's important to be mindful of the quantity being consumed. 

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