Can Horses Eat Yogurt?
Many in the equestrian world are talking about yogurt– whether your horse should eat it, and why it should eat it. Information on both sides is readily available on the internet these days, so you should consult with your veterinarian before making any final decisions, but yogurt is thought to help treat ulcers and uphold gut health. This is why there are so many currently advocating for it as a natural probiotic.
Can Horses Eat Yogurt?
Yogurt is a delicious part of the human diet, and full of health benefits, but is it suitable for your horse as well? Opinions on whether or not your horse should eat yogurt are still divided. Some equestrians and experts tout its health benefits, while others believe it is not meant for a healthy horse’s diet.
Opinions are divided when it comes to horse consumption of yogurt. Yogurt is a prebiotic, so it helps to aid in gut health. Many recommend that you administer yogurt to your horse as a natural, dietary option to keep up health and prevent issues such as ulcers. It is also easy to acquire, which helps if you are in a pinch.
However, many other experts warn against feeding your horse yogurt. This is because adult horses are not able to digest lactose properly, and lactose is found in dairy products such as yogurt. These digestion issues can result in effects such as diarrhea and bowel-related issues, which cause your horse to lose valuable liquid in their bodies. It can also make them very uncomfortable, causing them to be restless and irritable.
It would be wise to discuss this with your horse’s veterinarian if you are considering adding yogurt to your horse’s diet– it is not necessarily something that should simply be self-prescribed. You can also try to administer the yogurt in moderation to gauge your horse’s reaction to it.
Why Should Horses Eat Yogurt?
While it is said that yogurt is not the best food choice for your horse, there are situations where it is actually advisable for your horse to consume yogurt. This should still be prescribed by a vet and discussed beforehand to be sure there are no other actions you should take instead.
Ulcers are also known as gastric ulcers. They commonly appear on the stomach lining of horses as a sort of sore. In fact, it is estimated that 50%-90% of horses develop stomach ulcers, unfortunately. Typically, these occur in horses who take part in more athletic activities, such as racing, showing, or endurance work. Ulcers can also occur on horses of any age.
Probiotics are typically used to treat ulcers, and some of the more popular probiotics used for this treatment are actually dairy-based, such as yogurt. A probiotic is a bacteria strain that works against the bacteria that causes the stomach ulcers. As a probiotic yogurt, and in the event of ulcers, yogurt can be given to your horse as a treatment plan. It is important to be sure that you use the yogurt in the method and dosage prescribed by your veterinarian to avoid some of the issues that horses typically encounter with yogurt.
Best Yogurt for Horses
Have you decided to feed your horse yogurt? If so, you surely want to know which yogurt is the best option for you and your horse. The best option will certainly be the yogurt that your vet prescribes to you. However, we have listed a few different yogurt products below which can be used for treating stomach ulcers in your horse.
Lactobacillus is not exactly a type of yogurt– rather, it is a strain of bacteria that helps combat the ulcer-causing bacteria in your horse. Lactobacillus fights stomach ulcers if administered orally. It is a probiotic, and commonly consumed for issues such as diarrhea and general gut health issues. Yogurts that contain lactobacillus are good options for treating your horse and its ulcers. You should be sure to pay attention to this on labels. It is very likely that a lactobacillus yogurt will be what is prescribed to you by your veterinarian.
Another option that some in the equestrian world have been talking about is kefir. Kefir is a fermentation product which contains lipids, proteins, bacteria, vitamins, and more. It is a yogurt-like drink that has been on the rise in the equestrian world lately, due to its probiotic benefits. Kefir is also thought to increase and improve the fermentation in a horse’s hindgut, which is how they extract the energy from their food.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is yogurt good for horses?
Yogurt is a probiotic, which helps keep your horse’s gut healthy. However, horses also have trouble digesting lactose, so yogurt may not be the best option for your horse. Discuss with your vet, or feed your horse yogurt in moderation to avoid digestion issues.
Can I give my horse natural yogurt?
Natural yogurt may also be difficult for horses to digest, since they cannot digest lactose. However, in the case of stomach ulcers, natural yogurt is a possible treatment and can be given to your horse.
Can horses eat dairy products?
Adult horses have trouble digesting dairy products, so it is something that should only be administered in moderation. You can then monitor how your horse takes to the product. You should talk to your veterinarian about this as well.
What is a natural probiotic for horses?
There are some naturally occurring probiotics that a horse may consume, including lactobacillus acidophilus and L. casei. These organisms are found in yogurt, which can be a great probiotic if needed– however, it should not be administered to your horse without need, as it may cause some digestive issues.
Does my horse need probiotics?
This depends on your horse’s health. Added probiotics are not necessary if your horse is healthy and at a normal weight. Probiotics can be very helpful for horses suffering from issues such as digestive issues or stomach ulcers, for example.