which oil is best for horses

Which Oil Is Best For Horses?


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Which Oil Is Best For Horses?

You might have heard of the practice of adding oil to your horse’s food. This can be a great way to replace certain things in the diet of your horse or to add calories to their daily intake. However, you do not want to use just any oil to do this! You will want to choose an oil that is a healthy option so that you do not create more health issues for your horse with this dietary addition.

Keep reading to learn more about which of the many cooking oils is best for our horses, as well as the benefits of giving your horse oil as part of their daily diet! 

Which Oil Is Best For Horses?

There are many different cooking oils, which are easy to get and cost-effective, too. This can be easy for you to get a hold of and can make it a great option for helping your horse to gain weight, for example. However, not all oils are the same! It is largely believed that canola oil is the best cooking oil for horses, and this can be chalked up to the benefits of canola oil.

Canola oil is the healthiest of the cooking oils that you can give your horse. It has two parts Omega 6 to one part Omega 3, meaning that it is a balanced option and is healthier than many of the other oils that you may be choosing between, such as vegetable oil. 

Benefits of Canola Oil For Horses

There are a myriad of benefits to adding canola oil to your horse’s food, from being able to replace things like grain to helping with equine weight gain. After all, there is a reason that this method is recommended! Below, we will go over the benefits of adding oil to your horse’s diet, and adding canola oil to their food, specifically!

Omega 3 Content 

The amount of Omega 3 in canola oil helped us to determine that it was the healthiest oil option for your horse’s diet. It also is one of the benefits of canola oil for horses. All vegetable oils will contain polyunsaturated fatty acids. These are either grouped as Omega 3 or Omega 6 fatty acids.

Omega 6 fatty acids, for example, are able to be metabolic intermediaries and work to fuel the anti-inflammatory reactions in the body. It is important for a body, as well as the oil being put into the body, to have a balance of the two types of fatty acids— Omega 3 and Omega 6. If there is not a good balance between the two, this can lead to issues and leads the body to an inflammatory state. As you can probably guess, the body being in an inflammatory state is not healthy.

This is why canola oil and its balance of Omega fatty acids is the healthiest oil choice for horses. These balanced Omega acids can then help with an anti-inflammatory response within your horse’s body.

Leaf Retention

Leaf retention is another one of the many benefits that come with adding canola oil to your horse’s diet. What is leaf retention, you may ask? Read on to learn a bit more about this particular benefit. When we cut premium alfalfa forage and timothy grass forage, to a more limited degree, then we are able to form a chopped material that is considered to be fine material. Fine material is not from the debris and dust that can be found in the forage, but is actually fractured grass blade and leaf material.

If you add canola oil to your horse’s diet, then you can bind these nutritious parts of the forage and make sure that they do not settle out of the chopped forage. Then, by doing this, the horse is able to consume the whole product without any waste, or at least by reducing all possible waste here.

This, essentially, is what leaf retention means when we discuss the many benefits that come with adding oil to your horse’s regular diet. 

Sugar-Free Calories and Weight Gain

Next up is the benefit of canola oil acting as sugar-free calories in your horse’s diet and daily intake. It can also help with weight gain, in this vein. If your horse needs to gain weight, adding canola oil to its existing diet can be an easy way to encourage weight gain without adding extra sugar to your horse’s intake, which could end up leading to other health issues.

The digestion of canola oil is able to yield 2.25 more calories than any of the other ingredients in your horse’s daily diet. This clearly shows how adding an oil like canola oil to your horse’s food can help to increase the calorie content of the premium chopped products that are already a part of its diet. This means that less of the product will need to be eaten in order to maintain the horse’s desired weight.

Canola oil does not contain any sugar, either, as we mentioned above. Many breeds of horses can be susceptible to sugar-related diseases such as Cushing’s Disease, insulin resistance, and laminitis— among others. Many of the diseases above worsen in correlation with diets that utilize high-sugar components or ingredients. Canola oil is a better addition to a horse’s diet than additions that are high in sugar, such as molasses, for example!

Does My Horse Need Canola Oil?

We have gone over which oil is the smartest choice for horses, and it is canola oil. We have also discussed some of the benefits that come with feeding your horse a diet that has added canola oil. So, is this something you should consider for your horse and your particular situation? If your horse struggles with gaining weight or has a small appetite, which are some issues that may often be linked, this is a great example of a situation where introducing oil into your horse’s diet may be wise.

Oil is a great option for keeping the meal sizes small but still packing in the calories so that your horse can gain weight or stay at a healthy weight— or both! Of course, if your horse is overweight or is prone to weight gain, then you should avoid adding any sort of oil to your horse’s food. 

If your horse struggles with maintaining a healthy coat or has skin issues, canola oil or other oils can also be helpful in these situations! This is another situation where canola oil could be a wise addition to a horse’s daily intake. Oil is great for supporting the health of both skin and coat on a horse. Many horses may already have a skin and coat supplement in their diet, but if not, there is no need to get the expensive supplement— canola oil is able to do the trick, too!

If you are already trying to make sure your horse gets enough calories, then canola oil can achieve this as well as keeping your horse’s skin and coat healthy— you can kill two birds with one stone. 

How Much Canola Oil Should I Give My Horse?

Now that you have determined that oil is a wise choice to add to your horse’s diet, you may want to know how much oil you should give your horse. As with anything, after all, it is important not to overdo it. If you were to give your horse too much oil, it could have effects such as messing with your horse’s digestive system— as too much oil or grease does for humans as well.

Some examples of symptoms could be stomach discomfort, gas bubbles, or diarrhea. You could also find that your horse is gaining too much weight now, because you are adding too much to your horse’s daily intake. It is always smart to consult your vet about issues like this, especially if you are concerned, but there are some general rules of thumb to go off of for this, too. 

The general rule of thumb for adding canola oil to your horse’s diet is to add 100 ml for every 100 kg of body weight. For example, if your horse weighs 500 kg, then 500 ml of oil a day should be your addition. Another important rule to consider, though, is how fast you are introducing this oil into your horse’s daily intake. It can take a bit of time for a horse to adapt to a high-oil diet.

You should introduce additional oil gradually, at about a pace of 100 ml a week to avoid overwhelming your horse’s system. Horses are able to metabolize the oil well, but it still does take about 12 weeks on average for the horse to adapt to this high-oil diet. Something else to keep in mind is how you are going to balance this high-oil diet. You will need to balance it with antioxidants like vitamin E. It is recommended that you add 1 IU, or international unit, of supplementary vitamin E, for every ml of oil that your horse will consume.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is canola or vegetable oil better for horses?

When you are choosing between canola oil and vegetable oil for your horse, you will want to choose the healthier option out of the two oils. Out of the two of them, canola oil is the healthier choice. Canola oil is made up of two parts Omega 6 to one part Omega 3. Corn or vegetable oil, though, is made up of 82 parts Omega 6 to one part Omega 3.

Which oil is best for weight gain in horses?

If you need to make sure that your horse is gaining weight— and this could be for a few different reasons— one of the tricks that can be used is adding oil to their diet. By adding oil to the diet and food of your horse, you can boost the caloric density of their diet— without having to significantly increase your horse’s feed intake.

One of the best oils to do this with is canola oil, which is healthier than using vegetable or corn oil— which are also options for weight gain in horses. Some people may use stabilized rice bran instead of oil to encourage weight gain in horses. 

What cooking oil is good for horses?

Oil can be an easy way to help your horse to gain weight when it is needed. There are plenty of different oils that you can take and utilize to help your horse gain weight. Any sort of cooking oil can be used, such as sunflower oil, soybean oil, linseed oil, and more. However, some of these are healthier options than others.

It is also important to choose a healthy oil to ensure that your horse gains healthy weight when you add the oil to the diet and food of your horse. Canola oil is largely considered to be the best cooking oil option for adding to your horse’s food, as it is one of the healthiest. One of the ways that this is determined is by looking at the Omega content of the oil in question. 

What does canola oil do for horses?

Adding oil to your horse’s diet can be a special trick, and you may have heard it recommended by fellow equestrians, online articles, or even your vet. But what is so special about this practice, and how does it help your horse in the first place? Adding canola oil to your horse’s food can have a few different benefits.

One of the first advantages of this is that it can be a way for you to help your horse gain weight without increasing the volume of food that they are eating— the canola oil helps to add calories to their diet. It is a sugar free option and source of calories, which also has insulin resistance. It can also be used to replace grain in your horse’s diet in order to prevent spikes in blood glucose, which can be an issue for metabolic horses.