Can Horses Eat Cheese? Discover the Surprising Truth

No, horses should not eat cheese, as it can be harmful to their digestive system and overall health. Horses have a unique digestive system that requires a specific diet consisting mainly of forage, such as grass and hay.

Cheese is a dairy product that is high in fat and can be difficult for horses to digest. It can lead to digestive upset, including diarrhea and colic. Additionally, cheese contains additives and preservatives that are not suitable for equine consumption.

While it may be tempting to give your horse a treat, it is best to stick to feeding them foods that are safe and beneficial for their health.

1. The Equine Digestive System

The equine digestive system works in a unique way. Horses have a one-way digestive system, starting with the mouth and ending with the rectum. Food enters through the mouth and gets broken down into smaller particles by chewing and saliva secretion.

From there, it travels down the esophagus and into the stomach, where enzymes and acids further break down the food. Next, the small intestine absorbs nutrients and the large intestine absorbs water. It’s important to note that the equine digestive system is sensitive and can be disrupted by sudden changes in diet or inappropriate food choices.

Therefore, it’s crucial to provide horses with a balanced and appropriate diet to maintain their digestive health. When it comes to cheese, it is not a natural part of a horse’s diet and should be avoided, as it can cause digestive upset and other health issues.

2. Nutritional Requirements Of Horses

Horses have specific nutritional requirements that must be met to ensure their overall health and well-being. When it comes to their dietary needs, it is important to provide them with essential nutrients. These include proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals.

Horses need proteins to support muscle development and repair, while carbohydrates provide energy for their daily activities. Fats are also important for energy storage and as a source of essential fatty acids. Vitamins and minerals play a crucial role in various bodily functions, such as bone development, immune system support, and overall metabolism.

It is important to provide a balanced diet that meets all these requirements. However, it’s important to note that horses have different nutritional needs depending on their age, breed, and level of activity. Consult with a veterinarian or equine nutritionist for specific dietary recommendations for your horse.

So, can horses eat cheese? Well, while cheese is not a natural part of their diet, small amounts of plain cheese can be given as an occasional treat.

3. Dairy Products In The Horse Diet

Dairy products, such as cheese and milk, are not an ideal addition to a horse’s diet.

4. Can Horses Eat Cheese?

Cheese is generally not recommended as a regular part of a horse’s diet due to potential risks. Feeding cheese to horses can pose digestive problems, such as colic or diarrhea, as horses are herbivores and have difficulty digesting dairy products.

However, small quantities of certain types of cheese, such as low-fat and low-salt options, may be safer for horses to consume. It is important to consult with a veterinarian before introducing cheese into a horse’s diet, taking into consideration any preexisting health conditions or dietary restrictions.

Additionally, it is essential to monitor the horse’s reaction to cheese and discontinue feeding if any adverse effects are observed. Overall, while cheese may be an occasional treat for horses, it should not be a regular addition to their diet.

5. The Surprising Connection Between Horses And Cheese

Horses and cheese may seem like an unlikely combination, but historical evidence suggests that horses have consumed dairy products. Throughout history, humans have influenced the diets of their equine companions. It is well-known that horses primarily thrive on a diet of grass and hay.

However, their food habits have also been shaped by the availability of human foods. While cheese is not a natural part of a horse’s diet, there have been instances where horses have been given cheese as a treat or supplement.

As social animals, horses often develop a liking for foods that their human handlers consume. While it is not recommended to feed horses cheese or dairy products regularly, an occasional treat may not be harmful. As always, consulting with a veterinary professional is essential in ensuring a balanced and nutritious diet for horses.

So, can horses eat cheese? The answer is yes, but in moderation, and under proper guidance.

Can Horses Eat Cheese? Discover the Surprising Truth


6. Alternatives To Cheese For Horses

Horses may enjoy a variety of healthy and safe snack options instead of cheese. Apples, carrots, and watermelon are popular choices that provide nutrients and hydration. Additionally, celery and cucumbers offer a refreshing crunch while being low in calories. Peppermint treats or herbal horse snacks can also be a delicious alternative.

However, it is important to remember that treats should be given in moderation to maintain a balanced diet and prevent weight gain. By offering a variety of options, horse owners can provide their equine companions with tasty and satisfying treats that are both enjoyable and beneficial for their overall health and well-being.


While horses can technically consume cheese in small amounts, it is not recommended as a regular part of their diet. The high fat and sodium content in cheese can pose health risks for horses, potentially leading to digestive issues, weight gain, and even organ damage.

It is crucial to prioritize their nutritional needs by providing a balanced diet rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Instead of cheese, horse owners should focus on feeding their equine partners with appropriate hay, grass, and specially formulated horse feed to ensure their overall well-being.

If you have any doubts regarding what foods are safe and beneficial for your horse, always consult with a veterinarian or equine nutritionist who can offer expert guidance and tailor a diet plan suited to your horse’s specific needs. Remember, a happy and healthy horse is a well-nourished horse, so feed them right for a long and fulfilling life.

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Dr. Shahriar Kamal is a doctor of veterinary medicine with 8 years of experience in poultry and dairy animal medicine. Now he has been doing PhD in Nagoya University, Japan Under 文部科学省 MEXT.