Can Horses Eat Chocolate? Keeping Horses Away From Danger

little girl and chococlate bar

Good intentions can sometimes lead to bad endings. The same thing is true when it comes to giving treats for horses. This is simply because most owners will want to reward their beloved equine pets with special sweets without knowing whether or not they are actually harmful to their horses’ health.

We all know that chocolates are a big no-no for small pets. But because sometimes the rules that apply to small pets do not have to apply to larger animals, you might be wondering if you can give your horse a small piece of chocolate or two. Unfortunately, giving chocolates to horses can be a very bad idea.

People love to eat chocolates. As a matter of fact, its uniquely sweet and decadent taste is something that many of us just cannot resist. The same thing can actually be true to horses that have a sweet tooth. But if you want to keep them away from danger, never allow them to have chocolates.

Can Horses Eat Chocolate? Keeping Horses Away From Danger

Are Chocolates Safe For Horses?

horse eats sugar cube

There are those who say that small amounts of chocolate are not bad for horses. This is why they do not mind giving a few pieces of chocolate to the horses every now and then. However, you need to understand that what makes chocolates dangerous to horses is not just the high sugar and calorie content.

Although these factors can also make chocolate unhealthy for the horses, it is actually a chemical that is found in chocolates that can make them somewhat lethal to these animals. Chocolates are known to contain theobromine, a chemical that can act as a diuretic as well as a heart stimulant.

Although the effects of theobromine is one of the things that we want to have when we eat chocolate, you should know that dogs and even large black bears are known to succumb to theobromine poisoning. What it means is that these animals are known to die from heart attacks induced by this chemical.

sick horse

Horses that are given chocolates will actually test positive for performance enhancing drugs. And although it might not directly trigger any unwanted effects on the horse right away, the animal cannot actually metabolize it or remove it from its system. This fact is what makes chocolates dangerous.

The chemical can stay in the horse’s body for a long time. And if you continue to give chocolates to your horse, the theobromine levels will continue to increase until it reaches a level that is high enough to trigger internal bleeding, seizures and heart attacks that can easily kill the horse.

Chocolates And Racehorses

race horse

In recent years, there has been a controversy over racehorses that were intentionally fed by their caretakers with chocolates. The caretakers used the effects of the caffeine and the theobromine to help give their horses an edge against the other horses in the competition.

This why chocolates are banned for racehorses and using them prior to the competition is considered illegal. Today, horses that test positive for these substances are not allowed to compete in different races. The horses will immediately be disqualified and they can also lose their winnings.


giving horse a sugar cube

Chocolates are delicious and many humans and animals alike are easily tempted by its decadent taste and sweetness. However, since horse cannot metabolize the theobromine found in chocolates, you should never try to give it to them as a treat. This chemical can slowly accumulate in the horse’s body.

If you keep giving chocolates to the horse, the theobromine levels in the horse’s body will slowly increase until it reaches a level that is capable of giving the horse a fatal heart attack. To keep your horse away from danger, always instruct your family or caretakers never to give the animal chocolates.

Have you ever given chocolates to a horse? Tell us more about your experiences in the comment section.

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