Can Horses Eat Cherries? (Facts & Precautions you Must know)

By Zunnun Ahmed •  Updated: 09/12/22 •  4 min read

Horses are majestic creatures & get along with humans effortlessly.

The chemistry between humans and horses has a long, long history. No wonder, The Horses on our firm have developed a strong bond with our kiddos.

That’s great.

But the problem is……..

We are seeing children share all their food (fruits & veggies) with the horses lately. As it’s the cherry season, they are doing this, and we were, so concerned about can horses eat cherries.

Here is what the vet says about it……..

Cherries are ok for the horse. But Like other fruits, the whole cherry has a pit inside it, which can cause a choke hazard for the horse. That’s why feeding whole cherries to livestock can be dangerous. So cherries are only safe to eat if you remove the stems and pit.

Are ground cherries toxic to horses?

So……..Are ground cherries toxic to horses?

First, let me let you know what ground cherries are……..

Also known as Cape Gooseberry, hailing from Peru and Chile and is now spread around the world, including Australia, India, and Africa.

Now come to the main point- Can horses eat wild cherries or ground cherries?

Physalis peruviana, or Ground Cherry, comes from the family of poisonous belladonna and nightshade and totally toxic for the horse.

Here is why……

Prunus avium or ground cherry contains a compound called cyanogenic which is harmful if it is ingested.

And not only the fruit!!!!

Each part of this tree (pit, leaves, & steam) carries the glycoalkaloid solanine. This will be very dangerous when intake triggers the gastrointestinal system.

And what’s worst? If eaten in large quantities, this can attack the central nervous system. You may ask, Are all cherry trees toxic to horses? Yeah, more or less. And some cherries are A big No for horses including…..

Related: Can Horses Eat Cattails? (Explained for Beginners)

The possible risks of feeding horses cherries and signs of poisoning

First and foremost-the choke hazard.

And if you ever experienced it, you know better than not fun at all.

The pit can also get logged in the horse’s digestive tract, which can lead to intestinal blockage. 

Another potential risk of feeding horses cherries with the pit is that they could become sick imitatively from eating the fruit once the toxin is moved into the bloodstream.

Let’s not forget the thing called solanine in cherry.

Related: Can Horses Eat Sunflower Seeds?

In plain words, this toxin ruins the balance of cell membranes and can be fatal. The sign of solanine poisoning are…..

If you realize that your horse is on solanine poisoning, don’t waste any time and take the poor baby to the hospital as soon as possible.

Can Horses Eat Cherries
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Can horses have sweet cherries?

Horses have a sweet tooth, just like humans do. 

So no wonder they will love sweet cherries too. Can horses have cherries without the pit?

Yes, horses can have ½ sweet cherries once all the pit and stem have been removed. Cherries are good sources of vitamins A and C.

Can horses eat dried cherries? Yes, dates and dried fruits are quite effective if your horse has to do extra energy. Just make sure you get rid of all the toxic things from the fruits.

Related: Feeding Straight Corn: Can Horses Eat Corn on The Cob?

The bottom line is – can horses have cherries?

Not only cherries but all the pitted fruits are also toxic for horses.

But if you have the patience to remove the pits, cherries are ok to be consumed in small quantities. Since these fruits are pretty tiny, the task will be extremely daunting. 

With strict supervision, 1 or 2 cherries are ok to incorporate in horse feed as cherries are a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants. They are also a good source of dietary manganese, magnesium, and potassium.

Zunnun Ahmed

We are a group of horse enthusiasts. We want to provide information and tips to help others learn more about horses, how to care for them, and how to enjoy them.

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