Can Horses Eat Fish? Is The Horse Omnivore Or Herbivore?

By Zunnun Ahmed •  Updated: 09/23/22 •  6 min read

To keep the horses healthy and full of energy, we tried our best.

Don’t even try to deny it- We all horse owners do this.

And incorporate as much nutrition as possible.

But are you sure you are benefiting your horses instead of harming them? What if the diet that you have specifically designed for your horses could, in turn, prove to be fatal for them? For example- feeding a meat-based diet. But can horses eat fish?

Yes, horses can eat fish and other meat, but they don’t need to consume these for survival. Horses are herbivores, so they enjoy a diet based primarily on forages. Despite being able to digest small quantities of fish, horses should not be offered to eat them in large amounts. 

Still confused?

Let’s quickly dive into this topic and figure it out together!

Can Horses Eat Fish

Understanding equine eating habits: Is a horse omnivore or herbivore?

Although horses are typically herbivores that get all of their nutrition from plants, there are situations in which they can change into carnivores. 

But, there is no clear evidence to support this claim; therefore, I will continue to argue that horses are herbivores because I have never witnessed a horse chewing on any kind of meat. 

Additionally, they cannot digest meat, which poses serious risks to their digestive health, given that their bodies have not evolved to consume such foods.

Are horses herbivores or omnivores?

The issue with horses is that they cannot throw up, and their digestive systems are exclusively designed to process plant matter. This means they can consume plants without worrying about any negative side effects; however, if I talk about fish and meat, then the myths are different. 

Do horses eat meat?

I know some of you are going to attack this by saying, “Well, what about all those movies where horses get away with stealing a cheeseburger and when a horse chews a live baby chick?” You could say that 1% of horses are carnivores, which are also called “Murderous Horses.” I’m not making this up; it’s in a book called “Deadly Equines.”


So…….Can horses eat fish?

Yes, horses can eat fish in small quantities, but there is no evidence to suggest that fish is required in their diet. The internal system of horses is not designed to absorb fish nutrients, nor is their liver able to flush out the residues of meat protein.

Fair enough, but…..

There are cases in which horses may be fed fish like salmon. Such horses are referred to as opportunistic carnivores.

Opportunistic carnivores will feed on other animals if such an opportunity presents itself. But, then again, they do not need to eat meat.

The bottom line is…….

Meat-like fish should only be fed in small amounts since the digestive tract of horses can only tolerate minute quantities.

Read also: Horses can eat pickles in moderation without any problems. However, if they eat too many, it could cause them to become sick.

Horse’s digestive system – and why fish and meat are not safe for horses

The simple truth is……

As horses are herbivores, their digestive system has been designed for just eating plants! 

Also, the horse’s stomach and intestines are both huge and muscular due to plant matter as it takes longer to digest and break down in the stomach, resulting in better nutritional intake, which is why the horses have a large stomach.

But if you look at the digestion of a carnivore, you’ll discover that its stomach is narrower and its intestines are shorter since it’s suited to eating meat. 

Consequently, meat must be processed and flushed out of the body more rapidly. 

Therefore, the answer is that any kind of meat, whether it is fish, chicken, or salmon, is hazardous to a horse’s digestive system and can pose a serious risk to their health if they start consuming it regularly.


Can horses eat salmon? Is it safe to eat fish for horses?

No, the answer is clear, and so is the reason! 

Compared to a herbivore’s liver, a carnivore’s liver is almost twice as large. Furthermore, carnivores must flush their systems more frequently and quickly than herbivores since they consume far more protein.

Therefore, it will be a problem for a horse to ingest salmon since they won’t be able to process the protein in it and correctly consume it, resulting in the horse experiencing discomfort and many other issues.

See also: Can horses eat pickles? Let’s explore the facts and stats. You’ll be surprised to learn what these animals can digest and how a pickle can be a healthy snack for them.

What happens if a horse eats meat or fish?

Eating meat or fish is not fatal for horses but can lead to health complications. 

Meat and other animal products tend to go bad quickly, so this spoiled meat might have toxins that cannot be destroyed by cooking. This poses a serious threat to horses, who are sensitive to botulism.

Botulism is fatal to horses if left untreated. 

Horses cannot vomit if they eat something that doesn’t agree with them. They don’t have a defense mechanism in place to combat dangerous foods.

Horses often consume meat, but they can deal with it themselves. There is no reason to panic if your horse eats a bit of meat. The problem arises when horses eat meat regularly or in large quantities, so their digestive system can no longer handle it.

Related article: Find out more about the dangers of walnut trees and how to keep your horse safe.

The moral of this story is?

Horses can consume fish, but as we said, they do not need it. Sticking to a diet based on vegetables, grasses, and fruits is better. These things make up their identity as herbivores and are extremely good for their health.

Meat & fish can be consumed, but since it is not needed, it would be better to stay away from them to prevent health issues. Fish should only be a last resort to be consumed under challenging times.

Let me say this straight (again)…..

The only necessities a horse truly needs are a plant-based diet and clean water to keep its digestive system running smoothly. So now you have got the answer for horse omnivore or carnivore

Choose safe food for your dear horse.

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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