Can Horses Eat Carrots?

A brown horse with a black mane and tail wearing a blue halter and taking a carrot as a treat from a person's hand

Absolutely! Horses can and do enjoy carrots safely. Carrots are a popular and healthy treat for many equines. Many people believe that horses and carrots go hand in hand, just like other famous pairs such as mice and cheese or cats and milk. However, this is not entirely accurate. Overfeeding horses with carrots can lead to digestive issues and other health problems. In this article, we will delve into the relationship between carrots and horses and explore their health benefits and risks.

Can Horses Eat Carrots?

A brown horse with a black mane and tail wearing a blue halter and taking a carrot as a treat from a person's handCarrots are an excellent source of nutrition for horses. They are rich in vitamins A and C, which are essential for maintaining a healthy immune system. Carrots are also low in sugar and carbohydrates, making them an ideal snack for horses. Furthermore, they contain fiber, which promotes a healthy digestive system.

Carrots Portion in Horse Meal

Person in a gray sweater holding freshly harvested carrots in a gardenWhile carrots offer numerous health benefits for horses, they should be given in moderation. Overfeeding horses with carrots can cause colic disease and severe digestive problems that can be potentially fatal. Therefore, horse owners should limit the number of carrots that they feed their horses to avoid such health issues.

Can We Give Horses Carrot Tops?

A horse walking towards a hand holding a carrot in a red wooden stable with a metal roof and multiple stalls with metal gatesCarrot tops, or leaves, are not harmful to horses and can be added to their diet. However, it’s essential to ensure that they are not overfed. Fresh carrots that still have their leaves on are even healthier. But, before giving them to your horse, make sure to wash and clean them thoroughly to avoid feeding your horse anything that is not hygienic or hazardous to their health.

Nutritional Benefits of Carrots for Horses

a carrot being fed to a cute mare through a black metal fence with a brick building and tree in the backgroundCarrots offer several health and nutritional benefits for horses. They contain vitamin A, which is a potent antioxidant that supports the immune system and is crucial for reproductive functions and maintaining vision. They also contain vitamin C, which is essential for immune system function.

Feeding Carrots in Moderation

Horses have sensitive digestive systems, and it’s crucial to feed them in moderation. Carrots should be given in limited quantities to avoid gastrointestinal issues.

Insulin Resistant Horses

A child in a plaid shirt and baseball cap feeding a carrot to a black horse wearing a blue halter in a field with other horses in the backgroundIf your horse has insulin resistance, you should be careful when feeding them carrots. Carrots have low sugar levels and few carbohydrates, making them a better option than other treats. However, you should consult a nutritionist and a doctor to determine the appropriate amount of carrots for your horse.

Horses with HYPP

A brown horse with a green halter standing in a fenced area with trees and blue sky in the backgroundHorses with HYPP disease should not be given carrots. HYPP is a condition that requires horse owners to monitor their horse’s potassium intake, and carrots have high levels of potassium. Feeding your horse carrots with HYPP can be risky and may cause health problems.

Are Carrots bad for Horses?

A close-up photo of a dark brown horse wearing a black bridle in a natural daytime settingHorses that are Laminitis or have EMS disease should not be fed carrots. Carrots contain sugar and carbohydrates, making them inappropriate for horses with such health conditions. Before serving meals, it’s crucial to check with a vet or doctor to ensure that the meal is appropriate for your horse.

Way of Giving Carrots to Your Horse

Two brown horses with white stripes on their noses behind a wire fence in a green field with hills and a blue sky in the backgroundHorse owners should give carrots to their horses in moderate quantities. Carrots should be slowly introduced into the horse’s diet and should be properly cleaned and free of bacteria and microbes.

Horse owners can add carrots to their horse’s bran mash or feed them as snacks or treats. However, horse owners should limit the number of carrots that they feed their horses to avoid health problems.


Carrots are a healthy snack option for horses and offer several health benefits. However, horse owners should ensure that they feed their horses with moderation and avoid overfeeding. Horse owners should also consult with a vet or doctor before introducing carrots to their horses.


Horses enjoy celery, corn, lettuce, squash, sweet potatoes, and turnips. Vegetables are excellent sources of vitamins, too. For example, carrots are high in Vitamin A and celery is a good source of Vitamin K. Feeding these items in limited quantities is fine and your horse may actually enjoy the variety!
Carrots will not improve the eyesight of a horse that is not deficient in vitamin A. The National Research Council's (2007) recommendations state a horse, at maintenance activity level, requires 30 IU (International Units) of vitamin A per each kilogram (2.2 pounds) of body weight per day.
Most horses love carrots as a reward as they are succulent and crunchy. Carrots are low in energy at around 1.8 Megajoules and contain only 12g of crude protein per kg, which is one-sixth of the content of most grassy hays.
Feeding one to two carrots per day is recommended by the majority of horse owners. I would not feed more than 2 per day and it is helpful if you feed them at different times. Horses are used to eating small meals throughout the day and breaking up the treats will help maintain their eating schedule.

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