Can Horses Eat Cheese?

White cheese on a bed of fresh green lettuce leaves on a blue wooden surface

Unfortunately, horses cannot eat cheese safely. We all know that horses love to eat grass, but what about other foods? Can cheese satisfy their appetite? Think twice before giving your horse some cheese as a reward. While a small amount of cheese accidentally given to a horse is not harmful, feeding them cheese regularly is not recommended as it can upset their stomachs.

Can Horse Enjoy Cheese?

Picnic scene in a forest with bread, cheese, and salami on a wooden cutting board on a checkered cloth, with a backpack resting against a mossy rock in the background

Horses are herbivores and enjoy fruits, vegetables, and occasionally even cheese. Cheese is a good source of fat, protein, calcium, and phosphorus for horses. However, it should only be consumed in moderation due to its high fat and salt content. Feeding horses excessive fat or salt may cause weight gain and other health problems.

Adult horses are lactose intolerant, so it is crucial to avoid giving them any dairy products, including cheese, yogurt[1], milk, or ice cream[2]. All adult horses of any breed are unable to physically process lactose in their stomachs. To prevent causing your horse any distress or illness, it is advisable not to feed them anything that contains dairy.

Benefits of Cheese for Horses

Cheese has some benefits for horses, such as being an excellent source of protein, which helps maintain weight, and is a good source of calcium for strong bones. It can also help calm the stomach and encourage horses to eat more slowly. However, cheese has some risks, such as being high in calories and fat, which can cause weight gain and disrupt the digestive system, as it is hard for horses to digest.


If you decide to feed cheese to your horse, ensure you do it sparingly and as part of a well-balanced diet. Old or Moldy Cheese should not be given to horses as it may contain dangerous bacteria. It is advisable to speak with a veterinarian before making any modifications to your horse’s diet, as each horse has unique nutritional requirements. In summary, horses can eat cheese but only in moderation. When feeding them cheese, ensure that it is low in lactose, easy to digest, and given as part of a balanced diet. It’s also essential to consult a veterinarian before making any dietary changes to your horse’s nutrition plan.

Cheese-Based Horse Feeds

White cheese on a bed of fresh green lettuce leaves on a blue wooden surfaceMany horse-feeding items on the market contain cheese, but can horses eat those cheese-based feeds? You may be surprised at the solution. Horses cannot absorb the nutrients in cheese the same way humans can, and cheese-based feeds are not the best option for horses. Additionally, cheese-based horse feeds may contain higher levels of fat and salt than is healthy for horses. If you are looking for good feed[3] for your horse, it is best to stick to options specifically designed for equine nutrition.


In conclusion, while horses can technically eat cheese but it is not recommended. Horses are herbivores, and their digestive systems are not designed to process dairy products like cheese. Cheese can upset a horse’s stomach and lead to health issues such as weight gain or digestive problems. While cheese can provide some nutritional benefits, it is not necessary for a horse’s diet, and other options are better suited for equine nutrition. If you are considering adding cheese to your horse’s diet, it is important to speak with a veterinarian to ensure that it is safe and appropriate for your horse.

[1] : Yogurt
[2] : Milk, or Ice Cream
[3] : Good Feed


  • Chocolate
  • Persimmons
  • Avocado
  • Lawn Clippings
  • Fruit with Pips and Stones
  • Bread
  • Potatoes and Other Nightshades
  • Yogurt and Other Dairy Products
  • Like most animals, horses are lactose intolerant, so it's important to keep them away from dairy products like milk and cheese.
    Dairy products including yougrt or kefir are not meant for horses. Look for horse-specific probiotics blended with yeast cultures and Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which help the fermentation process in the gut and provide essential nutrients for bacteria to properly grow and multiply.
    Bread is also high in starch and if your horse has equine metabolic syndrome and is insulin resistant, bread could lead to laminitis and founder. So although many items like bread are not toxic to horses, it is still not a good idea to feed these items as there are much healthier choices for equine feeds.
    Unless your horse has underlying health conditions, peanut butter is a safe treat to offer in moderation. In fact, peanut butter is not all empty calories – it has some nutritional benefits that can actually make it a healthy treat for horses if given sparingly.

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