Can Horses Eat Tomatoes? – Updated 2024

can horses eat tomatoes - Can I feed my horse tomatoes Expert warns against certain treats

No, horses cannot eat tomatoes. It is recommended to not feed tomatoes unless needed. As a horse enthusiast, you might be curious whether it’s healthy for horses to eat tomatoes. While horses are necessary herbivores, they don’t enjoy tomatoes, and there are certain limitations. This article will help you decide if tomatoes are suitable for your horses as well as explain the toxic properties of tomatoes.

Person holding three red tomatoes in a kitchen setting - Can Horses Eat Tomatoes?Can Horses Eat Tomatoes?

Although horses can eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, tomatoes are not recommended. Despite the ripened fruit’s low Solanine content, there are still other poisons to be concerned about, including Atropine and Hyoscyamine. Hyoscyamine suppresses saliva production, which also negatively affects digestion, whereas Atropine slows down digestion.Β A few tomatoes won’t hurt your horse much, but if you don’t want to take any chances, you should stay away from them. A few tomatoes may cause colic and Diarrhea.

It’s advisable to exclude tomatoes from your horse’s diet because you can’t be certain if they will react well to them or not.

Can Horses Eat Tomato Leaves?

No, your horses are more at risk from the tomato plant than the mature fruit. Tomatoes can poison horses because they contain Solanine, so don’t grow them around horse grazing areas.Close-up of cherry tomatoes with leaves on the vine with water droplets on a black background - The green sections of plants, such as stems, leaves, and immature fruits, are where the Glycoalkaloids, also known as Solanine, are concentrated. Horses are severely poisoned by tomato plants. Green fruits have the highest level of toxicity, followed by leaves, stems, and roots. A horse can die if it eats 1 to 10 pounds of tomato plants. Although the tomato plant normally won’t appeal to horses, to be safe, grow tomatoes and other nightshade plants in securely enclosed areas where there is no risk of your pets getting to them.

What is HYPP in Horses?

Are Tomatoes Toxic for Horses?

Yes, tomatoes can be toxic for horses. Tomatoes belong to the Solanaceae plant family, which contains Solanine, a deadly substance that’s present in plants of the Nightshade family. The poison is concentrated in the atropine or green, leafy parts of tomato plants, and it slows digestive motion. Additionally, Hyoscyamine, a component of tomatoes, reduces intestinal motility and impairs salivary gland function. Other signs of tomato poisoning include a slow heartbeat, tense muscles, colic, hemorrhagic Diarrhea, and trouble breathing.

A pair of hands holding freshly picked red tomatoes with green stems in a rustic settingSymptoms of Solanine Poisoning

Knowing the signs of solanine poisoning is critical so you can call the vet right away and take care of the issue before it gets out of hand. Some warning indications include diarrhea, loss of appetite, dilated pupils, loss of muscle coordination, drowsiness, weakness, confusion, depression, hallucinations, hypersalivation, slowed heart rate, and gastrointestinal problems.

Fed Accidentally? Solutions For Tomato Poisoning

If solanine toxicity is detected early, horses can recover with the appropriate treatment from a veterinarian. Neostigmine is frequently used as a medicine to hasten the healing process in addition to supportive care. In most situations, activated charcoal is also a successful treatment. It aids in the toxins binding and stops them from entering the horse’s digestive system.

Still want to feed? Here’s What to Consider

Horses can benefit from eating tomatoes since they can give them a variety of important nutrients. To avoid stomach discomfort, it’s crucial to introduce tomatoes to horses gradually, in tiny doses, and to watch their intake, just like with all other fruits and vegetables. Vitamins A and C, fiber, and potassium are all present in tomatoes in good amounts. They can aid in keeping horses hydrated and also serve as a tasty treat for picky eaters.

Tomato Feeding for Horses by Age:

Age Group Recommended Amount Notes
Foals & Young Horses (under 2 years) Occasional treat, no more than 1-2 small slices Introduce slowly, monitor for reactions.
Adult Horses (2-10 years) Up to 1/2 ripe tomato 2-3 times per week Observe digestibility, and adjust serving size accordingly.
Senior Horses (10+ years) Occasional small slice, may not be suitable for all Consult veterinarian before introducing, monitor closely.

Cluster of red tomatoes on a wooden cutting board with scattered tomato slices and whole tomatoes on a black wooden surface in the backgroundTips for Feeding Your Horse

When it comes to feeding your horse, it’s important to keep in mind that horses have a very different digestive system than humans. Horses are herbivores and need a diet that is high in fiber and low in sugar and starch. In addition to hay and grass, horses can benefit from a variety of fruits and vegetables. However, it’s important to introduce new foods slowly and in small amounts to avoid digestive upset. Always consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your horse’s diet.

Choose the Right Horse Feed

Close-up of a pile of shiny red cherry tomatoes with green stemsWhen it comes to horse feed, there are many different options to choose from. It’s important to select a feed that is appropriate for your horse’s age, horse activity level, and overall health. Horse feeds can vary in terms of nutrient content, so it’s important to read the label carefully and choose a feed that is high in fiber and low in sugar and starch. If you’re not sure what type of feed to choose, consult with your veterinarian or an equine nutritionist.


In conclusion, while tomatoes may be a tasty and nutritious food for humans, they are not recommended for horses. Tomatoes contain solanine, a toxic substance that can cause gastrointestinal distress and even death in horses. While a small amount of tomato may not be harmful to your horse, it’s best to err on the side of caution and avoid feeding them this fruit. Instead, focus on providing your horse with a balanced diet that includes hay, grains, and other fruits and vegetables that are safe for equine consumption. With the right diet and care, your horse can live a long and healthy life.


Nightshade (aka belladonna) and most other plants of the nightshade (Solanum) family, including horse nettle, potatoes and tomatoes, are toxic to horses.
1. Horses love grass.
2. Hay or haylage keeps your horse's digestive system well, particularly in the cooler months from autumn to early spring when pasture isn't available.
3. Fruit and vegetables add moisture to the feed.
Any kind of a fruit that has a β€œstone” in it (or pit), like whole peaches, avocados, and cherries, can be dangerous for a horse, because they could choke on the pit. If your horse consumes any of these three things in excess, then it can lead to very bad gas and colic problems that could hurt them.
The green parts of the tomato plant contain an alkaloid that slows gut function. Signs of toxicity include colic and diarrhea. Horses generally do not like the taste of tomato plants, so they aren't likely to eat enough to become ill. But just to be safe, plant your tomatoes in a secure, fenced area.

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