Peppermint offers a wide range of benefits for your horse’s health and quality of life. It not only helps soothe colic, but this herb can also help improve your horse’s digestion, boost their immune system, and much more—but can horses eat peppermints?
Healthy Horses and Sugar
Most mint candies intended for humans contain sucrose, which is a simple sugar. Your horse’s small intestine will absorb simple sugars in the forms of fructose and glucose, but, after this, each type of sugar will be processed in a different way.
Fructose is metabolized in the horse’s liver exclusively and, because of this, it is more likely to lead to fat production. Glucose will cause insulin to be released into your horse’s small intestine. This allows the glucose to enter the cells.1
Can Your Horse Tolerate Sugar?
Some horses will simply not benefit from being fed sugar. This can be due to certain medical conditions which don’t allow them to tolerate sugar as well as other horses. Some of these medical conditions include:
- Insulin resistance, which causes more insulin to be released than what is typical. This can lead to the development of other conditions, such as laminitis
- Any history of laminitis
- Any history of other disorders like equine metabolic syndrome, Cushing’s, and polysaccharide storage myopathy2
- A horse that’s overweight
If your horse does not have any of the aforementioned conditions and can tolerate sugar in small amounts, then mint candies made for humans can be served, as long as it’s done in strict moderation.
If you are unsure whether or not your horse has any of the above conditions, call your vet to have your horse’s blood tested.
Types of Mint Treats That Are Safe to Serve
Whether your horse has one of the above conditions or you simply want to avoid giving your horse any added sugar, any of the following peppermint treats can be served safely:
- Mint candy sweetened with sorbitol to avoid sugar spikes
- Hard peppermint candy for humans that contains no added sugar
- Mint-flavored candy for horses
- Fresh mint leaves
- Pure peppermint powder
How Many Times a Day Should You Serve Your Horse Mint Treats?
It’s true that peppermint has many benefits for your horse’s overall health. However, it’s important to ensure you’re not giving your horse too much.
For example, a healthy horse can be given one human peppermint candy as a treat one or two times in a day without any problems. Sugarless peppermint treats can be given more frequently without worry.
Moderation Is the Key
Most horses love peppermint, and we all want to make our horses happy. This can lead to the temptation to treat them all the time.
Regardless of the type of peppermint treat you give them, doing so in moderation is important. Keep the following dos and don’ts in mind:
- Don’t treat them all the time, as this can cause bad habits and unwanted behavior.
- Do offer peppermint in other ways, such as adding it to water, mixed into feed, or with other treats like apples.
- Do offer horse candy if you wish to avoid added sugar.
- Don’t serve sugarless or sugared treats over long periods.
- Don’t use mint treats as a replacement for meals.
- Do keep peppermint leaves, candy, or powder handy to treat any health issues.
- Do avoid soft treats, as these can stick to teeth and lead to cavities.
For the Love of Horses
Peppermint is such a terrific herb for equine health, and Equi-Herbs’s pure peppermint powder is both sugar-free and very easy to serve, whether on its own or mixed with water or feed.
All Equi-Herbs products are created out of our love for horses, and so they contain only the highest-quality ingredients from the best sources. Visit our website to shop our lines of equine health products, or call 1-800-786-0708.