Horses loves treats just like people love treats.  Horse owners can use treats to reward them during training, grooming or during veterinarian visits or just because owners love their horses.

There are all sorts of treats that can be safely used.  These can include natural treats such as raisins, sugar cubes, apple pieces, carrot pieces, and sunflower seeds.  However, there other items that should not be used as a treat including lawn, hedge or garden clippings, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes, tomatoes, and acorns.  Be aware that if chocolate is used as a treat, it can be a concern if you are competing, since chocolate can cause a positive drug test.

There are also many store bought treats on the market.  Most of these manufactured treats in the form of a baked cookie include the apple flavor that horses love.  Some manufactured horse treats go beyond the usual just treat aspect and have some health functionality to them.  Extra beneficial ingredients to the health of the horse can be included, such as glucosamine for joint health.

Recently, some horse treats have started to include probiotics.  Probios Horse Treats are an excellent example due to the fact that there are "Digestion Support" and "Hip and Joint with Glucosamine" formulas which both contain probiotics.  They are not only treats, but also help maintain better digestion and joint health (not to mention they are likely much more enjoyable for the horse than pills and powder supplements).  While these treats do not contain therapeutic levels of probiotics, they are a great way to maintain probiotics in horses on a regular basis while making the horse owner feel happy that a healthy and safe treat is being given at the same time.

Dr. Dan DuBourdieu

Dr. Dan holds a Ph.D. and M.S. degree from the University of Minnesota and a B.A. from Macalester College.  He has been involved in basic cell biology, biochemistry and immunology research at Hoffmann La Roche Inc., ImmuCell Inc. and other research companies.  He has worked with Bomac Vet-Plus Inc for a number of years doing animal nutrition product research and development.