Can Horses Eat Avocados ?

Can horses eat avocado? No, absolutely not, the avocado is poisonous to horses. This is interesting because the avocado is highly nutritious to humans, offering so many health benefits. Keep your horse right away from the avocado tree, as not only the fruit but the leaves and the stem are toxic to your horse. The avocado is a beautiful shady tree when it is partly or fully grown, and this means that you can’t even tie your horse up beneath the tree. If you do that, he will start eating the leaves and fruit, and will probably die.

Horses are adventurous in trying new fruits and vegetables, and if he accidentally ate avocado he would exhibit the following symptoms.

  • Weakness and inability to stand up.
  • Swelling around the mouth, tongue, and face
  • Shortness of breath
  • Colic
  • Neurological dysfunction, he may fall over.
  • Irregular heartbeat and fluid around the heart.

Avocado contains Persin derived from the fatty acid in the fruit. This is poisenous to many other animals including cows. The Persin is also contained in the leaves making the whole avocado tree extremely toxic. If the horse has eaten a few avocados it will lead to often fatal poisoning.

Avocados Are Toxic to Horses

The Kentucky Equine News says, Horses can safely eat most fruits and vegetables, except for the avocado, and there is no safe level of the fruit that can be ingested by the horse. If the horse does eat some avocado it is important to call the vet immediately as if it is less than 30 grams, the vet may be able to save your horse. He may be attracted to the plant because the horse has a need to consume some fat. When you are feeding the horse you will need to add some omega-3 oils to the feed or even linseed. Your horse gains energy from fat sources, and he may be searching for this with the avocado. If your horse has a fast metabolic rate he will stay quite lean and need to forage for alfalfa and hay.

Fruit Trees in the Horse Enclosure

There should be no fruit trees in the horse’s paddock, as whatever you have there, the horse will develop a taste for it. They are very adaptable in what they will eat, this explains why they will try the avocado leaves and fruit. So when you plan your horse’s new enclosure the only shelter trees should be either a pine tree or a eucalypt as they won’t chew either of the tree’s leaves. Interestingly, the toxin contained in Persin is also toxic to birds who stay well away from it. You will notice that horses sometimes chew some bark on a tree, even the Avocado bark is extremely toxic to the horse as Persin is present in the whole plant. Cats can eat avocados, and I recently saw a cat eat quite a large amount of avocado dip. So there is a huge difference in the digestive tract of animals. If we are keeping a horse as a pet, we have a lot of reading to do.

The Horse Diet

Horses are herbivores. and you would think it would be easy to feed them, however, the horse requires abundant good quality green pasture. and alfalfa which is high in protein. So when we ask can horses eat avocados? It is a bit of a shock to hear the answer is no. Your horse will love certain treats, so stay away from sugar lumps, and give your horse a nice healthy carrot or some pieces of apple. A large amount of freshwater is essential to keep your horse hydrated. A horse will normally eat 1.5 to 3% of its body weight, sometimes if he is not active your horse will become obese. Don’t give your horse lawn clippings as they may contain poisonous weeds.

Other Foods To Avoid when Feeding a Horse

Along with Persin, horses should not eat anything containing selenium, potatoes, and brazil nuts contain selenium and should be avoided. As well as avoiding the avocado fruit, the pit of the avocado is also highly toxic to your horse. There have been quite a few studies carried out on toxicity that occurs when a horse eats avocado leaves, as this is what they commonly manage to mistakenly graze on. The effect is disastrous to their systems. Once the Persin enters the horse’s digestive system it can be very hard to save the horse’s life. In a few cases, prompt veterinary action has resulted in the toxins being flushed out of the horse’s system.

Can Horses Eat Avacado and Survive?

Sometimes if not too much Persin has entered the system, prompt veterinary action can prevent disaster, but on many occasions, it is far too late.

If you notice that this has happened, keep the horse still and calm until help arrives as this will prevent a heart attack, from the fluid building around the heart and pleural cavity. This is a medical emergency for your horse, and when you ring for help say what has happened, and maybe help can come quickly.

Make Lists of things a Horse Can’t Eat

When you get a horse for the first time, everything is new to you. Make a list of foods that a horse can’t eat and keep on the stable door or tack room for quick reference. When asked can horses eat avocado, you can look at the list and quickly say no. When you see the vet for routine horse care, ask is there an antidote if this happens, there could be something you can do while waiting for help to arrive.


Any accidental animal poisoning is very distressing and can often be avoided. When you are asked can horses eat avocado and survive you will know that the odds are not good, and it is best to avoid this from ever happening by keeping your horse right away from anything avocado. There is so much else for him to eat and stay well!