Treats, not tricks

Keep these safety tips in mind when treating your horse this Halloween.
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In a season when treats abound, you may be tempted to give your horse a few extra goodies. For a horse with insulin sensitivity, however, it’s best to avoid even occasional sugary treats. And it’s not just sugar cubes and peppermints you need to skip---too many apples and carrots may also trigger a glycemic response (an increase in blood sugar) that can cause a laminitic episode. You can still indulge your horse safely, however, if you follow a few basic guidelines:

Click here to learn more about insulin resistance in horses.

Peppermints are a favorite horse treat, but can trigger a glycemic response that can cause a laminitic episode in sensitive horses.

Peppermints are a favorite horse treat, but can trigger a glycemic response that can cause a laminitic episode in sensitive horses.

Give tiny portions. You don’t need to give your horse the entire bag of carrots, which will overload him with sugar. He will be happy with a single piece.

Buy low-glycemic treats. Many commercial horse treats are made specifically for horses with sugar and/or carbohydrate sensitivity. Check the
label to be certain, and remember that molasses is a form of sugar.

• Consider a nutty alternative. A single roasted peanut in the shell is a traditional treat that has a lower glycemic index than fruits or vegetables. Peanut allergies aren’t an issue in horses.

This article first appeared in EQUUS issue #457, October 2015. 

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