Can Horses Eat Cheese? Read before Feed

Ever thought, while overloading your fries with cheese, if your horse can eat cheese or not? Ever felt bad for depriving your horse of cheese? We have previously discussed several human foods that can be fed to horses, we have decided to enlighten our readers on another widely eaten dairy product called “cheese”.

Cheese is the most loved dairy product that is derived from cows, sheep, goats, or buffalo’s milk. Till now, over a thousand types of cheese have been created and there are some solid chances we would develop more. Besides the heavenly taste, Cheese has become a vital kitchen item because it is loaded with protein, calcium, phosphorus, and fat. Cheese is extremely healthy for us if eaten in moderation, but is it healthy for horses as well? Let’s find out.

Can horses eat cheese? No, Feeding cheese is probably not a fine idea. It’s not safe and it should never be fed. Even a bit of cheese can prove to be harmful, so try healthier and safer alternatives instead. 

Do Horses Like Cheese? 

If they could eat Cheese, it would have been their favorite food. How can one hate such heavenly sweet, somewhat salty, a bit of nutty taste? If all of a sudden, Cheese gets harmless and we start treating our horses, they would “definitely” appreciate this kind gesture. 

Why Should Horses Not Eat Cheese? 

Horses do not eat Cheese because it is categorized as a dairy product and dairy products, in all forms, are not good for the horse’s health. So for the horse’s health and life’s sake, it is avoided. 

Horses are lactose-intolerant, the debate settles here

Cheese is high in lactose and horses are lactose intolerant. Lactose is the reason why horses and cheese do not go well. Cheeses like ricotta and cottage cheese have been reported to have lower amounts of lactose but horses can not eat them either. 

It does not matter how much lactose a cheese contains, even the littlest amount of lactose intake is harmful 

All kinds of cheese are equally harmful to the horses, it does not matter how much lactose a cheese contains, horses can not digest and metabolize lactose at all. The littlest barely noticeable amount of lactose can prove to be deadly for horses. 

Cheese and lactose is even more deadly for horses above the age of three years

All dairy products containing lactose in huge or little amounts are extremely harmful to adult horses(horses above the age of three years). The horses below the said age can handle the lactose a bit better but it’s deadly for them as well. 

How is Cheese a Bit Less Harmful to Young Horses? 

As the horse’s age, they begin losing their ability to hydrolyze lactose. The young horses may not digest lactose content as it should be digested. However, young horses can hydrolyze sucrose and maltose easily. For their ability to handle these two cheese contents, it is often said the young horses can handle cheese well. Still, Cheese can not be considered a healthy option for young horses just because they are a bit better at hydrolyzing the cheese content. 

Processed cheese products are even more harmful 

We have discussed cheese in previous headings, let not the processed cheese products go unnoticed. The processed cheese products are even more harmful as they usually contain emulsifiers, salt, food coloring, sucrose, or starch fillers. The said addition would simply be a sprinkle of salt to a horse’s wounds.

Sucrose is just as harmful to the horses as it is said to be for humans frequent sucrose intake has reported raising blood sugar level, caused a rupture in blood Vessels, and mouth problems, if it disturbs so many functions of the human body, imagine what it would do to the horses? Too much starch is also not any good for horses as the animal is already consuming it through plant matter. 

Emulsifiers are also another slow poison that can make horse enthusiasts look for replacement much earlier than the expected period.

Horses usually lick salt to meet their requirements, if salt-bombarded products are also added to their diet the horse would end up with salt toxicity. The salt toxicity can further lead to diarrhea, frequent urination, and general weakness. The only thing that is a bit safer than the rest is food coloring only if it’s the vegetable one. 

Cheese can kill a horse

Yes, if you have been informed that cheese can kill a horse, you have heard it right. Pitted fruit, bread, potatoes, and cheese can effortlessly cause severe diarrhea, colic, digestive issues, liver failure, or death. 


Ever Warned About Supplemented Horse Feed? Here is Why; 

Hint; It contains cheese rind

The horse enthusiasts often get warned about the supplemented horse feed for a deadly reason. According to the current study, The supplemented food usually contains dried whey, cheese rind, and dehydrated skim milk. All these processed forms of dairy products are equally harmful. So, it makes sense why supplemented horse feed has got a bad reputation.

What vitamins and minerals cheese has? Do they help horses in any way?

For the record, horses can not digest cheese so they would not get a boost from it’s vitamins and minerals in the first place. Regardless of the fact that cheese is harmful, According to research, it contains a noticeable amount of fat, protein, calcium, zinc, phosphorus, and vitamin A.

Horses need protein for the development of muscle tissue, transportation of nutrients across the cell membrane, regulation of metabolic function, minimize pH fluctuations, calcium for the stronger skeleton, teeth and bones, zinc to support enzyme and protein function, phosphorus for bone and skeleton development, and vitamin A for a variety of reasons including improved vision, immune function, fertility, red-blood-cell production, and fetus development, etc.

But all these nutrients remain useless as cheese and other dairy products are super hard to digest. So, if one has to give their horse a boost with the above-mentioned nutrients, he/she must look for a healthier alternative. Cheese just can never be the right option.

The feed-in moderation rule does not apply to this widely eaten dairy product

Some human foods can be eaten by horses but in moderation but cheese is an exception. It can not even be fed in moderation. The slightest amount of cheese can effortlessly put the horse in trouble. It should just never be fed, even if the horse begs for it.

Other Dairy Products for horses

Our recommendation

As a horse owner, I’m always super concerned about my horse’s health and I bet other horse owners would be as well. I suggest you allow the horse to eat what it is supposed to eat, try not to add junk or dairy products to their diet. Some fruits and vegetables are quite safe and healthy if you have to treat your horse anyway, treat them with fruits and vegetables occasionally.

In brief, horses can not eat cheese at all. Cheese is categorized as a dairy product that contains lactose and some other ingredients which are extremely harmful to this poor little lactose-intolerant fella. All forms of cheese are harmful regardless of the fact it contains protein, calcium, phosphorus, and fat. It is more harmful to adult horses, can cause severe colic, digestive issues, diarrhea, and in worse cases, death. To satisfy your horse’s taste buds, try healthier alternatives instead.


Hi, I am Waqar and active in the horse world since 2012. I have MSc (Hons) in Agriculture from the University of Agriculture Faisalabad. I love to solve equine health care issues and note down in the form of research papers. I have written hundreds of equine health care, accessories, names, and history-related blogs. My equine related work is watering a lot of horse-related magazines and blogs.

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