What Can Horses Drink?

We have discussed more than a hundred times what horses can and can not eat. Our last article “can horse drink beer?”  got us realized that there are several other drinks as well that need to be discussed here. 

So, in this article, we decided to discuss all our favorite drinks briefly. We would be enlightening our readers whether horses can drink coffee, whiskey, Gatorade, milk, mosquito larvae, electrolytes, sweet tea, and soda. 

Besides that we would also be writing about their and our absolute necessity; water. Starting with the unusual drinks, as the horse’s water needs a detailed discussion. 

List of Drinks for Horses



Can Horses Drink Coffee? No, Coffee is just as bad as it is for us so horses can not drink coffee at all. The advanced horse enthusiasts have warned the horse keeper to avoid feeding coffee or using discarded coffee beans husks as bedding. The amount of caffeine present in coffee makes it extremely harmful as it has been known for causing irregular heart rhythms.

Coffee, tea; caffeine in all shapes are banned from feeding racehorses for various health issues. If a horse tests positive for caffeine, the racehorse is mostly disqualified from winning.

Despite the warning and bad reputation, a thoroughbred racehorse named Whirling Self used to drink coffee on his off days.



Whiskey is a rewarding alcoholic drink that is extracted either from fermented grains(barley, corn, rye, and wheat) or distilling beer. It’s caffeine that’s harmful, horses do not normally get adversely affected by the alcoholic content, so yes, horses can drink whiskey. Because of the rewards of the whiskey and beer horses have been drinking these two alcoholic beverages for quite a long time. The alcoholic beverages are given for relaxation and sometimes as a treat after a remarkable win. 

This specific alcoholic drink is, in fact, a great cure for colic, a stomach ache.  The alcoholic content does not cause any problem as horses do not get high easily and also do not gain weight despite drinking alcohol quite frequently.

The not-so-noticeable amount of Whiskey once or twice a week would help the horse in staying active, healthy, and sane. 

Moreover, Whiskey can also be given to help this poor animal in maintaining a healthy weight. So, you can treat your horse with beer or whiskey, if vets can prescribe it, there is no reason to be afraid of it.



Gatorade is recklessly called an energy drink as it rehydrates and energizes you in no time. It is loaded with sodium and potassium but the excessive sugar content makes it a little harmful.

The horse can fall victim to laminitis from drinking Gatorade in huge quantities. Most horse owners consider it much safer to offer such drinks mixed with water. 

The appropriate answer to the question, whether horses can have Gatorade or not? yes, horses can have Gatorade in moderation but it’s not healthy at all. The show-performing horses are normally treated with Gatorade to boost the performance. 

Gatorade can never be the best replacement for freshwater for the horse suffering from dehydration.

It is often debated that Gatorade improves the flavor of water so how can it be harmful if it is encouraging the horse to drink more.

As far as we know, there is no good in enhancing the flavor or feeding Gatorade for any other purpose when one can easily encourage the horse to drink more water by adding a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar juice to it. 



The adult horses can not drink milk, whereas the foals can. The adult horses can get diarrhea or develop stomach issues from drinking milk or eating any dairy products. Milk in both liquid and powdered form is equally harmful. 

Lactose brings a bad reputation to dairy products as the horses can not digest it, so they mostly end up with gastric issues. The foals should only be nursed by their mothers, the other animals’ milk is also not healthy. To sum up the whole situation in one line, horses can not drink milk, even if it’s their own. 

Mosquito larvae


Mosquito larvae are not actually a drink, it’s actually the immature form of mosquitoes. They are often found in water, can live, and breath in the horse’s water as well. The horse can eat mosquito larvae unknowingly so it’s fair to get concerned if the horse can eat through water or not? Well, mosquitos in this stage are not harmful to the horses. 

However, horses do not normally eat larvae; they are loved and eaten by fishes; Goldfish, Guppies, Bass, Bluegill, and more commonly by Gambusia Affinis(mosquito fish)

. If one gets uncomfortable with horses eating larvae as the said animal is a herbivore, it can be easily killed in the horse trough by adding mineral oil. The mineral oil suffocates and eventually kills the mosquito larvae in just a matter of minutes. 



Electrolytes, a combination of minerals; sodium, potassium, and calcium, are often added to encourage the horse to drink more water. Electrolytes are much safer and rewarding than all other options being discussed in this article.

Electrolytes do not normally contain equal proportions of all active ingredients, so to feed horses without any side effects the horse enthusiasts have to look for the Electrolytes that contain salt or chloride in noticeable amounts. Electrolytes can be a health booster for horses who work hard and lose electrolytes through sweat. 

Sweet tea


Sweet tea is a flavored iced tea that has been consumed for ages. It is extremely popular in the United States and Indonesia. Sweet tea is normally available in lemon, mint, peach, and raspberry flavors. 

Can Horses Drink Sweet Tea? Yes, As the sugar content in sweet tea is much lower as compared to the other drink, it is often served mixed in water to encourage the horse to drink more. Though sweet tea is not as dangerous as commercial-made fruit juices and sodas, it still should be avoided for it’s acidity. 

Baking soda in sweet tea, which is added to bring down the acidity, lowers the blood pH and makes the horse unfit for racing or any other high-demanding activity. For horses, apple cider vinegar, apple, and cranberry juices are the best alternative to sweet tea. 



Soda drinks are normally prepared using dry ingredients and carbonated water, they are not manufactured to supply vitamins, minerals, or fiber but to satisfy the taste buds.

Carbonated drinks are extremely harmful to horses as this poor little creature can not burp and vomit, they will just keep on suffering. Feeding carbonated drinks can cause ulceration, intestine tears, colic, and weight gain. Moreover, sodas are just as bad for horse’s teeth as it is for ours. 

Regular sodas and diet sodas are just equally bad, if you have to feed soda anyway diet soda is a better option as the sugar content in the said soda drink is much lower than the regular ones.

Diet sodas are a little safer as aspartame is used to enhance the flavor and consuming aspartame in small amounts does not really cause trouble. Pepsi, coke, sprite, and all other sodas must be avoided for the horse’s health and wellness. 

As all the unusual drinks that horses are consuming in some parts of the world(despite the warnings) have been thoroughly discussed, it’s time to move on ahead. 


It’s pointless to ask whether horses can drink water or not? As every living organism needs water, food, and oxygen to live.

A fully mature horse needs about  5 to 10 gallons of fresh water every day to keep the colic and dehydration at bay. As per the recent study, a horse can live without food for 20 to 25 days but it can not survive more than 5 or 6 days without water. 

It’s never always easy to make the horse drink enough water, especially in the active season, the horses often become victims of dehydration.

The untreated dehydration further leads to dullness, lethargy, dry skin, dry mouth, sunken eyes, drawn-up flakes, and excessive thick saliva. The dehydration can be checked by pinching the horse’s skin, if it returns quickly it can be considered that the horse is drinking enough water to stay hydrated. 

The horse enthusiasts are often seen struggling with feeding water, sometimes they even try adding flavor to water to encourage horses to drink more water. Apple cider vinegar, apple cranberries, apple, electrolytes are normally added to improve water consumption.

Horses drink water from the water trough, not serving water in the trough also pushes them away from water, so if you want your horse to stay hydrated, try investing in a good quality specific water trough. 

We all know how important water is for horses especially when they are being actively used or ridden but most of us have no idea how often they should be brought to the water trough? Well, there is no hard and fast rule, you can feed twice or even thrice. 

As the important information is served, we know that the horse’s water needs are a sensitive topic so let’s see what horse enthusiasts behind the cellular phones, tablets, and laptops screens want to know and what we have to say about it. Do you want to Read either horse can drink saltwater or not?

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can horses drink Pepsi?

No, it’s a carbonated drink, it should never be fed, even in moderation. As the horses can not burp or vomit so the soda drinks are the ideal option for horses. They have got the reputation of causing ulceration, intestine tears, colic, and weight gain. 

Can horses drink bottled water? 

They can drink bottled water but it should be avoided. Bottled water can never be as healthy as freshwater is, even if it’s filtered. 

Can horses drink well water? 

Horses can consume water coming from any source if it’s fresh. They need 5 to 10 gallons of “fresh” water every day to live a balanced life. So, if the well is serving freshwater, there is no harm. 

Is coke good for horses? 

It’s a soda drink that contains a lot of sugar. How can it be good for horses or even humans? The high sugar content can cause laminitis. Diet Coke is a little less harmful but the regular coke is just a slow poison. 

Why do horses refuse to drink dirty water? 

This is quite true, the horses normally refuse to drink dirty as they are blessed with strong senses. They would keep on refusing to drink dirty water to the point they would get dehydrated.

How many liters of fresh water are needed by the horses to stay hydrated? 

The well-grown horses need 20 to 25 liters of fresh water every day to stay sane and well hydrated. 

How can I make my horse drink enough water? 

If the horse is refusing to drink, make sure the water is fresh, flavor it up with apple or cranberries juice, and allow your horse to lick some salt to induce the need. 


Several drinks that were specifically made to serve humans have been feeding to horses for years. Coffee, whiskey, Gatorade, milk, mosquito larvae, electrolytes, sweet tea, and soda have been consumed by the horses but electrolytes are only safe for them to consume. Soda drinks, caffeine, and dairy products are extremely harmful to horses.

The other above-mentioned drink can be fed in moderation. Above all, water is an absolute necessity, a fully grown horse needs 5 to 10 gallons or 20 to 25 litres of water every day to stay hydrated.

It’s important to fulfil the daily need as dehydration leads to dullness, lethargy, dry skin, dry mouth, sunken eyes, drawn-up flakes, and excessive thick saliva. One can easily encourage a denying horse to drink more water by warming up a little or adding flavour. 

Lastly, we hope this article helps you with whatever reason you are reading this on. It would be an honor if this article has enlightened you.

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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