Can Horses Eat Zucchini and Its Leaves?

Can Horses Eat Zucchini

Equines are herbivorous animals, meaning they primarily consume plants as their source of nutrition. While they are known to eat a variety of different types of vegetation, such as grasses, hay, and grains, the question of whether or not horses can eat zucchini is not a straightforward one. So, can horses eat zucchini?

Horses can safely eat zucchini. It is a good source of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, such as Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and potassium. However, zucchini should not be fed to horses in large quantities as it is not a natural food source for them. 

Let’s check all the pros and cons of feeding zucchini and its leaves.

Feeding Horses with Zucchini – What You Need to Know

Zucchini, or courgette, is a kind of summer squash that is a popular food choice for humans. When it comes to feeding horses, it is vital to consider whether or not this plant is safe for them to consume. 

In general, horses can eat small amounts of zucchini as a treat or supplement to their regular diet. But you should always control the amount consumed, don’t give a whole zucchini. Note that zucchini, like other fruits and vegetables, contains a high amount of water, which can cause colic if fed too much.

two zucchini on white table

First Time Feeding Zucchini – Step-by-Step Guide

First, make sure that the zucchini is ripe, fresh, and free from any pesticides or chemical fertilizers. Wash the plant thoroughly to remove any dirt or debris. Once the zucchini is clean, it should be cut or grated into small pieces. This is important because horses have a tendency to choke on large chunks of food. Feed your horse with small pieces so it will be easier for them to consume.

The next step is to determine the appropriate amount of zucchini to feed the horse. Note that zucchini, like other fruits and vegetables, contains a high amount of water. In case of overfeeding, zucchini may cause colic and other digestive issues. As it’s just a treat, feed the equine with small amounts of zucchini. How much zucchini should you give? As a general rule, give no more than one cup of zucchini per day to an average-sized horse.

Consider the timing of when to feed the zucchini to the horse. The best time to feed zucchini is after the horse has been fed its regular diet. As it will help to keep the animal from getting too full.

When feeding the zucchini to the horse, monitor the horse’s behavior to ensure that it is eating it without any difficulty. If the horse seems to be having trouble eating the zucchini or appears uncomfortable in any way, it is best to stop feeding it. Consult with a trusted veterinarian or a qualified equine nutritionist regarding the most appropriate diet plan.

Whole zucchini on table

Cooked vs Raw Zucchini for Horses

Horses can eat both cooked and raw zucchini, but which option is best for them depends on the individual horse and its dietary needs.

Feeding raw zucchini to horses is considered to be safe and nutritious. Raw zucchini is an ace source of vitamins C and A, minerals, and potassium. It is also high in fiber to keep the horse’s digestive system healthy. However, raw zucchini should be washed and cut into small pieces to prevent choking.

Cooked zucchini for horses is also an option. But cooking can change the nutritional value of the zucchini and may make it less appealing for the horse to eat. Cooking can also cause a loss of some vitamins, especially vitamin C.

How to Cook Zucchini for Horses

To cook zucchini for horses, it is best to steam or bake it. Steaming is the best option as it will preserve most vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients in the zucchini. To steam zucchini, cut it into small pieces and place them in a steamer basket over boiling water. Cover and steam for about 5 to 10 minutes or until the zucchini is tender. Baking is also a nice option, but it can cause more loss of nutritional value. To bake the zucchini plant, cut it into small pieces, and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake this delicious treat in a preheated oven at 375°F for about 15-20 minutes or until tender.

horse is eating zucchini

The List of Beneficial Nutrients That Zucchini Contains

1. Vitamin C

One of the key nutrients found in zucchini is Vitamin C. It is a powerful antioxidant that protects the horse’s cells from damage caused by free radicals. It plays a crucial role in the production of collagen, which is important for the health of the horse’s skin, bones, and joints.

2. Vitamin A

Zucchini is also an ace source of Vitamin A. It is important for maintaining the health of the horse’s eyes, skin, and immune system. It also plays a role in the growth and development of cells. Vitamin A can help to keep the horse’s coat shiny and healthy.

3. Potassium

Another important nutrient found in zucchini is potassium. It is an essential mineral that plays a role in maintaining the horse’s fluid balance, heart function, and muscle health. Potassium also helps to regulate the horse’s blood pressure. It supports the health of the horse’s nerves and kidneys.

4. Fiber

Zucchini is also an ace source of dietary fiber. It is important for maintaining the health of the horse’s digestive system. It can prevent colic and other digestive problems. Fiber also helps to keep the equine feeling full, which can help prevent overeating.

5. Calcium

Calcium is an essential mineral that is critical for the health of the horse’s bones and teeth. It plays a key role in the formation and maintenance of strong and healthy bones. Calcium can help to prevent conditions such as osteoporosis. It is also important for the proper function of the horse’s muscles and nerves.

6. Iron

Iron plays a vital role in the production of hemoglobin, a common protein found in red blood cells. It is responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the horse body. It is also important for the equine’s immune system and the production of collagen. The last is essential for the health of the horse’s skin, bones, and joints.

7. Magnesium

Magnesium is another mineral that plays a crucial role in the health of the horse’s bones, muscles, and nerves. It also helps to regulate the horse’s heart rhythm and blood pressure.  Magnesium also supports the health of the horse’s immune system.

8. Phosphorus

Phosphorus is important for the health of the horse’s bones and teeth. It works together with calcium to form strong and healthy bones. It also plays a role in the horse’s energy metabolism and cell growth.

9. Vitamin K

Vitamin K is essential for proper blood clotting and helps to prevent excessive bleeding. It also supports the health of the horse’s bones and plays a role in preventing osteoporosis.

zucchini leaves

Can Horses Eat Zucchini Leaves?

Horses can technically eat zucchini leaves, but it is not necessary or recommended part of their diet. Zucchini leaves are not toxic to horses, but they are not a natural food source for them. Their nutritional value is low, unlike hay, grass, or grains which are the main staples of a horse’s diet.

While zucchini leaves can be fed to horses, they should be given in moderation. A large number of leaves may cause digestive upset or colic. If the zucchinis are grown with pesticides, the leaves may contain traces of these harmful substances, which could be dangerous to the horse if ingested.

When feeding zucchini leaves to most horses, it’s best to avoid wilted or yellow leaves. They may have lost some of their nutritional value and may be spoiled.

Can Horses Eat Zucchini Peel?

Horses can eat zucchini peel, but not as a main part of their diet. The peel of zucchini contains a high amount of fiber, which can be beneficial for the horse’s digestive system. It also contains Vitamin A, Vitamin C, potassium, and calcium. However, zucchini peel is tough and may be difficult for the horse to digest.

Zucchinis are often treated with pesticides and other chemicals, which can be harmful to the horse. When feeding your horse with zucchini peel, wash it thoroughly to remove any chemical residues. It’s best to avoid yellow peels, as they have no nutritional value.


Horses can eat zucchini as people do. But it can be fed as a little healthy treat like corn and served in small pieces. If you don’t know if you should give your horses zucchini, consult with a veterinarian beforehand.