can horses eat celery

Can Horses Eat Celery

Latest posts by Denine Walters (see all)

Horses don’t just eat hay, feed, or graze. You can feed your equine friend a variety of human foods to help ensure their diet is balanced. Plus, these human foods make great treats when you are training your horse or want to spoil them a little. So what about green, fibrous stalks with leaves? Can horses eat celery? 

I don’t walk around munching on celery, so it isn’t like my horse, Moonshine can try to sneak in a bite. But I am trying out different treats to see what Moonshine likes, and next on my list was celery. My horse isn’t really into the celery stalk, and she’d much rather enjoy the leaves.

But just how safe is celery for horses? 

The Answer: Should You Feed Celery to Your Horse? 

You can feed celery to your horse to ensure they enjoy a varied and balanced diet. Celery should be an occasional treat, and the vegetable helps hydrate your horse, boost immunity, reduce inflammation, and improve digestion. Because celery is low in calories and sugar, it’s an excellent treat for horses that have metabolic issues or are obese. 

While celery is safe for most horses, do not feed celery to horses that are allergic to the veggie, have kidney and liver issues, or have hyperkalemic periodic paralysis. 

Horses Eating Celery: Safe or Toxic? 

Horses are herbivores who enjoy hay, grass, fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, and seeds. While not all types of human foods are safe for horses, celery is. When you feed your horse some celery, you’ll realize how much they love the crunchy texture, though not all horses are a fan of the flavor (like my Moonshine). 

Celery is safe for your horse, and that’s great because it is a vegetable that your local grocer stocks all year, so you don’t need to worry about seasonality. 

It is essential to feed celery in moderation or as a treat. 

Types and Forms of Celery for Horses 

horses eating celery
Image by Denine Walters

While celery is safe for horses, you may wonder if I am talking about the leaves, the stalk, or the roots? And what about other forms of celery; would those be safe for your equine bestie? 

Here’s a cheat sheet so you know what’s safe when feeding celery to your horse and what to stay away from: 

Feed Your Horses These Celery Types  Don’t Feed Your Horse These Celery Types 
  • All types of celery, including wild celery, pink celery, and white celery 
  • Fresh celery stalks 
  • Celery leaves 
  • Celery seeds (in a warming tonic to help with lameness) 
  • Pureed celery 
  • Celeriac (celery root) (wash off the soil)
  • Dehydrated celery 
  • Sweet celery soup (horse celery soup) with celery stalks, carrots, molasses, water, and bran 
  • Bran mash with celery 
  • Baked celery treats with horse-approved ingredients 
  • Hanging donut celery popsicle 
  • Frozen celery (unless you let it thaw, but it won’t be crisp or as flavorful) 
  • Moldy or rotten celery (which will upset their gut)

Benefits of Eating Celery for Horses 

There are a lot of benefits to feeding celery to your horse. 

Here’s the nutritional profile for one cup of chopped fresh celery stalks (though you wouldn’t give that to your horse in one sitting): 

Calories: 14.1 Phosphorus: 24.2 mg 
Protein: 0.697 g  Potassium: 263 mg 
Carbohydrates: 3 Vitamin C: 3.13 mg 
Dietary Fiber: 1.62 g Folate (vitamin B9): 36.4 µg
Water: 96.4 g  Vitamin A: 22.2 IU 
Calcium: 40.4 mg  Sodium: 80.8 mg
Vitamin K: 29.6 µg Magnesium: 11.1 mg 

Other minerals, vitamins, and phytochemicals in celery to note are: 

  • Zinc 
  • Copper
  • Manganese 
  • Selenium 
  • Fluoride 
  • Choline 
  • Beta-carotene 
  • Lutein and zeaxanthin 
  • Iron 
  • Antioxidants, such as caffeic acid, ferulic acid, luteolin, tannin, and p-coumaric acid 

Here are the main benefits when your horses regularly eat celery (in moderation, of course): 

Good for Hydration 

Growing Celery

Celery has a high water content (roughly 95%), which helps hydrate your horse a little when they are dehydrated or when you need to up their water intake. 

Making sweet celery soup is a good idea to get your horse to drink more. Or, you can puree celery, add it to their feed, or add water to entice your horse to drink the celery-flavored water. 

Low in Sugar 

Celery is very low in calories, so you don’t need to worry about the sugar content in this veggie. This makes celery an ideal treat or feed addition for horses that are diabetic or suffer from insulin resistance, laminitis, and metabolic syndrome. 

If you need to ensure your overweight horse doesn’t gain more pounds, it’s good to know that celery is an excellent option. 

Help Fight Oxidative Stress 

Celery is an antioxidant powerhouse because there are a minimum of 14 antioxidants, such as vitamin C and beta-carotene, in a single stalk. That’s excellent news for your horse because these nutrients help prevent oxidative stress and boost your horse’s immune system. 

Reduces Inflammation 

If your horse suffers from chronic inflammation and health conditions such as arthritis, celery (and especially celery seeds) can help reduce that inflammation.

There are about 25 anti-inflammatory compounds in celery stalks, leaves, and seeds that help the horse’s body reduce its inflammatory responses. 

Help With Digestion 

Since celery is high in fiber, it can also help your equine friend’s digestive system work more optimally. After all, horses eat a high-fiber diet because fiber is essential to help their digestive tract work smoothly and prevent colic and other digestive issues.

Risks of Feeding Celery to Horses 


There are always risks when you feed your horse, and it’s the same when you include celery in their diet or as a treat. 

Here are the main risks you should be aware of when feeding celery to your horse: 

The Risk of Choke 

Celery stalks are fibrous and stringy, so there’s a chance that your horse could choke if they try to gobble up a whole celery stalk or even still chew a stalk while attempting to eat another. 

How to Prevent Choke? 

Prevent your horse from choking by cutting the celery stalks (and roots) into bite-size pieces of roughly two inches. Or, if you have a longer stalk, hold on tightly so your horse can bite off a piece. 

The Risk of Colic or Digestive Upset 

When you feed celery in excess, there is the risk that your horse will colic or suffer digestive upset, like diarrhea. 

A horse’s digestive system is sensitive, and it’s crucial not to upset the delicate balance of the microorganisms that help ensure their gastrointestinal system works optimally. 

How to Prevent Colic and Digestive Upset? 

Feed your horse celery in moderation or now and again as a treat. 

Plus, carefully wash the celery root, stalk, and leaves to remove pesticides and other toxins that can cause gastrointestinal upset. 

The Risk of an Allergic Reaction 

Allergies aren’t just for us humans. Your horse can be allergic to celery, so watch out for signs of hives, swelling, red and puffy eyes, and difficulty breathing. 

How to Prevent an Allergic Reaction? 

That’s easier said than done because you may not know your horse is allergic to a kind of food. So my advice is to carefully watch your horse and call the vet if your horse shows signs of an allergic reaction. 

How Much Celery Should a Horse Eat? And How Often? 

horses eating celery
Image by Denine Walters

Give your horse a medium-sized celery stalk (and the leaves) as a snack, or add it to their breakfast, lunch, or dinner feed. Remember to cut the stalk into bite sizes. If you have some celeriac, you can cut the bulbous vegetable into two-inch cubes and feed your horse a handful. 

Be sure to alternate treats to keep your horse interested, so they don’t get used to one type of food. So giving your horse celery twice or thrice a week is best. 

When Should Horses Not Eat Celery? 

Don’t feed celery stalks, leaves, or celeriac to horses that: 

  • Are allergic to celery 
  • Are under the age of six months 
  • Are sick (unless recommended to do so by your vet)
  • Are in-foal 
  • Are lactating 
  • Have dental issues 
  • Have hyperkalemic periodic paralysis (HYPP) 
  • Have kidney and liver issues


Question: Can horses eat celery sticks? 

Answer: Horses can eat celery sticks because these sticks are chopped-up celery stalks. Be sure to only feed your horse three to five celery sticks at a time as a snack, and alternate with other treats when your equine friend eats celery. 

Question: What are alternative treats if my horse doesn’t like celery? 

Answer: If your horse doesn’t like celery, you can feed them parsnips, carrots, cucumber, strawberries, berries, pumpkin, melons, beets, snow peas, apples, grapes (and raisins), pecan nuts (without the shell), popcorn, and various seeds (linseed, sunflower, chia, and hemp). 

Question: What foods are not safe to feed your horse? 

Answer: Don’t feed your horse anything that contains caffeine; nightshade vegetables like tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, okra, sorrel, and gooseberries; cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage; avocados; bread; and dairy products. 


It’s important to know what’s safe for your horse and what’s toxic. Most horses can safely enjoy celeriac, celery stalks, and leaves. 

Moonshine doesn’t like celery stalks, but she’s fond of the leaves. I have managed to get her to enjoy sweet celery soup and celery popsicles when it’s hot, and I love to keep things interesting for her by ensuring she eats a variety of treats. 

Wondering what else your horse can safely enjoy? Here’s a detailed guide on the best horse treats

And if you like strawberries, your horse probably will too. So read up on the best ways to feed strawberries to your trusty steed

• Can Horses Eat Bananas

• How Much Does a Horse Eat in a Day

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