Horses can choke on chunks of vegetables like carrot or sweet potato.

To be clear - when horses suffer choke - it does not mean the food goes down the wrong pipe. It means the food is lodged in the oesophagus and will not shift. This can press on the windpipe if severe enough, but usually what will happen if the horse cannot resolve the choke, the horse will be unable to eat or drink and will die of dehydration. Saliva may also slip into the trachea and cause pneumonia.

How should vegetables and fruit be cut up in a way to minimise the risk of choking in horses?

Related: What treats are safe for horses?

1 Answer 1


Another try...

I searched for sources for avoiding choking of gullet of horses. In Germany there is a central organisation called "FN" for all activities one could do with horses.

Their homepage about feeding and feeding errors show this (via Google translator)

pharyngeal blockages


Throat blockages are caused by feeding swellable, but not soaked feed (e.g. beet pulp), hasty swallowing of the crib feed (insufficient salivation), pieces of fruit and vegetables that are not chewed. Therefore: Any feed that continues to swell when hydrated must be soaked before feeding! First feed hay, then feed oats! Hay or straw chopped into the crib feed slows down the feeding speed and ensures more thorough chewing. Do not cut fruit and vegetables into small pieces before feeding!

I guess sweet potatoes are near beets fruits, so maybe the swell-ability played a role at your experience.

Like you could read: they guess to NOT cut fruits and vegetable into any pieces.

  • This may give better advice - I don't know if you want to include this in your answer. equusmagazine.com/diseases/choke-risk Break down hard treats, such as apples and carrots, into pieces no larger than your thumb
    – user6796
    Commented Jan 28, 2020 at 21:51
  • @YvetteHorsewoman it is funny for me because I do not understand. Did you change you mind because of the sources or did not we understand us in my first answer? There I wrote: cut them very small or let them in whole and let the horse bite the right amount of it... Commented Jan 29, 2020 at 6:45
  • I literally wanted a size of safety to cut them up. For example - if they are cut into the wrong size - they may be just big enough to get stuck if not swallowed - what is that size.
    – user6796
    Commented Jan 29, 2020 at 8:06
  • I have no source for it. But I would cut them in size like a candy. Thumb size seems for my feeling big. I would cut the "thumb" in half. But without source... Commented Jan 29, 2020 at 8:49
  • I agree re the thumb - I'm a woman and my fingers are fairly slim, so a thumb size would not be so bad. I think carrot sticks - like for dip is good . You didn't need to delete the other answer. You could have left it and edited it. I would have reversed the downvote - for future reference.
    – user6796
    Commented Jan 29, 2020 at 10:24

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