Can Horses Really Drink Beer? The Surprising Truth!

February 15, 2023
can horses drink beer

Do horses really like beer? Can they even drink it? We’ve all heard the stories about owners giving their horses a sip of beer or some other alcoholic beverage, but is this actually safe for our four-legged friends? The answer may surprise you. Yes, horses drink beer – but should they? Explore the health risks that are associated with feeding your horse alcohol and if there are any alternatives to offering them a brew.

Feeding Beer to Horses

Feeding beer to horses is a practice that has been around for centuries, but it’s not recommended, although I’ve owned more than a few horses that not only liked beer, but even liked the smell of it on someone’s breath.  Having admitted to that, beer can be dangerous for horses and should be avoided.

Beer contains alcohol which can have an intoxicating effect on animals, including horses. Even small amounts of alcohol can cause serious health problems in horses such as depression, dehydration, colic, and even death if consumed in large enough quantities. Horses are also sensitive to the hops found in beer which can cause digestive upset or even laminitis (inflammation of the hoof).

can horses drink beer

Horses are very curious creatures by nature and may try to sample any food or drink offered to them. If you do offer your horse something like beer make sure it is done so with caution and supervision. I know you beer drinkers out there aren’t going to leave your horse alone with your beverages in case they drink all your beer.

It’s important to remember that there are many alternatives available when looking for treats for your horse that don’t involve feeding them beer or other forms of alcohol. Carrots, apples, hay cubes, sugar cubes – these are all great options. You could also look into purchasing specially made treats specifically designed for horses from pet stores or online retailers like Amazon or Chewy.

If you suspect your horse has ingested too much alcohol then contact your veterinarian immediately as this could lead to severe medical complications such as organ failure and death if left untreated quickly enough. Some signs of intoxication include staggering gait/movement; disorientation; excessive salivation; dilated pupils; increased heart rate; difficulty breathing; muscle tremors/twitching; decreased coordination/reflexes; confusion/agitation/restlessness etc

In conclusion, while some people may think feeding their horse beer is funny or harmless, it can actually be dangerous and should be avoided. There are plenty of safe alternatives out there when looking for treats so always opt for those instead whenever possible.

Feeding beer to horses is not recommended, as it can lead to health risks such as dehydration, colic, and intoxication. As a result, it’s important to understand the potential dangers of feeding beer to horses before doing so. Now let’s take a closer look at the specific health risks associated with this practice.

Key Takeaway: Feeding beer to horses is not recommended as it can cause serious health problems, such as depression, dehydration, colic and even death. Always opt for safe alternatives like carrots, apples or hay cubes when looking for treats.

Health Risks of Feeding Beer to Horses

Alcohol can be toxic and even fatal for horses, so it’s important to understand the health risks associated with giving them beer.

Horses are sensitive animals and their digestive systems are not designed to process alcohol. Even small amounts of beer can cause dehydration, colic, laminitis, liver damage, and other serious health issues in horses. The effects of alcohol on horses depend on several factors such as age, size, weight, breed type and overall health condition.

Dehydration is one of the most common side effects from feeding beer to horses. Alcohol acts as a diuretic which means that it increases urination in both humans and animals alike; this leads to dehydration since more water is being lost than consumed by the horse. Dehydration can lead to further complications such as kidney failure or even death if left untreated for too long.

Colic is another potential risk when feeding beer to horses due to its effect on digestion; alcohol slows down the digestive process, which can lead to abdominal pain or discomfort in some cases. This can manifest as colic symptoms such as rolling around or pawing at the ground restlessly while trying find relief from gas buildup within the intestines caused by an inability digest food properly due ingestion of alcoholic beverages like beer.

can horses drink beer

Laminitis is another serious issue that may arise when feeding your horse beer; laminitis occurs when inflammation develops within the hoof tissue, causing extreme pain for your horse and leading to lameness if left untreated for too long. Signs of this condition include swelling around the fetlock joint area (ankle), heat radiating off the affected area, and difficulty walking normally after ingesting any amount of alcoholic beverage including beers with higher levels of ethanol content than those commonly found in stores.

Finally, liver damage should also be considered when thinking about giving your horse a sip of suds. Excessive consumption over prolonged periods could potentially lead to irreversible organ damage which would then require specialized treatment depending on the severity of the situation presented. It is necessary to take the necessary steps needed to help restore normal functioning back again before anything else happens.

Feeding beer to horses can have serious health risks, including intoxication and digestive issues. However, there are other ways to give your horse a treat that won’t put their health at risk; let’s explore some of those alternatives now.

Key Takeaway: Feeding beer to horses can be dangerous and cause health issues such as dehydration, colic, laminitis, and liver damage. It is important to keep this in mind when considering giving your horse a sip of suds.

horse drinking beer

Alternatives to Feeding Beer to Horses

Beer has long been a popular treat for horses, but it’s important to remember that alcohol can be toxic to animals. While some horse owners may think that giving their equine friend the occasional beer is harmless, it’s best to avoid this practice altogether. If you want to give your horse a special treat, there are plenty of healthier alternatives that won’t put them at risk.

Carrots and apples are two classic favorites among horses. Not only do they provide essential vitamins and minerals, but they also taste great. You can even get creative with these treats by cutting them into fun shapes or adding peanut butter or molasses as an extra-special topping. Hay cubes are another excellent option – not only do they contain all the nutrients your horse needs in one convenient package, but they also make for a delicious snack.

If you’re looking for something different than carrots and apples, try feeding your horse fresh vegetables like celery or bell peppers instead. Just be sure to cut them up into small pieces so your horse doesn’t choke on them. Another tasty option is oats – either plain or mixed with other grains like barley or wheat bran – which offer both nutrition and flavor in one easy-to-feed package.

Finally, if you really want to spoil your four-legged companion without putting their health at risk, consider buying specially formulated treats made just for horses from pet stores or online retailers. These products usually come in several flavors such as apple cinnamon and banana nut so you can find something every equine will love.

No matter what type of treat you choose for your beloved steed, always keep safety top of mind when selecting snacks for him/her – never feed anything containing sugar (including beer) since too much sugar can cause serious health problems down the line. With these tips in mind plus some creativity on your part, finding healthy alternatives to beer should be no problem at all.

Rather than feeding beer to horses, there are other alternatives without the risk of alcohol poisoning. Next, we will look at some of the signs and symptoms of alcohol poisoning in horses.

Key Takeaway: When looking for a special treat for your horse, it’s best to avoid beer as alcohol can be toxic. Healthy alternatives include carrots and apples, hay cubes, fresh vegetables, oats and specially formulated treats made just for horses.

Signs of Alcohol Poisoning in Horses

Alcohol poisoning in horses is a serious issue that should not be taken lightly. If you suspect your horse has been fed beer or any other type of alcohol, it’s important to look out for signs of intoxication.

The most common symptoms of alcohol poisoning in horses include lethargy, disorientation, excessive sweating or drooling, and difficulty breathing. Lethargy can range from mild drowsiness to complete unconsciousness depending on the amount ingested. Disorientation may manifest as confusion or stumbling when walking and an inability to focus on tasks such as grooming or riding. Excessive sweating and drooling are also telltale signs that something is wrong with your horse’s health. Lastly, if your horse is having difficulty breathing this could indicate a more severe case of alcohol poisoning due to its effect on the respiratory system.

health risk of horse

If you notice any of these symptoms seek veterinary help immediately as they will be able to provide treatment options based on the severity of the situation. Treatment may involve administering fluids intravenously along with medications designed to reduce nausea and vomiting while helping stabilize vital organs such as the liver and kidneys which can become damaged due to long-term exposure to toxins like alcohol. In extreme cases where death appears imminent euthanasia may need to be considered so that further suffering can be avoided.

It is important for all horse owners and riders to understand how dangerous it can be to feed beer or any other type of alcoholic beverage to their equine companions; even small amounts can have disastrous consequences if left unchecked. Make sure you always keep an eye out for signs that something might not be quite right with your beloved four-legged friend so that swift action can be taken before it is too late.

Key Takeaway: Alcohol poisoning in horses is a serious issue that can cause symptoms such as lethargy, disorientation, excessive sweating or drooling, and difficulty breathing. If you suspect your horse has been fed beer or any other type of alcohol seek veterinary help immediately and be aware of the dangers associated with feeding alcoholic beverages to horses.

FAQs in Relation to Can Horses Drink Beer

What kind of beer can horses drink?

Horses can drink beer, but it is not recommended. Beer contains alcohol and sugar which can be dangerous for horses if consumed in large amounts. Alcohol can cause dehydration, colic, and other health issues in horses. Sugar can lead to laminitis or founder which is an inflammation of the sensitive tissue within the hoof wall that supports the bones of the lower leg. It is best to provide your horse with fresh water instead of beer as a safe alternative.

Why would you give beer to a horse?

Beer is not a recommended beverage for horses. While it may seem like an amusing idea to give beer to a horse, the alcohol content can be harmful and even fatal if consumed in large amounts. Alcohol affects horses differently than humans, and can cause dehydration, digestive issues, and behavioral changes. Additionally, the carbonation of beer could lead to colic or other health problems due to bloating or gas buildup in the horse’s stomach. Therefore it is best to avoid giving any type of alcoholic beverage to your horse.

beer glass

How much beer can you give a horse?

Alcohol can have a toxic effect on the horse’s digestive system, as well as its central nervous system. Ingesting alcohol can cause dehydration, colic, and even death in some cases. Furthermore, it is illegal in many places to give alcohol to animals. Therefore, it is best for owners and riders of horses to avoid giving their equine companions any type of alcoholic beverage.


It is clear that the answer to the question “can horses drink beer” is a resounding no. Feeding beer to horses can be dangerous and even fatal, so it’s best avoided altogether. If you are looking for an alternative treat for your horse, consider offering them fresh fruits or vegetables as snacks instead. Remember that any treats should only make up a small portion of their daily diet, and always consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to their nutrition plan.


I'm Bo, the owner of Smarter Horse. Helping horses be smarter by educating their people.  To find out more about me, click here

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