Just about every species of tree has the ability to be taken down to its finest component, sawdust, as well as the slightly larger option, shavings. Does that mean you can use any type of wood for horse shavings? Actually, no, it doesn’t, and some types could be quite dangerous to use. Toxicity should always be a concern when choosing shavings to use for horses. For the most part, companies won’t market shavings for horses if they know that they are not safe, but going with a budget-priced option may not be the best idea, as they may take fewer precautions. Knowing which species to avoid and the benefits of those remaining is necessary for the health of your horse.
These wood species are safe to use as horse shavings:
- Pine – This is the best wood to use for horse shavings, as long as you avoid green pine and the horse shavings are well dried, preferably kiln and air-dried, as well as screened to remove dust, which can cause or aggravate respiratory conditions.
- Douglas Fir- You and your horse will love the wonderful aroma of Douglas fir shavings. These shavings should also be kiln-dried and dust screened.
- Spruce- While somewhat harder to find than pine & fir tree shavings, spruce tree shavings are another viable option for your horse.
These wood species should be avoided in horse shavings:
- Cedar – When you think about wonderful scents in wood, cedar is likely to be the first that comes to mind. However, it can be irritating to some horses. As a side note, because it is so strong, you should never use it for smaller animals.
- Oak – Some studies that show that the use of oak shavings can lead to various health conditions, such as liver and kidney problems, so it should not be used for horse shavings.
- Cyprus – This should also be avoided, as it can cause swollen legs and skin irritations in some horses.
- Black Walnut – Absolutely never use this type of wood for horse shavings, as even a short exposure can have serious health consequences, including fever, irregular pulse, hair loss and laminitis, also known as founder.
- Maples – Although all maple is toxic to horses, the worst of the bunch is the red maple. The closest a horse should come to a red maple is the one on the Canadian flag.
- Black Cherry – This type of wood can cause reactions if your horse were to eat it, making it very dangerous.
In short, no hardwoods should ever be used for horses. Pine, Spruce, and Douglas Fir are the only species of shavings that are guaranteed safe for horses. Cedar can be used, but it is not recommended.
For the highest quality pine horse shavings available, contact us at Champion Shavings Corporation. We offer a variety of flake sizes, all of which are kiln and air-dried and 100% dust-screened. You can customize your order to any size you prefer. Call us today with any questions you may have about horse shavings.