Are My Wood Shavings Poisonous?

Guest post by Nordic Woodshavings

Are you in search of wood shavings for horses? Not sure about which shavings you should choose? Certain types of wood can be poisonous to horses and can often be the cause of a host of different health problems. Wood Shavings are made from all different types of wood, some are specifically produced for horses, whereas some are simply a by-product of other wood-crafting.

Horses can have sensitivity or allergic reactions to particular types of wood, that’s why it’s so important to know exactly what’s in your shavings. It could only take a few minutes of exposure for a horse to develop a reaction, and while they can vary, common reactions include hair loss, skin irritation and swollen legs. In more severe cases the reaction can even be fatal.

Below we have detailed a list of the best and worst types of wood to make shavings with. Make sure you’re not compromising your horse’s health with poor quality wood shavings.

Softwood – Commonly Pine, Fir, and other woods are used to make animal bedding. Typically softwood shavings are the cheapest and they’re often sufficiently fragrant to mask any un-wanted odours. However, in some cases, if Pine is too green, some sap may remain which can irritate the horses skin. Softwood Shavings are without a doubt the safest and most popular wood shavings available on the market.

Black Walnut – Walnut can be extremely toxic to horses and should never be used as horse bedding. Even short periods of exposure or contact can cause devastating results. Reactions to Black Walnut can include hair loss, fever, irregular pulse, skin irritation and in the most severe cases reactions can be fatal.

Sawdust – Sawdust can often be the only bedding product available, although we wouldn’t advise using it. Sawdust is made up of very fine wood particles, and the problem with this is that the finer the particles the more dust there will be. Dust should be kept to a minimum as it presents a health risk to both horses and humans alike. Ask your supplier about the dust content of your shavings.

Maple – Maple can be particularly toxic to horses, especially red maple, and to add to this, horses particularly enjoy the taste of maple leaves. Maple should NEVER be used for shavings, and what’s more maple trees should be trimmed so that the leaves are not accessible to horses, both on the tree and off. Fallen and Wilted Maple leaves are among the most toxic for horses, so make sure you clear up any fallen leaves to prevent problems.

Pellets – Wood Pellets are often a popular choice for when it comes to horse bedding, the kiln-dried chips often have higher absorbency levels and they’re also environmentally friendly. Wood Pellets will also typically compost much quicker than straw or wood shavings.

Cedar – Cedar wood is commonly used within shavings, however be aware that although cedar smells good it also has a high oil content which can irritate the lungs of your horse. Cedar Bedding should never be used for smaller pets such as guinea pigs, rabbits or hamsters, this is because the oil content is way too much for their small lungs.

The above list will help you to source only the highest quality non-toxic products. If you are still unsure about whether your Wood Shavings are suitable for your horse, or if you would like to find a supplier who only supplies the highest quality wood shavings, then why not contact Nordic WoodShavings?

Nordic Wood Shavings are a leading supplier of Wood Shavings in Sussex, and what’s more, Nordic WoodShavings source all of their products from PEFC/FSC certified Scandinavian forests. With over 15 years’ experience in the industry, you can be confident of Nordic WoodShavings knowledge when it comes to wood shavings for horses.


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