July 26, 2021

So what's the story with liquorice?

So what's the story with liquorice?
Dr. Chris Brown

After seeing ‘Tobruk’, the horse caught up in Sydney’s lockdown protests receiving gifts that included liquorice, so many of you wanted to know if they actually like it? And what about pets? Here’s the surprising truth on licorice…

It turns out horses don’t like liquorice. They adore it. In fact, in a paddock, they’ll often seek out the liquorice plant, Helichrysum petiolare, to eat the stems. It’s thought that aside from the naturally sweet taste, they may perceive some calming, anti-inflammatory or even anti-ulcer effects on the digestive system. Stomach ulcers are a surprisingly common issue for horses.

So then when this flavour is combined with molasses (another popular treat for horses) in the form of sweet liquorice, it’s no wonder that horses go crazy for it. They like the flavour and like a lot of animals seem be able to, may perceive some health benefits in their diet. But the key is moderation. Especially the sweetened form. Just a small treat.

So what about pets? Well, brace yourself. Both dogs and cats generally like the taste as well. And there are reported natural anti-inflammatory effects and stomach calming properties from eating the root. It’s recommended to only give them access to small amounts as a glycoside in the liquorice (not to mention the sugar in the manufactured kind) can be toxic in large amounts.

So there you have it. While you don’t need to make it part of their life, it is certainly an interesting quirk of their taste-buds. Yes, there are ALL-SORTS of surprises with liquorice 😬
I’m sorry that was there for the taking…

Pics: @eddiepickles

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