Despite the summer months typically being more conducive to equine dehydration it is a lesser known fact that actually the winter time can cause our equines to suffer from dehydration too, as the horse’s thirst mechanism does not always function as efficiently and frozen water troughs cause havoc.
Water is lost from the horse’s body daily, through their waste products, the moisture in their breath and more obviously from sweating if the equine is working hard or their thick winter coat has not been clipped. If this lost water is not replenished this can cause dehydration affecting the functioning of variety of different roles in the body and delivery mechanisms including transporting vitamins and nutrients to cells, flushing out toxins, regulating body temperature and metabolising and digesting food.
Most horses require a minimum of 10-12 gallons of water per day to meet their physiological needs and horse owners should always ensure during winter time that equine’s have access to clean, fresh water and that in freezing conditions the ice on the water is broken and removed at least twice daily.
Horses may consume less water during winter for many reasons such as; consuming less food in general, reducing the amount of water required for digestion, disliking excessively cold water, the water buckets or tanks becoming frozen, and ingestion of less grazing. Grass is rich in water, containing up to 80% moisture, whereas hay can be as low as just 10%. When our equine’s stabled time increases and hay becomes the main food source why not soak hay with The Soaker, providing 1-2 gallons of water per soaked flake?
Top Tips for Avoiding Equine Dehydration in winter
Monitor the amount of water your horse consumes by providing ample buckets of water in the stable and assess how much they consume on a regular basis.
Studies have shown that warming the water provided to your horse in freezing temperatures can encourage equines to drink up to 40% more, so why not try adding warm water to your equine’s drinking water?
Soak your hay in The Soaker. Hay is significantly drier than grass, which is somewhat lacking at this time of year, but you can considerably increase the water content of the equine diet and prevent dehydration with The Soaker offering 1-2 gallons of water per soaked flake!
Increasing salt intake can also stimulate a horse to drink more so offer a free choice salt block in the stall or field for your equine. Always ensure ample water is available when supplying salt in the diet.
Always cool your horse off sufficiently after exercise and use a warm, moisture wicking rug over the large muscle mass of the hindquarters and if your equine is in regular work it may be beneficial to have him clipped when he grows a hairy coat to reduce the amount he sweats.
For more information about dehydration and the other health benefits The Soaker can provide visit the website www.healyourhay.com