The digestive system of your horse is complex and requires careful attention to keep her as healthy as possible. While maintaining a low-sodium diet is important for humans, the same does not hold true for horses! In fact, one of the most important daily supplements to your horse’s diet is salt.
Providing daily access to salt in loose form rather than the traditional salt block is the preferred choice. Salt blocks were originally meant for the rougher tongues of cattle, making it easier for them to remove the salt. Because your horse has to work much harder to lick a salt block, especially in winter, she may irritate her tongue and may not get an adequate amount of salt.
Within a relatively short time, sodium deficiency in horses can result in dehydration, weight loss, a loss of muscle control or potentially fatal impaction colic. One early sign that increased salt intake could be required is your horse licking just about any object within reach in search of salt or dried sweat. Another could be decreased water intake.
The amount of water your horse drinks and the amount of salt she consumes goes hand-in-hand. An active horse needs to drink a lot of water, especially in warm weather. Consumption of loose salt will encourage your horse to drink more water, keeping her well hydrated, aiding in digestion and helping to prevent constipation.
Your horse instinctively knows she needs salt and will tend to eat more than necessary. This is not a concern as long as she has enough water to drink, as the excess salt will be disposed of in her urine.
The level of daily salt intake required by each individual horse varies considerably depending on many factors including:
- the quality of pasture available
- the time of year
- the horse’s activity level
- the amount of drinking water available
Your veterinarian and the knowledgeable staff at feed and tack stores can answer questions about the amount of loose salt and other supplements needed in your horse’s diet.
Call 705-878-1337 to contact the experienced team at Victoria Feeds – Horse & Hound in Lindsay or visit www.victoriafeeds-horseandhound.com for examples of supplies, information on shipping, store hours and directions.