Preventing Dehydration In Horses This Summer.
Dehydration in horses
Although British weather remains as unpredictable as ever, we can be sure that regardless of the sunshine or summer showers the temperatures are still likely to be relatively warm. It is more important than ever to pay attention to preventing dehydration in horses during the summer months. You can do your part by always ensuring clean water is readily available. You could also consider adding a little extra water to your horse’s feed throughout the warmer weather.
By the time horses are showing signs of dehydration, they are already at greater risk of more severe conditions such as tying up, cramps and colic. All with unpredictable outcomes and health implications which do not bear thinking about.
Be sure to take a moment to consider the environmental conditions even before you begin exercise. Even the least strenuous activities, such as a gentle hack or travelling short distances in a lorry or trailer during warmer weather will cause your horse to sweat; the moisture lost through simple activities means dehydration will occur more rapidly. It is also worth bearing in mind that horses who are carrying more than their ideal body weight will have additional layers of insulating fat beneath the skin meaning they are more likely to sweat with less exertion.
Preventing dehydration in horses doesn’t have to be a long task; it takes only a matter of moments for you to check in on your horse’s hydration levels by doing a simple skin pinch test. When you gently lift the skin between a finger and thumb near the point of the shoulder, it should snap back quickly. If it takes two to four seconds for the skin to lie flat again your horse is moderately dehydrated; however, if it takes longer than 4 seconds, immediate action is required to remedy the situation as this is a sure sign that your horse is severely dehydrated. Check other vital signs in conjunction with this simple check to ascertain your horse’s current condition. Other signs of dehydration include rapid breathing and a pulse rate above 70 beats per minute.
So how can we prevent dehydration in horses?
Although we should offer salt and mineral licks all year round, salt licks are essential during the summer months as excessive sweating over time is likely to lead to a salt imbalance. Himalayan Rock Salt is usually a firm favourite and tends to last better than blocks when exposed to the elements outdoors, why not try our Pink or Black Himalayan Salt licks?
Given situations where sweating is likely to occur, such as, competitions, travelling longer distances or a Great British heatwave, why not have a Equi-N-Ice Rapid Cooler Rug to hand? These work in reverse: once the coolant is applied to the rug, it will draw heat away from muscles and help to reduce sweating by rapid evaporation which in turn safely keeps the horse’s core temperature low.
After exercise, it is vital to ensure horses are given sufficient time to cool down and stretch.
Inevitably there will be moments where our horses sweat profusely, sometimes just due the excitement of being back out and about again. Keeping a tub of Pure Electrolytes to hand will mean you are always in a position to replace essential electrolytes lost through sweating. Pure Electrolytes have been specially formulated, so they are suitable for all horses, including those who suffer from laminitis.
Talking of which, Laminitis is next on our list of conditions within our control. Well, let’s be honest we have some degree of control here, though there will always be exceptions and situations we cannot predict.
Here at EcoGreen equestrian we take horse health very seriously, and do our best to help you take the best care of your animals.
If you are ever unsure of the condition of your horse, please do consult your vet for advice!