Gracie and Tux got themselves a brand new salt block. Just like us humans it is important for horses to have salt in their diet. But just how important is it you ask? Well we did a little research for you and found five important facts that you may or may not know about salt and your horses. We hope you find it helpful. If you want to learn more about your horse’s nutrition check out Understanding Horse Nutrition.
5 Important Facts About Salt & Horses
- Horses need about about 1-2 ounces of salt per day. However, that needs to double in hot and humid weather or when you are working them hard. The more they sweat the more the salt is leaving their body.
- A plain white salt block will suffice. You may want to consider adding a mineral salt block if you aren’t giving your horses a vitamin/mineral supplement. If you give a mineral salt block make sure you also provide a plain white salt block as well because sometimes the bitter taste of the minerals discourages your horses from licking it. Sometimes horses will develop sores on their tongues from licking the salt blocks. This will cause them to stop licking the salt. You can always add loose salt to their hay or feed.
- As your horses takes in more salt their water intake also increases which will result in a decrease risk for colic.
- Sodium is the main electrolyte found in the blood and the fluid surrounding cells. If sodium levels are low, the blood won’t hold enough water. This tells the kidneys not to let any sodium leave the body. When the kidneys hold on to sodium, they excrete potassium in its place, creating an imbalance. Imbalances can cause conditions such as tying up, rapid heart rate, founder, laminitis, allergies, cushings, hypothyroidism, lameness, or joint problems.
- If your horses shows the following behaviors it might mean they have a lack of sodium in their diet; chewing on rails, licking your hand, loss of appetite, having absolutely ‘no go’, excessive yawning, sweating with little exertion, wobbly especially in the hind-quaters, difficulty backing up, or difficulty walking downhill.