The best way to combat horse dehydration is to increase equine water consumption.
During hot, humid weather, your horse may not drink enough water to prevent dehydration. Hard work in hot, humid conditions will lead to fluid loss, but even an idle horse in a hot, unventilated stall is at risk.
Here’s how to drive your horse to drink.
1. Make sure he has enough water. An idle horse needs a minimum of ten gallons of water a day and an active horse may need up to 25 gallons.
2. Be sure your horse’s water is clean and easy to access. Leaves, bugs and slime won’t encourage your horse.
3. Soak his hay before feeding. One wet-down flake of hay can absorb 1-2 gallons of water. Well-soaked hay can make a real impact on his fluid consumption.
4. Offer fresh grass, watery bran mash and moisture rich treats such as carrots, apples or watermelon. Juicy and delicious!
5. Allow your horse access to a clean salt block. A bit of natural salt will increase equine water consumption.
6. Combine 1 teaspoon salt with 2 tablespoons of applesauce. Put it in a syringe or deworming tube and shoot it in his mouth. This salty-sweet combo will stimulate thirst.
7. Try squirting 1 tablespoon of corn syrup into his mouth. It will coat his tongue and compel her to drink.
8. If his water is very cold, try adding some warm water to the bucket.
9. Some horses don’t like “different” water. If you’re going on the road with your horse, try to add a little apple juice, sugar beet water or apple cider vinegar to the water a few days prior to travel. When you add it to the “new” water at your destination, it may help to disguise the flavor.
10. Exercise! A 15-minute walk or a light ride will stimulate thirst. Check with your vet before exercising if he is recovering from horse dehydration.
Moderate dehydration can be reversed by allowing the horse unlimited access to water and electrolyte supplementation.
Severe and dangerous dehydration can best be reversed by giving electrolyte fluid intravenously. Contact your vet if your horse is severely dehydrated.