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Electrolytes for Horses

Electrolytes for Horses
Category: Horse Talk Knowledge Base
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Horses that are not currently competing or engaged in difficult work will have less of a need for electrolyte supplementation than competitive horses and work horses.

A sustained lack of electrolytes can cause problems with your horse's performance and health.

If your horse seems unusually tired or their physical work has suffered recently, an electrolyte imbalance is one of many possible explanations. Some horse owners may wonder about giving their horses electrolyte supplements in general. As a basic guideline, whether or not you should give your horse any electrolytes usually depends on their lifestyle or schedule.

Electrolytes for Horses
Electrolytes for Horses

Many horse owners will have heard about the need for people to consume extra electrolytes if they're engaging in any strenuous activities, and horse owners should know that the situation for horses is similar. Just as humans rarely need electrolyte-rich sports drinks just to get through their normal daily routines, horses shouldn't usually need electrolytes during periods of minimal or light exertion. If you live in areas prone to very hot weather, you should be somewhat more mindful of your horse's electrolyte intake. Horses are particularly prone to losing sodium and chloride as a result of sweating during periods of physical exertion or overheating.

Any horse owners that are worried about their horses' electrolyte consumption can consult with their veterinarians. In addition to helping treat or rule out any medical conditions caused by electrolyte imbalances, your veterinarian can help you determine the types and quantities of electrolytes that your horse may need. The side-effects of giving your horse an excess of almost any nutrient can be somewhat difficult to predict. However, severe electrolyte deficiencies can be serious, so maintaining a balance is important.

Horses will often get most of the electrolytes that they need on a normal day through their diets. Grasses, forages, most commercial feeds, and hay all contain electrolytes. One of the benefits of salt blocks is that they will allow your horse to quickly and easily take in some additional electrolytes in a form that your horse may enjoy. There are many different ways to get your horse to consume more electrolytes. There are various pastes and powders that have been formulated to quickly give horses a good supply of all the electrolytes that they need. At that point, giving your horse electrolytes is usually a matter of adding a dose of the formulated powder or paste to your horse's feed or water. Your horse may be more likely to take the electrolyte paste or powder with food than with water, because the paste or powder will be easier to taste in water. You may need to experiment slightly in order to find a flavor combination that works for your horse, since it is important that he or she is able to consume the electrolytes at the right time.

Most electrolyte-rich pastes or powders that you buy will have a recommended dosage attached.

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