Three Tips to Get Your Horse to Drink More Water During Winter
- 1. Turn Up the Heat
During the winter, horses have a natural tendency to drink less water in colder temperatures, so you need to be diligent with providing fresh, clean water at the right temperature.
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine found during cold weather that horses drank almost 40 percent more water per day if they were given warm (45°F to 65°F) water instead of ice-cold water. Interestingly, when horses were given a choice between warm and ice water at the same time, they almost exclusively chose the ice water and drank less volume. Keep your water warm and your horse will drink more; it’s that simple.
- 2. Use Electrolytes and Supplements
According to Lydia Gray, DVM and staff veterinarian at SmartPak, top-dressing your horse’s feed with electrolytes and offering loose salt will help encourage more water consumption. A note of caution about electrolytes: Without adequate water consumption, further dehydration can occur. Adult horses need 1 to 2 ounces of salt daily. Loose salt is preferred over frozen salt blocks during the winter.
- 3. Keep Your Water Clean
Life gets hectic and sometimes cleaning out troughs or buckets is low on the list of priorities, but it is a necessary chore. Small bits of hay, feed or even manure in a bucket or trough is not appealing to any horse. Troughs are notorious for algae growth and leaf/debris decomposition, making the water taste bad. Automatic waterers reduce this chore significantly, but they will still need regular cleaning.
Learn more about Ritchie Industries Automatic Waterers and how they can help you manage your horse’s hydration by visiting classicequinebyritchie.com.