Drink Up! Water Consumption in Horses

Written by Jennifer Roberts 

Summer is officially here, and riding season is in full swing. We all love spending in the barn, but as the mercury rises you should begin to monitor your horse’s water intake more than ever.

We are all aware that horses need water to survive, but the amount may surprise you. According to Helene McKernan, a research assistant at Penn State University, an average horse requires 5 to 10 gallons of water each day. This number rises, however, with the temperature and humidity.

During hot spells it is imperative that you provide your horses with plenty of clean and cool water. And yes, you read that correctly, McKernan noted that horses prefer cool water in the heat and warm water during the colder months, just like we do.

If you find that your horse is not drinking water in the heat, you need to act quickly. According to McKernan, “A horse deprived of water may only live up to 3 or 6 days. After lacking water intake for two days a horse may refuse to eat and exhibit signs of colic and other life-threatening ailments.”

To encourage your horse to drink, consider using a flavoring such as apple juice or sports drink (no artificial sugars please!), to entice your horse to drink the water. You may also want to consider adding electrolytes to your horse’s diet if they are sweating or have been in strenuous work.

On last thing to remember, as you monitor your horse’s water intake is proverbial “what goes in, must come out.” Eventually, the majority of the water your horse consumes will exit the body in the form of sweat and urine. Sweat is easy to handle, but urine requires additional considerations.

Urine in your horse’s stall, run-in shed and paddock creates ammonia. Ammonia is a health risk to your animals. The accumulation of ammonia in horse stalls, barns, and paddocks is more than an odor nuisance; studies have concluded that low levels of ammonia stress a horse’s upper respiratory airways placing them at risk of pneumonia, heaves, and other serious illnesses.

Using a stall refresher, such as Sweet PDZ, will absorb and neutralize ammonia and other odors while providing fresh and safe air for your horse in its stall. Stall refreshers are far superior to lime products in terms of ammonia and moisture reduction.

It’s summer time, and the livings easy, but don’t become lax about your horse’s water intake. While it may seem simple, the lack of water in your horse’s diet can have horrid consequences.

Sweet PDZ has been keeping stalls healthy for over 32 years and continues to be the leading horse stall freshener on the market. This organic (OMRI Listed), non-toxic compound captures, neutralizes and eliminates harmful levels of ammonia and odors.  Sweet PDZ is a far superior alternative to lime products for ammonia removal and moisture absorption. For more information, as well as a dealer locator, visit www.SweetPDZ.com.