A pinch test is one of the classic ways to check if your horse is dehydrated. In order to do this, you take a “pinch full” of skin on their neck and release. The elasticity in the horse’s skin should allow up to 3 seconds to become flush again. If their skin takes longer than 3 seconds to come back to normal- your horse is most likely dehydrated.
Another way to check if your horses are dehydrated is through their gums. In order to accomplish this, you will flip up their lip to view their gums. Next, note what color you see. Is it a light pink or does it have more of a white tint? Horses’ gums should be light pink and moist when they are healthy. After you note the color, take your finger and press down on the gum for two seconds. If the color returned to the horse’s gums within two seconds or less they are properly hydrated. However, when it takes longer, your horse is most likely dehydrated.
If Your Horse Is Dehydrated
If these tests come up with the result that your horse is dehydrated administer electrolytes via paste or powder through their water or food. When deciding to use powder electrolytes in food be sure to supplement with an oil such as Excel Pro Elite to ensure full consumption. In cases of severe dehydration, a vet will need to administer IV fluids. Learn more about rehydrating a dehydrated horse in our blog “How to Hydrate a Dehydrated Horse.“