How to Hydrate a Dehydrated Horse

What causes dehydration in horses and how do you hydrate a dehydrated horse? How can you tell if a horse is dehydrated, what are the signs of severe dehydration and how do equine vets treat it?

Horses need lots of fluids to keep themselves healthy so they’re not at risk of getting too hot or becoming fatigued from running around all day. The best way to take care of them is by making sure there’s always plenty of drinkable water available. But what if that just still isn’t working? How do you hydrate a dehydrated horse? Here are 5 Tips and Tricks to get your horse to drink water!

1. Cleaning water buckets and troughs at least once a day helps with hydration.

A healthy horse should drink enough water, but if the bucket is dirty even the easiest keepers can turn away because of an unpleasant taste or smell. The best way for people to clean a horses water buckets is with designated brushes that can get any hay, dirt, or left over grain loose from the edges of the bucket and rinse out. Repeat this step until you are sure the bucket is free from residue. Soap can also be added to this step to insure no unwanted bacteria is left behind. 

Many people are unsure about how often you should wash your horses’ water out, which leads them not having a clear schedule for cleaning. If a water bucket is left too long even one mouthful could lead into sickness such as colic or diarrhea. So, make sure you clean out water buckets and troughs at least once a day, just like our own drinking cups would require!

2. Add salt licks in each stall to encourage the consumption of water.

Hydrate a dehydrated horse with the aid of salt. Salt helps to make nerves work in the horse’s body by transporting glucose and amino acids across the cell membrane. Salt also helps with the acid balance in cells and keeps cells hydrated. In short, salt helps horses drink- so give each horse the option to enjoy a salt lick of their own free will!

3. Feed wet grain, electrolytes, and camelina oil to keep a horse hydrated!

Horse owners should consider using wet feed or oil to help more stubborn horses drink water. Camelina is a great choice for such an endeavor as it can maintain urine production and keep every horse healthy! Lastly, adding electrolytes to any horse’s diet- paste or powder- has been proven to help enhance hydration in horses.

6. Encourage them to drink. 

You can encourage a dehydrated horse to drink by placing grain, apples, or other treats in the bottom of their water bucket. This adds good flavor to the water and makes them want to get the treats from the bucket. 

5. Treatment for horse dehydration.

It is very important to keep your horse hydrated, especially in a hot climate. Electrolyte paste, water additives, and more can be used for an extremely dehydrated horse. When they start showing signs of exhaustion or dehydration,  you can give them electrolyte pastes and other water additives such as “horse quencher.” In severe conditions the fastest way to hydrate the horse is through the vet administering IV  fluid.

6. Make sure you have a backup plan at horse shows.

Does your show horse tend to get sick when you go to certain venues? Luckily, there is a solution! A water filter can reduce bad taste, odors, and chlorine in the horses’ drinking water making it less of an issue for your furry friend.

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