Salt is an essential part of a horse’ daily nutrition, but it may be quite easy to take it for granted as many horse owners consider providing what they think are more important minerals for their horses.
Some of the mineral requirements of your pet may be provided by the forage that are offered to your horse. However, the salt content of hay and grasses are not enough to meet what your horse actually needs. If you are not able to provide your horse with the appropriate amount of salt that it needs to stay healthy, you will later notice that your equine is slowly developing some health issues as a result of its inadequate salt intake.
How Much Salt Does Your Horse Need?
An average horse will need about fifty grams of salt each day. If you’re feeding commercially made feed for your equine, then it should have about 0.1% added in it. You might still want to add a tablespoon or two (15-30 grams), or as needed, and depending on your equine’s nutritional needs. Performance and competition horses will need more salt to replace the energy that they release as they sweat during performance or a competition. Other factors, such as the weather, the season of the year, training level, and so on, will also affect your horse salt requirement.
You may also need to consider the type of salt that you may need to include to your horse’ feed or what you offer your equine. If the horse only needs sodium and chloride, then table salt will just be fine. There are horses that need iodized salt instead. However, if your horse is not being fed supplements, you may consider adding or offering trace mineral salt.
Salt Keeps Your Horse Healthy
Common salt, which is a combination of sodium and chloride, is needed in making possible critical functions in the body. When they mix in the bloodstream. These two minerals are ionized and becomes an important part of sending electrical signals and communication throughout the body. This communication is necessary for the nervous and musculoskeletal systems to function as they are designed.
The presence of sodium allows water to be kept in the tissues and has a major effect on hydration and fluid dynamics in the body. When there is an insufficient sodium level in the body there is a great tendency of being dehydrated.
The higher the salt concentration in a particular part of the horse’s body, the more water will be drawn to that area. To help keep water levels properly balanced, the horse’s system regulates salt levels in its digestive system, kidneys, as well as in its cellular fluid.
An adequate amount of salt in your horse’s system will help maintain hormone balance, healthy weight, the health of its hooves and hair coat, as well as the pH balance of the body.
Is Your Horse given Adequate Salt Every Day?
Salt insufficiency may only be observed after a period of weeks or months. Clinical signs of minor deficiencies are non-specific and subtle. However, how your horse behaves will provide a good hint if it does need more salt than it is actually receiving. Horses that have salt deficiency in their system normally develop an abnormal appetite. They would rather lick objects that may contain traces of salt on them. It may also show signs of less liking for water intake.
Why Should You Give Salt Blocks to Your Horse?
Although there are many who keep salt blocks for horses stalls, many question this custom. You see, salt blocks were originally designed to be given to cattles that have extremely rough tongues. Horses, on the other hand, have much softer tongues, and licking block salt at times given them sore tongues and insufficient salt intake.
If you find your horse developing sore tongues after being offered salt blocks for some time, you may consider adding salt to your its feed or hanging a bucket in the stall that is filled with loose, free choice salt instead.
If you find providing salt blocks to your equine to be most convenient and satisfying and are looking for the best salt block for horses, consider checking this post and find some of the best options that you may consider.