The scoop on salt for horses!
Sodium chloride (salt) is one of the most important minerals for your horse’s everyday life and health.
- Through its roles in the nervous system, salt is critical for normal nerve and muscle function.
- Salt transports key substances such as glucose and amino acids across membranes and throughout the body.
- Like potassium, sodium is hugely important in osmotic regulation of your horse’s body fluids. The more sodium there is in an area, the more water will be drawn to that area.
- Sodium deficiency includes poor skin quality, abnormal licking of objects as they search for salt, decreased water intake, slow eating, and eventually loss of appetite and an unsteady gait.
- Toxicity from excess salt levels is rare, provided horses have adequate supplies of fresh water.
A 1,000 lb horse requires about an ounce of salt daily – regardless of his exercise regime and regardless of how much he is or is not sweating.
- This is about two tablespoons!
- Additional electrolytes need to be given if your horse is sweating.
- It’s often best to add this salt to his food daily, instead of using a salt block, to assure his diet is complete with salt.
- Many horses ignore their salt or mineral blocks, and many horses will chew and eat salt blocks wildly. For more on why minerals blocks are less than ideal for horses, read this.
- Either way, it’s not the best daily amount of salt unless you are measuring and feeding it.
- The easiest way to give your horse his daily salt is to give him one tablespoon per 500 lbs of body weight. Do not mix into his water – add it to his feed. You may need to add some water (which is good anyway) to have the salt stick to the feed.
This is a coarse type of salt, I prefer the superfine variety in case a horse is sensitive to the taste.