Encouraging Cold Weather Water Consumption

Q. Is it a good idea to add a little salt to your horses' diet in the winter to get them to drink more water?

Karen Falgoust, Opelousas, La.

A. Yes, this is something I recommend to my clients. As a general rule of thumb, 1 to 2 tablespoons (of table salt) per horse per day can help increase drinking. It’s also important to consider the water itself. People often overlook the temperature of the water, and I think that’s critical to horses and all livestock. If the water is near freezing, horses and cattle are less likely to aggressively drink. Generally speaking, you want to get that water a bit above freezing, ideally around 45 degrees Fahrenheit, or in our case up here (in Canada) about 4 or 5 degrees Celsius.

About the Author

Casey Gruber, DVM

Casey Gruber, DVM, is an associate veterinarian at Moore Equine Veterinary Centre in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, where he specializes in podiatry and emergency and sport horse care. He’s a graduate of Colorado State University.

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