Horse Dehydration in Winter

Looking after horses takes so much care – something the team at Remus Horse Sanctuary is well aware of! And some things that we may think of as seasonal issues aren’t actually season-specific at all.

That’s the case with dehydration – yes of course we all know to keep an eye on the animals we care for when it’s hot and sunny, but did you know dehydration can be a risk during the winter months as well?

Being in the stable more, not liking cold water or being unable to access water that has frozen can all lead to dehydration at this time of year. And that in turn can have severe consequences – a common result is impaction colic – or even death.

It’s easily avoided though. Ensure there’s always clean, fresh water available and check that troughs are not frozen. Remember that if most food is hay rather than grass, your horse will need more water than normal, as they are not absorbing any from their food intake.

You can also try adding water to feed, offer lukewarm rather than cold water and even flavour water to make it appealing – apple juice, molasses or mint are popular.

For more ideas check out this excellent Horse and Hound feature at www.yourhorse.co.uk/horse-care/vet-advice/whydehydration.

If you’ve not already done so, please consider contributing to our Winter Hay Appeal.

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