Making Your Horse Happy
Have you ever heard the old saying, “healthy as a horse?” Well, a healthy horse is a happy horse and, as an owner, your mane concern is both. When it comes to caring for your horse, a proper diet is essential in both physical health and overall wellness. The most common diet includes grass and good quality hay, along with fresh and clean drinking water, which should be available at all times. An empty stomach may lead to an increased risk of ulcers, which is why proper feeding amounts must be observed to ensure the health of your horse. According to the ASPCA, “How much to feed depends on various factors such as condition and activity level, but most horses should eat between 2% and 4% of their body weight in pounds of hay or other feeds.” If in doubt about how much or how little to feed your horse, consult with a veterinarian.
If you should need to change your horse’s diet at any time, it’s important to make the change gradually to avoid health issues that could be devastating to your animal. Speaking of change, traveling with your horse may require that you bring his/her food and a water supply that is familiar in order to avoid a change or disruption in the digestive process.
As is the case with all animals, proper vaccinations are essential in maintaining good health. In most cases, horses also require regular deworming. The environment in which your animal lives will have a significant impact on his/her health. Overcrowding is never a good idea with any type of animal, including horses, and should be avoided.
Hoof and dental care round out the top remaining concerns that every horse owner should address. A veterinarian can provide guidance on hoof care and can also offer an oral examination every six months to ensure that your horse is not experiencing any painful points or edges on his/her teeth that could lead to discomfort or illness.
On a final note to keeping your horse happy, allowing him/her to enjoy daily exercise, companionship and a comfortable living environment that provides adequate sleep opportunities will result in a happier and healthier animal than one that is confined or unable to be with other horses. Speaking of exercise, owners should be cautious in working with their horse during humid weather. Horses tend to tolerate cool weather much better and, as such, require plenty of shade on those hot summer days.
The information contained in this article is designed to be used for reference purposes only. It should not be used as, in place of or in conjunction with professional veterinary advice and/or recommendations surrounding horses or their care. For additional information on safety and health concerns, consult with your local veterinarian.