With so many different salt options out there, it can be tough to figure out which one is best for your horse.
Equine nutritionist and owner of Summit Equine Nutrition, Clair Thunes, PhD, has some advice for horse owners who are asking themselves that very question.
Daily access to salt is a must for a horse. Sodium is crucial for hydration, so before you worry about anything else, be sure you're feeding sodium chloride rather than Lite Salt, which is blended with potassium chloride and does not provide adequate sodium.
Sodium chloride comes in a dizzying array of forms and hues: white blocks, red mineralized blocks, loose, iodized, sea salt, kosher salt, Himalyan salt, and plenty of others.
Dr. Thunes stresses that horses should have access to salt at all times. She prefers white block salt, but notes that some horses prefer the taste of different forms.
According to Dr. Thunes, an 1,100-pound horse needs about 28 grams of salt (one ounce or two tablespoons) on a cool day in order to maintain proper sodium levels. If a horse has access to a salt block but is not consuming this amount from the block, Thunes suggests adding that amount to its feed in the form of loose salt in order to ensure he ingests it, in addition to leaving the block available.
Iodized table salt is Dr. Thunes' preferred form of loose salt, as it contains a small amount of iodine, which can be beneficial. However, if a horse is getting kelp-based supplements, it is not necessary to add any iodine to his feed, as most kelp-based supplements more than fulfill the National Research Council's suggested iodine intake.
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Since the levels of other minerals that naturally occur in mineralized salt are so minimal, it makes very little difference which form a horse owner feeds. They're all providing sodium chloride, so Dr. Thunes notes that a horse's taste preference should be the primary determinant of what form of salt is provided.
Click here to learn more about Dr. Thunes and Summit Equine Nutrition.
If you're interested in reading more about the importance of salt for horse health, click here.
What kind of salt do you give your horses? Let us know in the comments section below!
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