Every living being in this world needs proper nutrition to survive. While animals in their natural habitats go about their lives on their own, those kept as pets need to be cared for by humans.
As the amount of work and activity that an animal does increases, the amount of required nutrients increases as well. A horse, for example, needs more nutrients than a cat would. Sometimes, however, you may find your horse not doing so well even when given the best nutrition. The best way to eradicate this is to go to the root of the problem, which might just be a lack in dental care.
Perform a Dental Exam
No matter how good the quality of hay you feed to your horse is, it can’t provide all the required nutrients for the body if the horse’s teeth are in bad shape. Badly chewed food does not get digested properly which causes a lot of nutrients to go to waste.
Proper digestion makes it important for you to take a quick look at your horse’s dental situation, which starts with their dental history. Taking note of your horse’s eating habits such as the tendency to leave meals unfinished will help you pinpoint the problem more effectively. After this, a complete dental check should be in order to get to the root of the problem and take care of the horse’s nutrition requirements accordingly.
Nutrition to Match the Horses’ Dental Condition
If there are some issues with your horse’s teeth or gums, it is time to switch to a different diet. It doesn't help to feed your horse the most expensive or healthy type of hay if the horse can’t chew it to get all of the nutrients out.
Your horse’s diet plan will depend on the severity of the problems and only a veterinarian can help you make that decision. Until then, it is helpful to note how long your horse takes to finish meals. As a general rule of thumb, if your horse takes more than 45 minutes to finish each of its meals, then it is wise to turn to a feed that is denser in calories.
For those horses that are old and can’t chew properly, a diet containing the following may be recommended:
- Hay cubes made from chopped or soaked grass.
- A meal containing 12-14% of protein, 5-10% fiber, and 8-20% fat.
- An optional cup of edible oil, or about a pound of rice bran per day.
Take a look here for more information about feeding older horses.
Experts on the matter put heavy emphasis on the need for owners to be aware of how a horse’s teeth grow with time. That information alone can be helpful for the owners to decide what kind of food their horses require to get the maximum amount of nutrients required.
Horses, much like human beings, need a planned diet to survive at their maximum potential. Dental care plays a vital role in this, as the food has to be first processed in the mouth before it can be digested. A lack of dental care might become the root cause for a horse’s decline making it important for horse-owners to find out the best possible nutrition plan for their individual horses and help them get the nutrients they need.
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