Everyone who has cared for animals knows that they are very special family members. Horses may not be able to come inside the house like other common pets, but they are still just as important. Since they have such a special place in your heart, it is important to make sure your animals are comfortable as they start to age. These are the four best ways to keep an older horse comfortable.
Take Care of Teeth
Just like with humans, horses often have more dental issues as they get older. These teeth problems can cause significant pain if they are not caught early enough. This is why it is recommended to schedule regular dental appointments for your elderly horse. You may also want to take the time to check their teeth on your own. Finding an issue early will make it much easier to treat.
Alter Feeding Rituals
Since older horses have issues with their teeth, you will need to alter their feeding rituals. It will take them longer to eat, so they may not get enough to eat if they feed in a pasture with other horses. Feed the horse in private if this becomes an issue. You may also want to think about getting special feed specifically designed for older horses. This feed is much easier to chew and digest.
Check Their Hydration
You will need to monitor the hydration of your older horse a lot more than when they were younger. Pinching the skin of a horse is a common test to check their hydration levels, but this test is not very reliable for older horses. The horse’s skin naturally becomes more elastic as they age, so it is harder to tell when they are dehydrated. Monitor their hydration by ensuring the inside of their mouth is moist every day.
Improve the Shelter
Horses have trouble handling extreme conditions as they get older. Keep them comfortable in the winter and summer by making a few improvements to the shelter. Heaters and blankets are a great way to keep an elderly horse comfortable in freezing temperatures. Installing a fan in the shelter is enough to get them through very hot days. You will also want to hose them down on these hot days.