Horse Dehydration

Water Intake in Horses


The average horse will intake 5 to 10 gallons of fresh water per day. Just like humans, different horses crave or need different water amount intakes. Horses may need up to 30 gallons of water per day depending on heat, humidity and exercise.

Signs of dehydration

Behavioral Signs

Lack of focus


No interest in drinking

No interest in eating

Psychological Signs

Elevated body temperature. Normal 99-101 F

Elevated Heart Rate. Normal 18-44 beats per minute

Elevated Respiratory Rate. Normal: 10-24 breaths per minute.


Testing for Dehydration.

Capillary refill time. How to: Press upper gum, pressure point will become lighter in color.

Color returns in 2 seconds-Hydrated.

Color returns in 3+ seconds-Dehydrated

Skin Pinch Test. How to: Pinch skin near point of shoulder.

Skin snaps back in <1 seconds-Hydrated

Skin snaps back in 2-4 seconds-Dehydrated

Skin snaps back in 4+ seconds-Very Dehydrated

Stimulating Thirst

Hay stimulates better than grain.

Supplement with electrolytes

Free choice salt block to help meet the minimum requirements of 2oz per day.


Visit Burns Feed Store for products to help prevent or treat your horse for dehydration issues.