As nearly half the U.S. is battling extreme summer temperatures, many horse owners are struggling to help their horses adjust, stay healthy, and remain comfortable.

Nancy Loving, DVM, an equine practitioner in Boulder, CO, explained the most important things to consider when caring for horses in extreme heat.

When dealing with hot temperatures, Loving says the most important thing an owner can do is provide his or her horse with plenty of fresh water.

"Clean water should always be available; an average horse needs 5-7 gals. of water/day in cool weather, while in hot weather; while requirements for maintenance and to compensate for losses in sweat may prompt intake of 20 gals./day," she explains. "Horses in a herd should have access to a couple of water tanks spaced a distance apart so dominant horses don't prevent a thirsty, more timid horse from drinking."

Adding an electrolyte supplement to your horse's diet could help keep him drinking and restore the electrolyte balances disrupted by sweating, and horses should have access to a salt block or receive a daily salt supplement to allow them to meet their dietary sodium chloride requirements.

Additionally, she adds that for a horse that doesn't drink well, offering a watery gruel of a supplement, such as complete feed pellets, rather than feeding them dry, can help increase the horse's water intake.

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