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Drink it Up: All About Electrolytes


If you sweat the small stuff…

Replacing Minerals Lost in Sweat
When your horse sweats, he loses salt and other key minerals that support normal nerve and muscle function. If these lost minerals aren’t replenished, your horse may be left with a nutritional imbalance that won’t allow him to be in optimal health.

Pasture, hay, and fortified grain provide very little salt, but an electrolyte supplement can help supply your horse with what he needs. SmartLytes® Pellets contain a comprehensive selection of salt and minerals that mimics what your horse loses in sweat, helping bring him back into balance when his normal diet falls short.

SmartLytes® Pellets

As Low As: $13.73
(305 reviews)

Drink up! Did you know that your horse needs at least 1 ounce of salt and 5-10 gallons of water everyday!
Try combining an electrolyte like SmartLytes Pellets and a Himalayan Salt Lick for the ultimate hydration motivation.

Himalayan Salt Licks

 $8.95 - $19.95
(779 reviews)

…He’ll lead himself to water!

Encouraging Hydration
Proper hydration is essential for your horse’s well-being and when he sweats during the hot days of summer, he loses fluids that need to be replaced. Dehydration can lead to serious consequences, including colic. The salt in electrolytes like SmartLytes® encourages your horse to drink, helping him stay happy and hydrated all year long.



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15 comments on “Drink it Up: All About Electrolytes
  1. betty says:

    Hi, i would like to know, my horse loves the himalayan salt lick, when i give it to him he licks it all day long then it gets worn down and he bites pieces off. So is it bad for him to do this? meaning is he consuming to much salt at once, will it hurt him? He is 36 years old palomino

    • SmartPak SmartPak says:

      Hi Betty, thanks for your question! Some horses really, really love their salt licks, and it sounds like your gelding is one of them! It’s fantastic that you’re working to help him meet is daily salt requirement, but if you are concerned about how much salt he consumes when you hang a salt lick, you could consider adding plain salt or an electrolyte into his supplement program. By adding plain salt ( or something like SmartLytes Pellets ( daily into his feed, you will be better able to control how much salt your horse consumes. We would also encourage you to touch base with your vet if you plan on continuing to use a salt lick to be sure that both the amount of salt, and also the action of biting the lick, are ok for your horse. – SmartPaker Casey

    • Nancy Laraway says:

      Betty, Your older horse is craving minerals, and salt and the Himalayan salt has both, he knows what he needs, I would add more minerals and the Smartlytes Pelletes, but stay away from calcium chloride, (regular salt). The natural salt is good for his adrenal`s which at his age need all the help they can get!

      • Sarah says:

        Regular salt is not CaCl2 its NaCl, still not as good for horses, and note that in water it’ll disassociate to Na+ and Cl- which will be gradually lost as Cl2 gas, so it’s really best to not feed straight salt in water and instead feed a lick or supplement. Your vet can run a test or two to see if your horse is particularly deficient in any one area, and help you tailor his feeding program to fix it.

        • Lisa says:

          While you are correct that regular salt is NaCl and will form Na+ and Cl- in aqueous solution, it will not form Cl2 gas over time. Unless you do something additional to the horse’s water like run a strong electrical current through it. NaCl is very stable and difficult to convert to Cl2 gas which is fortunate given how hazardous Cl2 would be for the horse.

      • Laura says:

        A hay analysis will tell you which vitamins and minerals are deficient in your diet. Horses cannot determine what their deficiencies are and selectively seek them out, except for salt. 1-2oz of plain salt added to their feed per day should help. Also the red color in himalyan salt licks is iron, which is never deficient, and usually quite in excess in equine diets. Excess iron can lead to multiple problems.

  2. Mary says:

    Hi, that is very good information that you posted, and is very helpful to people that are going to work their horse in warmer weather so i would like to say thank you. Does it help if you put gatorade or anything that has electrolytes into their water supply? Will the amount of salt very if you work your horse?

  3. Mary says:

    Hi, that is very good information that you posted, and is very helpful to people that are going to work their horse in warmer weather so i would like to say thank you. Does it help if you put gatorade or anything that has electrolytes into their water supply? Will the amount of salt very if you work your horse? Thank you, for your time.

    • SmartPak SmartPak says:

      Hi Mary, we’re glad this was helpful! Luckily, electrolytes come in a variety of forms, many of which are fairly palatable so you can ideally add them to your horse’s grain. For example, SmartLytes come with a cherry flavoring, or you could opt for SmartLytes Pellets that come with an apple-banana flavoring, neither of which have any sugar added which is a huge bonus! If you do opt to add something to your horse’s water, it’s important to also offer fresh water in conjunction. If you’re looking to get additional electrolytes to your horse during times of need, you could also consider an electrolyte paste. The more a horse is sweating, the more salt and other minerals they’ll need, so a paste is a great option in those situations. Look for a ‘no sugar added’ option like SmartLytes Paste! – SmartPaker Casey

      SmartLytes Paste- New and Improved Formula:

  4. Karen says:

    I seem to remember articles indicating that it could be harmful to feed electrolytes every day if the horse was not sweating heavily from exertion. I think one indicated that they could actually become dehydrated as they became habituated to taste; another indicated that it caused additional work for organs in removing what wasn’t needed; another cited stomach upset from certain types of electrolytes, etc. And I have been cautioned by faculty at the local university equine program not to habitually feed electrolytes. Could you please comment on this? Preferably with citation to good references?

    Thank you!

    • SmartPak SmartPak says:

      Hi Karen, thanks for your questions. We are not aware of any evidence that shows electrolytes are harmful when given daily, although this myth certainly exists. Similarly, it has never been proven that horses become accustomed to the taste of electrolytes, making them less effective. Electrolytes stimulate thirst by raising the sodium level in the blood, which occurs daily whether they get salt from an electrolyte, a salt block, or loose salt added to feed. In regards to the study you mentioned, we actually wrote an entire blog on that topic which you can view here: To summarize, that study was giving endurance horses electrolytes in a paste once an hour for eight hours, which is significantly above the amount we recommend for daily use. Lastly, it has been well-established that horses have minimum requirements of certain macro minerals such as calcium, potassium, and magnesium which must be met daily, and an electrolyte supplement may help reach these levels if they are not sufficient in the rest of the diet. We recommend evaluating your horse’s overall diet and level of exercise, plus speaking with your veterinarian, to determine if electrolyte supplementation is right for your individual horse’s needs. Thanks for the question! -SmartPaker Kerri

  5. Shirley says:

    Thanks Karen that’s good to know!! I would like to read SmartPak response.

  6. Ellen Williams says:

    Thanks for the info, but my pony has the mineral salt lick available to him at all times and he does use it. Good information to put out there at this time of year though.

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