When a horse has an allergy that manifests as a skin reaction, the cause is usually something their skin's come into contact with (for example, insect bites). However, hives, redness, itchiness and other skin allergy symptoms can also be caused or affected by your horse's diet. If your horse's skin seems to constantly be in bad condition, here are 3 diet tips you can try to get it healthy again.
Feed Your Horse Supplements
Horse supplements for healthy skin are an easy way to give your horse all the minerals they need to keep their skin and coat in great condition. There are many nutrients out there that improve skin condition. Turmeric, for example, has anti-inflammatory properties that can bring down rashes and soothe sore skin. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are also helpful, reducing inflammation and hair loss as well as treating sweet itch, a common horse skin allergy caused by bug bites. Horse supplements for healthy skin pack all these vitamins and minerals into pills or liquid for ease of use. All you have to do is add them to your horse's daily feed.
Stop Feeding Your Horse Hay
In some cases, your horse's skin might be inflamed, itchy, or red as a result of an allergy to hay, especially if your hay is very dusty. You can try to feed your horse a less dusty hay, or you can see if switching to completely different feed improves their skin health. Beet pulp, soybean hulls and pre-made horse feed are all common alternatives that may reduce your horse's skin allergy. However, keep in mind that horses have an innate need to chew, and these hay alternatives don't satisfy that. If you choose one of these options, you may still need to offer your horse a small amount of hay to stop them chewing on wood or bedding. Alternatively, it could be the type of hay you're using that's the problem. There are many hays out there, from timothy to alfalfa, so you may be able to find one that your horse can eat without reacting.
Keep Your Horse's Stool Healthy
Even when insects are the main cause of your horse's skin allergy, dietary changes can help. One of the main things that attracts flies and other biting insects to horses is their manure. Unsurprisingly, very moist or very smelly manure is particularly attractive. Feeding your horse a diet that produces more compact, less odorous stools could help keep flies away, reducing the risk of sweet itch and other bite-related allergic reactions. In particular, avoid feeding your horse too much fat or protein to keep their stool odour and moisture down. You should also ensure that all feed is free from parasites, salmonella, and other contaminants. If you do change your horse's diet to combat their allergies, ensure you make the change slowly, as rapid dietary changes can also make manure wet and foul smelling.