Horses will not drink bad water if it smells or tastes foul, but when contaminated with harmful substances without an abnormal taste or smell, horses may consume it, so be sure your horse’s watering buckets and troughs stay clean!
Many people believe that horses can distinguish safe drinking water from bad. But even though the horse does have a keen sense of smell and is very well-endowed with natural instincts, their senses don’t protect them from every hazardous substance in drinking water.
A horse will instinctively know not to drink toxic water if the water’s not palatable and looks unclear. However, many toxic substances like blue-green algae often taste natural to the horse. Horses may also be wary of drinking unsafe TDS or pH levels depending on just how odd it tastes.
Just like humans, water is essential to a horse’s diet. Horses need water to effectively digest large amounts of fiber and maintain their body temperature, partly done through sweating. Most horses will drink five to ten gallons of water a day.
Horses are known for preferring to eat small amounts of grass throughout the day. This is why they need constant access to water so that their food can be digested properly and in turn cause no harm or discomfort to them while doing it.
Without a sufficient amount of water intake, horses could suffer from dehydration which may lead to more severe consequences such as kidney failure or colic– both being fatal conditions in extreme cases.
Because clean water is vital to their survival, horses have evolved to be very sensitive to the taste and smell of contaminants in their environment. Because of their sensitivity to the taste of water some horses are reluctant to drink any water that tastes or feels different, regardless of if it’s clean or not.
Horses will drink bad water. Sometimes, a horse will drink water even though it is contaminated. That’s because some toxic substances don’t smell or taste very dangerous. A good example is a water contaminated with blue-green algae.
Blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria, can cause the water to become highly poisonous to the horse – drinking even a few ounces can require a visit to the vet.
Can you put bleach in horse water? When the weather is hot, it can be difficult to keep algae from growing in a horse’s water. Many horse owners choose bleach as an easy way to prevent this growth and avoid having their horses drink contaminated water that could make them sick or kill them if they ingest too much. While chlorine-based bleaches are not recommended for humans, is it safe for horses?
You can put bleach in a horse’s drinking water in small amounts. Don’t add more than one ounce of bleach to 50 gallons of water. Bleach contains chlorine, and too much chlorine is toxic to horses. Just like with humans, chlorine can have unintended consequences for the horse’s health, and large amounts can negatively interfere with the diet of horses.
Below is a YouTube video about the quality of the pond water horses drink.