10 Expert Tips in Daily Horse Care

If you’re new to the world of horse care, it pays to take advice from the experts. Using professional guidance to care for your horse day in and day out will make for a healthy, happy animal with a longer lifespan.

10 Ways to Improve Your Horse’s Quality of Life

  1. Keep his water supply clean. This may seem like a no-brainer, but your horse is more likely to drink enough water to stay hydrated if he has access to fresh water. A horse’s water intake is likely to decline if water is contaminated with debris; dehydration can easily lead to colic, the number one killer of horses.
  2. Feed him several small meals a day. Horses have small stomachs that are meant for grazing, meaning that they will do well by eating little and often. As a rule of thumb, feed a horse 2 to 3 small meals throughout the day to provide ample time to digest.
  3. Limit grain in the diet. Grain is known to pack on calories, which can cause bone, joint, and muscle development problems in growing horses. Experts recommend a diet that consists of low-energy foods like grass and hay instead.
  4. Change the diet slowly. To avoid colic, it’s important to make dietary changes gradually; horses are physically unable to belch or vomit, which can quickly lead to intestinal discomfort.
  5. Make dietary changes for senior horses. A horse is considered a senior at 16 years old, although this can vary based on the horse. At senior age, a horse needs different feed and living conditions to support his health.
  6. Take him for annual dental checkups. By the time a horse reaches five years old, he should visit the veterinarian for dental checkups yearly to determine if his teeth need filing.
  7. Give him supplements in the winter. Most horses will do well with extra fat for insulation in cold winter weather. The best way to achieve this is with added supplements to help a horse gain a few pounds in cold weather that he’ll quickly shed come summer.
  8. Exercise regularly. A horse is likely to eat well, digest fully, and experience less colic when he gets daily exercise. Make sure to finish feeding your horse at least an hour before working him hard.
  9. Always work a horse in the cooler part of the day. In hot weather, experts recommend working a horse in the early morning or evening as opposed to the hottest part of the day. Horses that are trained midday could be at risk for dehydration and heat stroke.
  10. Remember that your horse is an individual. The type of feed and activity that you choose for your horse will depend on his individual personality and fitness level. Some horses need to eat more than others to keep up their weight.

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How Much Does It Cost to Take Care of a Dog?

According to 2012 estimates, 36.5% of households own a dog. This makes up over 43 million homes in the US. On average, 1.6 dogs are owned per household, adding up to nearly 70 million pet dogs in America.

Adopting or buying a dog for the first time is an exciting experience, but it doesn’t come without its share of responsibility. Even though you may be a sucker for that puppy in the window, counting the costs will help you to determine if you can afford the time and money involved in caring for a new pet.

Can You Afford to Own a Dog?

Based on rough estimates, it could cost anywhere from $700-$3000 a year to own a dog. Much of the initial cost comes with selecting a dog in the first place. If you decide to buy a purebred puppy from a breeder or pet store, you could pay up to $2000 for your new furry friend.

Yet due to the common problem of overpopulation in local animal shelters, animal advocates recommend scouting out shelters to adopt a new pup. While you can find purebred dogs in an animal shelter, there are also plenty of mixed-breed dogs to choose from. Basic animal shelter adoption costs range from $50-$200.

After adopting or buying a dog, you’ll need to get your pooch to a veterinarian stat. Your dog may need vaccinations, medications, and other health treatments to correct any illnesses that may have been contracted in a crowded shelter setting. This is one expense that many pet owners often overlook; your first vet visit could cost you up to $300.

Don’t Forget to Buy Dog Supplies

After you’ve done everything you need to adopt and care for your pup, your work isn’t done just yet. Before bringing a dog home for the first time, you’ll need to buy a complete selection of dog supplies and equipment, including dog food, a leash, a collar, a bed, and toys to play with.

Most new pet owners will do well by investing in a basic dog obedience class or training course, especially if you’ve adopted a new puppy. Group puppy obedience training in a community center or pet store could cost roughly $100 for 4 to 8 one hour sessions. Older dogs with more serious behavioral issues may need to be enrolled in a private one-on-one training class that could cost $100 an hour.

After you set aside the money you need to bring home your new companion, don’t forget to sock away extra cash for an emergency. If your pup gets sick or is hit by a car, it could cost you hundreds of dollars in emergency vet bills out-of-pocket.

 

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