When your horse or dog’s electrolyte levels are disturbed, via summer heat, or exercising, her gastrointestinal system may not work properly, her muscles may develop cramps, she may experience heart problems, and she may not even be able to think straight, because her brain may not function normally.
Most animals cool themselves through sweating or panting. The body can lose many important major electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, and chloride as well as ionic trace minerals that are necessary for maintaining fluid levels in the body, muscle contractions and nerve impulse transmission, and hydration.This impairs temperature regulation and both physical and mental performance. Did you know that fluid loss as low as 2 percent of total body weight impairs temperature regulation and reduces endurance capacity and aerobic performance? Any mammal is approximately two thirds water. For an average size horse, that translates to about 80 gallons of water! Hal Schott, DVM, writing in USA Equestrian, June 2002, cites studies done at Michigan State University on strategies to get horses to drink more water during strenuous exercise periods. In a 36 mile test, horses without electrolyte supplementation lost about 50 pounds and drank only 3 gallons (about 25 pounds) of water during rest periods. Horses given salts drank 5 to 6 gallons of water, replenishing their entire weight loss and sweat loss. The horses receiving electrolytes began to drink earlier in the test, than those who did not.
How do most manufacturers formulate electrolytes?
When we evaluate most commercial electrolyte formulas, we find them to be nothing more than refined and processed salt (sodium chloride), commonly at a rate of more than 50%. Then another 10-20% will be potassium, and the remainder other minerals, almost always in an inorganic (unusable) form. Some commercial entities add bicarbonate of soda in an attempt to neutralize the acid which is the by-product of exercise. Many electrolytes contain dyes and artificial flavorings, which are not conducive to keeping a clean liver in a running horse.
Most formulas are arrived at by scraping sweat from the horse and analyzing the minerals therein. That is much like taking the exhaust from your car, analyzing it, and then putting one of those elements back into the gas tank! Auto exhaust is a by-product of combustion, just as sweat is a by-product of exercise.
Dyna-Spark for Horses
Dynamite’s premium horse electrolyte is totally different than any other on the market. It contains organic blackstrap molasses, natural trace mineral salt, and balanced mineral chelates specifically chosen to address mineral deficiencies and muscle imbalances resulting from hot weather, strenuous exercise, stress and more. Based on the research above, Horses exercising more than an hour or two in hot and/or humid climates would benefit from Dyna-Spark. General use is 1 ounce daily. Endurance use calls for 2 ounces administered 24 hours before the race, and then 2 ounces at each checkpoint before feed and water, and again at the finish of the race.
Dyna-Pro may be mixed with Dyna-Spark, but be sure to feed the mixture within 24 hours. For eventing or flat racing or a hard ride in high humidity, give 2 ounces 12-24 hours in advance, and repeat at the finish of the workout. For general dehydration, give 2 ounces a day until the situation is resolved.
Dyna-Spark for Dogs
Any pet owner who has mopped up after a panting dog knows how much water a dog can lose on a hot day! Many people do not believe a dog needs electrolytes because they pant and the by-products of cooling are left on their tongues (ie. still in their bodies). Recall what we said above. Those are merely by-products of physiological reactions and a dog will still need the initial elements replenished. A dog will absolutely benefit from electrolytes, but it’s important that they are formulated for dogs to balance potassium levels (not sodium, like humans and horses who sweat). Want the ultimate proof? Attend a dog trial and watch the recovery times of dogs taking Dyna-Spark versus the ones that don’t. Dyna-Spark for Dogs should be mixed up with water and offered in a third bowl, separate from food and water, and the dog should have its free choice to consume as needed.
Click here to read Tess and Gus’ Dyna-Spark story. They are competing in sheepdog trials all around the Northwest this summer.