Feeding A Horse With Bad Teeth


A horse with bad teeth is not just something found in seniors or veterans; diastemas, the abnormal gaps between teeth, are being diagnosed more frequently in horses of all ages. Horses with dental issues usually require careful dietary management to ensure that further problems such as weight loss or digestive upsets do not occur.

Forages normally make up at least half of most horse’s diets and so make a significant contribution to the horses’ overall nutritional requirements. Dengie ran a study to investigate how consumption is affected in a horse with bad teeth. Our guide discusses the results of our study and will help you understand what to feed an old horse with bad teeth, as well as your youngster or pony with poor dentition.

Feeding Horses With Bad Teeth: The Study  

The trial involved 12 horses and it was found that horses with bad teeth consumed about two-thirds less than those with good dentition in a given time period and actually refused to eat the hay on a number of occasions. It is vital to provide fibre in a form that the horse can eat to ensure that normal gut motility is maintained and to ensure the horse consumes enough energy and nutrients to keep them in good health.

Dengie Meadow Grass with Herbs contains high temperature, dried grass mixed with rapeseed oil and herbs. The grass is harvested when it is young and very digestible – in contrast to grass hays which are allowed to mature before being cut. This makes the grass in Meadow Grass with Herbs more digestible and easier to chew. As it is chopped into short lengths about 2 to 4cms long, it is an ideal way of feeding old horses with bad teeth and can be used to partially replace hay. It’s also a great option for fussy eaters with so much to tempt them.

What To Feed An Old Horse With Bad Teeth? And How Much?

It is important to check how much your horse is consuming so you can be sure they are eating enough. This is particularly true for those with old horses with bad teeth, as they may be quidding and dropping the nutritional food as they chew. As standard, the minimum any horse or pony should consume is 1.5% of their bodyweight in high fibre feeds per day. This equates to 7.5kgs for a 500kg horse.

If you horse isn’t overweight and isn’t prone to or at risk of laminitis and can still manage short chop fibres, then Dengie Pure Grass or Hi-Fi Senior can be used as a hay replacer.

Pelleted Fibre For Feeding Old Horses With Bad Teeth

In some cases, short chop forage is not the best feed for old horses with bad teeth. In these situations, Dengie Grass Pellets are the product to turn to. They are simply made of grass that has been ground and made into a pellet and should be fed soaked to a mash – effectively pre-chewed and ideal for feeding to old horses with bad teeth! It is possible to mix some chopped fibre in if the horse can still manage a little bit of chopped fibre and it is also possible to feed them mixed with a soaked beet product such as Dengie Alfa-Beet to create a mash that is full of highly digestible fibre for horses that need to gain weight. They can be fed in a large trug and left with the horse to pick at as they would a hay net.

For more information on feeding old horses with bad teeth or advice for your horse with bad teeth, contact the Dengie feedline. We are able to provide nutritional advice and more information about all the products mentioned in this article. Contact us on 01621 841188.