Tums For Your Horse

For an alternative to the usual nibbles that is also healthful and beneficial for stomach ulcers, try Tums chewables. They’re also a safe treat if your horse is overweight, laminitic, battling insulin resistance or ulcers. For these horses, the need to avoid all simple sugars and starches — like grain, which is 60+% starch — eliminates even carrots and apples from the list.

The antacid in Tums tablets is calcium carbonate. It is in a base of acacia, a gum from Acacia trees, free of starch and sugar, that dissolves to form a mucilage-like substance and has itself been used to soothe stomachs. The only other ingredients in Tums are nonnutritive sweeteners and flavorings.

Tums contain 200 mg of elemental calcium/tablet, so 10 of them will provide 6% (2 grams) of the daily calcium requirement of an 1,100-pound horse. If only using three or four as an occasional treat, there’s no need to figure this into your dietary mineral calculations. However, with your vet’s approval, larger numbers can be tried as a substitute for liquid antacids in the supportive treatment of gastric ulcers.

In this case, feed from eight to 16 Tums tablets three to four times a day. This will add up to a significant amount of calcium and should be taken into consideration when calculating mineral requirements. Note: If you’re choosing a Tums Plus-type product, check the level of calcium carbonate and adjust accordingly. If you’re using a generic version, again check the amount of calcium carbonate and any other ingredients the product may include.

Horses known to enjoy peppermints should go for the regular-flavor Tums. Others might find one or more of the new fruit flavors more appealing. We can’t guarantee your horse will go for Tums, but a surprising number of test horses did, including those with stomach ulcers that were severely off feed. It’s certainly easier than wrestling with the horse to get a messy liquid antacid in. But even if you’re not dealing with ulcers, it’s nice to know there’s a “candy” you can give your horse that’s good for him.

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