Hoof Supplements 101
What are you looking for in a hoof supplement?
There are three main ingredients to look for when purchasing a hoof supplement: biotin, methionine and lysine.
Biotin – Coenzyme and B vitamin. It helps to support the overall health of the skin, hair, nerves, digestive tract, and cells.
Methionine – an essential amino acid, meaning the body cannot manufacture it on its own so the body must take it in through food or supplements. The body can convert methionine into another amino acid called cysteine. Both amino acids have the highest concentration in the hoof and hair.
Lysine – another essential amino acid. Since it is also a limiting amino acid, it must be present in the body to create protein.
Hoof supplements can be broken down into three categories: maintenance, support and critical.
Maintenance is for the horse that already has a healthy hoof, and needs to stay that way. For instance: if your horse is barefooted and entering the fly-stomping summer months, then a maintenance supplement is for you. When looking for a maintenance supplement, you want one with low levels of biotin (less than 10 mg).
Some Maintenence supplements include:
Vita-Biotin Crumbles by Horse Health Products
Hoof Aid Basic by Cavalor
Support is for the horse that might have shoes on and needs to grow hoof faster during shoeing rotations or if, for example, your horse chronically looses shoes. In that case, a support supplement will help strengthen the hoof and keep the nails in place longer. When looking for a support supplement, look for products that contain both biotin and methionine.
Some Support supplements include:
Biotin+Plus by Paragon
Horseshoer’s Secret by Farnam
Foundation by Vetri-Science
Feet First by Finishline
Farrier’s Formula by Life Data
Critical is for the horse that has extensive cracking, chipping, and either cannot hold shoes or does not have enough hoof to tack on a shoe. When looking for a critical supplement, it needs to contain high levels of biotin, methionine, and lysine.
Some Critical supplements include:
Farrier’s Formual Double Strength by Life Data
Hoof Aid Special by Cavalor
Foundation II by Vetri-Science
Hoof First by Horse First
Which supplement should you buy?
So, now you know which category your horse falls into. The choices have been narrowed down, but how do you know which one to choose? It all comes down to preference; if you horse is a picky eater, you might want to buy a pelleted version instead of a powder, or maybe crumbles will work best for your horse. At the end of the day, you pick the supplement that your horse will have a better chance of eating.