Is Bentonite Clay Safe and Beneficial for  Horses?

January 21, 2022

Many horse owners have already discovered the health benefits of bentonite clay for horses. Others may be wondering what all the buzz is about. Humans and animals have used bentonite for centuries to treat all sorts of internal and external maladies. So what exactly does it do?

Bentonite, also known as montmorillonite, is an age-old healing clay with incredible—and incredibly diverse—curative properties. Some call it Mother Nature’s pharmacy. We call it the “clay of a thousand uses.”

So, let’s get the scoop on bentonite—the clay that’s literally as old as dirt—so you and your horse can start experiencing its amazing, even life-changing health benefits!

 

What is Bentonite Clay?

Bentonite and montmorillonite clay belong to a family of clays called smectites. They’re formed when volcanic ash weathers and ages—usually in seawater—and are found in deposits throughout the world. Both clays are named after the geographic regions where they were originally found. The names bentonite and montmorillonite are often used interchangeably, and we’ll do the same throughout this article.

what is bentonite clay and where does it come from?Now let’s take a moment for a sensory experience. What does bentonite look, feel, smell, and taste like? Bentonite is a superfine powder so soft it almost dissolves between your fingers. It tastes slightly dusty, and when it gets wet, smells like the first drops of rain on dry earth or warm concrete. It changes color from pale blue or green when freshly exposed, to a grayish cream as it weathers. That’s the color of a quality, finely-aged bentonite.

Where Does Redmond Clay Come From?

Now let’s drill down on Redmond’s specific brand of smectite used in our natural Redmond Equine products. Exactly what kind of clay is in your horse’s Daily Gold digestion supplement or Red Edge poultice? And where is it sourced from?

Redmond Clay is sodium montmorillonite (aka sodium bentonite) clay. It’s mined from an ancient Jurassic Period seabed located right here where we’re headquartered in Redmond, Utah. The winning combination of volcanic ash and a marine environment created this rich clay deposit which remained untouched for thousands of years until Redmond began harvesting it in the 1950s.

Redmond clay is an extremely versatile resource we use to create natural soil, industrial, human, livestock, and equine products. The unique deposit it's sourced from created a proprietary and highly effective clay known for its detoxifying properties, dozens of essential trace minerals, and natural ability to improve horse health and digestion. Learn more about our deposit and the internal benefits of Redmond clay for horses in the video below!

HubSpot Video

Unique Properties of Bentonite Clay

Humans and animals through the ages have instinctively been drawn to clay. Every horse eats some amount of it every day—it’s a natural part of their diet. But what makes some horses specifically seek it out? Bentonite has three main superpowers that provide health-promoting benefits and shed light on why horses and humans need it, especially when ill or lacking minerals.

Absorption

Bentonite is a swelling clay with a talent for absorbing moisture. In fact, sodium bentonite (like Redmond clay) is particularly adept at soaking up wet stuff. It can absorb and swell up to 20 times its original size. When used externally, such as in an equine poultice or wound cream, bentonite draws out fluid, infection, toxins, and contaminants. It also improves circulation, increasing blood flow and oxygen in cells.

Adsorption & Detoxification

Bentonite also has an uncanny ability to seek out, bind and eliminate heavy metals, damaging toxins and pathogens inside the body—like those unwanted aflatoxins your horse consumes in feed. This National Institutes of Health (NIH) article notes:

“Animal feeding studies have demonstrated that clay additives, such as bentonites, can bind aflatoxins in ingested feed and reduce or eliminate the toxicity.”

When clay is ingested, it travels through the body looking for bad guys—toxins, chemicals, impurities, pathogens—to bind to. How? Clay is like a magnet. It contains negative molecules, while most toxins and impurities have positive molecules. That means clay is constantly on the hunt for that other half—positively charged impurities or toxins—to bind to, to become charged. Once united, those molecules stay together, allowing impurities to be carried out of the body. Pretty smart!

Micronutrients

Bentonite clay is absolutely packed with micronutrients humans and animals need. That’s because its absorbing ability allows it to soak up and capture nutrients in the environment where it lies—like a seabed. Redmond Daily Gold contains a huge spectrum of loose minerals for horses, including calcium, magnesium, salt and potassium. Check out our Daily Gold guaranteed mineral analysis to see the whole rainbow of 60+ trace minerals naturally occurring in Redmond clay.

Bentonite Clay Benefits for Horses

Many horses experience incredible health benefits when given bentonite clay externally or internally—including healing dreaded horse ulcers. Here are some of the most documented benefits of bentonite.

Using Redmond bentonite clay as an equine poultice and digestive supplementInternal Uses and Benefits

This NIH study found that when bentonite is used internally, it can:

  • Treat digestive disorders
  • Relieve diarrhea
  • Improve gut flora activity
  • Increase gut nutrient absorption
  • Boost immune response
  • Improve renal health and kidney function
  • Regulate thyroid health
  • Act as a natural antibiotic for some harmful bacteria strains
  • Reduce the bioavailability of aflatoxins
  • Reduce metal poisoning

Thousands of customers who use Daily Gold, our pure bentonite clay horse digestive supplement, also report it:

  • Buffers acid and heals horse ulcers
  • Improves coat and hoof health
  • Reduces girthiness
  • Increases calm and focus in stressed horses by relieving digestive pain

External Uses and Benefits

Bentonite clay can also be used externally on horses as a race paste or wound healing cream. Mix it with water to make a poultice, or purchase it already mixed to:

  • Prevent and treat skin lesions, cuts, and skin irritations
  • Draw out infection
  • Reduce swelling in horses’ legs
  • Relieve insect bites and stings
  • Heal hoof abscesses

What Are the Dangers of  Using Bentonite Clay Internally in Horses?

Bentonite clay has incredible health benefits—but are there side effects to using it internally? You don’t want to give your horse bentonite at the risk of adverse results.

The good news is, there are no known serious side effects to using therapeutic amounts of bentonite clay. There are a few cases of people and animals getting sick from consuming too much bentonite, but those instances are rare when following recommended guidelines for use. This advice from the previously cited NIH study seems fair:

"Generally, it sounds that like any other drug, big doses of bentonite can have some side effects and thereby it is necessary to use a therapeutic dose of this mineral in diseases."

If you still have concerns about clay, we may be able to help. Here are some common questions we’ve heard customers ask about Daily Gold, our pure bentonite clay digestive supplement. The answers, backed by research, should help resolve concerns you may have about feeding it internally to your horse.

Q.  Does Bentonite Clay Contain Harmful Levels of Lead?

While it's true lead is naturally found in many bentonites, how much lead differs by the deposit it originates from. Different deposits of bentonite contain varying levels of lead—which, by the way, is found abundantly in all parts of our environment. You should check with the manufacturer if you're worried about how much lead is in your bentonite product.

So, specifically, how much lead is in Redmond bentonite? The U.S. Pharmacopoeia limits for lead in bentonite products is 40 parts per million (ppm). Redmond clay typically contains levels around 0.38 ppm. That’s far below the allowed amount. So give a little fist pump! You can feel reassured lead toxicity is not a risk when feeding your horse Redmond Daily Gold.

Did You Know?  You may have asked or have heard the question, "Does bentonite clay remove heavy metals?" It’s an interesting juxtaposition that bentonite contains lead but has also been shown effective at removing lead and other metals from the body. Check out this statement below from the NIH study:

“In pigs, the feeding supplementation of montmorillonite for 100 days reduced lead concentration in blood, brain, liver, bone, kidney and hair.” The study concluded, “Generally, it seems that bentonite is a reliable treatment for metal poisoning.” 

Q.  Will Bentonite Absorb Vitamins, Minerals, or Other Supplements?

Since clay is such a wiz at binding and absorbing, where do its capabilities end? Can it also draw vitamins, minerals, or other valuable supplements from horses?

The same NIH article provides some valuable insight: “While bentonite can absorb many organic and inorganic materials in GI tract, it is reported not to affect mineral metabolism and absorption.”

The article concludes that bentonite rather improves nutrient absorption through increasing good gut flora activity. To be extra cautious, however, when it comes to giving your horse antibiotics or pharmaceuticals which may contain chemicals, we do recommend feeding Daily Gold at least three hours after administering medication.

Q.  Will Bentonite Cause Impaction in My Horse?

Because bentonite is a clay with swelling capabilities, is there a risk my horse will develop a bowel obstruction similar to horses eating too much sand or silt?

The worry of impaction can strike real fear in horse owners. However, you should feel very comfortable offering your horse Daily Gold. Thousands of horse owners have used it to improve their horses’ digestion and health, and we know of no cases of Daily Gold causing impaction. Here’s reassurance from veterinarian Dr. Jessica Huntington, who backs the research, development, and safety of our equine products:

“Soil minerals are classified into three different groups: sand, silt, and clay. Sand is the heaviest of the minerals and clay is the lightest.

Redmond Daily Gold is composed of clay material and should not accumulate in the colon if fed at the recommended labeled dose. In fact, veterinarians routinely administer clay products in excess of the recommended daily dose of Daily Gold multiple times a day to treat patients with GI disturbances, in addition to using other medications simultaneously, without negative effects.

Using the labeled amount, Daily Gold has not caused any impactions to date—and if it had, we would have certainly addressed our formulation.”  

As noted, using the recommended amount of Daily Gold, your horse should experience valuable health benefits without any ill side effects.

Redmond Bentonite Clay Products

Ready to help your horse experience the amazing benefits of bentonite clay? Redmond has your horse covered from head to hoof! Our bentonite products are natural, healing, and as always, locally sourced from our own mineral deposit. Here is Redmond's bentonite clay horse product lineup.

bentonite clay supplements for horsesDaily Gold Stress Relief

Daily Gold bentonite clay buffers acid and naturally soothes horse ulcers, diarrhea, and other common issues horses experience, such as lack of appetite, stomach upset, and stress. It comes in powder form that’s easy to add to feed, or in palatable pellets your horse will love! (Learn more about pelleted Daily Gold.) Also check out fast-acting Daily Gold Stress Relief syringe. It's perfect to give before your horse travels, competes, or any situation that creates stress and anxiety.

Red Edge Poultice

Red Edge poultice for horses soothes hot, tired muscles and reduces swelling in legs. Apply our hydrated Redmond bentonite clay, infused with essential oils, for natural pain relief or as a paste to help your horse achieve peak performance. Also great for healing hoof soreness and abscesses.

First Aid for Horses

Our natural bentonite wound cream helps horses heal from painful bites, sores, cuts, and burns. It gently seals horse wounds and draws out infection, repels flies, and prevents proud flesh. Make Horse First Aid wound cream your first choice for natural healing.

Click below to visit our online story today and select your choice of all-natural Redmond bentonite clay products for your horse.

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