Can I Float My Horse’s Teeth Myself?

With all animals in general and with horses specifically, it’s remarkably important that you put a certain amount of effort into keeping their denture strong and healthy. A horse needs their teeth constantly when it comes to numerous things, which makes having a decent set of teeth extremely valuable for any horse!

Yet, as horses get older, their bodies experience some wear and tear and of course, that’s no different when it comes to their teeth. A horse’s teeth wear down over the years which often makes them very sharp around the edges. This can definitely cause a horse a lot of pain and discomfort, to say the least. That’s why it would unquestionably be a good idea to float your horse’s teeth every once in a while, at least once every year. But, can you do this by yourself or do you need professional help?

What Is Floating a Horse’s Teeth?

In order to answer the above-asked question properly, it’s first and foremost necessary to paint a clear picture of what floating a horse’s teeth actually is.

Well, as mentioned, the teeth of a horse wear off as they get older. However, it remains the case that this often doesn’t happen very evenly for all teeth involved. Even more so, when you take into account the amount of chewing that a horse generally does daily, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that some teeth wear down more easily than others do. When the teeth don’t wear off evenly, certain sharp edges may start developing, so to speak. This is extremely uncomfortable, not just because it makes chewing more difficult for horses, but also because it simply can cause a lot of pain for your horse.

Now, that’s exactly where floating comes in quite handy. That is to say, floating is a special technique to shape a horse’s teeth accordingly in an attempt to get rid of those sharp edges and hooks. The whole point of floating basically is to make sure that the surface of each teeth becomes as flat as possible again to ensure that your horse no longer experiences any pain. Namely, floating should make it smooth again for your horse to chew and eat, etc. Often, floating is a procedure that’s done by an equine dentist with the necessary license, but it happens just as often that an actual veterinarian is involved in the procedure.

A proven method to float a horse’s teeth is to use a special rasp or file. This rasp is specially designed to make sure that the sharpest edges of a horse’s teeth are filed down. This traditional rasp, also known as a float, comes in every shape and size known to man and needs to be handled manually. However, nowadays, there are also floats available that are driven by electricity or that work on the base of an air compressor.

No matter which particular kind of float you use to float, it should be noted that floating usually doesn’t take up a lot of time. Of course, this is only the case when there are no complications involved. Occasionally, when there are horses with additional dental problems, floating can sometimes get a little more complicated and then, the procedure will take a little longer.

Finally, it’s important to mention that floating normally doesn’t cause any pain for horses. At the most, your horse will experience a little bit of discomfort, which absolutely isn’t unbearable in the slightest. Floating is that painless for horses since the nerves in a horse’s teeth are placed a lot deeper than is the case with human teeth. Consequently, it doesn’t happen very often that one of those nerves gets hit during the floating procedure. Customarily, horses thus really aren’t that bothered when vets perform the procedure on them.

Can I Do It Myself?

When it comes to the question of whether or not you can actually float your horse’s teeth yourself, the answer basically is very short and simple: No, it definitely wouldn’t be wise to float your horse’s teeth yourself. However, this requires a little bit of further explanation, of course.

It should be said that floating a horse’s teeth is a very basic procedure. However, this needs to be nuanced slightly. It’s a basic procedure for a veterinarian or an equine dentist, not for the average citizen. To underlie this statement, there are a couple of reasons that ought to be addressed.


For starters, one of those reasons entails that a horse needs to be sedated every now and then when their teeth get floated. It goes without saying that this can only happen safely when there’s a vet around to keep everything running smoothly. The average person usually also doesn’t have any horse anesthetics lying around their house and would definitely not know what the exact dosage should be in this aspect. Whichever way you choose to look at it, it just absolutely wouldn’t be a good idea to sedate a horse, unless there’s a vet present to supervise the whole thing.

The Equipment

Furthermore, you need specialized equipment to float, such as the float itself, as mentioned before. That’s exactly the kind of material that most people aren’t normally in the possession of. And even if that would actually be the case, it still wouldn’t be a smart decision to start handling that kind of equipment without any kind of professional help to guide you along the way.

The experience

Lastly, let’s not forget that vets and equine dentists went through specialized training and education. As a result, they know perfectly what a floating procedure entails, and they also are very much suited to handle the horses during such a procedure. Every horse is unique en vets know excellently which kind of float they need to use for which particular horse en they also know which exact strategy they need to use in every situation. That’s precisely the kind of knowledge that the ordinary citizen doesn’t have. Hence, that’s the primary reason why you shouldn’t float your horse’s teeth yourself.


So, even though floating definitely isn’t a complicated procedure, it positively wouldn’t be wise to float your horse’s teeth yourself. Of course, there are exceptions when it comes to people that are trained properly themselves for example, but besides those kinds of people, it’s absolutely recommended to consult a vet when your horse’s teeth need to be floated.