Between the shavings he sleeps in, the hay he eats, and the cobwebs in the rafters, your horse’s home may be full of dust that could negatively affect his respiratory health. That’s because “dust” isn’t just “dust.” Dust particles are also made of fungal and mold spores, mites and other insect parts, and bacteria and their toxins. Though “dust-free” and “barn” are rarely found in the same sentence, there are steps you can take to help keep the dust down. Read on for five easy ways to chase the dust bunnies away and help your horse breathe easy this season.

Problem: Hay
Dust-Busting Solution: Wetting or soaking your horse’s hay helps minimize dust, while steaming it with a product like the Haygain HG-1000 Full Bale Hay Steamer will sterilize it, killing any potentially harmful components.

Problem: Sweeping
Dust-Busting Solution: Timing is everything! Try to sweep while the horses are out, but if you must do it while the horses are inside, wet down the aisle before you start, to minimize the dust particles that your horse breathes in.

Problem: Closed Barn
Dust-Busting Solution: It’s tempting to keep the barn shut tight all winter long to preserve what little heat you have, but you don’t want to lock out fresh air. To keep clean air circulating inside, when the temps warm up, open up the barn as much as possible.

Problem: Shavings
Dust-Busting Solution: Whenever possible, put down fresh bedding while the horses are out and the barn doors are open. Also, try to use whatever dust-free shavings are available in your area and avoid straw.

Problem: Cobwebs
Dust-Busting Solution: Cobwebs trap dust, so be sure to de-cobweb regularly (this is also a smart fire safety tip!). Wait until after the horses have been turned out for the day to minimize their exposure to the extra dust.