Why Do Dogs Eat Snow?

Snow – It’s festive, fun, and exciting, and most of us love it, including dogs.

During winter, when taking your dog for a walk, it will likely jump and roll in the snow delightedly. It may also try to pick some snow with its mouth – and the bits may end on its tongue.

Dogs Love Eating Snow. Why?

Below are the reasons your dog takes to eating snow.

1. Puppy Curiosity

Dogs love to explore, and mainly, they do this using their mouths. They will eat practically anything they come across. Thus it is only natural that they will be curious to know how snow tastes and feels to chew.

2. Thirst/Dehydration

It is a myth that dogs do not get as thirsty during winter as they do on a hot day. People associate dehydration with heat, but cold air can dehydrate the body even more. Walking your dog is a form of exercise, and they will drain to some extent, just like you. Considering snow is frozen water, your pup might eat it to quench its thirst.

Ensure always to keep your dog well hydrated. Do not let it rehydrate after exercising as it may take too much water, which can be dangerous.

If your dog has signs of severe dehydration, make sure to visit your vet the soonest as possible to prevent organ failure.

3. Genetics – It’s in Their DNA

Before dogs were domesticated, their arctic ancestors ate snow to hydrate and survive. In what they term “an evolutionary need to hydrate, “Some scientists argue that the innate snow-eating trait could have been passed down through genetics.

4. Health Condition

Consult your trusted veterinarian if you realize your dog is excessively eating snow. This could be a sign of illnesses such as Cushing’s disease, thyroid, liver disease, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, or kidney-related problems.

These diseases induce extreme thirst that your dog might feel regular water is not quenching.

5. They Like It

Naturally, dogs like the taste of water, and snow is no different. Snow could probably be a dog’s equivalent of an ice lolly.

Occasionally, your dog could not like the taste of the water in their usual bowl. This happens especially if the water has been sitting unchanged for several days. It is advisable always to keep your dog’s water supply clean, fresh, and cold.

6. Self Medication

Sometimes canines take to snow for self-medication, whereby they might be trying to get rid of something from their system. Commonly, a parasite or stomach bug.

On a typical summer day, your puppy will achieve this by chewing on grass. But since grass is buried underneath the snow during winters, they will turn to it instead. It is okay for them to use snow since, if taken in large quantities, it causes vomiting.

Stomach bugs mostly go away through this method, but if you suspect a parasite case, your dog will need anti-parasitic medication prescribed by a vet.

Is It Safe for Your Dog to Eat Snow?

Yes, but only if the snow is clean and free from toxic substances such as ice melt or antifreeze. However, it would be best if you still exercised caution as the dog could bite and chew sticks, garbage, and rocks trapped under the snow. These could break your pup’s teeth and cause choking or intestinal damage if swallowed.

Moreover, eating large amounts of ice could cause hypothermia, dangerously lowering your canine’s body temperature.

Final Sentiment

It’s normal for dogs to enjoy playing with and eating snow, and that’s okay. Nonetheless, you must ensure they do not take in any toxic or harmful substances. If, by accident, they happen to take in too much snow or swallow foreign material, restrain from panicking. Contact your veterinary doctor for advice.

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