Snowfall is one of the most magical yet mystical phenomena to occur in our world. No matter how old we get, we can’t get over the fascination once the snow starts to fall.
Similarly, our curious canine fellas can’t also get their paws off the snowy ground even if it’s cold. At times, their fascination with the immaculately white powder can egg them to eat it.
But is it entirely normal for mutts to taste snow? Are there other reasons aside from curiosity that spurs our doggy pals to eat it?
Well, if you’re that eager to dig deep into your canine’s snow-eating spree, better continue reading below.
Why does my dog eat snow?
There are various reasons why canines eat snow despite its freezing temperature. Aside from curiosity, it’s also possible that they simply like the taste of it (whatever that means for them). The genes passed down to them by their ancestors can even cause such peculiar behavior. But, snow-eating for dogs can also point to health-related issues. It can be dehydration or underlying medical conditions (Cushing’s disease, thyroid, and kidney problems).
1. Curiosity about its taste
It’s not new to most of us how our furry doggy friends have particular preferences with the food they eat. These preferences can range from delectable doggy biscuits to bizarre ones like shoes.
Since canines love exploring everything in their environment, it’s not unusual to find them munching on snow.
Like babies, mutts love using their sense of taste to get to know the world better. Whatever their reason is, there’s something about the snow that makes them keep coming back for more.
Yet, even if it’s merely their fascination for snow that makes dogs eat it, you still have to keep a watchful eye on them. If possible, don’t let your beloved doggo nibble large quantities of it.
Though it’s frozen water, we don’t know for sure what chemicals or other items hide beneath it. It’s even likely for pups to have an upset stomach after eating large portions of snow.
2. Genetic makeup
While a pup can’t help but eat snow for discovery purposes, its genetic predisposition can also be the culprit for this behavior.
Long before humans domesticated our canine pals, dogs living in cold climates munch on snow to rehydrate themselves. Since snow’s merely water that froze up, it’s like they’re drinking water from it as well.
Though they’re not chemistry experts, wild dogs intrinsically know what snow’s made up of. Hence, it’s not unusual for mutts to use snow as a thirst quencher if fresh water’s sparse in the area.
Yet, even as more canines nowadays become a part of loving human homes, this odd behavior’s still deeply embedded in their DNA.
Hence, no matter how you crossbreed dogs, you’ll still see this snow-eating act in modern-day canines.
Though it’s amusing to see pups nibbling on snow, it’s not always their curiosity that prompts them to do so. Another compelling reason for dogs to eat snow is dehydration.
How is this even possible? Aren’t we conserving more water now that the temperature’s dropping?
Well, here’s how experts explain it.
Most of the time, cold weather sucks the moisture in the air. And, when the weather’s dry, our canines’ bodies need more fluid intake to compensate for the loss.
In fact, a dog’s body loses water at a much faster rate than we humans. Hence, it’s not unusual for our canine buddies to want to drink water now and then.
Since snow falls everywhere that is roofless, it’s the readiest water source for our canine pals.
This is especially true if your pup refuses to lap up the leftover water in its bowl.
Since mutts have keen noses, they know when the water isn’t good or even safe to consume. Thus, they’ll find a tastier and safer option for them to rehydrate themselves.
But, while snow’s frozen water, even the freshest ones aren’t a hundred percent pure water. In fact, only five percent of snow is water.
So, if you want to curb your doggo’s peculiar snow-eating habit, change the water in their bowls as often as possible. No matter the weather, it’s best to stock up on fresh water for your beloved mutts.
4. Medical issues
Last but definitely not a reason you should ignore are underlying medical conditions.
Though an illness isn’t always the reason that comes into our minds, we shouldn’t discount this possibility at all.
More severe diseases can also cause your pup to munch on snow. Such conditions can range from thyroid diseases, kidney ailments, diabetes, or even Cushing’s disease.
Thus, if you still see your mutt munching on snow despite regularly changing its water, consult the vet straight away.
Eating large amounts of snow isn’t amusing and typical at all, hence, the need for a thorough health check on your doggo.
But, snow-eating can also happen if your dog has a queasy stomach. Some canines will try to ease their bellyaches by nibbling on snow to induce puking.
Is it safe for mutts to eat snow?
Technically speaking, letting your playful mutt munch on snow occasionally isn’t a danger per se. It’s even healthy for our canine pals to eat it once in a while to satisfy their curiosity.
What’s more worrisome is if your doggo starts eating more than a mouthful of snow that’s enough to make them sick.
As long as you know that the snow falling in your area’s clean and fresh, you’ve got nothing to worry about.
But, as snow can hide everything underneath it, you shouldn’t be too complacent. Dangerous and toxic items can lurk beneath the snow, which can make our dogs seriously ill.
These objects can range from innocent sticks to harmful chemicals.
Hence, it’s always a pro tip to check the snow’s appearance before letting your pup have a banquet on it.
If you see that the snow’s melting, or it’s discolored and dirty, don’t allow your canine pal to eat it.
The same rule applies for plowed-up snow or those covering sidewalks and roads.
Tips on curbing snow-eating in canines
While it’s technically safe for our pups to eat snow, you’ll want to discourage this behavior at all costs. Aside from the hidden dangers mentioned earlier, you also don’t know what mixes with the snow.
If you’re determined to stop this peculiar snow-eating habit once and for all, try these tips. You may even need to combine one or two of them to make it more effective.
- Provide lots of water for your canine pal to drink. If possible, change it regularly to ensure its freshness at all times.
- If you don’t want your doggo to stray far while taking a wintry hike, make sure to put a leash on it. Don’t allow your pup to wander on puddles of melted snow, as these are most likely laden with harmful chemicals.
- Make sure to bring along your mutt’s favorite toys or treats. In this way, you can have something to use when diverting its attention from the snowy puddle on the ground.
- Place snow booties on your canine pal’s feet. As chemicals and microbes can make their way into your pup’s paws, it’s always a wise decision to make them wear booties.
Regardless of what reason your dogs have for eating snow, it’s always you as their fur parent who knows best.
Though it’s good to indulge in their snowy whims from time to time, it’s you who knows when to ring the alarm.
And, if ever your mutt manages to nibble on snow laden with harmful chemicals, don’t panic. Seek immediate veterinary consult, and you’re good to go.