Why Do Dogs Eat Snow?

If you’ve ever taken your dog out in the snow, chances are that they sneaked a lick (or a chomp) of the cold stuff. But why do dogs eat snow? And is it safe? If you’ve ever been concerned that your dog ate snow, here’s what you need to know.

The danger comes primarily from toxic substances, such as ice melt or antifreeze, that might contaminate the snow. And eating snow in large quantities could dangerously lower your dog’s body temperature.

Another danger is that your dog might bite down on or consume harmful objects, such as sticks, rocks or trash that’s buried beneath the snow. These could break teeth, cause choking or, if swallowed, cause intestinal damage or blockage that could necessitate surgery.

Is it safe for dogs to eat snow?

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not safe for your dog to eat snow. Why? Beneath the snow could be a bounty of waste, chemicals and salt that are not appropriate for ingestion. Eating snow can also lower your dog’s core temperature, ultimately, making them colder and risking conditions such as hypothermia.

Will eating snow hurt my dog?

For the most part, dogs will be perfectly safe if they eat some snow while out playing in the yard. Snow is merely frozen water vapor, meaning fresh, powdery snow can do very little harm to your dog’s health. Some dog owners have noticed that their pet gets a stomach ache after eating a lot of snow.

Can eating snow cause diarrhea in dogs?

Dogs are at risk if they lick their paws or drink from a puddle of melted snow. While larger dogs that eat a lot of salt will probably just have symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea, salt can cause serious reactions like confusion, seizures or even worse for smaller breeds.

If you live in a city affected by cold-weather winters, you will probably experience a deluge of snow and ice over the next few months. Winter weather can pose an interesting series of challenges for pet parents, especially when dogs dont like to walk in the cold or touch snow with their paws. However, some pets thoroughly embrace the joys winter has to offer, including snow.

In general, letting your dog chow down on a bit of frozen water vapor is perfectly safe. Piles of snow on the side of the road or sidewalk, for example, may contain salt and chemical de-icers that can make your dog very sick if they eat even a small amount.

Twigs, rocks, plants and other natural materials may be lurking beneath the surface, out of sight, and can be choking hazards. If your dog does eat snow and suddenly appears to be sick, vomiting, shaking or acting lethargic, seek veterinary help immediately.