This Is Why Your Dog Should Never Eat Snow

Winter … and almost the whole country turns into a wonderland … For many dogs, there is no greater joy than frolicking in the snow. Does your fur nose enjoy playing in a snowy park or garden? Of course, it’s cute and fun for the owners. However, be careful. Because: your dog shouldn’t eat snow.

Some dogs, out of curiosity, gnaw on the strange white substance that now lies in their favorite meadow, others like the taste. Dogs eat snow for genetic reasons too: the ancestors of our dogs living in the Arctic had to eat snow to survive – a theory that experts say is possible, but for which there is no scientific basis.

When Dogs Eat Snow, It Can Backfire

Whatever the reason your dog likes to eat snow, you should stop him from doing it. Swallowing snow can lead to so-called snow gastritis, explains veterinarian Dr. Michael Koch. Cold – or mud in the snow – can infect your dog’s sensitive stomach lining and cause acute inflammation of the stomach lining.

This can be said by the following symptoms:

  • blisters in the stomach and intestines
  • salivation
  • cough
  • heat
  • diarrhea, in severe cases even bloody diarrhea
  • strangle
  • vomit
  • abdominal pain (recognizable by a bowed back and/or a tight abdominal wall)

My Dog Ate the Snow – What Should I Do?

How whether your four-legged friend reacts to snow depends on the dog. While one is easy to clean, the other has big problems even after a little snow. Therefore, you should keep a close eye on your dog when it has eaten the snow.

If your dog develops mild symptoms after eating snow, you can help with a gentle gastrointestinal diet. Also, make sure the water in the bowl is not too cold and at room temperature. If symptoms worsen or do not improve every other day, you should see your veterinarian urgently.

Impurities in the Snow are Especially Dangerous

However, it is often not only the cold of the snow that is the cause of snowy gastritis – dogs often swallow snow contaminated with, for example, road salt or other antifreeze or deicing agents. Road salt is especially irritating to the stomach lining, and other chemicals – such as antifreeze, which is found in some road salt – are even poisonous.

Therefore, it is worth making sure that your dog is not eating snow if possible. This means: even if it’s tempting, you should avoid snowball fights with your dog – because of course your dog wants to catch the snowball you threw. Dogs also eat snow over and over again in other fishing or hunting games.

Instead, you can build a trail in the snow for your dog, so it can, for example, jump over a small wall of snow or climb onto a large snowball.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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