Why do dogs love to eat snow
Some dogs absolutely love being in the snow and some of them actually eat the white fluffy stuff. This kind of behavior can be difficult to explain and there are several probable causes for it. It is possible that your dog just enjoys the sensation of the snow melting in his/her mouth; however, there is also a chance that a disease is triggering your dog’s snow eating habits. Let’s explore the possible reasons why your dog is eating snow.
Canine ancestors had to survive under less than optimal conditions; they needed a source of water when the rivers and other water streams froze. Eating snow allowed ancestral canines to stay hydrated during the winter and your dog may still do it just because he has an ancestral memory of that behavior.
Dogs who do not have access to fresh and clean water may consume large amounts of snow. Canines dehydrate very quickly and will do nearly anything to replenish the fluids that they need. Although, freshly fallen snow may only have 5 percent of water, your dog will eat it if he/she is thirsty. Make sure that your dog always has clean fresh water available.
There is a chance that your dog tried snow for the first time just out of curiosity and found that the sensation of the cold fluffy material melting in his/her mouth was pleasant. They probably experience the same sensation we have when we eat snow cones (without the sugary toppings, of course).
There are some diseases that cause an increase in the amount of water that your dog consumes. This is called polydipsia and it is a characteristic sign of diabetes, kidney failure, Cushing's syndrome, thyroid disease, among others. The mere fact that your dog is eating snow does not mean that he/she is sick; however, you should pay attention to the amount of snow he/she eats and the frequency of this behavior. Also pay attention to the amount of water consumed. If you observe that your dog is thirstier that unusual you should take him/her to visit a veterinarian. Your dog’s veterinarian will run some tests and tell you if there is any underlying disease and what you can do to help your dog.
Should I allow my Dog to Eat Snow?
If your dogs eats a little bit of snow from your backyard now and then there is nothing to worry about, but there are some things that you need to consider. In some places the snow can be contaminated with toxic substances like anti-freeze and pesticides. Anti-freeze poisoning is very serious and it can lead to your dog’s death; therefore, it is better to prevent your dog from eating snow, unless you are certain that the snow is “clean”. In addition, eating too much snow could lead to hypothermia and to gastric upset. Overall, there is nothing wrong if your dog plays with the snow and eats a little of it, but always pay attention to what he/she eats to avoid any health consequences.
I take care of a ~1 year old female Shepsky part time. She loves eating snow even though she gets adequate water. The snow eating gives her loose stool and the need to pee often. How does one use positive reinforcement to stop a dog from eating snow? She will drop snow on the "Leave it" command, but this is not a solution when snow it everywhere. It seems somewhat impossible.