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Ever wonder why dogs love snow? Canine science experts have a few theories: it's new and different and predators like change (prey animals do not); it transforms their surroundings into a big play room and they love to play; it changes the appearance and scent of everything it touches; and more. So that may explain why dogs love to romp around in, bury their face in and even eat snow. But is it safe for dogs to eat snow? We detail that here.
Actually, snow isn't really that safe for your dog to eat. For starters, eating snow can lower your dog's core temperature, which puts them at risk for hypothermia. But snow also covers a lot of things that can be dangerous to your dog, like chemicals, garbage and the salt used to melt ice on the roads. Read on for more detail below.
Pro Tip: If your dog wants to eat snow, you can try to satisfy his or her craving with some cool water indoors or one or two ice cubes.
The salt used to melt ice during winter can upset your dog's stomach and mouth if he or she eats it. And too much can lead to more serious issues like lethargy, weakness or seizures. In addition, salt can stick to your dog's paw pads and continued contact can irritate or burn his or her paws.
Pro Tip: When taking longer walks with your dog in the winter, try to stay on the grass or sidewalk to avoid salt. You can also use winter booties for dogs to protect your his or her paws.
When taking your dog out around your home, one option to avoid potential salt contact or ingestion is to use a pet-friendly ice melter on your driveway, walkway and the sidewalks in front of your house. You'll need to find ones that are salt and chloride free as those elements can be harmful to your pup if ingested.
Grooming is important for your dog if he or she is going to be walking through snow. Keeping their toes, and the fur around them, trimmed will help prevent ice build-up. Ice clumps can cause discomfort or pain, make it hard for your dog to walk and encourage licking that could result in salt or chemical ingestion.
Pro Tip: Ice clumps are not always avoidable, so make sure to wipe off your dog's paws with warm water after walking in the cold. You can also use winter booties for dogs to protect your pup's paws.
If you're nervous about going out in the snow but need to get your dog some exercise, you can opt for some alternative options. Doggy day care is a great way to get your pup some physical exercise plus socialization. If you're looking for a more affordable alternative, indoor games that get your pup moving are good options. These include fetch, tossing treats or kibble around the home or a laser pointer, if your dog is into that.