Have you ever tried drinking a cup of iced tea on a cold winter day? Sounds ridiculous, right? You’d rather prefer a cup of hot cocoa on such a day. Well, your dog doesn’t always think a cup of hot cocoa is a good idea. In fact, it prefers to eat snow on a cold winter day!
And why is that? Let’s find out.
Why do Dogs Love to Eat Snow?
There are many theories and arguments as to why dogs like to eat snow. But, here are a few that most dog owners would agree.
- Fascination With Snow
Dogs love snow simply because they find it fascinating. It is something new, is soft, fluffy and hard to catch. Aren’t these enough reasons for dogs to love snow?
Some dogs go absolutely crazy when they see snow that they can’t quite control themselves. In their enthusiasm, they end up eating snow without even realizing what’s going on.
One of the most scientific reasons for dogs to eat snow is dehydration. During winters, the chances of dehydration are high because the weather is dry and is mostly devoid of moisture unless you live in a cold and humid place. This is why we need more water during winters.
Unfortunately, most of us do not realize that and may not leave extra water for our dogs too. The bowl of water that you leave for your dog may not be enough and eating snow is the dog’s natural way to fulfill its hydration needs.
In fact, eating snow is a better form of hydration than drinking the stale water that was kept in the bowl a few days back. Many dog owners do not realize that they have to change the water often, even if the bowl still has quite some water left. As humans, do we ever drink a sip of water from a glass, leave it on the kitchen counter for a few days and then drink the same water again? So, how can we expect our dogs to do that?
Dogs have a keen sense of smell and this is why they may prefer to eat snow over the stale water kept in the dog bowl for many days. Studies show that dogs dehydrate much faster than humans and they need more water to replenish their fluids in the body.
If you don’t change the water in the bowl at least a few times every day, the dog will opt for snow on a wintery day. Unfortunately, fresh snow does not even have so much water. It contains only five percent water, so your dog might have to eat the snow all day long to get the hydration it needs.
So, to avoid this, keep a fresh bowl of water for your dog, preferably all through the year.
- Love the Taste
Just like humans, some dogs have a weird taste too. They just love snacking on snow and repeatedly go to eat it.
But pet owners should watch out for this behavior as eating too much snow can cause intestinal problems for your dog. Many times, it leads to diarrhoea and you would end up cleaning your carpet more often than you’ll like. This is why keep an eye out for your dog and ensure that he doesn’t eat too much of his favorite “snack.”
- Medical Issues
Though it may be fun to watch your dog catch some snow and eat it, there could be a lot more going on behind that craving.
Besides dehydration, madness for eating snow could point to several underlying conditions such as Cushing’s disease, kidney stones and more.
So, if you see your dog constantly craving for snow, start with a bowl of water. When that doesn’t help, take your dog to the vet. Maybe you can take a picture or two of your dog eating the snow for your own happiness, but it may not be a happy time for your dog as it has to grapple with medical issues underlying this craze.
- Genetic Predisposition
Though your dog is a pet now, it was not so for many centuries. This means, your dog is genetically tuned to eat snow for hydration because this is something that its ancestors had been doing in the wild.
These genes could have got passed down to your dog, so it might just feel inclined to eat the snow to hydrate itself. Remember, water sources get frozen in the wild during winters and snow was the best possible source of water after hunting small animals. So, your dog simply has a genetic predisposition to snow and eats it.
Now that we’ve looked at some reasons, the next big question is should you allow your dog to eat snow?
Should Your Dog eat Snow?
Well, yes but in limited quantities. If your dog has a fancy for the snow or if its natural instincts make it feel like eating snow, there is no harm in doing so.
But, as a pet owner, you should look for a pattern here. Is your dog just trying to eat snow for the fun of it? Or does it look it your dog really needs it? In the first case, it is ok to allow your dog to have some fun. Maybe it will eventually get bored of the cold and would want to snuggle with you.
But, if it is the second reason, keep a bowl of fresh water and see if that helps. If your dog continues to eat snow, take him to the vet to check for underlying medical conditions. It could be more than what meets the eye.
In short, dogs love to eat snow for many reasons such as their natural instincts, the fascinating aspect of the snow and maybe even because it is dehydrated and is not getting enough fresh water. However, if you see your dog getting desperate for the snow, it is time to pay a visit to the vet.