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Why Do Huskies Eat Snow? (Reasons, Problems & How-to Stop)

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Why Do Huskies Eat Snow?
Why do Huskies eat snow?

Why do Huskies eat snow? Well, the easiest answer to this question is that they may just be thirsty! It’s also likely an instinct that they’ve maintained throughout generations upon generations of huskies. In frigid climates, fresh drinking water is usually frozen up and can be in short supply. Huskies naturally would munch on snow in order to get their hydration needs met.

Huskies love the cold, so it also could be that they just like it. If you’ve been around snow as a child, there’s a chance you probably tried biting into a snowball every once in a while, too! It has a satisfying crunch to it that some dogs, especially huskies, just really seem to love.

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3 possible reasons why Huskies eat snow

1. Your Husky is thirsty

Of course, it almost goes without saying that the first reason our huskies may like to eat snow is simply because they are thirsty! Fresh snow is far more convenient than having to go back inside to their water bowl. Plus, outside is where all the fun is!

However, it could also be a more serious sign of dehydration in a dog. If a dog isn’t getting enough water, they can easily become dehydrated, resulting in being unable to control or regulate their body temperature.

Dehydration also causes dogs to lose important electrolytes like sodium, chloride, and potassium, which are essential for their bodies to function properly.

Some common signs of dehydration include:

  • Lethargy
  • Excessive panting
  • Sunken eyes
  • Dry, sticky gums
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dry nose
Why Do Huskies Eat Snow - Your Husky is Thirsty
Hmmm yummy snow! Image from @autumn_th3_husky

2. Your Husky has Pica

Another possible reason why some huskies may eat snow is because of something called pica. Pica is a term to describe a disorder dogs can suffer from in which the dog has an obsession to chew on and eat substances that have no nutritional value.

The desire to eat an item is so strong it becomes a compulsion for them. For some dogs, this could be something like snow, and for others, it could be acorns, rocks, or dirt, just to name a few. Experts are not entirely certain what causes pica, but it sometimes can be an indicator of stress, anxiety, nutritional deficiencies, or underlying conditions.

3. Your Husky has underlying health conditions

Why Do Huskies Eat Snow - Underlying Health Conditions
The tastiest snow is somewhere in here… Image from @britkasblack

Another possible reason that dogs may eat snow is because of underlying health concerns. There are a few diseases or illnesses that can present themselves in the form of increased thirstiness in our pups. Just a few examples are diarrhea, infections, fevers, kidney failure, liver failure, Cushing’s disease, and various forms of cancer. If you notice your husky is eating snow and drinking a lot of water, talk to your vet.d

Unfortunately, some of the various medications used to treat certain diseases can also cause excessive thirst in our dogs. Just a few examples of these drugs include prednisone, furosemide, and phenobarbital. Speak with your vet and monitor your pup closely for side effects of these drugs, like increased thirst resulting in your dog eating snow.

How to stop your Husky from eating snow

If you are worried that your pup may be eating a little bit too much snow, here are some things you can consider doing:

  • Bring your dog’s favorite treats and toy along with you when you go outside to play or for a walk.
  • Distract your dog with the treats or with the toy to help keep them from scarfing down too much snow.

For some dogs, eating snow could start to become a bad habit for them. While clean snow, of course, won’t harm them, obsessively eating snow can make it a little hard for you and your husky to even go for a walk!

As previously mentioned, some dogs can get or develop a condition called pica, where they obsessively eat things they shouldn’t, like dirt or rocks. It is significantly less harmful to eat snow, thankfully! But still, if it becomes an obsession, a muzzle may be in order to keep your pup from filling up on snow.

How To Stop Your Husky From Eating Snow
Huskies love the snow so it’s a challenge to stop them eating it! Image from @huskymajestic_blue

Problems with Huskies eating snow

Playing in and munching on a little bit of freshly fallen snow or snow out in a field somewhere that hasn’t been near sidewalks, roads, or near the bottom layer of vegetation is usually perfectly fine for our pups as any potential contaminants would be at extremely low levels.

Harmful chemicals

Problems With Huskies Eating Snow
Having a good sniff to make sure the snow is health! Image from @toby_husky_pup

However, in some cases, snow can be filled with harmful chemicals like road salt or ice melt. In fact, it is best to avoid letting your dog walk in freshly plowed snow or in the streets because their paws will come into contact with various chemicals used to treat the roads. Eating that snow or even just licking their paws after their walk can cause serious harm.

Many folks find that it helps to keep their dogs on a leash and steer clear of roads and high-traffic areas. Others prefer to have their dogs wear booties to protect their feet from the cold and from any chemicals they may come into contact with.

Bad for your Husky’s tummy

Eating snow can also cause a dog’s stomach to become too cold. This could lead to vomiting as well as the digestive system becoming too cold, which would be seriously detrimental to the dog’s health.


Other potential causes for concern include snow that has been on the road or sidewalk or even snow that has been close to the underlying ground or mixed in with vegetation from the ground. Decaying vegetation from the ground can contain mycotoxins which can be really harmful to our dogs.

Certain mushrooms can also cause harmful effects to our dogs, like GI issues and neurological issues. Rat poison or rodenticide, which homeowners often put outside their homes in the winter months when rodents are more prone to try to sneak indoors. If this mixes in with the snow and your dog manages to eat some, it could be deadly.

Further reading: How cold can Huskies tolerate?

Final takeaways about why Huskies eat snow

While clean, fresh snow is safe, it is still best to avoid letting your dog eat it in large quantities. We don’t want them getting too cold! But a couple of bites here and there won’t hurt, and who are we to try to stop a husky from playing in and eating snow?

Does your Husky eat snow?

Share your experience in the comments below.


Why do huskies eat snow?

Huskies eat snow for a few reasons. One reason is that it helps quench their thirst. Snow can provide hydration for dogs when water is not readily available. Another reason is that huskies have a natural instinct to eat snow, as they are descended from sled dogs that used to live in snowy regions. It may also be a way for them to cool down and regulate their body temperature in hot weather.

Is it bad for dogs to eat snow?

It is generally safe for dogs to eat small amounts of snow. However, there are some things to be cautious about. Snow can contain contaminants such as pollutants or bacteria, so it’s important to make sure the snow is clean before letting your dog eat it. Additionally, if your dog ingests large amounts of snow, it can lower their body temperature and potentially lead to hypothermia. If you have concerns about your dog’s snow-eating habits, it’s best to consult with a veterinarian.

Should I discourage my dog from eating snow?

It depends on the situation. If the snow is clean and your dog is only eating small amounts, there is generally no need to discourage it. However, if the snow is dirty or your dog is eating large quantities, it may be best to discourage the behavior. Make sure your dog has access to fresh water instead. If you’re unsure about whether to discourage your dog from eating snow, it’s always a good idea to consult with a veterinarian.

Can eating snow be harmful to my dog’s health?

In most cases, eating small amounts of clean snow is not harmful to a dog’s health. However, there are certain factors to consider. If the snow is contaminated with toxic substances, it can be harmful to your dog. Additionally, if your dog has an underlying health condition, such as diabetes or kidney disease, eating snow may not be recommended. It’s always best to consult with a veterinarian to evaluate your specific dog’s health and dietary needs.

Can eating snow make my dog sick?

Eating clean snow in small amounts is generally not enough to make your dog sick. However, there are some risks associated with eating snow. If the snow is contaminated with bacteria or pollutants, it can lead to digestive issues or other illnesses. Additionally, if your dog eats large amounts of snow, it can cause hypothermia and lower their body temperature.

What should I do if my dog eats a large amount of snow?

If your dog eats a large amount of snow, monitor their behavior and body temperature closely. If you notice any signs of distress, such as shivering or lethargy, it’s important to warm your dog up immediately. Bring them indoors to a warm environment and wrap them in blankets. If you’re concerned about your dog’s health, it’s best to contact a veterinarian for further guidance.

Can dogs get sick from eating snow that’s been contaminated?

Yes, dogs can get sick from eating snow that is contaminated with bacteria, pollutants, or other harmful substances. It’s important to be cautious about the cleanliness of the snow your dog is consuming. Avoid letting your dog eat snow from areas where there may be chemicals, such as near roads or sidewalks where de-icing agents have been used. If you suspect that your dog has ingested something toxic, contact a veterinarian immediately.

How can I prevent my dog from eating dirty snow?

To prevent your dog from eating dirty snow, you can take a few steps. First, make sure your dog has access to clean, fresh water at all times. This will help prevent them from seeking hydration from alternative sources such as snow. Second, supervise your dog when they are outside and keep an eye out for any areas where the snow may be contaminated, such as near roadways or areas where chemicals have been used. Lastly, consider training and using verbal commands to prevent your dog from eating snow when you give the command.

Can eating snow cause a dog to become dehydrated?

Eating small amounts of snow is generally not enough to cause dehydration in dogs. However, if your dog relies solely on eating snow for hydration and does not have access to fresh water, it can potentially lead to dehydration over time. It’s important to ensure your dog has regular access to fresh water to prevent dehydration, especially in warmer weather or during periods of increased exercise.

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Max Jacobs
Max Jacobs is the owner and lead author of Husky Gifts. He loves spending time with his family, who have two huskies. Max loves to write and is passionate about creating interesting and engaging content. To learn more, visit the team section of the about page.

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