Updated on November 25, 2022

Why Do Huskies Eat Snow? [Dogs Eating Snow Explained]

Why Do Huskies Eat Snow? Pin
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.

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.

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 Pin
Hmmm yummy snow! 😋 Image from @autumn_th3_husky

2. Your Husky has Pica

Another possible reason for 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

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.

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

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 Pin
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

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.

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

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.

Mycotoxins

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.

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.

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