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Nathalie Sari - Tiertraining & Verhaltensberatung

This article was written by TOBALIE in cooperation with Nathalie Sari - Tiertraining & Verhaltensberatung

When the trees and meadows are nicely covered with snow and the slightly warm winter sun makes the snow sparkle, it’s perfect winter walking weather. Especially at this time of year, you often see dogs eating snow. Perhaps your own four-legged friend also likes to eat snow from time to time? Is this actually dangerous or harmful for your pet? Dogs eat snow – what can be done to break them of the habit? 

Why do dogs eat snow?

Let’s start with the question of why some dogs like to eat snow. Snow glistens, falls from the sky in big flakes and is also cool and wet. Some dogs are blown away by the sight of the first snowflakes of the year, especially the more curious among them. 

Snow-covered meadows quickly turn into huge playgrounds. There is romping, rolling, puddling, digging, chasing and yes, sometimes even snacking. Some pups can’t resist the feeling of melting snow in their mouths. 

Is it dangerous for my dog to eat snow?

Yes and No. So there is no reason to panic if your darling once (or rarely) takes clean snow into its mouth and swallows it too. In this case, it is advisable to observe your dog to see if you notice any symptoms (see below).

It can be dangerous if your dog eats snow quite frequently and especially if it eats contaminated snow with chemicals  (road salt, grit, antifreeze, faeces, etc.). 

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What happens when dogs eat snow?

So to summarise again: If your pet eats small amounts of clean snow, this is still harmless in most cases. If your dog eats snow like a hoover, in large quantities and preferably the gruesome, dirty snow at the side of the road, you should put a stop to it.

There are a number of dog health risks that can be caused by eating snow. What are the health risks of snow eating? 

  • Gastrointestinal problems: Abdominal pain, salivation, retching, vomiting, diarrhoea, loss of appetite, infections caused by bacteria and viruses.
  • Snow gastritis: Inflammation of the stomach lining caused by cold snow or contaminants such as road salt.
  • Cough, irritation of the oesophagus.
  • Inflammation of the larynx, tonsils, colds.
  • Fever
  • and much more.

How can I prevent my dog from eating snow?

Dogs are by nature very playful, curious and some will eat anything that seems edible to them. In many cases it is almost impossible to prevent snow eating completely, but there are some things you can do to prevent it from happening often:

  • Don’t throw dog toys, wood or similar into the snow.
  • Especially no snowballs!
  • Do not play search games in the snow .
  • Keep your dog hydrated before a walk.
  • Keep your dog on a leash.
  • A muzzle can protect the dog (be careful not to stick it in the snow and then he can’t breathe).
  • A clear stop signal every time your dog tries to pick up snow – offer him an alternative
  • Rewards for compliance (praise and treats)
  • Distraction, such as exciting walks
Hund fangt den Schnee beim Spielen


The sight of snowy landscapes doesn’t just make our human hearts beat faster. Some dogs go into a euphoric frenzy when the first flakes land on their snout. But be careful if your dog eats large quantities of dirty snow. Eating snow can promote the development of certain diseases and should therefore not be allowed.