In a word…yes!
Dogs love snow. It’s smooshy, it’s unusual, and it’s the ideal place for hiding sticks. As a dog mom or dad, it’s your responsibility to help your dog understand his limits when he’s rollicking in the white stuff.
Can Snow Hurt My Dog?
Of course it can! Dogs can get hypothermia when left in too-cold temperatures for too long, so you never want to leave your dog in the snow unattended. Unsurprisingly, one of the most common ways dogs hurt themselves in snowy conditions is actually by falling on ice, not into snow itself.
So, It’s Okay for My Dog to Play in Snow?
Sure! Just in moderation. Your dog shouldn’t play in the snow for more than about half-an-hour, but be sure to watch him closely while he plays for signs of hypothermia such as weakness, shivering, or shallow breathing. Dogs get distracted, and they’re not likely to cut their own playtime short unless they’re really, really ill.
Should I Dress My Dog for Snow?
If snow play is going to be a one-time thing, feel free to let your dog out “naked.” Just remember, he’ll get colder faster this way and should be brought inside after a few minutes to warm up and dry off. If playing in the snow is a regular thing, you’ll want to invest in some snow gear for your pup such as all-weather pants or even “blizzard suits.”
Does My Dog Need Those Cute Snow Boots? (Please Say Yes…)
If you live in an area where extreme cold isn’t unusual, yes, go ahead and get some boots. They’re useful not just for playing in the snow, but for long walks on frozen or otherwise cold ground, too. If your dog hates the boots, just be sure to trim his nails (for better traction on ice) and slater his paws with vaseline or cold-weather balm when he comes inside to prevent chapping. And don’t forget…you should always wash your dog’s paws after a walk!
Can My Dog Eat Snow?
If your pooch licks a puff of snow off his nose, there’s no need to call the vet. When it comes to feeding him snowballs, though, don’t do it. Why? You wouldn’t let your dog lick the water out of a questionable rain puddle; snow can be polluted, too. If you live in a cold climate you have to worry that your dog might accidentally ingest antifreeze or de-icer if he takes to eating snow.
Treat your dog’s snow adventure just like you would a kid’s. Assume he’s having too much fun to know when to come inside and plan accordingly. And be cautious when you let your dog off-leash! Snow can make it difficult for dogs (and drivers!) to tell where streets end and sidewalks begin. Snow play is best done in a park or other wide open space.