Your responsibility as a pet parent is no less. Once you realize your canine friend has become a family, you start caring more. Honestly, these buddies deserve every bit of that. Like many people, you may also have a husky for their pleasant, friendly, and gentle nature. Some dogs like the snow and play with it, while others eat it. While everything goes smoothly, one fine day, you notice your husky eating the white fluffy stuff during his outdoor walk. Or, he may be enjoying some on the patio. It may immediately make you question this behavior due to your concern for his health.
Dogs eating snow can seem normal without some investigation. For instance, you can assume your husky is thirsty, and hence, this. Those who know much about pets and different dog breeds may have more to add. They say it can be intuitive for huskies, whose predecessors lived and survived the frigid climate of the Siberian Arctic. Because drinking water turns to ice in extreme cold, their ancestors would gorge on snow to hydrate themselves. Or, they genuinely like it, just any child who tries to bite into a snowball. Your husky could be attracted to its crunch. So, let’s dig into this aspect and the potential consequences so you can protect your pet.
Why do huskies eat snow?
Your assumption he is thirsty can be valid. Eating snow is more convenient for him than going to his water bowl and drinking from it. Plus, it’s fun outside. On the downside, his behavior may signal he suffers from severe dehydration and cannot regulate his body temperature. Due to dehydration, his electrolyte levels can drastically reduce, affecting body functions. Watch out if he is lethargic, pants excessively, or has sunken eyes. Signs like dry nose, vomiting, dry gums, and diarrhea can also manifest. This snow-eating behavior can sometimes be due to a disorder called pica.
Dogs with pica usually munch on things that don’t contain any nutrition. They can feel compelled to eat something like snow, dirt, rocks, acorns, etc. Although the cause of this disorder is still elusive, experts say they may exhibit such tendencies due to stress, anxiety, lack of nutrition, or any medical condition. So, what can that underlying health problem appear in the form of thirstiness in the pups? It can be liver failure, infection, diarrhea, fever, cancer, Cushing’s disease, etc. When you find your husky drinking plenty of water and eating snow, please report it to the vet. At the same time, you must know that a few drugs can also lead to excessive thirst in your furry friend. Think of Phenobarbital, furosemide, and prednisone.
How to prevent your husky from digging into snow?
When you witness any such sight, try a few things to stop your dear pet from indulging in the snow. Carry your canine’s favorite toys and treats when you take them for a walk outside. Distract them with these so they stop scoffing down snow. Some dogs develop a habit of eating snow. But you may have to muzzle them up to make snow inaccessible. Clean snow may not be as problematic, but obsessive indulgence can be costly. As mentioned, it can result from pica disorder, but snow is still safer than rocks and dirt.
Is snow harmful to your husky’s health?
The fresh snow of the season in the field may be safe compared to the ones lying on the sidewalks, under vegetation, or on the roads. It might not have many contaminants. Still, some cases can be different. Snow can have ice melt or road salt, a few common harmful chemicals. Due to this, vets tell pet parents to avoid taking dogs for a walk when the streets have just cleared the snow. Walking your dog on the recently treated roads will cause his paws to touch those chemicals. The chemicals will enter their system if they lick their paws or eat snow. Some pet parents put a leash on their pets, keeping them away from busy roads. Others make them wear booties to cover their feet to avoid problems like contact with chemicals and cold.
Snow is also bad for their health because it can make their tummy too cold, causing vomiting and other digestive disorders. Another good reason to keep your dog away from snow is the presence of mycotoxins. Snow on the sidewalk, road, or underlying ground with decaying vegetation growth can have this fungal substance. It is harmful not just for dogs but humans also. Some mushroom species can also threaten their well-being with neurological or GI issues. To prevent rodent infestation, a few homeowners mix rat poison in the snow outside their houses during colder months. If your dog eats this snow, it can be fatal.
Dogs use their mouths and nose to check everything around them. Hence, it’s normal if they test it with their tongue during the initial snowfall season. While tasting the fresh layer is acceptable, you must ensure your husky doesn’t fill in the snow. Apart from the chemicals, it can contain many nefarious elements, like leaves, sticks, and rocks. At the same time, the yellow color of the snow may not mean so much danger as others like pink, black, brown, blue, or something else. The one covering the pavement driven by cars may have received a dose of leaking fluids like engine coolant, wiper fluid, or motor oil. It can be deadly if your dog ingests even a tiny amount of snow with those elements. Keep an eye on snow that looks orange, blue, or green.
Rearing up your pet friend is a lot of work. As mentioned, they need more care and attention. If you cannot manage them, avoiding taking such responsibility is better. However, when you bring them home, love them as much as possible. Use the best dog feeds, get them vaccinations, visit your vet regularly, and keep your friend occupied. You may need time and space to adjust to each other’s presence, but the effort can be worth it.