Why Do Dogs Love Snow? Dog Behavior Explained
By Jessica Kim
While it’s very clear that many dogs love snow, the reason why they love it so much isn’t quite as clear. We may not be able to get answers by approaching a dog and asking it to tell us why it loves snow, but we can learn a lot and make good speculations based on its behavior.
The thought is that dogs love snow simply because it brings something new and exciting for them to interact with. Here are some guesses as to why dogs may be obsessed with snow.
Snow Brings Change
Some dog behaviorists believe that dogs enjoy the snow for similar reasons that many human children love snow. It brings out a refreshing change of scenery, and it also changes the usual environment to provide new ways to play. For many dogs, snow can provide new forms of entertainment and new ways to interact with their usual outdoor playgrounds.
Snow Is Like a New Toy
Humans can do a lot with snow. We can throw snowballs, make snowmen and forts, and ride on sleds. Dogs can also view snow as a special toy they can play with only during certain times of the year.
You may notice your dog romping around excitedly in the snow and tossing it up in the air with its nose and mouth. Dogs can also roll around in a fresh blanket of snow and enjoy the cooling sensation, similar to how people can lay out and make snow angels.
Snow is Enriching
Many dogs like to forage for food, and snow is the perfect enrichment tool that enables dogs to forage. Dogs may enjoy sticking their nose in the snow and sniffing around to see what they can find. You can even make a game out of this behavior and hide some treats in the snow for your dog to snoop and dig out.
Dogs also enjoy sniffing and rely heavily on their nose to gather information about the world around them. So, when snow acts like a blanket that covers things that they can easily find, they can enjoy the extra challenge to satiate their curiosity.
Cooler Weather Let Dogs Play Longer
Many dogs can feel lethargic in the summer months because hotter temperatures can contribute to heat getting trapped in their coats. So, dogs may become more active in the fall as the temperature starts to drop. Cooler weather enables them to play for longer periods of time because it keeps their bodies from overheating.
Safe Playtime in the Snow
It’s important to acknowledge that not all dogs enjoy the snow. Some dogs with short coats or thin hair may find the snow too cold while others just don’t like the feeling of being wet. So, if you notice that your dog is shivering or just not having a fun time outside in the snow, make sure to let them stay inside.
While humans have thick woolen socks and boots to protect their feet from the cold and ice, dogs don’t have such heavy-duty protection. While their paw pads have a thick layer of skin, they may need some more protection, especially if you live in an area that uses a lot of salt on sidewalks and roads.
You can protect your dog’s paws by teaching your dog to wear boots, or you can also apply paw wax.
- Related Read: Why Do Dogs Roll in Snow?
Problems From Playing Too Long in Snow
While some snow dogs may be able to stay outside for longer periods of time, most house dogs can safely enjoy about 30 minutes of play in the snow. If temperatures drop below freezing, make sure to limit time outside to no more than 15 minutes.
Prolonged and extensive time out in the snow can cause dogs to shiver and become lethargic, and they can eventually suffer from frostbite or hypothermia. It’s the owner’s job to ensure that dogs are safe and play for just the appropriate amount of time outside. Overindulging a dog’s love for snow can lead to serious health risks.
Snow can bring excitement to a lot of dogs’ lives. If your dog enjoys snow, creating a safe play environment can be a great way to motivate your dog to exercise. It’s also a great way to spend time and create fun memories with your dog. Just remember to be safe and always monitor your dog’s condition so that you aren’t overdoing it and aren’t outside with your dog for too long.
Featured Image Credit: Marcello Sgarlato, Shutterstock