Snow and Dogs – Is It A Good Idea?

Do Dogs Like snow
In the U.K. we are not always blessed with snow and so our dogs are not really used to dealing with it. Over the last few days we have seen lots of snow and Ralph my Toy Poodle has just loved it. The prompt for this post was the amount of people who commented on whether it was safe for them, when out for our daily walks. Paws and the extreme cold was the main concern. I must admit the thought had crossed my mind too. So I did some research.
Dogs in general will love playing in the snow, rather like a child would like playing in it. It’s new and they want to discover that new environment. That’s why you may see them rolling or digging in it. Ralph trying to catch it in his mouth was my favourite.

Dog and snow

Obviously you may have a dog who is not so keen. Those who have a more nervous or cautious disposition may be opposed to trying out this new scary environment. Ralph was a little cautious to begin with. He certainly took a little while in the back garden carefully working it out. He was practically skipping for the first five minutes. I guess he was finding the sensation on his paws a little odd.
Toy Poodles are not listed as one of the breeds who are predisposed to existing in the snow but he certainly enjoyed it. He is not a great Sun lover. He spends the sunny days in hiding but took to the cold weather really well. This may be partly due to the fact that he looks like a small bear rather than a poodle as I do not go for the traditional poodle cut.
Eating Snow was on the agenda for Ralph but more of a ‘taste it and see’ activity. Through research, I have found that only 5% of snow is actually water so he definitely wasn’t thirsty. If your dog does eats the snow excessively it may be that they are super thirsty and it can cause stomach upsets if too much is consumed. So keep an eye out for this. A dog should always have fresh clean water available. Snow is not a substitute.
So back to the main concern of all my fellow dog walkers, our dogs paws. Dogs paws are brilliantly designed to carry them around but we do need to be a bit careful in extreme weather conditions. A dogs paws will not withstand the extreme heat of a hot pavement but are more capable of withstanding the cold of the snow. Snow is soft and will not freeze their paws on contact, unlike a hot pavement that will definitely burn on contact.
As you can see from this picture, Ralph actually came home with snow boots.

Snow and Dogs

I have no idea why it matted to his fur like a snowball but it didn’t do him any harm. He just happily licked it off when we got home. It melted really quickly but I did need a towel on my sofa to save it from a soaking ! The upside was lovely clean cream paws.
Where we do need to be careful is when it is no longer snow but ice. While in quite usual temperatures like Ralph and I experienced ( -3 or 4 at the most ) it is not going to give them ice burn. The lower the temperature the higher the risk. Ralph was definitely not so keen on the crunchy icy pavements we needed to use to get to the park as he was with the untrodden snow.
So do not stop yourself from allowing your dog to go play in the wonderful snow. It will be a pleasure to watch them snuffling around for what they can find in this new found environment. They can definitely isolate smells more easily in clean fresh snow which makes for a snow filled face as Ralph’s picture testifies to.

Snow faced Dog

Happy snowballing with your dog and don’t forget to let me know how you and your pooch get on with snow by commenting below.
You can also send me your snow dog pictures which I will add to the rogues gallery. Send them to karen@trainingmytoypoodle.com
With Grace and Gratitude
Karen & Ralph