We all love the first snowfall of the year. Watching snowflakes gently cascade down into pure white mounds on the ground is just soothing. While you may not like the cold, you can’t deny that the first snow is always stunning to look at. Your dog thinks the same thing. You watch their tail wag and they’re ready to run outside and burrow into nature’s cold blanket. But why do dogs love snow?
Scientific American found that dogs share many of our traits when it comes to the snow! They’re a lot like toddlers — they see something new and they just want to play with it. When it comes to snow, a lot of dogs see it as a treat since they can’t get it all year long. To them, it’s a fun new toy to interact with.
Snow brings new smells, new sensations, and new ways to play. They can bounce in it, roll in it, dig, shove their nose, prance along the touch and feel it crack under their paws — it’s a whole new world for them to explore.
Dogs also love playing with things they can manipulate. This is why static objects might bore them. When their environment moves with them, it means a new playground with every step.
Do All Dogs Love Snow?
Sometimes, dogs just aren’t having it when snow starts coming down. That’s completely normal too. Your dog isn’t a party pooper — they just might not like the cold! Some breeds, like huskies and malamutes, are built for the snow. Their thick fur is water resistant and made to hold in body heat. However, other dogs like pugs or dalmatians may not be so excited to go outside.
It depends on your dog, but a lot of it probably has to do with their fur. It’s shorter, thinner, and not very water resistant. This means that as soon as the snow starts melting, they’re more likely to get colder.
If your dog has a thick coat and doesn’t like the snow, it could be because snow is heavy and sticky! It tends to get caught in their fur and belly, which can weigh them down and make it uncomfortable for them.
Small dog breeds too may not like the snow as much. Most of them have bald bellies, meaning they get really cold, and short legs. Think of it this way — a foot of snow is a lot for humans because it likely comes up to our knees. A couple of inches is a lot of dachshund for the exact same reason. If they can’t walk, they probably won’t like being outside.
Why Does My Dog Like Snow?
We mentioned it above — dogs like to have fun. Snow is a playground for a lot of pups. It lets them play however they want without much consequence. After all, it’s a lot nicer (for you) for your dog to dig in a snow pile than in dirt! They can watch it fall, snap it out of the air if you throw snowballs, dig in it, jump in it, roll in it; whatever they want!
So why is it so enticing to some dogs? It’s because dogs rely on their senses so much, like smell, touch, hearing, and sight. Snow changes sensory characteristics every time it’s touched. Your dog could be walking on ice and enjoying the cool feeling of it breaking under the paws, or they could be bounding happily in soft powder.
Snow also dampens sound. It creates a nice break from the outdoor stimulation they may be used to, like cars, other dogs, or animals. They can just enjoy the quiet peacefulness of winter.
Not to mention all of the new smells! While you may not like the smell of dampness, your dog loves it. It brings so many new scents and gets their mind going as they identify everything from wet ground to frozen flowers.
All of this helps renew your dog’s interest in their familiar settings!
Should I Be Worried About My Dog in the Snow?
Dogs can get cold too, so important to bundle up breeds that need sweaters and limit their time outside. When they come inside, make sure you dry them off to help them warm up too.
You can help your dog stay active this winter too by shoveling paths for them to walk to their designated potty area safely. If your dog loves searching, you can hide their favorite toy in a snow drift and encourage them to find it. If you have kids and a husky, they may enjoy pulling a sled around too!
Regardless of the activity though, always keep an eye on your dog to ensure they don’t develop hypothermia.
If there is a ton of ice outside, discourage your dog from running around too. Ice is as dangerous to dogs as it is to humans. Just because they have four legs doesn’t mean they’re less prone to slipping and getting hurt. If your dog does get hurt, or if you’re worried they may get hurt, you can check out neoprene dog ACL braces to help stabilize and support their limbs.
Other than that, let your dog have the time of their life in the snow and have a towel handy for when they’re ready to come inside. After all, winter only comes around once a year!