Have you heard of snow zoomies? These bursts of energy fueled by snowflakes are super common and equally adorable. But why exactly do some dogs get so hyped up and excited anytime snow starts to hit the ground? There are six reasons dogs love snow snow darn much.
1. It Has a Cooling Effect
“Dogs like snow because it is cool and different,” says animal behaviorist Stephen Zawistowski, Ph.D. Dogs don’t sweat the way we do, so they have to use panting as their main method of cooling down, along with sweat glands in their paws. When dogs frolic and roll around in the snow, the cool sensation on their skin can feel great and keep them from overheating.
There’s always a chance your dog could get too cold in the snow, so even if they’re having a blast, make sure you keep an eye on them for signs of frostbite or low body temperature. Check out more tips for how to play in the snow safely with your dog.
2. It’s New
One of the main reasons your dog loves the snow is because it’s different. It doesn’t snow every day, so a lot of the fun around snow is just that it’s different. Alexandra Horowitz, Ph.D., author of Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell and Know, confirms, “Dogs like the ‘new,’ of course, and what could be more new than their entire world covered with this icy blanket.”
This idea is further confirmed by looking at dogs who see snow all the time. “Seasoned sled dogs rarely show the enthusiasm for fresh snow typical of novice players. This suggests that the value of novelty is critical,” explains veterinarian Dr. Paul McGreevy, BVSc, Ph.D., FRCVS.
3. Certain Breeds Were Made for Snow
If your husky loves the snow, it could be because it’s in their blood. Breeds that originated in cold places adapted to the snow. That’s why they naturally have broad feet, furry toes, and a thick undercoat. That said, not all cold-weather breeds will love snow or even tolerate it.
It’s not safe to leave your dog outside in the winter, no matter what breed they are. Make sure you take precautions to keep your pup safe in cold weather, and always keep an eye on their body language to make sure they’re actually enjoying themselves.
4. Snow Enhances Smells
“Snow changes everything: What a dog sees, smells, hears, and feels as it runs/snows through the snow,” states Zawistowski. Snow absorbs odor molecules in the air, creating a smorgasbord of scents for your dog to enjoy while they walk through it. When snow melts, it can also carry urine and smells from other areas that your dog isn’t familiar with.
5. It’s Fun to Dig In
Your dog probably knows that digging in your garden is a big no-no. But anytime it snows, you’re totally fine with them digging through the white stuff. Digging is simply hardwired into some breeds, like the dachshund, because they originally hunted burrowing prey and were trained to dig into their burrows.
That doesn’t mean you should let them go ahead and destroy your yard, but it can be more difficult to train these breeds to stop digging. Whatever your dog’s unique mix, if they love digging, that might be why they love the snow.
6. You Get Excited Whenever It Snows
If you get pumped up on fresh powder days, your dog definitely notices. And because you are their favorite person, if you’re happy, they’re happy. So their love for snow might be rooted in their love for you and the excitement you show. When you think about it, it’s really sweet, right?
Some Dogs Love Snow More Than Others
If your dog is one of the ones that goes absolutely wild over the snow, let them play! MediVet Group suggests, “Keeping your dog warm and dry is the best way to make sure they’re happy when it’s biting cold or snowing.” That means suiting them up in booties and a coat if they have short or sparse hair and watching them for signs that they’re getting chilled. With the right measures, your dog can enjoy the snow all they want.