Dog Eats Snow Constantly

A number of problems could be the cause, but if the dog is otherwise fine, it’s most likely behavior.

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Q. Our 8-year-old Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever suddenly wants to go out and eat snow constantly. She is also drinking more water. Otherwise seems normal. She is constantly bugging us to go out and eat snow and has never done this before. Any ideas?

A. Like any other dog, your Toller's increased water intake could be anything from a harmless behavior change to significant endocrine disease. The snow-eating, especially, can just be a novel fascination with the texture and coldness of snow.

However, increased water intake also can be diabetes, Cushing's Disease, kidney failure, Addison's Disease or a number of other hormonal diseases. The first question to ask: "Is your dog acting sick?"

If the answer is yes, then a trip to the vet for some screening bloodwork is in order. If you want to try an easy home test for diabetes, get a urine test strip from a human pharmacy or medical supply store, catch some of your dog's urine (this can be trickier than it sounds, consider a ladle), and see if the glucose indicator strip turns positive. If it does, your dog may have diabetes.

If she is acting normally, as you report, I would not do anything for now, but bring it up with your regular veterinarian at your next annual visit. Most likely it is psychogenic polydypsia, a fancy term for drinking more water (or eating snow) for no apparent reason. As you may know, dogs are not always rational in their behavior.

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Eileen - 249708   Port Perry, ON

3/14/2013 3:11:59 AM

Very interesting, good information to know!

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Leslie - 233329   Lakeside, AZ

2/15/2013 2:02:39 PM

Very interesting.....

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