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As the first snowflakes fall and wrap the world in a wintry white, it marks an exciting time for many dogs. However, what starts as fun frolicking in the snow can sometimes lead to health problems – one of which is known as snow gastritis. 

What is Snow Gastritis? 

Snow gastritis is an inflammation of the stomach caused by eating snow. While a few bites of snow are usually harmless, excessive consumption can irritate the stomach lining. This is particularly the case when the snow contains contaminants like road salt or antifreeze, or if the stomach is irritated by the coldness of the snow. 

Symptoms of Snow Gastritis 

small dog laying on white pillow
image: renatolaky – pixabay.com

Symptoms of snow gastritis are similar to those of a common gastrointestinal illness and include: 

  • Vomiting, often immediately after eating snow 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Lethargy or restlessness 
  • Abdominal pain, noticeable by a tense abdomen or reactions to touch 

Home Treatment and When to Visit a Vet 

In many cases, mild snow gastritis can be treated at home, which involves: 

  • Careful feeding: Offer your dog small, easily digestible meals, like boiled chicken (skinless and boneless) mixed with rice. 
  • Water: Ensure your dog drinks enough fluids to prevent dehydration. 
  • Rest: Give your dog time and space to recover. 

However, if symptoms persist, worsen, or other signs like blood in the stool or vomiting occur, an immediate visit to the vet is necessary. 

Preventing Snow Gastritis 

The best prevention is supervision: Keep an eye on your dog to ensure it doesn’t eat too much snow, especially in areas treated with road salt. Train a reliable ‘leave it’ command to stop your dog from eating snow. Additionally, offering enough water can help reduce the desire to eat snow. 

Conclusion

Snow gastritis is usually a manageable issue that can often be prevented with the right measures. It’s important to monitor your dog’s behavior in the snow and respond promptly to any signs of discomfort. With proper supervision and care, your dog can enjoy the winter season without suffering health issues. 

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