Finding Frosty: Creating a Pet-Safe Snowman


When snowfall turns into a snow squall, who doesn’t love building a snowman? While it’s fun for us to frolic with Frosty, he can be anything but a pet’s best friend. Before you bundle up with your pup, be sure he’s protected from the following dangers:

A mouthful of snow is sweet, but eating too much can create an upset stomach. Don’t let your furry friend dine on the drifts, and keep pets from snowy areas treated with toxic de-icers or rock salt.

Carrot Nose
Carrots make a healthy, whole food snack that’s good for teeth—just be careful not to overfeed. At 25 calories, one stick is ok, but too much of a good thing can pack on the pounds. Being overweight degrades quality of life and puts your pet at risk for a host of health complications.

A dog with a gut full of buttons needs an express trip to the vet. Small objects that can be swallowed, like buttons or stones, can cause an intestinal obstruction, bowel rupture and severe infection. For a safer sartorial statement, opt for slices of sweet potato instead.

Like bones, broomsticks can splinter if chewed, resulting in damage to a dog’s mouth, throat, stomach or intestines, and cause serious and even fatal internal injury. Sweep worries away by outfitting your snowman with a metal-handled broomstick instead of wood.

Charcoal Eyes
Charcoal can contain sulfur oxides, petroleum, lighter fluids, borax and sodium nitrate, all of which can cause severe illness in pets if ingested. For a Fido-friendly alternative, try making eyes with broccoli florets—they’re a great source of fiber and vitamin C.

Raisin Smile
It’s fairly well-known that grapes can cause kidney failure—and raisins are even more toxic to pets. Signs of trouble can include vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst and lethargy. Want to turn that frown upside down? Opt for a blueberry grin instead.

Corn Cob Pipe
While actually a type of wooden pipe resembling a corn cob, don’t try to DIY your own. Corn cobs can cause choking or get lodged in a dog’s intestines, which sometimes requires surgery to remove. Best to skip it altogether—besides, a modern snowman would say NO! to smoking.

Tie that winter scarf on tight—yarn can become a linear foreign body if swallowed. String often gets caught in the intestines and requires dangerous and costly surgery to remove. Prevent problems by dressing your snowman in a fleece scarf instead of threads.

— published in fetch! magazine, the “Winter Wonderland” issue