Life Hacks For Dog Owners: Removing Snowballs from Fur

Life Hacks For Dog Owners: Removing Snowballs from Fur

It's that time of year again: The snow is falling and the temperatures are frigid. When it comes to cold weather, dogs are just as susceptible to the elements as humans are. If you're a dog owner, you'll know that dogs enjoy rolling around in the snow, and this can often leave icy snowballs matted into their fur.

As long as the temperature is about 45°F or warmer, it’s safe to let dogs play in the snow. In the winter when dogs have no choice but to trudge through the snow to go to the bathroom and get exercise, pet owners are presented with a uniquely cold weather problem: ice clumps.

In this article, We will share five helpful tips to remove these snowballs safely from your dog's fur.

It’s Snow Fun to Be Cold

dog with snow

When your dog romps around in the snow, their fur picks up snow, which melts from their body heat and becomes much-dreaded ice balls. These dog snowballs on fur aren’t just difficult to get rid of, but are also uncomfortable (and potentially dangerous) for your pup: If your dog tries to lick away the snow, they can break open the skin, which can result in a bacterial or yeast infection.

Cold weather and frosty conditions can pose various hazards to unsuspecting dogs, which is why you need to think ahead. One of those potential wintertime hazards for dogs is the development of snow clumps on their fur.

Snow clumps and ice balls can form quickly and are more prone to develop on dogs with longer coats. Essentially, as the fur moves through snow, it will pick up little balls that melt from your dog’s body heat and then form small ice balls.

Of course, the best thing you can do for your dog during the winter is invest in dog booties and a snow suit so these ice clumps never form. However, if you find yourself in a situation where you’re sans sweater and your dog is covered in snowballs, there are a few easy ways to get rid of them — and one even involves a common kitchen gadget.

If a dog is constantly getting snowballs forming in the webbing and fur between their toes that's the dog equivalent of getting rocks in your walking shoes or boots - no fun at all. There are a few different solutions to try:

1. Invest in a Good Snow Suit

dog playing with snow

Our dogs are eager to join us and explore the veritable playground that is the outdoors – rain or shine. To keep exploring no matter what winter throws down, many companies design jackets with a range of warmth and weather protection.

When selecting a dog snow suit, it is crucial to carefully consider the appropriate size and style for your canine companion to ensure optimal coverage and warmth. A snow suit is ideal to prevent snowballs, especially for dogs that really struggle with snow and ice balls building up on their coats. (I'm looking at your doodles!). Especially on days with heavy snow.

Choosing a jacket for your dog is much like the process you go through to pick your own coat. Dog coats can typically be organized into three categories to start you off on the right paw for finding the right coat or layer depending on what weather conditions you'll encounter.

  • Shells:  Waterproof/water-resistant shells are great for rainy weather, wet snow conditions. Un-lined shells are good for mild temperatures, windy conditions, or very light precipitation

  • Insulated Jackets: High-loft, synthetic insulation adds warmth in cold temperatures. Combined with higher-coverage fits or waterproofing and weather-resistance, these jackets can tackle even the most inclement of weather.

  • Midlayers: Fleece jackets and sweaters work as standalone insulation in dry, cool conditions, or as a midlayer worn under a shell in colder or wetter conditions.

2. Use a Whisk

Yes! A kitchen whisk! This is probably the last thing you would normally reach for when coming home from a snowy walk with your dog. But if you've ever tried to break down particles of food in the kitchen, you'll know that a wire whisk is an incredibly effective tool. In fact, it's probably one of the most effective ways of removing snowballs from pet fur without causing your dog any distress.

All you have to do is roll the whisk gently over your dog's coat and the clumps of snowballs will be gone in no time! It's a clever and effective way to "brush" out the icy particles without actually using a brush. Using a canine brush straight away could be painful with all that snow and ice sticking to him, so this is a great alternative method to try first.

3. Use a Blow Dryer on a Low Setting

You can use a hair dryer on the lowest setting to remove the snow from your dog's fur. Just be careful not to hold the hair dryer too close to your pup’s skin as you don't want to risk startling (or burning) them. I find that this is most effective when you hold the hair dryer about a foot away from your dog's paws and move it around slowly until the snow is gone.

PRO TIP: You could also use the whisk to accompany the blow dryer and gently detangle the snow and ice from their fur as it melts.

4. Brush Your Dog's Fur

So by now—if you've tried rubbing or pulling the whisk over their coat and loosening some of the snowy clumps with your fingers—you've probably already successfully removed or loosened most of the snowballs from your dog's fur.

To remove the remaining ones, you could now try gently brushing their coat. We recommend THE ONLY BRUSH by PRIDE+GROOM which is gentle, effective, and best of all: double-sided! With natural bristles on one side and steel pins on the other, THE ONLY BRUSH brush covers all the bases.
If you don't have a dog brush, any type of bristled brush or wide comb will probably do the trick as long as you're gentle.

Brushing your dog when their fur is damp can be sometimes painful, so it's important to do this very carefully, ensuring that you brush in the direction of your dog's hair growth. You definitely don't want to create more knots and tangles to add to the challenge!

5. Give Your Dog a Bath

If your dog's fur is really matted down with snow, you may need to give them a bath to simply melt the snowballs completely out of their hair. This should really be a last resort, as baths can be stressful for some dogs. But if you can't get the snow out with any of the other methods, and your dog doesn't mind it, then a bath with lukewarm or warm water is your next best option. Especially for long haired dogs.

It's worth remembering that your dog's body temperature will be quite low from having been outside playing in the snow, and all those snowballs in their fur will likely be making them feel cooler than usual, so gently using the shower head with a spray of mild to lukewarm water is the most effective way to wash away the snow and ice while keeping them calm and happy, too.

Unlike humans, dogs cannot tolerate hot or warm water well, nor do they enjoy cold water, despite the enthusiasm they may show for a dip in the river. The best temperature for your dog's bath is lukewarm, substantially colder than your bath water, but not cold.

If a full bath isn’t in the cards, consider just soaking their paws and letting the warm steam melt away any snow clumps further up their body. Be sure to blow dry them or towel dry them enough so that they won’t get a chill after. 

Added Paw Protection:

Dogs can get splits and cracks in their paw pads or the webbing between their toes, especially during the colder months when skin is drier and more susceptible to tears. When you are relaxing in the house with your dog, giving them belly rubs, take a minute to get a good look at each foot and check for any sign of the following:

Do they have cracks in any of their paw pads?

Do they have splits, redness or swelling in the webbing between their toes and feet?

Are their nails a good length?

Are there any splits or cracks in their nails?

If so, they could use a little paw-dicure and pampering.

THE BALM by PRIDE+GROOM has been proven to be beneficial with dogs of all shapes and sizes to protect their pads and help prevent snow and ice balls from forming between their toes and paws. THE BALM is an all natural paw balm trusted by many dog owners, and addresses those pet parts that are prone to dryness.

Made with Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Beeswax White, and essential oils, this paw balm is free of sulphates, parabens, silicones, toxins, dyes and gluten! Perfect for small dogs and large dogs.


One of the most uncomfortable things about winter for the fuzzy dogs we know is “leg fur snowballs.” Your dog may love the snow, but the snow doesn't always love your dog back. It's a result of your dog's body heat which melts the snow stuck in their fur to form ice balls — which then continue to pick up more snow as they go.

Winter can be just as much fun as any other season, as long as you and your dog are prepared. Remember, if it’s too cold for you, chances are it’s too cold for your dog, too!