It's no surprise that if you've ever seen the Labrador Retriever frolicking in a lake in the winter, you'll assume their double coat keeps them warm. If you spend more time outside with your Lab during winter, their coats will provide some protection from the cold, but they will still feel the chill when the temperature drops below freezing.
Labradors need winter coats because they can get hypothermic if exposed to temperatures below 20°F for an extended period of time, or if there is ice rain or wind. Puppies and older Labs are especially vulnerable to the cold. Your dog can stay warm with the correct coat.
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In this article, you'll discover when and how to aid your Labrador through the coldest months of the year in good health & spirits.
Breeding Labrador Retrievers for Cold Weather
Most people in the United States own a Labrador retriever because of the breed's popularity and the affection, intelligence, and non-stop wagging of its tail that it is known for.
Labradors shed, whether they're yellow, black, brown, or silver.
Originally developed for fishing, St. John's dogs have been passed down down the generations to become Labs. Water-resistant topcoat and dense undercoat are found in today's Labs, just like they were in the Lab's forebears.
As a result, throughout the winter, they are adept at swimming into frigid waters.
Labrador Retrievers: Do They Shed in the Winter?
Your Lab's coat, which molts, or "blows its coat," twice per year, in Fall and Spring, carries on several of St. John's dogs' original qualities.
In spite of this being their "heaviest" shedding season, Labs shed all year long.
Vets advise weekly brushing or monthly bathing to keep dog hair under control.
If you find your Labrador is shedding excessively, this could be a stressful experience, allergy, a skin problem, fleas, worms, mites, or other parasites, in which case you should consult your veterinarian.
What is the temperature of your lab?
Even if your Lab is covered in fur and has a lot of energy, Labs were not bred for long periods of time in freezing temperatures.
Examine the entire weather conditions and your dog's behavior to evaluate how they are feeling to judge how chilly it is for your Lab.
Age, fat mass composition, exercise levels, and health can all affect a lab's ability to tolerate cold temperatures, as does its overall health and wellness.
Around 35°F (1.7°C), healthy adult Labradors will begin to feel the cold, and they'll be uncomfortable at 20°F (-6.7°C) or lower.
The temperature outside is merely one factor in the equation. The cold will hit your Lab worse if he or she has been wandering through water or rain, which can cause moisture retention in the coat.
As a result of weather circumstances including air temp, cloud cover, humidity and your Lab's activity level, your dog will feel colder than temperature readout shows.
In the winter, can Labradors be left outside?
When temperatures drop below freezing, dogs, even adult Labrador retrievers, may suffer from frostbite and hypothermia, especially if they are allowed to spend the night outside.
When it's below 35°F and windy or rainy, they'll require extra care, and if it's below 20°F, they'll be best off staying inside.
When it's cold outdoors, you should do the following to keep your Lab warm:
- Get a dog kennel that is insulated or heated.
- A heated blanket and a dog bed are essential.
- Warm food should be provided to your lab.
- Your Lab should be well-hydrated at all times.
- Keep your dog's coat clean by brushing it regularly.
- Make sure your Lab is getting enough exercise.
Can a Labrador Puppy Survive in Freezing Temperatures?
In cold weather, Labradors rely on their body fat to keep them warm, however Lab pups often lack adequate fat to control their temperature and aren't properly adapted.
If your dog is showing indications of a cold, it may be a good idea to bring them along.
There are a few things to keep an eye out for when it comes to your puppy's behavior and cold tolerance, but here are a few things to keep an eye out for:
- Shivering is another word for shaking.
- Howling is a form of barking.
- Searching for a home
- Refusing to go for a walk
- Appearing uneasy, sluggish, or worried in any way
- Tucking their tail and hunching their back
- In order to get their paws out of the dirt
- Always go with the safest course of action when you're unsure
- Senior canines
An extra level of attention is required in cold weather for older Labs, those recuperating from illness or injury, and those with medical disorders including arthritis that can aggravate in cold temperatures, diabetes, heart disease, or kidney disease.
You should watch out for hypothermia or frostbite on your Lab's ears, feet, and tail, especially if they are young.
Make sure your Lab is dry and warm after a winter swim or rain shower, and bring them inside if they prefer to sleep outside. Make sure they have a coat.
Where Can You Go to Find the Perfect Lab Coat?
Choosing a winter coat for your Labrador will depend on the weather and the breed.
Dog vests, sweater, jackets, or raincoats are all examples of jackets that exist in a variety of styles and materials.
The Jacket should be matched to the weather.
Your dog may be better protected from wet snow or freezing rain if they wear a waterproof coat. You will want a windproof type, a fleece, or even a wool sweater for windy or dry days.
Labradors can wear hip sportswear or plaids or "ugly" festive sweaters if they want to make a statement.
Fit Your Dog in the Jacket.
Make certain that the dog's jacket is the correct size before you buy it. Sizing charts are available from most vendors despite the fact that there is no normal measurement.
You'll need to understand your dog's neck-to-tail, chest-to-neck, and neck-to-neck circumference measurements.
To avoid snagging your Lab, choose a material that is soft and a size that fits properly.
They should be capable of moving their tails or legs freely while wearing the jacket, and they must be able to relieve themselves.
From the neck to the base of their tail, the jacket should cover your Labrador's chest or underbelly, that's where your dog's body is most vulnerable to the elements and requires the greatest protection.
With a wrap-around strap that can be adjusted, you can get the perfect fit for your Lab, just like their human master.
Pick a Jacket That's Easier to Maintain
In the winter, Labrador retrievers can be found playing in the mud, jumping in the water, and sliding down the slopes in the snow.
If you want to avoid washing a special-care clothing every day during the coldest months of the year, choose a jacket that is simple to wash and dry.
Once you discover a jacket that fits for the dog, consider purchasing a second one so that you may have a tidy one on hand for multiple days of freezing weather.
Lastly, some reflections
When it gets cold outside, Labradors make excellent winter companions. When it becomes colder, they may require more protection, especially if they are going to be out in the rain, wind, or water for an extended amount of time.
Monitor the weather and your Lab's behavior to keep them healthy during the winter months.
Take extra precautions with puppies & older Labs and make sure the kennel and dog house is well-insulated.