Does my Labrador need a coat in winter?
It seems to be the consensus among dog experts that Labradors and other similar strong breeds don’t really need to wear coats when going outside during wintertime.
Of course, the winter season isn’t the same everywhere in the world so it’s important to consider a few key factors before making our final decision.
Obviously, -22 F (-30 C) isn’t the same as 23 F (-5 C). The colder the outside temperature gets, the higher the chances that you’re dog may eventually begin to feel uncomfortable.
Other factors to consider are the general health of the animal, the age, how accustomed the dog is to the outside, the amount of undercoat, and so on.
Hopefully, after reading this, you will be able to make an informed decision about what’s best for your Lab.
Having said that, you might realize quickly that it doesn’t hurt to be ready and to have a dog sweater, vest, or coat handy for when the temperature falls below a certain point.
Labradors, just like humans, have their point where it’s just too cold for their bodies and can potentially be harmful if some signs are ignored.
What temperature is too cold for a Labrador?
So I went and asked as many dog experts and veterinaries as possible and even though some of them didn’t agree with the 0 F, most of them thought it was a decent middle ground considering all the other factors.
Of course, if the dog suffers from health issues or if it never went outside in the past, it will be affected quicker by the cold weather than other dogs.
As you probably know by now, my wife and I live in Canada and we do own a beautiful black Labrador. We were kinda shocked to learn that our doggy could be affected by weather so quickly.
We are used to long walks in the winter and didn’t realize it could eventually be harmful to our beloved dog.
You already know what came next, we proceeded to buying and testing every single sweater and coat we could find online. We found a few gems too. Here is a link to our top 10 dog winter coats and sweaters.
How do I know if my dog is cold at night?
Considering the outside temperature doesn’t go under 20 F (-7C) at night, here are a few things to consider.
First of all, if you are like me, you can tell pretty much right off the bat if the dog is cold or isn’t. After a while, you get to know the animal so much that you simply can tell whether it’s cold, hungry, angry, sick, etc.
With that said, here are a few signs that indicate your dog is beginning to feel uncomfortable in the cold:
- Hunched posture with a tucked tail
- Whining or barking
- Change in behavior: becoming anxious or visibly uncomfortable
- Lifts paw off the ground
- Reluctance to keep walking
- Tries to turn around
- Seeks places for shelter
What are the signs of hypothermia?
Here are the most common signs of hypothermia in a dog:
- Muscle stiffness
- Slow, shallow breathing
- Lack of mental alertness
- Fixed and dilated pupils
- Stupor-like state
- Loss of consciousness
What to do if you suspect your dog is displaying signs of hypothermia?
First of all, don’t panic. Dogs can sense these types of emotions in their owner and it’s not going to do any good.
Now, if you suspect your dog is displaying signs of hypothermia, immediately wrap your dog in a coat or a blanket and seek a warm shelter as soon as possible. It’s always a good idea to contact your vet and ask for advice.
How long can I walk my Labrador during wintertime?
It’s hard to tell since you have to take into consideration the temperature outside, the health of the dog, and so on.
It’s extremely important to pay attention to the signs that you’re dog is cold but you shouldn’t wait to see the first signs of discomfort to end your walk or outside activity. Generally, if it’s getting too cold for you, it’s getting too cold for you’re dog as well.
What are the best dog winter coats and jackets you can buy?
Depending on what you’re dog size and requirements are, there are a few options you can choose from. Check out our Top 10 Dog Winter Coats by clicking here.