Monday, November 05, 2007

Is it to cold for my 2 year old Labrador

Today's e-mail was sent in by Matt (USA). He wanted to know if it's to cold for his two year old Labrador Retriever.

With the weather getting colder in certain parts, I receive many of these same questions.

Reader's E-mail - Matt Writes:

I know labs have a really good tolerance to cold weather, but how cold is too cold? He's two years old and I take him to play everyday, but in the winter it gets snowy and in the twenties and lower and I was wondering if that's alright for him. I've got a neoprene hunting vest for him, but is that even necessary or should his coat keep him warm enough? Thanks.


All About Labradors Blog Answer:

Hi Matt,

Thanks for writing.

I get these questions from many Labrador retriever owners when the weather gets colder. Depending on who you talk to, you will get many different opinions on this. I'm sure I will get plenty of email from others in response to this answer.

The Labrador retriever has a short, dense, water-repellent double coat that provides great resistance to cold weather, icy water and different kinds of ground cover. Their double coating helps them tolerate cold temperatures keeping them fairly comfortable in the cold weather.

Taking him out for short periods of time in extreme temperatures to walk, play and relieve himself are not a problem. Remember, this is a breed that hunters have outdoors for hours on end and in ice cold waters.

Here are some things to remember:

Your Labrador retriever’s health is very important in colder temperatures. Make sure your "Lab" has had a recent checkup with your veterinarian and has a clean bill of health. The colder weather can aggravate certain health conditions (muscle myopathy, arthritis) in your Labrador.

Make sure your Labrador gets some extra calories and water. Don't worry; the extra calories will be converted into energy which is needed to maintain body heat in the cold.

Watch for frostbite in his ears, feet and tail. An alternate lifting of the feet could be an indication he feels the effects of frostbite. Skin discoloration, pain, swelling and blisters are signs. Just like with us, shivering will indicate he is feeling the effects of the cold weather.

Make sure to check his paws when you come in from a winter walk or play session. Salts and other chemicals on the grounds can irritate his pads causing cracking. Ice balls can form in paw crevices, along with mud and dirt being trapped which could be harmful to him.

I always make it a point to wipe my Labrador Retrievers paws, lower leg, and belly area after being out in the winter weather, just to make sure they didn't picked up any salt or chemicals that can cause problems. I have tried the dog booties with no luck. Neither Labrador liked them and would try to bite at them.

As far as the neoprene hunting vest goes that’s up to you. As long as your Labrador retriever is running and moving about he should be fine. It’s when they stop moving around you have to watch that he doesn't get cold. If I was going to have my Labradors out for a few hours in the extreme cold, I would use them. They provide excellent insulation and also protect your dog's underside.

I hope this helps you. Feel free to write if you have any other questions.

Take care


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Anonymous,  February 13, 2012 12:48 AM  

He simply asked "How cold is too cold?"

You wrote five paragraphs and didn't come close to answering his question.

So, again, how cold is too cold?

Fay February 13, 2012 3:50 AM  

If you have a question, please send an e-mail and it may get answered. MAYBE you can try to use SOME LOGIC and figure out how cold is to cold yourself...

"Their double coating helps them tolerate cold temperatures keeping them fairly comfortable in the cold weather.

Remember, this is a breed that hunters have outdoors for hours on end and in ice cold waters."

Alex,  February 10, 2013 9:24 AM  

Thanks Fay, as you implied, comon sense and some advice from you is enough to realize how cold is too cold for my dog.
very useful anwser !

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