Saturday, February 09, 2008

Cold Weather and your Labrador Retriever

Subject: Cold Weather and your Labrador Retriever

From: Tim (USA)

Labrador Retriever Name: Unknown

Reader's E-mail - Tim Writes:

When do I need to bring my dog in because of the weather? (Coldest)

All About Labradors Blog Answer:

Hello Tim,

Thanks for writing.

It's funny, I just answered this question for someone else that wrote me last week.

Is your Labrador retriever an outside dog (he stays outside year round)?

Hear is what I had to say about inside Labrador retrievers:

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.

If your Labrador retriever lives outside year round:

All dogs need adequate shelter from the elements. Your Labrador retriever should not be left outside for long periods in freezing weather. Like us humans your Labrador can suffer from hypothermia and frostbite. If the thermometer drops too far below freezing, it's too cold for your Labrador , even those accustomed to being outside. During these extreme drops in the temperature, accommodations indoor are best.

If you do keep your Labrador retriever out in the cold, you must supply him with the proper shelter from the weather. An insulated dog house which is large enough for him to stand, turn around, lie down and stretch, but not oversized, for it needs to hold your Labradors body heat to help keep him warm.

It should also include a heavy wind flap on the entrance door, with nonporous bedding inside. Placing the house in a sheltered location, out of the wind and on a platform to keep it off the frozen ground will also help. Be sure to keep plenty off fresh unfrozen water for him too.

I hope this helps you some Tim. If you don't understand anything or you have a question about anything else, feel free to e-mail me at any time.

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Anonymous,  December 27, 2011 2:17 AM  

I have a black lab he is inside most of the time and has never slept outside before, but he really does want to stay outside tonight but tonight it will drop down to 18 degrees so he has to come in I think anything under 30 degrees is to cold. Oh he just gave me the let me in bark lol!
O.k I am back and he is sitting here next to me so all stress is gone we are both happy now.
I still think people should let dogs in when it is cold dogs feel pain just like us and we all know being cold can be painful.
And besides he likes it inside and I like it when he is inside,so why not cuddle with him while watching tv on a cold winter night! I am so happy with Chester and I know he is happy with me:-)

Anonymous,  December 29, 2011 7:55 AM  

Actually they do not feel pain like we do there pain threshold is ten times that of a person so therefore they fill a tenth of what we feel.

Fay December 30, 2011 1:33 PM  

Thanks for the comment anonymous and the info. As I stated in this post, "Depending on who you talk to, you will get many different opinions on this."

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