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Can Labradors Handle Cold Weather?

Labradors love the winter months, especially when it snows, and they can play outside in the snow.  We all know that they love water and with snow being another form of water, winter can be their most favorite time of the year!

Can Labradors handle cold weather?  Labradors have been bred to be able to handle extreme temperatures such as hot and cold weather.  It is important though, that you follow safety standards when exposing your Labrador to the cold and that you always keep an open mind when leaving them outside during the cold.

Even though your Labrador was blessed with a dual coat that helps to keep them warm in the winter months, you always need to make sure that if your Labrador is going to be an outside dog that you do a few things to make sure that they are comfortable and warm such as:

  • Provide Them Shelter
  • Give Them Blankets
  • Give Them Plenty to Drink
  • Watch for Icy Spots
  • Give Them Warmth After the Cold
  • Have Them Checked by a Vet

Quick Navigation

Provide Them Shelter

If you plan on letting your dog live outside in the cold, make sure that you provide them with a shelter such as a doghouse that is insulated and warm.  If the weather gets below freezing, it is important that you bring your dog in for the night or nights until the weather is above freezing. 

If the weather is too cold for you to be out in, chances are that it is going to be too cold for them to be out in and as a safety standard, bring them in so that they will be safe and warm.

If the weather is not extremely cold and you decide to provide shelter for them, make sure that the doghouse that you have chosen is insulated to help keep the cold out.  If you can figure out how to put a heater in the doghouse, this is an extra bonus to keep your Labrador extra cozy at night.

Give Them Blankets

When you choose to have an outdoor dog, it is important that you provide them with everything that they need in order to be happy and warm.  During the winter months, make sure that you provide your Labrador blankets to help keep him and her warm.

Pick blankets that your dog loves or ones that make your dog comfortable and happy.  Providing blankets in the cold can help them to be warmer and more secure.

Give Them Plenty to Drink

Rather your dog is an inside dog or an outdoor dog, chances are that your dog will want to play outside in the weather, especially Labrador Retrievers.  When your Lab is outside, remember that the activity that they do will cause them to get hot and thirsty.

Make sure that you provide them with water to drink while they are outside playing so that they do not get overheated.  Even though it seems like this is impossible when it is cold, your Labrador can get overheated quickly with a lot of physical activity.

If your Labrador is an outside dog, make sure that they have access to water that is not frozen.  When the water has been in the cold weather for too long, it can become frozen and not be able to provide your Labrador with a drink.

Watch for Icy Spots

Make sure that you watch your area around and about your house for areas where your dog could slip and fall.  Even going for a walk around the block can pose a danger to a dog and the owner if there is a chance to slip and fall.

Remember, Labradors are known for having joint and bone problems so keeping them protected as good as possible is very important.

Also, the bottom of your Labradors feet are very sensitive and so it is important that if your Lab is walking outside in the winter months that you make sure that their pads do not get frostbit or too cold.  Also, watch for things that are put around the area like salt to melt the ice.  These chemicals can cause your Labrador to have chemical burns which can be very uncomfortable for your Labrador.

When you bring your Labrador in after a time of playing out in the cold weather, make sure to wipe his or her feet to make sure that there are no chemicals on their paws.  It is a good idea to also wipe their belly and their legs so to get off any chemicals.

If you live close to a pond, your Labrador might migrate there any chance he or she has.  Sometimes, the pond water is too deep to completely freeze.  Make sure that your Labrador does not go on a pond that is frozen over in chance that he or she might fall through the ice.  Discourage them to play around ponds or other waters when you are not supervising them.

Give Them Warmth After the Cold

Once your Labrador has been out playing for a period of time, bring them in to warm up.  Make sure that they have blankets or a place to lay by the heater so that they can warm their bodies. 

It is important that your Labrador has time to be able to get warm after being out for a very long period of time.  Not only will this make them feel better, it will also help them to know that you love them, and you want them to be cuddly.

Have Them Checked by a Vet

Before you do any type of activity with your Labrador, it is important to make sure that they are in good health. 

Taking a sick Labrador outside could be debilitating and could cause serious medical issues.  Make sure that your vet gives the okay before doing any activities outside in the cold.

Is it Too Cold Outside for My Labrador?

It is very important that you make sure that your dog is safe when playing outside in the winter months. 

Some dogs go outside in places like Alaska and other places and they are somewhat protected by the cold because of their fur but there is a rule of thumb for it being too cold.

If the weather gets below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, it is uncomfortable for the dog to be outside for long periods of time. 

If it gets below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, it is unsafe for your dog to be outside without added protection other than his fur. 

At temperatures under 20 degrees Fahrenheit, it is important that you take your dog in and that you do not leave them outside overnight.

Does My Labrador Need a Sweater or Boots to Go Outside?

Bigger bred dogs like Labrador Retrievers do not need any added coat or sweater to be able to go outside and enjoy the snow or the weather. 

It is important that you check your dog to make sure that he or she is safe and not getting too cold.

Most of the time, your Labrador will not need boots to go outside and play. 

If your dog has an injury or if you live in a place that uses a lot of chemicals to melt ice, then you might want to consider getting boots or socks for your dog to play in. 

Chances are that he or she will refuse to wear them, and it will just be an added hassle.

How Can I tell if My Labrador is Too Cold?

If you look at your Labrador and you notice things such as shivering or if they are whining or acting like they want to go in, it might be a good sign that they have been outside long enough and they need a break in the warmth.

If your dog begins to slow down in their activity, this is another major sign that they are getting cold and they need a break indoors before they continue with their adventures.

When you decide that it is time to go in from the snow for a little bit, just go in and let your Labrador warm up and he or she will be ready to go back out and keep playing in the snow.  Chances are that you will be too cold long before your Labrador is too cold and ready to go in.


Labrador Retrievers are great dogs to have out in the different elements of the weather.  They have a dual coat that helps to protect them in the winter months, making going outside a thing that they can enjoy without being too miserable.

It is still very important that you keep a watch on your Labrador when they go outside to make sure that they are not showing signs of being too cold.

Also, remember if your Labrador is an outdoor dog, make sure that you give them plenty of water, warm blankets and that you give them shelter that is insulated to keep them warm.