It is too cold for a healthy adult Lab to be outside when the temperature drops below 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Having been bred in Canada, where winter temperatures are consistently freezing, they can withstand the elements better than dogs originating from warmer regions. 1
While there are other breeds of dogs that can tolerate colder weather for longer periods, such as sled dogs, you don’t want to push your dog’s limits. Labs can only regulate their temperature for so long, after all, and they are relying on you to keep them healthy and safe.
Labrador Retrievers were waterfowl retrievers, helping their owners retrieve whatever prey they shot.
When Is It Too Hot for A Labrador?
With the knowledge of Labradors originating from Canada, you may assume that warmer weather will be detrimental to Labs fairly quickly, but that is only partially true. Labradors can thrive in temperatures up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit but will need to be brought inside if it gets hotter.
Labradors have a great ability to self-regulate their body temperature, but there is a limit for everything, just as there is in humans. If you leave your dog outside, you risk the possibility of heat exhaustion and other heat-related damages. With the double coat of fur to keep them warm in colder times, we can only imagine how unbearable it would be.
If you reside somewhere that is no stranger to the heat, you can purchase a kiddy pool and fill it for your dog! Labradors generally love water and are great swimmers, thanks to their webbed toes!
What If My Lab is a Puppy or a Senior?
If you have a Labrador puppy or a Lab living out its golden years, ensure you take extra precautions with them when it comes to potentially extreme weather. Puppies are yet to be full-grown adults and senior dogs have aged past their prime. This makes them more susceptible to the elements and requires more of your attention. If left unattended in the cold, they will meet their demise faster than a healthy adult Lab would. In the same sense, being left in the hot can cause their death as well. Be it too hot or too cold, it should be a priority to keep your dog safe, and if you have a puppy or senior dog, you need to stay vigilant.
What Is The Ideal Temperature for Labradors?
The ideal temperature range for a Lab seems to be from 45 degrees Fahrenheit to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. These temperatures would not be overly hot or cold, allowing comfortable living for your pal. This can be theorized based not only on the limits we know and can apply to the Labs but also on temperature averages from Newfoundland and Labrador. 3
Places with moderate weather include areas such as the southern states from both the western and eastern portions of the United States. While the climate is mild, however, that could change at any time. Even moving to an area that suits your Lab’s needs, you will still have to bring your dog inside at times of extreme weather.
Does My Lab Need a Coat?
Technically speaking, no, your Lab does not need a coat in winter, even if it’s really cold outside. They have a natural, thick double coat that will protect them from the cold for a short time. If the weather is cold enough to maybe require a coat, you shouldn’t be out for a prolonged period of time. Your dog’s natural coat can protect them during the short trip outside!
If you want to buy your Lab a coat for purely fashion purposes, that’s another story. Putting clothes on your furry friend is a fun time, and if the weather is cold enough for your pup to wear a jacket without overheating, it is fair game.
Can Labradors Live and Sleep Outside?
While Labradors can live a happy life outdoors, it should be noted that they are an extraordinary breed. They love being near people of their pack and need a lot of attention. Determining whether or not the climate is appropriate for your pup varies on research, but it is something you should consider. Is there a lot of snow throughout the year where you reside? Is it sunny and humid? Whatever the circumstances, you will want to provide for your dog accordingly.
If you are going to have your Lab be an outside dog and don’t know if you’ll get much time to play with them, consider getting another dog, as well. This will add partnership to your dog’s life and not make them suffer from loneliness and boredom if life gets a little too busy.
3 Tips for Optimizing Your Dog’s Life Outside
- Insulate the Doghouse
- Add a Heater
- Give Your Pup Some Room
Insulate the Doghouse
If you will be purchasing a doghouse, the best option is to get one with insulation! Getting a doghouse with insulation will help keep your furry friend warm during the winter months but keeping your dog’s body heat in. If you already have a doghouse, you can also insulate it yourself. This is a cost-efficient way to do it, but you want to make sure you do it correctly so your furry friend benefits. 4
Add a Heater
There are also heaters available for you to install in the doghouse! This will allow you to control the doghouse’s temperature and keep your dog comfortable no matter the weather. It will also help prevent hypothermia from creeping up as you go into the colder months. 5
Give Your Pup Some Room
No one likes to live their life crammed into a small space. Be sure to get a doghouse that is generous for the size of your pup. They shouldn’t feel like they are in a cell serving a sentence; they should be able to move around comfortably. You are providing what is going to be their home; make it good for them! 6
Conclusion to When It’s Too Cold for a Lab
Labradors as a breed can do well in a lot of climates and can live in all of them, but not without assistance against the elements. You want to bring your Labrador inside when it is below freezing or reaching 90 degrees Fahrenheit if you are concerned for their wellbeing. For when the elements aren’t so detrimental, there are options you can choose to assistance your dog against rougher times.
Labradors are ranked as the most popular dog in America according to the American Kennel Club, so it’s common to see them everywhere. Even if it sometimes gets too cold outside in the area you live for you to have an outside dog all the time, it’s always good to spend time with your furry friend inside the house as well. Including your dog as an important member of the family can make the world seem magical. 8