Can Golden Retrievers Tolerate Cold Weather?

The golden retriever is a large breed that we may think can tolerate cold weather easily. This assumption comes from their body shape which generally looks more likely to suit the cold weather. But these are not the final words. These are a few factors that need to be focused on.

Can golden retrievers tolerate cold weather? Yes, golden retrievers can tolerate cold weather between 45°F and 90°F. They enjoy the cold weather due to their lustrous double-layered coat, which provides ample warmth during the cold season.

However, it doesn’t mean that they should live in extreme cold temperatures for more than 30 minutes at a time. After all, you want him to happy and healthy.

Cleaning Golden Retriever After Being In Cold Weather

As you might have noticed, your retriever enjoys roughing around in the snow or making splashes in puddles of water on the roadside. As adorable as this might be, if done for prolonged periods of time, it could lead to serious health problems for your dog.

After playtime or walks in cold temperatures, be sure to wipe your retriever’s paws, especially if they were exposed to melting ice. If their paws are left wet, it could lead to dangerous blistering due to the spread of melting ice.

During the course of a day or two, ensure that your retriever isn’t limping, excessively licking of their feet, or an appearance of redness on their skin area between pads.

All of these effects could very well be a reaction to bacteria and cold-causing viruses, including adenovirus and canine influenza virus (dog flu), which require proper medical care.

What Temperature Suits Golden Retrievers?

A golden retriever feels comfortable when the temperature is between 60°F and 80°F. Due to their nature of adaptability, some breeds can live in less or more than the above-prescribed temperature but not for too long.

“In general, cold temperatures should not become a problem for most dogs until they fall below 45° F, at which point some cold-averse dogs might begin to feel uncomfortable.”

A healthy, double-coated dog, such as a golden retriever, feels comfortable when the temperature is less than 45°F.

Therefore, when the temperature falls below 45° F, retriever owners should change the location and cover up their dog, especially when the dog begins to tremble and shiver.

Table 1 – Temperature Comparison for Golden Retrievers

Scales Suitable Temperatures Alarmingly Low Temperature Alarmingly High Temperature
Fahrenheit Scale 60°F to 80°F 45°F 103°F
Centigrade Scale 16°C to 27°C 7°C 39°C

 Sometimes, a golden retriever dog may also tuck its tail and legs under its body with ears pinned back. Noticing these signs, an owner should make changes to make the retriever feel comfortable.

What Should Be A Safe Location for Your Retriever to Live In?

Generally, golden retrievers love staying outside, unless there are life-threatening weather conditions outdoors. Their long fur keeps them warm even in very low temperatures. Despite that, it’s important to keep checking the condition of the weather outside.

If you are away and it starts raining or snowing, the first thing you should do when you get home is to give the dog a dry and warm environment immediately. Make its body dry if it is wet.

If you will be traveling for long periods of time, provide your retriever with an insulated doghouse, built a few inches above the ground, where the temperature would suit your dog perfectly.

It is also against animal rights to keep any dog in extreme conditions. As such, a law has been passed that restricts owners from leaving their dog tied outside in extreme temperatures (below 32°F and above 90°F) for more than 30 minutes.

You can let your golden retriever stay outside under the following conditions:

  • It feels comfortable outside.
  • The temperature is normal.
  • The weather is not extreme.
  • There is no snow or rain.

In short, keep this simple formula in mind: if you feel uncomfortable with the temperature, then it is not going to be any comfortable for your dog. If the water feels cold for you to stand in it, then the same water is not safe for your dog to stand in it either. Being a golden retriever dog owner, you should be aware of when your dog feels too cold to stay outside.

How Do They Behave in the Water?

Dogs always enjoy playing in the water, including golden retrievers. You can play and swim with them; however, the water temperature must be inspected beforehand. If the water feels too cold, then don’t let your dog in. Just like humans, dogs also suffer from hypothermia.

According to DogTime, the following are the signs of hypothermia in golden retrievers:

  • Noticeable signs of sluggishness or weakness.
  • Muscle stiffness for prolonged days.
  • Noticeable slow and shallow breaths.
  • Lack of mental alertness.
  • Fixed and dilated pupils
  • Loss of consciousness.

The simple rule is this: when you feel like you should get out of water due to feeling cold, your dog is also feeling the cold.

If you give your dog a bath, don’t take it outside immediately. Rather, ensure that the temperature outside is not too cold.

Even if the temperature outside seems normal, the wind could feel cold on a wet body, so make sure that your retriever is completely dry before taking it outside after a bath.

Some breeds of dogs stay away from wet conditions. However, the energy level of golden retrievers are extremely high; with their thicker fur skin, retrievers enjoy playing in wet conditions because their bodily makeup can handle it, unfettered.

Curing Your Golden Retriever of Hypothermia

Although golden retrievers are perfectly designed to live in nature, exposure to extreme or continuous cold weather conditions can cause ailments, particularly hypothermia. Very young or very old golden retrievers are more likely to suffer from hypothermia.

There are several reasons for hypothermia, but most causes are related to prolonged exposure to cold. Since we have already discussed the symptoms of hypothermia above, let’s have a look at the ways to prevent it.

When you feel that your retriever’s body temperature is less than 98°F, the first thing to do is to take it to a veterinary emergency care center.

If you’re not in close proximity to a veterinary emergency care center, treat your dog in the following ways:

  • Try to increase its body temperature.
  • Wrap your retriever in a warm blanket. You may warm it using a hair
  • Don’t let your dog move a lot as it may decrease its body temperature.
  • Give it some warm water to drink – this may help raise its body temperature.
  • A hot water bottle wrapped in a towel can be used to keep its stomach warm.
  • Keep measuring your retriever’s body temperature, every ten minutes. When the temperature goes beyond 100°F, remove the hot water bottle.

These steps may help retrievers recover soon if performed accurately and on time. Don’t forget that these are just the basic tips to cure your retriever in cases of hypothermia.

As always, the safest thing to do is to take your retriever a veterinary center for a professional medical checkup.

Final Words:

Golden Retrievers are a very energetic breed that can tolerate cold weather. They are naturally protected from extreme weather with the help of their long furs: however, they require protection from extreme conditions (below 32°F and above 90°F).

As an owner, it is your duty to keep your retriever healthy and away from extreme weather conditions.  If you do, he will stay happy and healthy for a long time.