In winter, when it is very cold, you see many dogs wearing a coat or winter jacket. For many breeds, even if it looks strange, this makes sense. Some dog breeds have no protective undercoat and are poorly protected or not protected at all from the cold and wet. But what about a Labrador? Does a Labrador need a coat in winter?
A Labrador does not normally need a coat in winter. The Labrador has a water-repellent top coat as well as a dense undercoat which protects it from the cold. They originally come from colder regions and are well adapted to these weather conditions. In extreme situations, however, it can make sense to put a coat on a Labrador.
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Why does a Labrador not need a coat?
The Labrador is perfectly adapted to cold weather thanks to its water-repellent top coat and dense undercoat.
However, due to its dense coat, a Labrador sheds heavily and has a major fur change twice a year.
In spring it sheds its dense winter fur, which protects it from the cold and wet, and in autumn it sheds its thinner summer fur to prepare for winter again.
The Labrador originally comes from the east coast of Canada. More precisely, from the island of Labrador. The average temperature there is about 44 degress fharenheit (7 degrees celsius). It is warmer in summer, of course, but colder in winter.
There, they were used by fishermen as working dogs and spent most of their time at and in the water. So the Labrador can go into the water in winter without it harming it.
The Labrador is therefore used to and adapted to cold and wet weather.
The fact that he is still used as a hunting dog in Great Britain in all weathers in the damp moorlands is another indication that the Labrador does not mind wetness and cold.
As a rule, it is assumed that a Labrador does not need a coat down to -7 degrees Celsius / 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
When does a coat make sense?
Nevertheless, there may be situations in which it makes sense to put a coat on a Labrador.
Labrador puppies need a coat
When it is very cold, Labrador puppies need a coat. Puppies cannot yet maintain their body temperature as well as adult dogs.
In addition, their immune system is not yet as well developed. A coat can therefore protect them from catching a cold.
On longer walks, it may be a good idea for your Labrador puppy.
Older Labradors need a coat
If your Labrador is getting gets older and is no longer as active and agile, a coat can help protect your dog from the cold.
As with puppies, older dogs are less able to maintain their body temperature and get cold more quickly.
Again, the natural immune system may not be as good as it once was and a coat will save your Labrador senior from a nasty cold.
The activity that usually keeps the dog warm also decreases significantly.
Your Labrador needs a coat when he is sick
If your Labrador’s immune system is already under attack and he is ill, he still needs to go outside and get some exercise. Not as much as usual, of course, but still.
So you can protect your Labrador from the cold or wet in bad weather so that his immune system is not stressed unnecessarily.
Very long walks in freezing cold
As already mentioned, a healthy adult Labrador is optimally adapted to wet and cold conditions. However, there may be exceptional situations here and there.
For example, if you are on a winter holiday and your Labrador needs a lot of exercise and you want to walk for hours through the snow in the freezing cold, a coat can help prevent him from getting cold.
Signs that a Labrador needs a coat
With all these tips, you have to look at your dog individually.
Signs that your Labrador is cold are:
- The most obvious sign that your Labrador is cold is shivering or even shivering.
- Another signal can be that your dog is seeking protection from the cold, wind or rain. For example, if your Labrador snuggles up to your legs and does not want to play or run, this is a sign that he is too cold and a coat would be useful.
- The alternate lifting of the paws indicates that the ground is too cold for your dog.
- Pay attention to how your Labrador moves when it is extremely cold. If he walks tensely or tucks his tail, this can be a sign that he is cold.
Before you risk taking your Labrador to the vet for a cold, you may want to invest in a coat to be on the safe side
Beware if your Labrador wears a coat
If you are out and about with your Labrador and you put a coat on him because he may already be ill, still a puppy or already a senior, make sure he does not jump into a lake or river.
The coat can get soaked with water and there is a risk of your dog drowning.
Suitable coats for a Labrador
If you want to be on the safe side or regularly go on winter holidays where temperatures of 14 degrees fahrenheit (- 10 degrees celsius) and more are not uncommon, you can find suitable winter coats her:
- snow & wind resistant
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Conclusion: Does a Labrador need a coat?
No, Labradors do not usually need a coat, as their water-repellent topcoat and dense undercoat protect them from the cold and wet.
However, it is recommended for puppies and seniors to have a coat ready, depending on the weather, to provide additional support for the weaker immune system.
KrischiMeier-stock.adobe.com (Contributing image)