As it’s getting to the colder time of year where I am, I started to wonder if Golden retrievers can be let out into the snow, so I did some research to find out.
Golden retrievers love to play and snow encourages play and it offers the perfect fluffy playground for a Golden. But can a golden retriever be in the snow?
The short answer is yes, Golden Retrievers do well in the cold and snow due to their thick, water-repellent double coat and larger size. On the other hand, you need to be aware of a few key factors in order to keep your dog healthy and happy while out in the snow.
As with humans, dogs have their own preferences and the way they will first interact with snow might determine how they will view it for the rest of their life. It is up to you to make the experience a pleasant one and to set boundaries.
Why Are Golden Retrievers Great In The Snow?
Even if the Golden has become a family dog, it is a retriever. This term doesn’t refer just to his ball-fetching qualities. They were bred to retrieve animals, especially birds that were hunted.
The Golden is a bird dog, so it has evolved to retrieve ducks from the water, without getting wet. They have a double-layer coat one on the inside that is thick and keeps them warm and another one that repels water.
This is not necessarily good news when thinking about grooming, as they do shed a lot. But it is great news when thinking about water and snow play, as they are able to stay in wet and cold environments without actually getting wet and cold.
All dogs are different, and some dogs might tolerate very low temperatures, as low as -7 degrees Fahrenheit, others might not. Make sure that you pay attention to your dog and that you notice if it is uncomfortable and act on it.
What Are The Signs Of A Golden Retriever Being Too Cold?
Even if this is a breed that tolerates cold extremely well, they too feel the cold and it might lead to health problems.
If you notice any of these signs, make sure to take the dog to a warmer place and dry it off:
- Muscle stiffness
- Limping (check for frostbite)
- Zoning out (doesn’t respond as fast to commands)
Golden Retriever Puppies And The Snow
If you have seen an adult Golden having fun in the snow, you should see how happy puppies are. They even attempt to do the dog version of snow angels!
A healthy pup can go out in the snow as long as they are fully vaccinated and allowed to go outside.
However, you should know that they are not yet good at self-regulating their body temperature. So, you will need to pay extra attention for signs of cold exposure, and you should not keep them outside for extended periods of time.
Can Golden Retrievers Sleep Outside In The Winter?
Even if Goldens are great with the cold, they are not Huskies, which were bred to endure the cold Alaskan winter.
Most dogs shouldn’t be allowed to sleep outside (or inside for what it matters) in the cold.
Being outside, playing and running supervised in low temperatures is one thing. But when night time comes, the Sun isn’t there to warm the body, and resting means a lower blood pressure and the risk of hypothermia.
If you can provide a warm shelter outside of the house that might be fine for some dogs, but you still should check the temperature inside the shelter and how the dog feels.
However, sleeping outside the house in a cold climate is off the table for puppies, no matter the circumstances.
As you see, we don’t have a simple yes or no answer to this question, but the safe answer is to always keep the Golden Retriever inside during the night.
Can A Golden Retriever Swim In The Winter?
An adult, healthy, Golden Retriever can and will swim no matter the weather. If they are not well trained, they will swim no matter if you want them to or not. That is how much they love water.
It’s Ok to allow your dog to swim if they are in good health and are not showing signs of being too cold. After all, they are built to swim and will enjoy water play regardless of the temperature of the water.
However, it is up to you to limit their swimming. As dogs are different, you will have to notice how long your dog can swim in the winter without any problems.
Keep in mind that swimming in cold water for too long causes the body to lose more heat than in a dry environment.
Therefore, the risk of hypothermia is much higher. So, keep an eye out and dry your dog as soon as possible.
Do Golden Retrievers Need Snow Boots When They Go Into The Snow?
This is another question that doesn’t have a clear yes or no answer.
It depends on how cold winters get and how much you intend to keep the dog in the snow.
Snow boots take a while to get used to, but they do work well in protecting your dog’s sensitive paws from a series of factors like:
- Shredded ice (that might cut your dog’s paws)
- Chemicals used to deice the roads
If you choose to have your Golden wear snow boots, make sure that his feet are dry before putting them on and that they are the type that improve grip, in order to prevent accidents.
If you leave your dog barefoot in the snow, you will have to stop on occasion to clean between your dog’s toes.
As Golden Retrievers have a long coat, snow tends to build up in their paws, and depending on how long they will be outside it can become very uncomfortable.
Golden Retrievers love winter, and they are one of the best family dogs. You can be sure that a day out in the snow with children and even a sled can translate in loads of fun.
As long as you pay attention to the signals that your dog is sending, and you take them to a warm place when they become uncomfortable, everything will be just fine!