Can Golden Retrievers Tolerate Cold Weather?

By John Martin - May 2, 2022

Golden Retriever outside in the cold

Our fluffy, chunky Golden Retriever buddies may look like they have a lot of furs to shield them from the cold. After all, they look to bob around in the snow and make a mess on the living room carpet!

However, this is not the complete truth. Golden Retrievers can withstand the cold, but only up to a certain temperature for a certain period. Beyond this, they are at risk of developing hypothermia from exposure to the cold.

What Temperatures Are Okay for a Golden Retriever?

When the temperature is between 60°F and 80°F, a Golden Retriever is at ease. Many breeds, because of their versatility, can survive in temperatures lower or higher than those listed above, but only for a short time.

In principle, most canines should not be bothered by extreme cold until they drop under 45° F, during which point certain cold-averse canines might be distressed. When the temperature drops to less than 45°F, a robust, double-coated dog, like the Golden Retriever, might just start feeling a little chilly, especially if they’re outside for too long.

Families with Retrievers or breeders must change locations and wrap up their dogs when the temperature drops below 45° F, particularly if the dog starts to tremor and shudder.

A Golden Retriever’s tail and legs may be tucked underneath its belly and its ears pulled back on occasion. This is a sign that the dog is in distress and needs attending.

Until there are life-threatening natural factors, Golden Retrievers prefer to stay outside. Even in the cold, their lengthy fur keeps them happy and warm. Regardless, it’s critical to keep an eye on the weather conditions outdoors.

Is It Possible for Your Retriever to Feel Cold at Night?

Certain Golden Retrievers are in superior cold-weather conditions than others and can stay warm whereas others can’t. This depends on several factors, such as:

  • How Wet Your Retriever Is: If your dog has returned from a bath or after playtime in a puddle, it is more likely to catch a cold at night.
  • What the Weather Indicators Say: Always take a look at the sky to know exactly what the weather will be like at night. For example, a cloudless sky will be chillier than a cloudy sky.
  • How Much Your Retriever Weighs: Naturally, if your buddy has a healthy amount of body weight, it will be able to withstand the cold in a much better fashion than a skinnier dog.
  • How Accustomed Your Dog Is to Weather Conditions: If your retriever has grown up around cold weather, it is more likely to be accustomed and acclimated to it than a dog that has not.
  • Your Retriever’s Age: Finally, an older dog will not be as tolerant to cold weather as a dog at its prime. If your Retriever is older, then it is a good idea to take it home for the night instead of leaving it out.

Also Read: Why Does My Golden Retriever Sleep So Much?

Cold Weather Can End up Aggravating Your Retriever’s Health Issues!

It’s critical to note that a cold can exacerbate several Golden Retriever health issues, including osteoarthritis as well as other joint illnesses. If you think your dog has a problem that could be worsened by a drop in the temperature, bring it indoors.

Your dog’s outdoor winter activities should be limited to the occasional walks and potty breaks only.

How to Properly Care For Your Retriever in Harsh Weather Conditions

If it begins to rain or snow while you are away, the first action you should do when you get home is to provide the dog with a dry and warm setting. If its body is damp, clean it.

If you’ll be gone for a lot longer, get your retriever an enclosed playpen that’s built a few feet from the earth and where the warmth is just right.

Keeping any dog in harsh circumstances has always been against animal welfare. As a result, legislation has been created prohibiting owners from keeping their dogs chained outdoors for more than half an hour in temperature extremes (under 32°F and over 90°F).

The Right Kennel for Your Retriever

There are a variety of options for keeping pets comfy during the night. A sheltered kennel or doghouse is the right shelter for a Golden Retriever who lives outdoors.

In addition to keeping your dog cool and comfortable in summer, the right doghouse will keep him warm in the winter.

Make sure the doghouse you choose has a sturdy cover to keep the breeze out. You should also provide a comfy place for the dog to lie down on to help insulate the flooring.

Your doghouse should be large enough for the dog to stand up fully. It could feel cramped if there is inadequate space, and this could affect its development.

What About Food and Water During Winter?

Did you aware that shivering requires more energy than simply remaining still? If your Retriever is cold and shivering, this is a sign that it needs more energy to withstand the cold.

Always fill the dog bowl a little more during the winter months. This will not make your buddy chunkier, since more calories are burnt in winter to keep the cold out.

The risk of dehydration is another factor that you may miss. Ensure that the dog gets access to enough fresh, non-frozen water. Water can end up freezing at night, so keep checking your dog’s bowl periodically to make sure there is enough water.

Every living being needs regular hydration, and keeping your dog well hydrated is one of the most important things you should do.

Also Read: Are Golden Retrievers Good Hunting Dogs?

Can Your Retriever Play in the Water in Winter?

Golden retrievers, like all dogs, like playing in the water. You can engage with them and bathe with them, but the temperature of the water must be checked first. If the water is too chilly for your dog, don’t let it in. Hypothermia affects dogs in the same way it affects humans.

The following are indicators of pneumonia in golden retrievers:

  • Unresponsiveness or visible weakness
  • Muscular tightness that lasts for days
  • Slow and weak breathing
  • Lack of tactical awareness
  • Fixed and enlarged pupils
  • Cognitive loss

The easiest way you can be the judge is if you are feeling too cold for a bath, your Retriever is feeling the same.

What If Your Retriever Likes Playing in the Snow?

As you may have observed, Retrievers enjoy playing in the snow and splashing around in mud puddles by the street. This looks adorable, but it could be dangerous if not monitored properly.

Clean your Retriever’s paws after playtime or walks in cold temperatures, particularly if they were subjected to thawing ice. The expansion of ice could cause serious scorching if their paw are left damp.

Over a day or two, check to see whether your Retriever is hobbling, scratching its feet frequently, or has any redness around its paws. All of these symptoms could be a sensitivity to pathogens that cause colds and dog flu, which require immediate medical attention.

How to Treat Your Retriever for Hypothermia

While Golden Retrievers are well suited to life in the wild, prolonged exposure to cold temperatures can create health problems, including hypothermia. Hypothermia is more common in golden retrievers that are extremely young or old.

Hypothermia can be caused by a variety of factors, but the majority of them are connected to extended cold exposure. If your Retriever’s core temperature is below 98°F, the very first thing you should do is go to a veterinarian’s emergency care facility.

If you don’t have access to a vet critical care facility, you can assist your dog as follows:

  • Make an effort to raise its core temperature.
  • Wrap a nice blanket around your dog. You can use a hairdryer on a low setting to make it feel warmer.
  • Allowing your dog to move about too much can cause its body temperature to drop.
  • Allow it to drink some lukewarm water to help boost its body heat.
  • To keep its tummy comfortable, use a heating pad covered in a cloth.
  • Every fifteen minutes, take your retriever’s core temperature. Replace the hot water whenever the temperature increases above 100°F.

If executed accurately and timely, these measures may aid Retrievers in recovering quickly. Remember that these are only the fundamentals. If you think the issue is serious, always go to the vet to be safe.

Also Read: Do Golden Retrievers Bite?


Golden Retrievers are a high-energy breed that can withstand frigid temperatures. They are generally shielded from icy conditions by their lengthy furs; nonetheless, extreme temperatures (under 32°F and over 90°F) necessitate protective measures.

It is your responsibility as the owner to keep your retriever comfy and out of adverse weather. It is the least you could do for the buddy that looks up to you like you are its entire universe.