It was almost 3 hours that had past since I heard Bella in the garden. As I used to believe golden retriever outside temperature was anything above 40°F.
Well, I couldn’t have been more STUPID! I know your thinking what an idiot, RIGHT? Let me explain!
My worst nightmare came true
Because of my stupidity, it almost cost me my dog’s life. I ran outside to quickly check on Bella as she had been out there for almost an hour whilst I was baking.
It was only a few weeks before Christmas at the time and everything that day just seemed to be going tits up, literally! And to top it off, I managed to burn my hand on the oven door.
My own fault of course, as I never bought the new pair of gloves I was supposed to after throwing the old pair out. By the time I managed to get outside, my dog was laying in the snow. Not moving!
To say that I was in a state of panic would be a complete understatement…
I immediately assumed that something was wrong and so I screamed towards the house to get my husband’s attention. My mind was all over the place, so I had to rely on my husband to take control of the situation.
He was able to diagnose that she had dark red gums heavy breathing and Red flushed skin. Which apparently are all symptoms of hypothermia.
How cold is too cold for a golden retriever?
Now the general idea of a suitable temperature for your golden retriever outside should be ranging between 60°F to 80°F. This can vary depending on what breed of dog you have and what weather conditions they are generally used to. Just like us humans.
A great rule of thumb to go by is to simply assess what heritage your dog is and whether they are long known for surviving in extreme cold or hot weather conditions. Do your research and find specific answers that are best suited to your dog. Trust me I would know! and I had to learn the hard way.
Tools to help
Another way is to measure your dog’s temperature in such extreme conditions to see your dog’s specific body temperature in such conditions. This will give you a clear indication as to whether you should start to panic now or later! More on a serious note, it is highly advised that you monitor this closely using portable thermometers that you can purchase from online.
A few tips to avoid hypothermia in cold weathers
Now if you do find yourself in a situation just as I described in the first article. Then it is highly recommended that you have a few skills in the reserve tank, that can help you to act quickly and accordingly in such dire situations.
What to do if your dog experiences hypothermia
I now just carry a small card with the following listed out on a small card for such times in the event of hypothermia:
- A warm blanket that has been on a radiator or in the clothes dryer can be used to wrap around your dog
- Normal blankets are better than none. So if you are not able to warm it, they still use it anyway
- Wrap a towel around a hot water bottle and place it on your dog’s abdomen. (Exact tactic my husband used)
- Check your dog’s temperature around every 10 minutes. If you notice it fall below 98°F (36.7°C) then immediately contact a veterinarian
- If your dog’s temperature rises above 100°F ( 37.8°C) then remove the hot water bottle to avoid overheating
- Continue to monitor your dog’s temperature until their behavior returns to a normal state
Can golden retrievers sleep outside?
I seem to also see the same questions in forums time and time again. “can golden retrievers sleep outside?” The answer to that question is first. What type of weather conditions are you talking about?
Because depending on how HOT or COLD it is outside will depend on whether it will be suitable for your retriever. I always just as myself one simple question to find the answer to this.
Is it good enough for me to sleep there? If no, then it is not good enough for my puppy too. You will generally never go wrong by going to this rule of thumb.
Feeding your dog in winter
During the winter season, it is important to understand when and how to feed your golden retriever. There will be a small adjustment in the way that you feed your dog along with the timing to.
I tend to personally feed Bella a little bit more during cold periods to make sure that she stays well hydrated and full of energy. I sometimes even notice that she tends to sleep more during winter to reserve her energy.
A simple way that I stay on top of this problem. Is to simply make sure that her water bowl is topped up at all times. It’s a very basic and simple solution, but I’ve seen it overlooked time and time again.
In a nutshell, you just want to simply make sure that your dog has a lot of energy in the tank during the winter season. Continue to reading to the next section, where I discuss how often your dog should be exercising during cold weather.
Exercise for your retriever in winter
When it tends to get colder outside, I personally take Bella for a walk at least once a day every single day. This is just purely to ensure that she gets her regular exercise. As there will be a lot more time spent in the house with her sleeping and just laying around.
I think it’s important to keep a good routine throughout such weather conditions. As when everything returns to normal, it will make sure that your retriever retains good habits. Again, if the weather conditions are really really bad. Then you may potentially want to teach your dog to wear booties.
Clothing for your retriever during winter…
In the section above explained how you can do this along with a link to my article on the best booties you can purchase for your retriever. Along with booties, you can also dress your dog in a jacket. And there are also sweaters that you can purchase from online stores such as this one.
If you do decide to buy one then make sure to let me know how you find it. As they are the ones that I use, but just want to hear someone else’s opinion to how they find it against other options. There are so few winter games that you can play with your puppy during this time. So make sure to just brainstorm a few simple games that you may potentially be able to play with the family and the dog during cold weather.
In a nutshell. You should avoid any extreme weather conditions with your dog. But if you do find yourself in that type of situation. Then get your self a portable thermometer to monitor the peaks of changes in your dog’s temperature.
I have also written another article that has all the essential information you need for sustaining the winter period with your dog.
As always I thank you for the time you have taken out of your busy days to read my blog. And I wish you the best of luck with all of the information and tools you have been armed with.
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