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It’s a question that is asked all the time, especially by new owners, “Do Golden Retrievers Need To Wear A Winter Coat?”
When it’s cold outside, we tend to bundle up in our winter coats and winter gear, ready to face the cold. Naturally, you worry about your Golden Retriever becoming cold too and wonder if you should get him a winter coat.
Is it really necessary for Golden Retrievers to wear a winter coat? Keep reading to find out the answer to this commonly asked question.
Do Golden Retrievers Need To Wear A Winter Coat?
A winter coat is not necessary for most Golden Retrievers. Golden Retrievers that are healthy and active do not need to wear a winter coat. In fact, you’ll find that this double-coated breed actually enjoys the cold weather, and would likely overheat while wearing a winter coat. But, there are factors to consider such as age, health status, temperature, activity level and climate, that will determine if your Golden Retriever needs to wear a winter coat.
5 Factors To Determine If Your Golden Retriever Needs A Winter Coat
Keep in mind that all Golden Retrievers are individual, and may not be able to tolerate the cold as well as others.
Here are 5 factors you need to consider that will help you determine if your Golden should wear a winter coat:
1. Activity Level
Putting a winter coat on your Golden Retriever may seem like a good idea, but it will likely cause your dog to overheat! This is especially true if your Golden is healthy and active.
Double-coated breeds like the Golden Retriever are protected from the elements. This includes cold weather.
Their double-coat acts as an insulation to keep their body temperature nice and warm when it’s cold outside. The outer coat consists of guard hairs that repel moisture and dirt, and the inner coat is thick and dense.
You’ll find this breed is much more comfortable in the cold weather than they are in the warm weather.
Depending on how active your Golden is outside, they will likely generate enough extra body heat to keep them comfortable when it’s cold out.
However, you still need to be mindful when the temperatures become extreme. Even active Golden’s can get cold at certain temperatures which are discussed below.
2. Age of Your Golden Retriever
When it gets cold outside, you need to pay special attention to your Golden if they are a puppy or a senior.
- Puppies: Young puppies do not have a fully developed immune system yet and tend to get cold faster. They are unable to regulate their body temperature, like a healthy adult dog. Special care is needed to keep them warm and prevent them from getting sick.
- Seniors: A dog’s immune system weakens with age, and being exposed to cold weather can put them at risk of becoming sick. Being able to regulate their body temperature also declines with age. This may make your senior Golden feel uncomfortably cold when the temperature drops.
3. Health Status of Your Golden Retriever
Golden’s With Medical Conditions
If your Golden is sick or has a medical condition, extra warmth is needed to keep them comfortable. They are unable to regulate their body temperature as well as a healthy dog.
This includes dogs with heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes, or chronic conditions like arthritis.
Arthritis flares up when the cold weather hits and your dog’s symptoms worsen. Their joints get stiff and become painful. Keeping your dog warm helps to alleviate the pain.
A winter coat is beneficial for the outdoors, and a sweater may be needed to keep them warm indoors.
Recovering From Injuries or Surgery
Any dog that is recovering from an injury or surgery should be taking it easy to help speed up healing.
Having added warmth from a winter coat while taking a short walk or going outside to pee may be beneficial to keep the immune system strong.
4. Acclimating To A New Climate
If your Golden Retriever is used to living in a warm climate and has never experienced cold weather, a winter coat will be beneficial.
Just because your Golden has a double-coat does not mean they will be able to tolerate the cold. This is especially true if your Golden is used to living in sunny and warm areas.
Having never experienced cooler temperatures will make your Golden susceptible to feeling cold. The same is true for Goldens who spend a lot of time indoors.
A winter coat will help them stay warm and slowly transition them to their new colder climate.
Let’s face it when the temperatures fall below freezing, it makes anyone of us feel uncomfortably cold. But, what about your Golden Retriever?
At what temperature will my Golden Retriever need a coat?
Let’s look at the temperature guidelines below:
- Below 45 degrees Fahrenheit (7.22 degrees Celsius): This temperature is probably very comfortable for most Golden Retrievers. Cooler temps. seem to make these dogs more energetic.
- Below 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius): When the temperature reaches below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, you will want to pay close attention to your puppy, senior, or sick dog. They may need to limit their time outdoors as well as wear a winter coat.
- Below 20 degrees Fahrenheit (-6.66 degrees Celsius): The risk for frostbite and hypothermia is greater when the temperatures fall below freezing. You should be aware of your dog’s well-being and look for signs that your dog is cold. A winter coat will help keep your dog warm, but time spent outside should be limited.
Other factors that can make it feel colder outside:
Regardless of what the temperature is outside, the following factors can make your dog feel cold and chilly:
- Wind Chill: Strong winds can cut right through your dog’s fur and make them feel cold.
- Dampness: Wet snow or rain that penetrates through your dog’s fur can quickly chill your dog.
- Cloudy Days: Cloudy and dreary days feel colder than sunny days because your dog can’t soak up the sun to warm his body.
How Will I Know If My Golden Retriever Is Cold?
Most Golden Retrievers enjoy the snow and the colder temperatures that winter brings. But, they can get cold and show some subtle and obvious signs that you need to watch out for.
If you notice your Golden showing any of the signs below, it’s time to bring him inside to warm up:
- Shivering or shaking
- Slowing down
- Lifting their paws off the ground
- Refusing to move or walk with you
- Searching for a warm spot, or seeking shelter
What Is The Best Winter Coat For A Golden Retriever?
If you’ve determined that your Golden is better off wearing a winter coat, you’ll want to make sure it’s the best one.
A coat for a Golden Retriever should fit snug but not tight. It should be easy to put on and take off, and not be restrictive in any way that prevents them from moving or going to the bathroom.
Here are my top 2 choices:
1. Kuoser Waterproof Reflective Field Dog Coat
This coat is great for Golden Retrievers because it is lightweight to prevent overheating but it provides extra warmth.
It features a reflective strip on the sides for safer nighttime walks. The outer layer is waterproof, windproof and breathable.
The inner layer is soft and cozy fleece to keep your dog warm. It has an adjustable neck, hidden leash hole design, and elastic cuffs.
This coat is super easy to put on and take off. Your dog simply steps into this coat and it zips up on the back. The anti-pinch zipper design on the back ensures that your dog’s fur will not get stuck.
2. Kuoser Reversible British Style Coat
The Kuoser Reversible British Style Coat is very popular among dog owners. It is at a great price point and you actually get 2 coats in 1.
This coat is reversible, featuring a soft cotton plaid side and a waterproof plain side. It is lightweight, warm, waterproof and windproof.
There is a buttonhole on the back for easy leash and harness access. Elastic chest design with Velcro closure makes this coat easy to put on and take off.
**For more great winter coats, check out my article on the best cold weather dog coats.
Additional Tips For Keeping Your Golden Retriever Warm
- Never Shave Your Golden Retriever: Shaving should never be done on a Golden Retriever in the winter or summer! They need their double-coat for protection.
- Consider A Sweater: Sick or arthritic dogs may find additional relief from wearing a sweater indoors.
- Make Sure Your Dog Is Dry: Never walk a wet dog in the cold weather. If you just bathed your dog, make sure they are dry before heading outside. The same is true for coming inside, if they are wet from snow or rain, be sure to dry them off.
- Never Leave Them Outside Alone: When it’s cold outside, you need to be close by so that you can monitor your dog for any signs of being cold. Never leave them unattended in the backyard.
- Boots Are Important: You may not need to put a winter coat on your Golden, however, I strongly suggest dog boots. Dog boots protect your dog’s paws from snowballs forming between the paw pads as well as chemical ice melts and road salt.
The answer to the question, “Do Golden Retrievers Need To Wear A Winter Coat?”, is not a simple yes or no.
As we have learned, it all depends on 5 key factors. Those being age, health status, activity level, climate and temperature.
Most healthy Golden Retrievers will not need to wear a winter coat as they are able to generate enough body heat to keep them comfortable. However, common sense is needed when the temperatures become extreme, and your Golden shows signs of being cold.
Do you put a winter coat on your Golden Retriever? Does your Golden Retriever enjoy the cold weather?
Share your thoughts and comments below. I would love to hear from you.