Can Labradors Swim In Frozen Cold Water? Hypothermia in Labs

Even when your dog loves doing it, do not encourage your Labrador to swim in freezing cold water.

Labradors are meant for swimming, all thanks to their thick, water-repellent coat. Their origins in Newfoundland, Canada, grant them the natural talent of swimming in cold waters that too without getting into any trouble. But there’s a difference between cold and freezing cold water. Even though Labs have a double-layer water-repellent coat, they should not be allowed to swim in freezing cold water for over 10 minutes. Remember, Labradors are also prone to Hypothermia, and overexposure to extremely cold water can prove fatal for them. 

Can Labradors Swim In Freezing Cold Water

Is It Ok For Labs To Swim In Cold Water?

Labradors originated in Newfoundland, Canada, where the average winter temperature stays around 0 degrees Celsius, and it doesn’t pass across 16 degrees Celsius during summers. Newfoundland, even in summer, has very cold water, and this breed has grown up swimming in icy waters. This makes them natural cold-water swimmers. Besides that, Labrador’s physical features, including their Coat and Otter tail, make them efficient swimmers and more able to tolerate colder conditions. 

Labradors who are accustomed to swimming and are habitual of living in colder regions can easily tackle swimming in cold water. Their double-layer, water-repellent coat will provide them with a good degree of protection for quite some time. However, the dog doesn’t know when it is limited and, therefore, never allow your Lab to swim for more than 10 to 20 minutes in cold water. 

Note: Whenever allowing your Labrador to swim in cold water, make sure you keep some towels, a bowl of warm broth, and a warm room prepared. 

Can Golden Retrievers Swim In Cold Water?

Golden Retrievers can tolerate cold water quite more efficiently than many other dogs. This is because Golden Retrievers are double-coated, and swimming is a naturally inherited trait in them. They can actually make it up in cold water for a lengthy period.

Golden Retrievers can stay in as cold as water at 0 degrees Celsius. However, on average, to be on the safer side, never allow your Golden to swim in water less than 7.2 degree Celsius. Though these dogs are meant to handle coats but even with a double coat, they cannot stay immune from conditions like frostbite or Hypothermia. As soon as the dog starts showing signs of cold, make sure you get him out of the water and take him to a warmer place. Dry him, wrap him under layers of blanket and offer something warm to drink.

In case when your Golden Retrievers’ body temperature drops below 36 degrees Celsius, rush him to a vet immediately.

How Cold Is Too Cold For Dogs To Swim?

Regardless of breed, age, and fitness level, water temperature below 7.2 degrees Celsius is too low for dogs to swim. For certain breeds, especially non-swimmer dogs, water below 15 degrees Celsius is too cold to wade in. As a thumb rule, if it is too cold for you, it is too cold for your dog as well. The length and time of swimming contribute to the outcome. Taking a quick dip during peak sunny hours will affect the dog differently than staying in cold water for too long during morning or evening hours when the air is chilling as well will hit harshly. 

How Long Can A Dog Survive In Cold Water?

Time length is among the major factor that impacts how well a dog can survive in cold water. Breeds that have a double-layer water resistance coat, like Labrador or Golden Retrievers, can spend a longer period in cold water. However, dogs with single-layer thin coats can’t handle cold water for much longer. 

When looking precisely at the time limit, never allow your dog to stay in cold water for more than a maximum of 10 minutes. No matter what breed the dog is, 10 minutes inside freezing cold water is enough for the dog to catch Hypothermia or Frostbite. 

Do Labradors Like Snow?

Labradors love cold weather, and they absolutely enjoy playing in the snow. As much as Labradors love swimming, they also love spending their time in the snow. Even their history explains that Labs thrive well in wetlands and cold weather. During winter, Lab owners probably get a hard time getting their dogs inside.

However, letting your Labrador outside in the snow for a long isn’t a very healthy choice. Labs can’t tolerate long periods of very low temperature, and it can lead to health complications, including Hypothermia and frostbite. Also, in the worst-case scenario, ice and snow can injure your Labrador. Broken ice is sharp enough to cause injury, whereas solid ice balls can put the dog in pain. 

How To Care for Your Labrador After a Cold Swim?

After a session of cold water swimming, always take steps to warm up your Labrador immediately. Once the dog is out from the swimming session,

  1. Wrap him in towels and dry him nicely. If required, use a hot air hair dryer for drying their coat.
  2. Next, wrap your Labrador in a warm blanket. Then, use a hot water bottle or other warming substitutes to provide that extra heat to their body. Leave the blanket on for at least half an hour.
  3. Simultaneously, offer warm fluids and will help them get heated up from inside. Warm water, vegetable, or chicken broth will do the job well.
  4. If required, take the Labrador to a Vet immediately. However, in conditions when the outdoors is still too cold, ask if the vet can visit your dog at home. 

Wrapping up…

This was all for Labradors and how well they can tolerate swimming in freezing cold water. Though usually, Labradors will enjoy a cold water swimming session, you should never encourage them to do so at an extended stretch. Always keep an eye on weather and water conditions, including cold breezes, clouds, etc. 

Allow only Labradors who are regular swimmers to swim in cold water. Though if your Lab isn’t a regular swimmer, it is better to keep them from exposing them to winter conditions without any essential purpose.  

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