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Discussion Starter #1
My parents love to take my 1.5 year old lab for walks in the mountains near our home, however now that there is snow on the ground they are afraid it will be too cold for his feet. They usually take a good 2 hour walk but I'm not sure if this is too much exposure. Any thoughts?
 

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What are the temps during these walks? That's the biggest indicator if it's too much or not. They could always just get him some boots and a coat though if they notice him acting cold rather than avoiding his hikes.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Right now the temps run in the 30's to 40's, but there are rare occasions when it gets really cold and the temps drop around 20 degrees. I can't imagine he would like walking in booties, especially some areas that can get pretty muddy.
 

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I worry more about snow building up between toes that cold. You could try "Musher's wax" it helps keep their feet a little safer in the snow and in regards to road salt. Supposed to work in the heat too! Also, regular paw checks are always a good idea. Some dogs really do better in booties so I'd consider it. I also think that short haired dogs should probably be wearing jackets in cold weather. Online tack stores like dover saddlery sell reasonably inexpensive dog coats, but ruffwear's the best. Stay warm!
 
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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks I'll look into those suggestions. I never heard of the wax before...it sounds interesting. Most of his walking is on dirt trails so luckily I don't have to worry about salt exposure. I'll also look into getting him a coat. I've been meaning to get him one anyway.
 

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@cbarkerb724 has cold weather. We do not have cold weather! Oh, no. And we don't have that dry cold that sucks the moisture out of everything like they do out east.

IMO the lab should be fine just as she came out of the box. I can't be that far away from you, I know there's a snowstorm right now but when it dumped up here last weekend the dogs had to cool their bellies in the snow because they got so hot from running around playing in the snow LOL!

IF they salt the sidewalks heavily and it's bothering the dog's feet you might need boots but they mostly use gravel in Vancouver area and I've never noticed a problem.
 

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@cbarkerb724 has cold weather. We do not have cold weather! Oh, no. And we don't have that dry cold that sucks the moisture out of everything like they do out east.

IMO the lab should be fine just as she came out of the box. I can't be that far away from you, I know there's a snowstorm right now but when it dumped up here last weekend the dogs had to cool their bellies in the snow because they got so hot from running around playing in the snow LOL!

IF they salt the sidewalks heavily and it's bothering the dog's feet you might need boots but they mostly use gravel in Vancouver area and I've never noticed a problem.
Truth. I may be bias because I just moved away from an area that got NINE FEET OF SNOW. NINE FEET. The worst of it was pretty much dumped right on top of my old apartment complex :eek:

I also have the least cold tolerant Spaniel in history. She shivered when I took her out in 45*F weather without a jacket the other day.

If your dog looks comfortable, he probably is, if he shivers (or you're having a bad cold snap), get him a coat :)
 
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Yeah, best to go on how the dog looks. I guess it can also depend on what the dog is used to. The lab I walk was initially from Texas so her first October, November, December were a bit shivery for her. By January she was rolling around in the snow as soon as we got out of the yard. All... 2 inches of it. :eek:
 

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IMO, just listen to the dog. They let you know when they're cold lol.

Tigger's a wussy when it comes to the cold, so he does have jackets he can wear if needed. It's usually when it's gusty that he gets cold. But he actually loves snow and has tons of fun romping and pouncing in it. So even though it's cold, he stays pretty warm because he's burning energy (and I'm in CA where even when the ground is covered in snow your day time temp can be 40-60 lol).
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks all. I have decided to definitely get him a coat for the long walks, but I still kind of worry about his feet. I'd try the booties but I'm just afraid they would fall off too easily (especially in the mud) or he'd pull them off. I suppose the dogs in the Iditarod are fine so my dog probably will be too (although they have a much heavier coat).
 

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I vote for booties over a coat. His overall body is likely to stay warm hiking but his feet are what are going to be exposed. A coat wouldn't hurt but I've personally learned how boots can come in handy in extreme weather. See, I have the opposite problem from you, we don't get snow. lol But during the summers it can get insanely hot and cement and even sand at the beach can easily burn paw pads. I bought booties one year for my German Shepherd after carrying him a mile down the road from the more secluded area of the beach. (The few folks making the walk sure did get a laugh at the tiny woman carrying the huge dog so his feet don't burn! Lol) It was fine walking to the beach and fine by the water but even my feet were getting burned by the sand higher up on shore when we started home!! They made a world of difference in the future and he actually warmed up to them (ha!) pretty quickly with some treats and a few 'No don't eat them'. ;) You could always buy a cheap pair to see if he can get used to them before investing in something pricey (but high quality) like Ruffwear.
 

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A lab should be just fine in snow and cold even without booties or a coat. Really! Our setters go for walks of an hour with temperatures well below freezing and snow/ice on the ground, and they do not even have the fat layer and thick coat of a lab. It truly is normal for most dogs who live in cold climates. Labradors are bred to withstand freezing cold water and long hunting trips. They generally love the cold! I've seen them retrieving a tennis ball in a pond skimmed over with ice multiple times in a row, with no lessening of enthusiasm. Mostly dogs don't need "clothes" or "shoes." They are well adapted to being outdoors in all sorts of weather, at least for long walks. (staying outside all night would be another matter.)
 

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So... I live in Alberta, Canada. Currently our outside temp is -30 degrees celsius (-22 F?) with an additional wind chill that makes it feel more like a balmy -40c. I too have a lab mix, she is going to be 2 this month. She laughs in the face of the cold...literally. No boots, no coat and she'll still be going strong after an hour in the cold; Me, on the other hand...not so good. I have to wear multiple layers of flannel, long johns, and a balaclava under my toque and parka, while the air get sucked right out of my lungs.

Your pup will be fine, labs were actually bred to deal with below freezing temp waters in Newfoundland/Labarador, Canada for long periods of time. It's what makes them the ideal hunting companion. I just watch for any shivering, stress signals/exercise intolerance (like yawning and wanting to lay down) and paw lifting. I also second the Musher's Secret. I use it to prevent cracking from the temperatures and other factors like dirt and salt.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Wow that is cold. I'm assuming with those temps you also have snow on the ground? I was thinking he should start off taking shorter walks (like an hour) and add a little more time with each walk. My lab loves to run through the brush and small streams so it's not just his feet that get cold and wet. I usually have to dry him off from top to bottom with a towel when we get home. I'm sure you can relate with your lab. I've always assumed that labs are pretty resistant to the cold since they were originally bred for pulling in fishing nets from the water and hunting birds, but I wanted to be sure. Thanks.
 

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My lab loves to run through the brush and small streams so it's not just his feet that get cold and wet. I usually have to dry him off from top to bottom with a towel when we get home. I'm sure you can relate with your lab.
It's Tessa's most redeeming quality. After having a poodle mix, I love the wipe and go of a lab :)

We've got plenty of snow here. Normally winter only dumps a total of 3-5 feet of snow total here, though recently it's been more and much heavier.

If there is a lot of snow build up on your trails, you could always try boots like this Ruffwear Polar Trexâ„¢ Winter Dog Boots - Tess has a set for the coulee trails around here and she loves them (only pair she hasn't managed out of yet), though I highly recommend the socks that go underneath as they can rub the fur/pads. They really help with all the brambles and tumbleweeds (yes, just like the westerns) that they get into, water - not so much.

I would suggest to minimize the cold water, like lakes and puddles, simply because they will get colder quicker. Make sure you watch for any signs of hypothermia and pack a back pack with emergency stuff just in case.

A good judge is if your cold, they're chilly, if your freezing, they're probably getting cold. Never go out any longer than YOU can handle, watch the dog at all times to judge their tolerance, and if you think you should turn around, do. Labs never know their own tolerances and are so willing to work/play that they could be going into shock and still go to fetch that dang ball. Gotta love'em.
 
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