My dog is a lab, 75 lbs, 5-7 years old we think(he was a stray, so we don't know his exact age). Since this is our first winter with a big dog, I am wondering how long he can stay outside comfortably & safely? We have provided shelter by leaving our back garage door propped open so he can go in & out. We leave him plenty of water, a Kong toy with food inside, and a blanket to lay on. Can he stay outside until his water bucket starts to freeze? Or, since he's inside with us on weekends & evenings, does it affect his coat in a way so that he can't tolerate colder temperatures as much?
I think that if his water is freezing it is too cold for him and being a lab, he doesn't have much insulation. If he is out and playing I'd say he was fine but when he starts getting cold(say after a couple hours) I would bring him in for a while. If you do not want him just running around your house, try crating him inside.
My lab is outside the majority of the winter. He is, of course, brought in at night and on weekends and does have access to a heated garage, which he does not take advantage of. I live in Illinois and our winters arent much warmer than Minn. Alot would depend on whether he was outside before your home. A 5-7 y/o who has always been a house dog may not do well being in the cold for long.
Actually a lab's coat is largely water proof and does insulate them. Think about it, they're bred ot retrieve birds in water that can be near freezing in temperature. However, I agree with the others... when the water starts freezing over its time to bring him inside. It helps that you have a shelter for him to 'curl up' in when it gets really cold.
Yep, sure wish I knew more of his history. All the rescue group could tell me was that he was severely malnourished & had the mange when they got ahold of him. Poor guy. I did notice when we got him that his elbows are calloused - does this mean possibly that he was outside alot, maybe laying on cement? He sure seems to enjoy the cooler temps - he's SO much more playful since it's not so hot outside.
My dad had Golden Retrievers and they always stayed outside unless the temp got below 45. (I live in Colorado). I know of people that have doggie doors on their garage and when its cold, the dog goes in there and there is a space heater and blankets. So the temp in the garage is around 70. Our goldens hated being inside even when it was snowing. They would whine at the door and pant and drool buckets of water.