You’ve bought your Labradoodle home, you’ve all the gear and (some) idea and your new puppy is settling home well; however, due to the anomalies of the ever-changing weather conditions you’ve realized you might not be as prepared as you first thought. Just how cold is too cold for your Labradoodle? Do they need coats to keep warm like us or are their own fur coats sufficient enough to deal with harsher weather conditions?
Labradoodles can regulate their body temperature well, even in cold conditions. This means a coat may not be a necessary purchase but at the same time, they do have their advantages. They are a great barrier against rain and mud which keeps their fur free from dirt.
After all, when the temperature outside plummets what do we do? We layer up with jumpers & cardigans, coats, scarves, and hats; but then again, we aren’t (well, most of us aren’t) covered in fur. So, do you need to buy an extra layer to protect your Labradoodle from the chillier weather? Join us on our journey to discover what you can do, if you need to do anything, to help your Labradoodle keep warm and comfortable.
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Labradoodle Coat Types
Let’s first explore the different coat types that Labradoodles have. There are three main coat types:
- Hair Coated Labradoodle (Straight). This coat type closely resembles the Labrador Retriever parent. They can look somewhat scruffy and not as well-groomed as the other Labradoodles. They are prone to shedding too and their hair can lack the softness of other breeds.
- Fleece Coated Labradoodle. A popular choice among allergy sufferers, this coat doesn’t shed much at all. It gives Labradoodles that well-loved shaggy appearance. This coat is the easiest of the three to maintain.
- Wool Coated Labradoodle. Also called “Curly-Coated” these are a popular choice among dog owners. They can have tight or loose curls and ideally require daily brushing. This coat type has the least amount of shedding.
Labradoodles have a double coat that does not blow out like other dog breeds which means they need extra brushing to stop the undercoat from becoming matted and entangled with the topcoat. You can read more about whether Doodles are Double Coated in our sister article.
Can Dogs Keep Themselves Warm?
In essence, the hairier your dog, the less likely you are to need a coat for them, but really dogs self-regulate their body temperature. So, whether you choose to buy one or not is really down to personal preference. Being double-coated gives Labradoodles the added advantage of that extra coat which will offer more warmth than single coated dogs.
It’s surprising just how well dogs can keep themselves warm when required. They have a few ways of doing this, all of which successfully keep them from getting too cold. Have you ever heard the expression “the hair stood on end?” Well, dogs’ hair can do just this, and this helps them keep the cool air off their skin.
Smaller breeds can have more difficulty regulating their body temperature so they may well need a coat. However, as Labradoodles are a larger breed they can can cope better in cold conditions. They can also rely on fat reserves for those very harsh days.
For dogs that live in severe cold conditions, they have the skill to enter a state of what is called torpor. This is a survival instinct to keep themselves alive during extreme weather, not dissimilar to hibernation. They survive by dropping their temperature and also their metabolic rate.
Are There Other Advantages to Wearing a Coat?
There are other things to consider when deciding whether your much-adored four-legged companion needs a coat or not, other than what type of fur they have or whether they will actually feel the cold.
A coat will act as a barrier not just against cold, but also against mud and rain. In fact, anything that might get caught and tangled in the fur. Including the pooh of other animals (no one enjoys brushing unidentified faeces out of their dog’s hair. No one). So, for practical reasons it may be worth considering buying a coat just to prevent them from getting totally filthy and their hair in a tangle after each walk.
As a dog owner myself, a huge benefit to using a coat is to keep their fur dry if it’s rainy, sleety, or snowing. There is nothing worse than a wet, soggy dog in your home. Yes, their paws will still need drying, but their body and under-carriage will stay relatively dry. This makes it easier for brushing too – less mud and dirt to brush out after the daily walk.
It may be that actually, your dog isn’t a fan of the cold – who can blame them? We have on our warm boots and hats, yet we are expecting them to walk around as they are. A nice warm coat might entice them out of the warm home so you can both enjoy a walk together.
You might find that with aging your dog becomes less tolerant of harsher weather – this means both hot and cold. They are less able to stand the cold as they get older and may well benefit from a coat at this latter stage of their lives.
What Types of Dog Coat are There?
If you’ve decided to go ahead and purchase a coat for your Labradoodle – after all it doesn’t hurt to be prepared for all eventualities, right? Now you need to figure out which type of dog coat is best-suited to your Labradoodle.
Some dog coats have a removable fleece liner so you can choose how warm you wish your dog to be. Most of them are windproof and waterproof too. The ones with a reflective strip are very useful too, especially when walking your dog when it’s dull or dark. Some coats are more lightweight than others so it’s worth looking around first and knowing what features you want.
Dog coats usually fasten under your dog, however, some coats actually look more like a jumper with sleeves. These can be water-resistant and help to keep your pup warm. You can even buy a coat with a hood. However, whether or not your pooch will be impressed with this idea remains to be seen.
Can Wearing a Coat Cause any Issues for your Dog?
There are a few positive and practical reasons to look at when assessing whether or not a coat is the right choice for your Labradoodle. However, there cannot be light without the dark and it is worth bearing in mind that a coat – whilst being excellent at mess-minimizing – might not be a fantastic choice or one that would work for everyone and every dog.
Problems such as matting may happen so whereby you may put a coat on your puppy or dog to prevent foreign objects and dirt from getting stuck to them, you might also find yourself having to comb or brush out multiple knots caused by the coat itself.
Getting the incorrect size when fitting your Labradoodle can also create issues. If it’s too small then you may end up with chafing, rubbing, and sore spots; too big and you’ll end up with gapping and the chance that some of the nasties that you were hoping to keep off of your dog’s fur, manage to work their way into the lining of the coat anyway. Tangling themselves into the fur (and possible knots) and likewise cause rubbing and discomfort if the foreign item doesn’t work its way back out again, or is spotted and removed promptly.
Another safety element to really consider is how likely is the coat to become entangled or caught on something like a branch during free play through the fields and branches.
Of course, if you’ve decided to take the plunge and you’ve bought the (well-fitting, of course) coat to prevent your dog from getting filthy mucky, what’s going to happen? The coat is going to get filthy mucky instead, so it may end up living more of its life in the washing machine on a VERY hot wash than it does on your Labradoodle itself.
This dog coat from Amazon is ideal for Labradoodles and with careful measurement, you can select the exact size you need for the height and length of your dog. The Weatherbeeta is showerproof and breathable and also has handy reflective strips making it safe on dark walks. It includes a hole for the leash to go through which helps to keep it in place.
Also called a blanket coat, this particular coat, also from Amazon, is warm, soft, and comfortable to wear. It’s reversible and reflective so you can choose whether to have the fleece or waterproof side on the outside. This one is ideal for bigger, stockier dogs.
Unless you live in very rough, cold weather conditions then you might find a coat unnecessary. However, they can be great, as we’ve discussed, for wet and miserable weather too. Dogs are capable of coping against the cold while walking so you shouldn’t worry about them getting too cold.