Your Labrador Retriever is a natural in cold weather, but if he has not been acclimated, you might want to give it a little time before it becomes second nature. Labradors are notorious outdoor hunting dogs, their owners relying upon them in any sort of weather, from sunny, warm days, to icy, below-zero temperatures. They have a double coat that helps them stay comfortable in cold weather and cold water, and can absolutely take it for short periods of time to relieve themselves, or for a short stints running around and playing.
Despite the fact that the breed does well in general in any sort of weather, watch out for the following signs of distress in extreme cold and snow if they are going to be exposed for any length of time greater than 15 minutes. First, keep an eye on his eyes, ears and tail for signs of frostbite, which include discoloration of the skin, swelling in these areas, or obsessive licking at suspect sites. Pay close attention to paws, especially. Frequently check paws for signs of frostbite, especially if the dog is outside for an extended period in below freezing weather, or is scampering about in the snow. Snow can become impacted between the Lab’s toes, and even after a little while inside with the heat on, snow can stay packed between their toes. Be sure to clean their feet thoroughly and look underneath any snow for signs of frostbite trouble.
Before your dog even steps foot outside, make sure he’s had some extra calories from treats or a little extra food, and as much water as he can handle. The cold really takes it out of dogs (and people), and the extra calories will supply the energy he needs to keep himself warm enough through natural body heat.