Your Labradoodle may look warm, but whether he needs a winter coat depends on a number of factors, including his coat-type, environment and health. Neither breed in this hybrid dog are known for sensitivity to the cold, but when in doubt, it's good to give your pup and extra layer of insulation.
Not all Labradoodle coats offer the exact same insulation from the cold. A Labradoodle with a fleece-style coat that's silky, shaggy, wavy and loose will need more protection from the cold, especially if his hair is kept short during the winter months. In contrast, a wool-coated Labradoodle has a slightly higher tolerance to cold because his tightly-spun ringlets of his fur create a sort of built-in lining. Check with your dog's breeder for specifics about his coat style.
Your Labradoodle puppy may seem like a well-insulated ball of fur, but he's also very close to the ground, which means he needs an extra layer of insulation on his little body. By the same token, an elderly Labradoodle should also wear a thick coat or sweater when he goes outside. Even though your senior pup isn't close to the ground, and might still have plenty of thick, curly hair, his aging body naturally becomes less tolerant of cold temperatures.
If your Labradoodle lives somewhere that frequently experiences winter temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, it's worth investing in an outer jacket. Even with the plushest, densest coat, your Labradoodle was not meant to withstand 30 minute walks in 13-degree weather like a husky or malamute. The wind-chill factor should also be taken into account, since your Labradoodle's single-layered coat offers little barrier between his skin and freezing winds.
Health and Build
Like humans, certain health conditions, as well the individual build affect your Labradoodle's cold tolerance. Seriously or chronically ill Labradoodles need winter coats. Even if the temperature is only 40 degrees Fahrenheit, if your Labradoodle is in renal failure or undergoing radiation for a tumor, his ability to maintain and restore his core temperature is compromised. Similarly, a winter jacket is necessary if your Labradoodle's lacks natural insulation, either because his coat is completely shaved or he's underweight due to prior sickness or neglect from a previous owner.
Labradoodles Who Rarely Need Winter Coats
A healthy, adult Labradoodle who's natural coat is wool style, who spends most of his time indoors and rarely sees winter temperatures below 45 degrees Fahrenheit probably does not need a winter coat. That being said, if you notice that your dog is shivering or resists going outside during the winter, even if he meets all of the above criteria, by all means, slap a doggie coat on his furry back before going for a walk.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Christina Bednarz Schnell began writing full-time in 2010. Her areas of expertise include child development and behavior, medical conditions and pet health. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in international relations.