What Temperature Is Too Hot For Labrador Retrievers?

Our labrador retriever loves spending time outdoors playing and working beside my husband all day long.  In a few weeks, we will be moving to a hotter climate, and I wonder what temperature is too hot for Labradors.  I want to ensure that he is safe and kept healthy once we move, so this is important to me.

This weekend I decided to take a few minutes and research this information. I want to share in hopes it will help others going through the same situation.

What Temperature Is Too Hot For Labradors?

What temperature is too hot for Labradors?  When the temperature rises above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, it is best to bring the Labrador retriever indoors for protection.  However, this varies depending on how humid it is and if they have a cool place to escape the heat. 

This situation is true for any dog, not just the Labrador retriever, and most veterinarians recommend it for the dog’s overall health and well-being. 

Short breaks inside, out of the heat and sun, allow the dog to cool off and take a break.   This break can be highly necessary for a dog like the Labrador retriever. 

They are full of life and energy and are not likely to notice how hot it is.  This care is the responsibility of their owner and family. To keep watch of how heir environment is affecting their overall health. 

Heat can be thought of as a bodily stressor if precautions are not implemented.  Pulling a Labrador indoors or out of the heat during extreme heat will give them time to take a much-needed drink and snack. 

Their owner can then access how they are physically and how the hot weather may be affecting them.  For dog owners and families that spend a lot of time outdoors in the heat, this breed will have a blast as long as precautions are taken.

The Labrador retriever was bred to be a helpmate to their human companion during outdoor activities like fishing, hunting, and other sport.  As their name implies, they would retrieve items for their owner or a human no matter the weather, cold, hot, windy; it didn’t matter.

This has made them a valuable asset to humans in the area of outdoor work. A Labrador’s energy is another asset that is helpful to humans in the area of work.  This energy, however, if not adequately channeled, can cause issues for those owners that don’t know what to do with their dog, regardless of how hot or cold it is.

Outdoor work and play is the natural path for expelling this overabundance of energy.  When channeled into appropriate outdoor activities, the Labrador will be happy to be outside in any weather.  This eagerness can be a problem if their owner isn’t savvy and knowledgeable about how hot weather can affect Labradors health.

The Labrador should not spend time outdoors when the heat is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit or if the humidity is above 20% unless their owner has the right tools. 

These tools are to protect their health since they can’t tell their owner how they are feeling.

This situation doesn’t mean that they cant be outdoors at all or go outside for a bathroom break. It just means that caution is necessary.  The proper tools and a watchful eye can be a lifesaver in these situations.

It is easy for us humans to forget how hot a dog can get with all that fur.  Add in an overzealous dog that wants to have adventures and fun, and it can spell disaster.

How long can a Labrador retriever be outside when it is hot out?

This answer depends mostly on the temperature and the humidity.  As stated above, if the weather is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit or with a humidity level of over 20%, it is best to keep the Labrador indoors.

If for some reason, a Labrador insists that they have to go outside, these trips should be short and sweet.  A trip to the bathroom, or a quick moment to see what the squirrel is doing to their yard.  Other than that, a nice spot in front of a fan or the air condition for them to play with some toys while indoors helps.

Exceptions can be made in certain situations if the above weather conditions are less severe, or there is no way around them.  For instance, an owner and dog are out swimming in a lake; the heat or humidity is higher.

The water will cool the dog off, as well as its owner.  Plenty of fluids can also help until proper refuge is taken once swimming is done.  These outdoor moments should also be kept short or frequent breaks should be taken.

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Owners and families can gauge how the heat is affecting their dog by how they feel and subtle signs the Labrador retriever will give off.

Having the necessary tools while spending time outdoors in the heat can reduce incidents and injuries from occurring.

What are the signs that a Labrador has spent too much time outdoors in the heat?

There are various signs that any dog will give off that they are too hot or suffering from the outdoor heat.  These signs should be addressed right away by their owner and can include:

  • Panting
  • Drooling
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Abnormal breathing
  • Changes in the color of her gums
  • Lack of urine
  • Rapid pulse
  • weakness
  • Pacing and being unsettled
  • Searching for water
  • Less alert
  • Muscle twitching
  • Lack of coordination
  • Collapse
  • Loss of consciousness

When a Labrador retriever shows any of these signs while spending time out of doors in extreme heat, their owner should deal with them promptly by moving them to a cooler place, rehydrating slowly, and contacting their veterinarian in severe cases.

These symptoms can come on suddenly and are usually after the dog has already been overheated for a while.   Having a dog first aid kit on hand can also help address more severe symptoms that a Labrador may suffer.

What are the tools a Labrador owner should have with them when spending time outdoors with their dog?

An essential tool to have on hand is water.  Water is necessary to keep the Labrador hydrated during hot weather.  Without it, dehydration can creep up quickly.

Next would be a first aid kit and a book or online resources that can explain what to do in certain situations with a Labrador while being outdoors in the heat.

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Other tools will depend on the outdoor situation owner, and dogs find themselves in.  These additional tools can include water sources for cooling off (a lake, kiddie pool, etc.), a cooling mat, ice cubes, an elevated cooling bed, and an umbrella or tree for shade.

What should I do if I find my Labrador retriever has overheated?

First, take them to a cooler area, whether under a tree, inside the house, or wherever shade can be found.

You will then want to lower their temperature by using cool, not cold, water all over their fur; if your Labrador is a puppy, use lukewarm water to start.  Application to their paws can reduce the risk of fever as can around the eyes.

Then put them in a cool place, preferably where there is a cool breeze or fan to dry off and check their temperature if the first aid kit has one (never use glass).  Anything above 103 is considered a fever in a dog.  If you don’t have a thermometer, the fever’s best gauge is a dry doggie nose.

At this point, as you would do with humans, little drinks of lukewarm or cool water are best.  As they continue to cool down, the water should continue to be administered in small doses at intervals.

After this contacting their veterinarian is the next course of action to protect their health.

In extreme situations where the Labrador loses consciousness or is vomiting, a visit to an animal hospital is best for their overall health and well-being.

Due to their inability to fully express how they feel, situations like these can escalate quickly.  Paying close attention to the more subtle signs of dehydration and panting can help keep more severe issues from arising.

In Conclusion

While we all love warm weather and the fun that can be had outside, a Labrador retriever had the potential to suffer tremendously.  When temperatures run high, it is best to keep them indoors or out of the heat for their safety and peace of mind.

During extreme heat, situations of dehydration and heatstroke can go unnoticed and quickly escalate.  Why risk their health when there is plenty of fun to be had while cooling off beside a fan?

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