Most people know that both Labradoodles and Goldendoodles are quite great as outside dogs as they have an insulating, double coat that’s able to keep them warm in many conditions.
But it is possible though that it gets too cold for your dog to handle by itself.
In those instances, keeping a Labradoodle or Goldendoodle warm can be quiet a challenge.
Perhaps you also have a spouse that doesn’t like that your dog comes into the house.
But fear not! If you have a spouse or a roommate with “dog-issues” it’s still possible for you to keep your dog warm and safe outside when the temperature starts hitting the low end of the scale.
Here are 15 great tips for keeping a Labradoodle or Goldendoodle warm in the winter:
- Doghouse that is built to keep cold out and heat in.
- Insulated kennel or crate cover
- Insulate the floor with a pad or straw
- Avoid heaters except in the most serious situations
- Get a thermometer
- Hydration is important even in the cold
- Sweaters and other “funny” dog clothing
- Brush your Doodle regularly
- Limit the outside playtime
- Another dog buddy to share cozy time
- Provide shelter from the wind and snow/rain
- A soft place to sleep
- Dry off your dog after playtime
- Proper nutrition is key
- Watch out for frostbite on ears, tails, and toes
If you want to know more about how Labradoodles endure the cold weather, check out this article: Can Labradoodles Stay Outside in The Cold?
Let’s have a look at each of these tips a little more in-depth so you can find the best way to keep your Doodle warm this winter.
1. Doghouse to Keep the Cold Out
If you are able to find the correct doghouse, not only will you be prepared for the cold months but also the warm ones as well.
An insulated doghouse is a great way to keep the cold out during the winter but also the heat out when it’s summer.
An insulated doghouse works kind of like a basement.
Have you ever been in one and noticed how it seems to always exactly be what you need? Warm during the winter (with the correct source of heat) and then it’s able to stay cool in the hot summer days.
The reason for that is that a basement is insulated against the outside temperatures.
In a cold climate, a well-built (or purchased) doghouse can trap the body-heat from your dog inside.
You have probably noticed when you’re snuggled up with your Doodle that they almost act like they have an internal furnace that seems to always be set to max power.
Having the right dog house or cover for its’ crate allows you, and your dog, to benefit from that heat production.
I have built a doghouse by myself, by following some awesome designs I got from Teds Woodworking, but you should be able to find many other designs out there.
2. Insulated Kennel Covers
Perhaps you often travel with your dog in your truck in the winter?
Occasionally I can take my dog to work with me because I know that we can get some good opportunities to go play catch during the day. But the truck can get quite cold here in the coldest days of winter.
There are two things you really need to keep your dog warm in your truck.
First, you definitely need an insulated kennel cover.
From my own experience and plenty of reviews online, the best one on the market is this one from Mud River. Check the current price on Amazon.
This cover is fantastic, not only because its’ able to keep my dog warm, but it also comes with tons of pockets and holders for enough treats and any other items you might possibly want.
Having used one for many years, I really believe it’s the best one on the market. Even without any snow on the ground, it has proven helpful for keeping my dog warm in the winter
3. Insulate The Floor
The second thing you should really consider is to install an insulated floor mat in your doghouse or kennel.
There is a surprisingly large amount of heat that gets lost through your dogs’ body whenever he’s in contact with the floor.
An insulated mat is able to prevent most of that loss of heat. Once again Mud River has a fantastic product.
It can insulate the kennel floor extremely well and so far my dog hasn’t seemed inclined to chew it into a million pieces like many other mats that were all fluffy and soft.
If you want to insulate the floor of the doghouse, you could try and put insulation on the floor, and then cover it up with a blanket or something, so the dog won’t attempt to destroy it if your dog has a tendency to do that.
4. Don’t Get a Heater
Dogs can have a tendency to look for warmth when it gets cold outside.
If you have installed a space heater of any kind in your dog’s kennel, your Doodle will probably think that closer is always better when it comes to a source of heat.
And that is why you should keep these devices off of your list.
Except in the circumstances where you are able to keep a close eye on them, don’t use a heater.
A personal example I can tell about, a cold front came in while we were staying with some family out of the state. I was quite nervous because the temperatures were supposed to get into the single digits. That is too cold for any Labradoodle or Goldendoodle.
And that was quite a problem because my in-laws do not allow big dogs in their house.
So, I decided to keep him in his crate in the back of my truck that was parked in the garage. My truck has a shell on it. So, I put a space heater on low and kept it away from his kennel.
In that case, I knew that the dog could not get to the heater, so I wasn’t worried about him burning his nose or tongue during the night.
As it turned out, he stayed nice and toasty at 34° F (1.1° C) in the back of the truck while the temps outside dropped to 4°F (-15.6°C) outside.
5. Get a Thermometer
Did you notice that I knew exactly what the temperature was for my dog in the truck?
In order to do that, you must have a thermometer in their space.
This model is something I really like myself. It can tell you what the temperature is from a distance. I checked the temperatures in the truck bed at 1:30 AM and again at 4:00 AM without ever having to walk out to the garage. I just lifted my head and looked at the readout on the stand next to the bed.
If you would like one of these models for yourself, click here to see what they cost today on Amazon.
It is an excellent way to make sure that your dog stays safe in the cold months.
6. Hydration is Important, Even in the Cold
Making sure that your Doodle gets enough water is constantly a problem.
Usually, most dog owners are quite aware of this and will bring water with them to the park or pretty much anywhere.
And we dog owners are especially attentive to hydration in the warm summer months when we typically see our dogs panting.
But in the winter, however, there’s still a couple of challenges to make sure canine hydration is optimal.
There are many reasons why dog owners may not provide enough water for their dogs to drink in the winter.
One reason might be that because your dog isn’t working as hard as he does in the summertime, you perhaps simply forget to ensure that he is drinking enough.
Or, the cooler temperatures might lead you to think that your dog isn’t as thirsty as during the summer. While these statements might be true, hydration is really important all year round.
So, you should always make sure that your dog has at least .5 ounces of water for every pound of body weight. That means that my 80-pound Doodle should drink around 40-ish ounces of water single every day.
Another reason that dogs typically don’t get enough water during the winter is the freezing temperatures.
Perhaps you have set out enough water in the morning, but if temperatures stay low for long enough time, the water will simply freeze. When that happens, your Doodle simply can’t get enough water.
7. Funny Looking Sweaters
Sweaters can actually be a pretty good option if you know that you are going to be outside for a prolonged period of time. They will help your dog to better keep dry and warm.
A sweater says as much about your Doodle as it does about you, so make sure that you get one that you really like.
And you can easily find a cute or cool model that suits your style.
Click here to see some options on Amazon.
8. Brush Your Doodle Regularly
If your dog has matted and muddy fur, it won’t insulate him very well.
So, although most Labradoodle or Goldendoodles come with a double layer of fur to guard them against the cold, they will lose some of that benefit when they don’t get brushed out regularly.
So always make sure that your dog has a well-brushed out coat which will provide the needed insulation to keep your Doodle looking not only beautiful but also warm all winter long.
9. Limit the Outside Playtime
Be careful not to overdo your dog’s playtime out in the snow.
Like many kids, most Doodles doesn’t know when to stop playing.
These dogs really love the snow and the goofing around, and as a result, they will usually go on and on regardless of how cold they might get.
So you have to be the adult and responsible one.
You are the owner after all.
Prolonged exposure to cold temperatures can critically increase the risk of frostbite and other cold-related health concerns.
While their coats will protect most of their body parts, other areas of the dog are susceptible to frostbite.
The ears, nose, toes, and tail can all be severely affected by the cold if you leave your dog outside for too long.
10. Get a Buddy for Your Labradoodle or Goldendoodle
One of the things that proved a pleasant surprise for me since getting a second dog was just how much they are able to keep each other warm in the winter.
When I was having a bit of trouble keeping them warm in the back of my truck, I discovered just how much two dogs can heat up a single space.
Once the temperatures got up above 25° F (-3.9°C), I could turn off the space heater, and after a good long walk, I could put the dogs back in the truck and we could drive back to my in-laws’ house.
When we got there, the heat from the space heater was all gone.
So I checked and the temperature in the back of the truck was 10° warmer than it was on the outside.
The only source of heat in the truck bed was my two dogs.
11. Provide Shelter From the Wind and Snow/Rain
Cold is cold but the wind chill from a windy and wet cold is even worse.
If you live in cold climates or plan on visiting one (and if you don’t, why are you reading this), then you will know what I’m talking about.
One of the fastest and easiest ways to lose the insulation advantage your Doodle was born with is to let him get wet and then expose him to the wind.
The moisture opens the door and this allows the wind to cut through to your dogs’ most vulnerable parts.
This just emphasizes the need for a sturdy, insulated doghouse(see number 1).
Even then, during the coldest winter months, I typically bring my dog into the garage every night.
There he has a very comfortable bed and I know that even if the temperatures might dip way below the forecast because of some freak storm, my Doodle will be safe.
One of the things that can be tricky about keeping a Labradoodle or Goldendoodle warm in the winter is the fact that Mother Nature is unpredictable.
So if you always prepare for the worst, you can typically be sure that your Doodle will be comfortable.
12. A Soft Place to Sleep
Young Doodles like to use their mouths.
Translation: THEY CHEW ON EVERYTHING
The chewing nature of these breeds can make getting them a bed quiet difficult because the beds simply don’t last that long.
Even a cheap bed will get expensive if you have to replace it every month.
That is one of the reasons that I like the crate mats.
While it might not be soft and fluffy like other beds, the firm and form-fitting nature of the crate mates keep Doodles from chewing up their sleeping beds.
While these mats don’t exactly have the snuggle appeal that you think your dog might like, they are still quite a lot better than sleeping on the hard ground for two reasons.
The first reason, as mentioned above, is that the mat is able to insulate your dog. Your dog will lose a lot of heat through the ground if only the walls are well insulated.
The second reason is the cushion factor. Although it might not have an orthopedic comfort, your dog will get some relief rather than having to lay on the hard ground.
13. Dry Your Dog off After Playtime
You should always keep an old towel handy for when your Doodle comes in from playing in the snow. If you towel him off, you will speed up his dry time 100 times.
This isn’t something to worry about in the summer when the higher temperatures will do most of the work for you.
Also, your dog will typically enjoy being wet when it provides a cooling benefit with temperatures reaching over 75°F.
But during the cold winter months, however, you won’t get that extra help.
If you let your dog outside while he is still wet from his snowy excursion, he will be very uncomfortable, and it will take forever to completely dry off.
14. Proper Nutrition is Key
Feeding time can be quite tricky when you are trying to keep a Doodle warm in the winter.
Lower body temperatures will burn more calories, so you need to slightly increase how much you feed your Doodle.
But while you need to increase calories, if you do it too much you will usually end up doing more harm than good.
I just increase my dog’s intake by a ½ cup, and he weighs 85 pounds.
I have found, after testing for several winters, that this slight increase has not added anything to his waistline, but he has still had the energy to get out and go.
15. Watch Out for Frostbite on Ears, Tails, and Toes
Earlier I mentioned the fact that your dog’s ability to endure cold weather does not extend to certain body parts and that the toes, ears, tail, and nose are all very prone to frostbite when the temperatures drop.
Also, the legs, and really anywhere that’s not covered by your Doodles’ wonderful two-layer fur, are also more susceptible.
So, you need to be aware of these parts of the body when your dog is outside.
What Does Frostbite Look Like on a Dog?
First, you should look for any discoloration.
If you find any pale, gray, or blue hue to your dog’s extremities, you should call it a day and get your dog inside where he can slowly warm up.
Other signals that your dog has frostbite include:
- Cold or bitterness when touched
- Pain when you touch the area
If you don’t see any improvement to these symptoms even after bringing your dog inside, you will have to see a vet as soon as possible.
In the worst-case scenarios, you may see blackened or dead skin.
If that’s the case, you must stop whatever you are doing and take your Doodle to the vet immediately.
Keeping a Labradoodle or Goldendoodle warm in the winter can actually be trickier than some people realize.
Unfortunately, there are still some Doodle owners that assume that their dogs are fine no matter the weather.
That simply isn’t true.
Owning a dog of any kind of breed brings with it a great amount of responsibility, and our responsibility as owners increases in the winter when temperatures can become dangerously unpredictable.
If you will follow these 15 steps your Doodle will stay safe and sound all winter.
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