It seems like every summer is hotter than the summer before it, and the raising numbers of fires and natural disasters this year alone definitely shows a proof of that.
But what about our dogs? They also have to live in this exact hot weather we do.
The question then is; can golden retrievers live in hot weather? Yes, Golden Retrievers can live in hot temperatures but they’re vulnerable to it. The ideal temperature for a Golden range between 60°F to 80°F and temperatures in the 90s°F and 100s°F puts them in risks of dehydration, overheating, and sunburns.
However, there are things you can do to make it easier for your dog to tolerate the high temperatures. Let’s take a look at the risks of high temperatures on Golden retrievers and how you can help your dog tolerate the hot weather and help them stay safe.
How To Help Your Dog Tolerate The Hot Weather
Despite what others might have told you, and what other bloggers may have said on their websites; golden retrievers are not comfortable in every weather.
Golden Retrievers were bred in the western hemisphere and are more accustomed to the cold climate. However, they do fare better in the hot weather than other cold weather dogs like huskies.
With that being said, Golden Retrievers can indeed live in the hot weather quite happily if you know how to keep them safe, healthy, and happy.
Here are 10 tips that have proven very effective in helping Goldens live in hot weather.
13 Actually Helpful Hot Weather Tips for Golden Retrievers
1. Switch to Lighter Foods
Dogs need less and lighter foods in the hot weather than they do in the cold weather. There are three main reasons for this:
- They exercise less and hence need less food
- Heavier foods are harder to process
- They don’t need to burn food for warmth
Avoid giving them snacks after meals, don’t feed them too often during the day (leave at least 3 or 4 hours between meals), and switch to lighter foods that have more water content in them.
Heavier foods can really make your golden inactive after feeding and can lead to them sleeping more.
You can check out our recommended foods for golden retrievers at every age here.
2. Choose Walking Times Smartly
It’s never a good idea to walk them at noon or even in the early afternoon.
It’s best to take them walking at:
- Early Morning ( 5-9 am)
- Late Afternoon (5-7 pm)
- At night
Some days will just be too hot for your golden to go walking, and that’s alright. You can skip a day if it’s a heat wave or just intolerably hot outside.
Pushing your dog during the hot weather can have disastrous consequences such as hyperthermia which we’ll discuss later in this article as well.
3. Be Careful Where they walk
When talking your golden retriever for a walk, try to find shade and keep attention to what they’re walking on. While your feet are protected by your shoes, their paws are exposed to the elements, so it’s crucial you pay attention to what they’re walking on.
Your Golden Retriever should never walk on hot asphalt on the sidewalks or pavement. Your dog’s paw pads are actually quite sensitive and can easily get hurt, burned, and cracked from the hot pavement.
Here is something to always remember:
Grass and green areas will be much cooler than pavements and will be much gentler on your dog’s paws. Try to keep your walks to parks if possible.
What if you don’t have parks?
In this case, I would highly recommend getting dog boots for your golden retrievers. My recommendation would be the PK.ZTopia Dog Boots on Amazon.
As an alternative, check out the Bark Brite New Lightweight Neoprene Paw Protector Dog Boots on Amazon.
4. Always Take a Cold Water Bottle For Them
If you’re taking a water bottle for yourself, you should have one for them as well. Whether you’re going on a walk, a run, or travelling by car or otherwise, you should have a cold water bottle for them.
I recommend checking the lesotc Pet Water Bottle for Dogs on Amazon, it’s super affordable for the price and is really good quality for the price.
At home, of course, they should always have access to fresh water. This can be done by regularly refilling their water bowl or with a water fountain like the PetSafe dog water fountain from Amazon.
5. Consider Cooling Pads
I like to use cooling pads when it’s more than 85 F and I found them to really make a difference. Cooling pads can offer very quick refreshing for dogs and can have a long lasting effect of 8 hours, which means your dog can lay on them during the hot summer day.
My personal favorite is the Pet Dog Self Cooling Mat from Amazon, it works really well and the large size is just perfect for adult golden retrievers.
If you’re looking for something more affordable, check out this affordable and breathable cooling mat on Amazon as well.
6. Consider Frozen Treats
Frozen treats are awesome, and just like Ice Cream can help us cool down on a hot summer day, frozen treats can do the same for our dogs.
There are so many frozen treats recipes out there, and I really recommend learning how a couple of recipes yourself to be able to whip them out whenever possible.
I’m not the expert when it comes to frozen dog treats, but I love these homemade dog treats recipes from Rover.
7. Keep Them on a Flea Med
Your Golden may not like the summer, but you know who does? Fleas. Fleas, ticks, and other harmful insects absolutely love the warm weather. They also love your dog’s coat and skin.
Keep a very close eye on your dog’s coat in the summer and any signs of fleas or ticks. You should keep them on a flea med during the hottest summer weeks or do like I do and use a shampoo that can also kill fleas and ticks like the very effective and affordable Adams Plus Shampoo.
8. Regularly Check for Hot Spots and Ear Infections
Dogs are more prone to hot spots, ear infections, and other skin problems during the hot summer months. Regularly check your dog’s skin under their coat and pay attention to their itching, scratching, or irregular behavior.
9. Provide Shelter
Your dog needs somewhere to escape the heat. A good dog house can provide some protection from the sun and I like to always put a cooling pad in there as well.
Check out my recommended dog houses for golden retrievers here.
10. Regular Grooming and Baths
Regular grooming can play an important role in helping your golden retriever adapt to the summer heat. Your dog’s coat helps them regulate their temperatures,.
Regular baths and a brushing routine can help your dog’s coat stay healthy which in turn helps insulate your dog’s body from the heat and prevent them from overheating (more on that later).
11. Bring Them Indoors
No matter how many precautions you take for them while outside or how good of a dog house they have, nothing will protect your dog from the heat like bringing them inside the house.
Your dog deserves to cool down with the help of an AC or a fan like you dog, and they’ll enjoy it as much as you do.
Just think of how much you would hate to spend all day outside in the hot weather and you will get an idea of how difficult it is for your dog.
12. Go Swimming if possible
Going for a swim is a great way to cool down on a hot summer day. Whether in a pool, a doggy pool, a lake, or the ocean. As long as the water is cool enough, your golden will love it.
If you don’t have a doggy pool, consider this Fuloon PVC Pet Swimming Pool Portable Foldable Pool on Amazon (get one of the large sizes).
The Peteast Splash Sprinkler Pad for Dogs(Amazon) also looks really fun!
13. Never Leave Them in a Car Alone
You would think this is a given, but I still can’t believe how often people do it and the terrible excuses they give.
No, don’t leave your dog in the car alone in the summer day. Not for a minute, not if the AC is on, not if the window is cracked. Just don’t. Cars get really hot in as little time as 15 minutes and your dog can get a heat stroke which will leave them with permanent damage or will kill them.
Find another way that doesn’t involve risking your dog’s life, please.
The Myth of the Summer Cut – TLDR; Don’t.
There is this myth that golden retrievers need a summer cut, and that it will help them tolerate the hot weather better.
The reasoning is that Golden Retrievers are a double-coated breed, and that these layers of thick fur are making it hard for the dog to release the excessive temperature, and that it is preventing the skin from breathing – per se.
THIS IS ALL WRONG!
Should you shave or cut your golden retriever’s coat in the summer? No, you should never shave or cut down your golden retriever’s coat. Shaving or cutting down their coat exposes their skin to heat and makes them prone to sore spots, sunburns, and can leave them with permanent skin or coat damage.
Why you should never shave your golden retriever’s coat
Your golden retriever’s coat insulates them from the cold and the heat, and shaving it off will expose their skin to the elements.
Dogs circulate their body’s temperature through panting and not sweating (the way humans get rid of temperatures). Dogs do sweat, but their sweat glands are in their paws, but still, most of the temperature circulation happens through the coat.
As for cutting their hair, most experts will also recommend against it. Goldens, labs, and other double-coated breeds will shed their hair when they need to anyway and they grow lighter coats for the summer naturally. Just let nature run its course.
Hyperthermia and Golden Retrievers
Golden Retrievers and other double-coated dog breeds are in a risk of heat strokes and hyperthermia in extremely hot weathers.
Dogs can get heat strokes, or what is called Hyperthermia. Watch the video below for a quick summary:
As explained in the video, Hyperthermia is an elevation in the dog’s body temperature above the normal range, and while this range can differ frm a breed to another, it usually is accepted that body temperatures above 103° F (39° C) are abnormal.
While Heat stroke is a form of non-fever Hyperthermia that can happen when the dog’s heat-dissipating mechanisms can’t accommodate the excessive external heat.
It’s usually associated with a temperature of 106° F (41° C) or more but without signs of inflammation. A heat stroke is dangerous and can lead to multiple organ dysfunction and death.
There are some factors that can make your dog more prone to hyperthermia and heat stokes:
- Being very old or very young
- Previous history of heat-related diseases
- Obesity and overweight
- Increased levels of thyroid hormone
- Underlying heart or lung disease
- Poor lung or heart conditioning
- Dehydration or insufficient water intake.
The Signs of Hyperthermia
There are many signs of hyperthermia and heat strokes in dogs, here are the major ones you should keep an eye out for:
- Excessive Panting
- Excessive Drooling
- Increased body temperature to more than 103° F (39° C)
- Reddened gums and moist tissues of the body
- No urine (or very small amounts)
- Rapid heart rate
- Vomiting Blood
- Black, tarry stools
- Sudden Breathing distress
- Rapid mood changes
- Muscle tremors
- Unconsciousness in which the dog cannot be stimulated to be awakened
- Wobbly or drunken-like movement.
Treating Hyperthermia – What to Do?
What should you do if you notice the signs and suspect that your dog is having trouble due to the high temperature?
If you notice it early, and the signs are worrying, but not shocking – meaning the dog seems fine:
- If they’re outside, bring them inside
- Bring them to a cool area
- Spray them with cool – not cold water
- Wrap them in cool, wet towels
- Offer them cool water to drink, but don’t force them to drink.
You should stop the cooling procedures when their temperature reaches 103° F (use a rectal thermometer for accurate measurements) to avoid dropping their temperature below normal body temperature
After they cool down, it’s still a good idea to take them to the vet to check them and make sure everything is fine.
In extreme cases – such as seizures or bloody stool;
Rush them to the nearest vet clinic or animal hospital.
If your dog had suffered an episode of hyperthermia before, they are more likely to experience it again. You need to be super aware of the clinical signs of heat stroke so you are able to notice it and respond quickly to an episode.
Follow all the tips and steps mentioned in the article to keep your dog’s body temperature in the normal range during the hot weather, and make sure to check on them regularly.
If your dog is old or young, you really should keep them inside as this is the best way to make sure they are safe and close to you for easy monitoring – just like you would do with kids.
Do Golden Retriever’s Coat Grow Back?
Yes, your golden retriever’s coat will grow back, but it will take 3 or 4 months at least to do so, and if you have shaved their hair down to the skin, it’s probable that their hair may never grow back to their glorious glory.
Shaving a double-coated dog can cause irreversible damage to the hair follicles which could stop the hair from ever growing back to the same way it used to.