All dogs are descendants of wolves, which are incredibly well adapted for extremely low temperatures but this trait isn’t present in modern dog breeds.

Luckily Golden Retrievers, thanks to being large dogs with dense furs, have relatively good cold resistance. However, it isn’t as good as their ancestors, so don’t overestimate its capability of being outside when it’s cold, because it can surpass its limits.

How Cold Is Too Cold for Golden Retrievers

In normal conditions, Golden Retrievers can handle weather temperatures between 45°F and 90°F (7°C and 30°C). This is thanks to their double-layered fur that maintains them warm. It gets too cold for them under 14°F (-10°C)

Generally, cold temperatures should not become an issue for most dogs, unless they fall below 45°F. At this point, it’s suggested for your dog wear winter equipment.

Anytime the temperature drops below this limit your dog shouldn’t sleep or stay outside for long periods of time.

When it gets to temperatures between 14°F to 32°F (-10°C to 0°C), Golden Retrievers can still perform outdoor activities for about 30 to 60 minutes. So, adjust activities to limit them to these time periods, doing more outings during less time.

However, that doesn’t imply that they should be in excessively cold temperatures for more than 30 minutes at a time. Otherwise, your dog may experience serious health problems due to excess cold.

What Temperature Is Too Cold to Go Walk

Any temperature below 10°F (-12°C) is life-threatening for Golden Retrievers and many other dog breeds like the English bulldog. Northern breeds are the only ones capable of being outside while the weather temperature is that low.

Even with the correct equipment like snow boots and dog sweaters going outside with these temperatures or lower isn’t recommendable.

What Temperature Is Too Cold for Golden Retrievers Puppies

Despite the fact that Golden Retrievers are quite well in cold weather, it’s very different for puppies, as they are vulnerable to hypothermia and frostbite.

Your puppy could start feeling cold at 45°F (7°C). When the temperature falls to 32°F (0°C), he can develop hypothermia and frostbite quickly.

It would be wise to limit the exposure time to 10 or 15 minutes during walks. This is needed for your puppy to address their exercise requirements, and this way he will stay safe in freezing weather.

How to Keep Golden Retrievers Warm in the Winter

While doing walks shouldn’t be an issue, you will have to take some precautions. Keeping your dog isolated and in acceptable ranges of temperature is a must, and luckily there are some supplies that help a lot.

It’s very important to say that in temperatures below 20°F (-7°C), Golden Retrievers should not be taken outside without proper protective gear.

Snow boots are extremely important in cold climates for both chemicals used for deicing sidewalks and snow. The chemicals or salt used to melt the snow from sidewalks can damage your dog’s paws. Snow can also freeze their toes, causing frostbite.

Dog sweaters or collar coats are incredibly good for keeping your dog warm and dry thanks to the isolation from the ambiance it provides. Any kind of coat or sweater is especially needed if you’re planning to do a prolongated walk in the cold.

Finally, after being outside, make sure to always wipe your dog’s paws, especially if he were walking on snow.

Signs of Frostbite and Hypothermia in Dogs

Frostbite and hypothermia are both related to extreme cold. Playing outdoors in the winter can be enjoyable and necessary for your Golden Retriever- However overexposure to cold climates increases their risk of catching one of these cold-related diseases.

Even if you are cautious when going for a walk with your dog in winter, it’s important to be able to recognize the signals of frostbite and hypothermia.

Frostbite in Dogs

Frostbite is the injury or death of skin and other tissues because of being exposed for long times to freezing temperatures. The tips of the dog's ears, tail, scrotum, and toes are the parts of the body most vulnerable to frostbite.

When the temperature is too cold, the dog’s body restricts blood flow to its extremities and instead conserves and maintains heat in its core. The result is that the tissue that loses heat via blood flow freezes and dies.

This occurs when the dog is exposed to cold for a long time, but can also occur if he is immersed in very cold water.

To know if frostbite is affecting your dog look for:

  • Pale tissue or skin that turns bluish-white or gray.
  • Skin that is cold to the touch.
  • Ice that has formed around the suspected affected area.
  • Redness, swelling, and possibly blisters or ulcers.
  • Necrosis (blackened dead skin).
  • Dead tissue sloughing over a period of days to weeks.
  • Pus accompanied by a foul smell, signs of a bacterial infection that feeds on dead tissue.

Hypothermia in Dogs

Hypothermia is a dangerous drop in the dog’s body temperature. Is highly possible that if your dog has suffered frostbite, he’s also hypothermic. These condition leads to complications and can be deadly, even for a dog with thick fur.

In addition to prolonged exposure to cold temperatures, it can be amplified and caused by wet skin and fur or being immersed in water for too long.

When a dog’s body temperature lowers too much, it’s impossible for them to regulate their temperature back without treatment.

The low oxygenated blood flows during hypothermia can damage the dog’s tissues and inner organs. Because of this, it’s important to act quickly to save your dog’s life.

Signs of hypothermia in dogs occur along a continuum as follows:

  • Mild Hypothermia: it’s when the body temperature is between 90° and 99°F. The symptoms may include weakness, shivering, and reduced mental acuity.
  • Moderate Hypothermia: it’s when the body temperature is between 82° and 90°F. Symptoms that may appear are muscle stiffness, slow breathing, a state of stupor, and low blood pressure.
  • Severe Hypothermia: it’s when the body temperature is lower than 82°F. The symptoms that will show are fixed and dilated pupils, loss of consciousness, difficulty breathing, and an inaudible heartbeat.

What to Do When Your Dog Is Too Cold

If your dog has been exposed to more coldness than he can withstand, then it’s highly probable that he has hypothermia. This usually happens in stray dogs since most of them can't find a proper shelter. So what should you do when this happens?

The first step is don’t panic, you need to slowly warm up your dog, and panicking may lead to heating him up too fast.

With that in mind, you should move forward with the following:

  • Get your dog inside your house or into any warm shelter away from the cold climate.
  • Wrap him with blankets, coats, towels, or anything dry, if possible warmed up. You can warm things up with a radiator i.e.
  • Put near your dog some bottles of hot water wrapped in fabric to avoid burning him.
  • If he’s wet, use a hairdryer to dry and warm him a little, you can do this even if he’s not wet.

Finally if after a while he doesn't improve, go to the closest veterinary clinic. There a vet can use more intense warming techniques like injecting warm liquid intravenously to stabilize his temperature.