I asked this during the "lost post" time so if someone already answered this I'm sorry I missed it!
When (what air temperature) is it too cold to take Jake swimming this winter? I'm in Alabama so it doesn't get especially cold here really (50's and 60's are current highs) but in Jan/Feb the highs can be in the 30s and 40s.
Just wondering! Thanks!
When we used to take our last dog on walks he would get in our pond when there was ice. Dont know how cold it was and it was just the top that was iced over. But I dont think anything phases them. I didnt let him swim for a long time but maybe a quick dip wouldnt hurt him.
Courtney, Bogey and Calli
I don't let them swim when there is ice. Ice can cut them up if your not careful. I'm not sure of the minimum temperature but I cut the swimming out in November and start back up in May. The ice isn't off our lakes and ponds until late April,early May.
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No expert here, but once the air temp is below 40, I do nothing to encourage HK into the water, i.e. I don't throw anything into the water. And i don't walk toward the water either. That said, she finds it on her own. She runs in it, drinks, but has not taken a swim since ice started forming. I guess I believe she will assess the need to get in it. I will coax her away now until the temps rise, and if I see her out on the ice, will attempt to recall.
Hershey Kisses, In charge of getting Ed out to the dog park so that he gets some exercise.
Luke was in the pond on his own accord in 40 degree weather last week. He was in the pond in 70 degree weather yesterday. Let's just say that Luke is in the pond all the time. Hot or Cold. If it is definitely too cold, I will issue a "leave it" before he gets in.
My first Lab, Bess, was drawn to water -- frozen or liquid -- like iron filings are to a magnet.
There was a pond near our home to which we walked every day; I'd sling her training dummy into the water for her to make swimming retrieves.
Bess was temporarily stopped whenever she could no longer break the ice. (Topeka, KS. used to have colder winters then, IMO.)
On cold days, I carried along a couple bath towels to dry her off after she finished swimming so she didn't get cold. I suggest you might do the same. IMO, dogs don't usually think of consequences very much, such as, 'But if I get all wet from swimming, won't I get really cold in this frigid air afterwards?' So that's something you can do for Jake (just as you're exercising that same function for him by asking your question now).
Labs retrieve waterfowl for hunters in below freezing weather -- I've seen pictures of Labs with small icicles formed on their coats in those situations.
Puff [YF, AKC field line (from competing HT/FT breeder) 62 lbs, dob: 8-'01]
Bess [BF, AKC bench line (from competing show breeder) 55 lbs., 1967-1981] "Poor Bess, the Wonder Dog":
I remember learning that Labrador Retrievers were bred for retrieving in the icy waters off the coast of Labrador. My dog has a short coat and is never phased by cold water, although water doesn't get very cold in North Texas.
Both of our girls go in cold water, but they are hunting & they wear neoprene vests. Once the lakes freeze over...they are done. Abby will swim through very thin ice but if it is thick & dangerous...they do not hunt. Nothing is worth risking your lab's safety. Here is Molly in Canada. The best advice is to use common sense.
We don't really get ice here so that won't be a concern. I think 40 degrees sounds like a good safe temperature so I'll stick with that.
Thanks for the info everyone!!
I was wondering the same question and glad you asked it. I have only had Cooper for 3 weeks, but he is a rescue so he is almost 6 months and he has only been in the water once since we've had him. We are in Canada and now that the snow is here I guess we will have to wait till the spring.