When my family was first beginning the process of adding Molly into our home, one of the great debates was what color Labrador to get. Living in the sunshine state, one of my biggest concerns was if the Florida heat would affect a black Lab more than a yellow Lab.
Black Labs get hotter than yellow Labs because black naturally attracts and holds heat more than other colors. Your Lab shouldn’t be outside if it’s warmer than 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 C) to prevent overheating, exhaustion, and excess thirst.
Black Labs heat up quicker than most other dogs, but there are preventative measures you, as the owner, can take to make sure your Labrador doesn’t get too hot, as well as easy tricks to cool them down when they become uncomfortable.
Do Black Labs Overheat Easily?
Whether you already have a black Lab or are thinking about getting one, it’s good to know their limits. Some Labradors can withstand heat longer than others due to their coat color. Black Labs usually get hotter quicker than other breeds for many reasons.
- Black Labs have a double-coat to stay dry when they’re swimming. Their double-coats are helpful in water activities but make them much warmer than single-coated breeds. While the double coat can be beneficial in colder climates, it is the equivalent of wearing a snow jacket on the beach in warmer weather.
- Black naturally absorbs more heat than yellow or gold fur. According to World of Angus, black hair attracts more light and thus traps more heat in the coat. The darkness of the coat causes black Labs to heat up faster and stay warmer for longer. It also means the heat builds up quicker than other colors. This issue applies to all other breeds with dark coats.
All dogs can overheat or become exhausted during warm days. That being said, black Labs are much more likely to get too warm than any other Labrador. The good news is you can keep them from overheating by paying attention to key factors outside.
What Temperature Is Too Hot for a Black Labrador?
We now know that black Labs get hotter than yellow Labs (and most other dogs), but how warm is too warm? Is there a temperature that’s too hot for them to go outside? It’s safe to say sprinklers, swimming, and other water activities can allow them to play in the sun without overheating, but they can get very uncomfortable on some summer days.
Black Labs Shouldn’t Be Outside If It’s Over 90 F
Your black Labrador should never be outside when outside temps are 90 degrees F (32 C) or higher. This heat level can make your dog pant excessively, leading to dryness, drooling, fatigue, and more. If humidity is high, you’ll want to be more conservative with your Lab.
Direct Heat Warms Their Fur
We discussed how black colors absorb light much easier than lighter shades. Direct heat from the sun amplifies the heat, especially when it’s shining on your black Lab’s fur. If you see the light reflecting off their coat, it’s likely much hotter in that area. Not only can this shininess and heat make them feel hot to the touch, but it can make them pant much more.
Combining heat and moisture will let you know if it’s unsuitable for your Labrador to go outside. Dogs can’t sweat, so they cool off by panting. The ambient humidity prevents water from absorbing off your Lab’s tongue as they pant, making it harder to cool off. It’s best not to push their limits since it can cause all sorts of health concerns. 90 F is too hot unless you have a way to keep them cool throughout the day.
Does Wetting a Dog Cool It Down?
Wetting a dog with water is an excellent way to keep them from overheating. There are many ways to do this, all of which your Lab will likely love. Labradors like water, which is why they’re great swimmers who spend a lot of their time in pools, lakes, and rivers (if possible). Ensure not to cool your pup off with icy cold water, as the extreme temperature switch can shock their system, leading to further health problems.
Try these three solutions to cool your pup down:
- Spray them with a hose gently or turn on the sprinklers. You can attach an in-line sprinkler system to almost any garden hose. Turn it on and let your Lab cool down whenever they need to.
- Let them swim. Labradors are known as water dogs because they love swimming for entertainment, exercise, or retrieving prey when hunting. Give them a break now and then since many of them will swim as long as they can!
- Soak a towel with cool water and place it on their coat. Don’t wrap them up; heat needs to escape. A damp towel will lower their body temperature while they relax.
How Can You Tell If Your Lab Is Too Hot?
If you’re worried about your dog getting too hot outside, you’re in the right place. Black Labs are prone to overheating during sunny days. Luckily there are easily identifiable symptoms to keep an eye out for.
Here’s a list of three common signs your black Labrador is too hot.
- Excess drooling. Memphis Veterinary Specialists explains thick, constant drool could mean your dog is overheating. Make sure they have enough water to drink, shade to lay in, and a way to cool down rapidly if needed. Dogs can’t sweat, so it takes them a lot longer to cool off than we do.
- Fatigue and sleepiness. We all get a bit tired under the sun, but your dog shouldn’t be lying down panting with their eyes closed for several hours in a row. Being too fatigued could mean they don’t have enough water in their system.
- Vomiting, gagging, and hacking. These symptoms should be treated with caution and taken seriously because they’re often signs of possible heatstroke. Bring your dog inside, get them some water, try to cool them down with towels, and take them to a local veterinarian.
An overheating black Labrador can have many signs. It’s a good idea to monitor your Lab during hot, sunny days for excessive panting too much, strange behavior, stumbling, and drooling. While these symptoms are often treatable at home, contacting your vet is always the best course of action for your dog’s safety!
Now that you know why black Labs get hotter than yellow Labs, you can keep them out of harm’s way. Labs typically love swimming, making it an excellent activity to promote healthy exercise while staying cool.
Even something as simple as letting your black Lab run through the sprinklers will keep them comfortable and prevent heat exhaustion. Remember, the best indicator that your pup is too hot is to watch their behavior!