Keeping your Labrador’s hair and coat maintained is critical to a well-balanced lifestyle. You want to avoid dirt and insects nesting in the fur, as this can cause damage to the coat and many health problems. I made this guide so you can become an expert in the field of Labrador hair.
Every dog breed is different and you might have a ton of questions involving Labrador grooming. It doesn’t matter if you’re a first time Lab owner or a seasoned veteran. At some point you might need some guidance along the way, to achieve that perfect coat shine.
How Often Should I Groom My Lab?
Labradors are relatively easy when it comes to grooming. Yes, I said easy…even though they shed a lot! But think about it. Because Labs shed, you don’t have to take them to a groomer to get their hair cut. They also have short hair that rarely gets tangled.
Labrador hair is not only short, it’s incredibly dense and very waterproof. This all makes Labrador grooming super easy right? Well don’t start celebrating just yet. Even though you can save money and a trip to the groomer, your vacuum will certainly be putting in the work (I’ll discuss more of that below).
How Often Should I Brush My Lab?
You can’t go wrong with brushing your Labrador once a week. If you feel like once a week isn’t enough, aim for a daily brushing. Your Lab will not only enjoy a daily brushing, but it will also keep her coat more clean the more often you brush her.
What’s the Best Lab Brush?
All dog brushes are not created equal. I highly recommend using some type of self cleaning brush. The reason being is that hair will build up when brushing your dog. With a brush like this all you do is press a button and the hair will release from the bristles.
This is the Hertzko Self Cleaning Slicker Brush. It’s not only a great self cleaning dog brush, but also has a comfortable handle for grooming. It’s the ideal dog brush for removing nasty mites out of your pet’s fur. The bristles are also very fine so you won’t hurt your dog during grooming.
How to Brush Your Labrador
Before even beginning to brush your dog, make sure she’s calm and relaxed. If your dog has too much energy you might want to come back and resume brushing later on in the day. It’s best to create a schedule, so your dog knows what time of day she can expect grooming.
Dogs don’t like surprises when it comes to brushing and bathing. So get in a routine that works for you and your dog. This concept should be related to all things around your dog’s life, including feeding, exercise, and grooming.
Steps to Brush Your Lab
Begin by either using the product pictured above or a similar self cleaning product. Start by brushing at the top of your dog. You obviously want to go with the grooves of the coat and not against it. By using a slow and gentle motion, work the brush from the neck area towards the tail.
Always be careful brushing around the head, as this is a highly sensitive area. Labs really don’t need to be brushed on their faces to begin with. I normally lightly brush my Lab’s ears and avoid the rest of the face.
Because Labradors have short hair, you can avoid brushing their legs. Other breeds have longer coats and might have feathering — which is long hair on the backs of the legs that runs from armpit to paw. I only brush my Lab’s legs if I see some hair about to fall out due to shedding.
Always go gentle when brushing the belly. Again – you might not even have to do this with short Labrador hair. In some areas on the belly you might even notice more skin than hair. If this is the case, I would skip brushing the belly unless it’s absolutely necessary.
Don’t forget the tail! You can lightly brush your Lab’s tail to straighten and soften the hair. It might not require that much maintenance – because it’s a tail after all.
Once you’ve completed the brushing remember to reward your dog for keeping so still.
What Happens If I Don’t Groom My Lab?
Neglecting to regularly groom your Lab can cause a number of health problems. The most obvious consequence is that your Lab’s coat will be more dirty. You can feel this start to happen just by petting your dog. Your Lab’s hair will feel dirty to the touch and you might even pull your hand away and notice dirt on your hand.
There are also unwanted insects and mites that are known to nest in dirty dog hair. Mites are more likely to nestle into dirty fur and it’s also harder to remove them when the hair becomes thick and stuck together. Frequent brushing will not only remove these mites, but leave your Lab’s coat soft and shiny.
How Often Should I Bathe My Lab?
Bathe your Lab only when she gets really dirty. Find a schedule that’s right for you and your dog. Some people say every other month, while some say only a couple times a year. Don’t think that just because your dog plays outside a lot means that they need frequent cleaning.
You don’t need to wash your Lab as frequently as you brush her. Just because humans take a shower everyday doesn’t mean your dog has to. Labradors have a very resilient coat that actually protects their skin, so they don’t need to be washed that much.
In fact, you can actually bathe your dog too much. Frequent cleanings will dry out your dog’s skin and cause damage. Try and give your Labrador plenty of time to play outside. The fresh outdoor air can help keep their skin moist.
What’s the Best Labrador Shampoo?
There’s too many dog shampoos available on the market today. And it can be challenging trying to find the right kind for your Labrador. It’s a good idea to use a quality shampoo that has safe ingredients for your dog’s coat.
Tear-less or tear free dog shampoo should still be kept out of eyes – even though it’s labeled as safe. You always want to avoid over washing the face as this is a very sensitive area.
What’s great about this Paws & Pals product is that it’s a shampoo and conditioner. It’s hard enough getting your Lab to stay still for a bath and having to wait to apply conditioner is another challenge in itself. I recommend this product because it moisturizes skin, smooths dry damaged coats, and relives itching.
Labrador Hair Shedding
Even if you don’t live with a Lab, you’ll know that they shed a lot! Guests will leave your house wondering how they are covered in hair, only after a quick visit. Certain types of clothing will make Labrador hair more difficult to remove. But one thing is certain – it’s everywhere!
There’s no need to shy away from owning a Labrador just because they shed frequently. There’s a few things you can do as a dog owner, to combat some of this hair.
Why Do Dogs Shed?
Animal shedding can be traced back to when dogs lived outside. Dogs used their coats to grow and shed hair, as they needed to adapt to the changing weather elements from living outside. They would grow and shed their hair in cycles depending on the changing seasons of winter and summer.
This may seem like a strange concept now, as most dogs today are domesticated animals who live inside. Even though dogs spend more time inside today compared to their ancestors, shedding is still embedded in their evolution.
Why Don’t All Dog’s Shed?
It can be attractive for potential dog owners to find an animal that doesn’t shed. Because it can be a pain not only to clean hair around your house, only to realize clumps are still stuck all over you. Finding a dog who doesn’t shed is also appealing to people who have severe pet allergies.
The fact is that most dogs who “don’t shed” actually just don’t shed that much. It all depends on the situation and lifestyle for dogs that are marketed as non-shedding breeds. Small breeds with short, wiry hair are known to be dogs who don’t shed that much.
It should be noted that these breeds still require some maintenance work. You might think that a dog who doesn’t shed is easy to keep up with. However, that is far from the truth. Dogs who don’t shed still need to be cleaned regularly and taken to the groomer.
Use a Deshedding Brush Outside
It may seem overly obvious to some, but using a proper deshedding brush will help with all the Labrador hair. But it’s not just the brush, it’s where you use it. Sure, it can be super convenient to sit down on the kitchen floor and begin brushing your dog. But this will only make the hair problem worse!
You should avoid this at all costs, because using a deshedding brush inside will only create more hair for you to clean up after. Even if you have the garbage can nearby – there’s fine amounts of hair that are escaping to the rest of your house. It also adds double the amount of work for you. As you would have to deshed your Lab, then vacuum the house.
Make things easier for yourself by using the deshedding brush outside. As you begin to work all that lose hair off your dog, you don’t have to worry about making your house a mess in the process. Fine amounts of Labrador hair will also just be blown away into your neighbors yard (just kidding about that one).
Once you’ve created a schedule where you deshed your Lab outside, it’s time to clean up inside the house. Although you’re removing most of the unwanted hair away from the house, there will still be small amounts of hair inside you’ll need to clean up. Unfortunately you won’t be able to remove everything outside.
Shedding is a natural occurrence and some stragglers will end up in the house. A solution to this problem is simply just to vacuum more frequently. If you skip out on this weekly task, Labrador hair will only build up with time and things will get worse.
It will not only look bad, but you run the risk of damaging your vacuum. As you will have to vacuum up more hair the longer you wait to clean it up.
Know the Shedding Season
All Labs shed, but knowing when your Lab is going to shed can be a big help. Once you know your Lab’s shedding cycle, you can keep an eye out for lose hair and also use the deshedding brush more frequently.
In general, Labradors have two major shedding seasons each year. Once in the spring, to get rid of that winter coat and once in the late fall, to prepare for the winter. Keep in mind that these are two very broad ranges. It all depends on where you’re living and if there’s even changing seasons in your area. Many Labs can even shed year round.
Conclusion to Labrador Hair
Hopefully you have learned everything you need to know about Labrador hair and dog grooming. This article was created to help guide you around the subject.
Always contact your veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns on how you should maintain your Labrador’s coat. Once you have a set grooming schedule, don’t forget to deshed your Lab outside!
A healthy coat is an important part of your dog’s life. Although you may be tempted to ignore regular grooming of your Lab, you should avoid this at all costs. Dog hair should always be kept clean to avoid dirt and mites becoming trapped in the fur.
And don’t forget that too much bathing can actually dry out your Lab’s skin. Less is more when it comes to dog shampoo!