Labrador Retriever grooming can be quite simple. An occasional bath is enough to keep your dog smelling good. Weekly brushing with a slicker brush and monthly toenail trimming complete basic care.
Labs Don’t Shed?
Some people, even some breeders, insist that Labrador Retrievers do not shed. This is not entirely true. Black Labrador Retrievers do not shed regularly, but twice a year, they blow out the entire coat. Yellow Labrador Retrievers seem to shed year-round, on a daily basis. Chocolates are more like Blacks.
As winter gives way to spring, the heavier winter coat is shed in favor of a lightweight summer version. When autumn comes, the light coat is dropped to make way for a heavier winter coat.
For several weeks – you can expect your Labrador Retriever to shed profusely. Without proper grooming, your Lab will leave hair on everything. You may be aggravated to the point of wanting to shave the dog, but you should not resort to that. Short, stubbly hair is not the answer. A Labrador Retriever that has been shaved hurts and itches until the stubble grows out again.
The best way to handle Labrador Retriever shedding is to speed the process with grooming. When preparing to do that grooming, remember that there will be a lot of loose hair to clean up. Dress appropriately and don’t use the family bathtub! A do-it-yourself dog wash station is great if you have one locally.
- Begin by placing your Labrador Retriever in very warm water. Don’t risk scalding the dog, but be sure the water is as warm as you can take. Pour or splash the warm water on every inch of the dog, getting it thoroughly wet.
- Work your fingers through the dog’s coat in a massaging, combing action to loosen dead hairs. A “Zoom Groom” is a great tool to use at this step. “Zoom Groom” is a natural rubber brush. It doesn’t tug or pull as other brushes do. It has gentle “fingers” that reach through your Labrador Retriever’s fur to the skin, lifting and removing dead hair.
- Continue to wet the coat, washing away the dead hair as you remove it from the Labrador Retriever.
- When you are done, blow-dry the dog on a warm, not hot, dryer setting. While blowing, use your fingers or a slicker brush to brush the hair opposite to the direction in which it grows. Be prepared for loosened, dead hair to fly!
Follow the above routine twice a week. The more quickly you remove dead hair from your Labrador Retriever, the more quickly the new coat will grow in, making the dog comfortable again.
Once your Labrador Retriever has shed the coat, you will only need to do maintenance grooming. Brush the dog twice a week to distribute oils through its coat. Use a wide-toothed comb to loosen and separate any matting. Use a narrow-toothed comb to get air through to your Labrador Retriever’s entire body. Bathing is really unnecessary unless your dog encounters a skunk or other foul substance. Of course, if he gets muddy, a bath will make him a more presentable, lovable companion.