Labradors may be the most popular large dog breeds. Easy to care for, friendly and intelligent, Labradors offer years of companionship to their owners. One thing sometimes holds people back from selecting a Labrador as a family pet: Grooming. Luckily, grooming a Labrador can be easy, if you just know how.
First realize that a properly groomed Labrador is in no need of occasional trims or shaving. Caring for their coat will ensure it remains healthy. That being said, the nails of the Labrador will need to be occasionally trimmed. This should always be handled by a professional. Cutting a dog’s nail improperly can cause pain and lead to other health problems. It is always best to bring your Labrador to a professional groomer to have their nails clipped.
The biggest grooming chore will actually be controlling shedding. Depending on the breed, your Labrador may shed only once or twice a year or shed every day. While it is a common myth that labs don’t shed, they do and learning to control the shedding will help keep your home clean and your dog comfortable.
- Place the dog in a tub of warm water. The water should not be scalding hot, but should be as warm as you and the dog can handle. Use a sprayer or cup to completely wet the dog from head to tail.
- Use your fingers or a rubberized grooming tool to begin to work the lab’s coat. This process is aimed at loosening dead hair and skin from the lab’s coat. Using a tool works well because it will allow you to work the entire length of the coat, including the root area.
- Rinse the dog with lots and lots of warm water while continuing to massage the coat and skin before removing the dog from the bath.
- Use a hairdryer set to warm (avoid the hot setting) to dry the coat. While blowing out the hair, use your fingers to work the coat, always working in the opposite direction from the hair growth. This step can be very messy, so if possible do it outside.
This process should be repeated once a week until you are sure the majority of the fur has been removed. Once you have removed the majority of the shed fur, you can simply maintain it. By using proper maintenance techniques, you can typically avoid having to bathe the dog again. Use a grooming tool once or twice a week to work the coat and remove shed fur. This regular brushing will also help to distribute the natural oils produced by the lab.