August 4th •
You may love you your Lab’s luscious coat. But grooming it can be a handful, especially when your dog starts to shed.
Although Labs can be a lot of work, there are some simple grooming tips that you can use to keep their coat healthy without a huge headache.
Labs have a unique coat that’s designed for the harsh winters of Newfoundland in Canada. The ancestors of Labs were fishermen’s assistants, used to drag in nets. They needed a coat that could protect them from both cold air and from water.
The inner layer of the coat provides insulation during the winter, but helps keep them cool when temperatures begin to rise. The outer layer gives keeps them safe in cold temperatures, and also repels water.
Labs naturally regulate their coat thickness depending on the time of year, with two main shedding seasons.
They’ll shed their thick winter coat during the spring so that they don’t overheat. At the end of summer, they’ll then shed their shorter fur so that they can regrow their winter coat.
Labs can be a lot of work come shedding season. But there are some basic grooming tips that you can use to make both you and your Lab’s life a whole lot easier.
If you’ve had a Lab before, you probably know how important brushing is to proper coat care. You’ll need to brush their coat as much as possible to keep it clean, as well as avoid tangles and mattes.
When shedding season comes around in the spring, you’ll need to brush even more than usual. Your Lab needs to lose a lot of fur so that they won’t overheat during the summer. And all of the fur tends to find its way onto your floor and furniture.
Although Labs will always be a bit more of a mess than dogs that don’t shed, regular brushing can help control shedding. It also helps prevent the loose hair from getting tangled in their coat.
Try to brush a few times per week throughout the year. During the heaviest shedding season, which usually starts in spring, you should try to brush every day to help remove excess fur and prevent tangles.
Many Labs love baths, and regularly washing their coat is a good way of keeping their coat shiny and healthy. But be careful with how much shampoo you use whenever you give your Lab a bath.
Even the gentlest dog shampoo can strip important oil from your Lab’s coat. This can leave their fur looking flat, with little shine. It can also irritate the skin and dry it out.
As a general rule, only use shampoo when your Lab really needs it. Have they just run through a mud pit? Then go ahead and rinse them with shampoo. But if their coat is mostly dirt free, stay away from shampoo and just use water.
It can be tempting to just shave off your Lab’s fur during shedding season to save yourself a huge mess. After all, aren’t they hot under so much fur?
But you’ll actually do much more harm than good if you shave your Lab’s fur. Their coat is designed to naturally cycle between thick and thin depending on the season.
The undercoat that provides them extra protection during the winter actually helps keep them cool during the summer. If you shave off all of their fur, you’ll interfere with their natural coat cycle, which can make it more difficult for them to regulate temperature.
Labs also need that inner coat layer to protect them from the sun. If you shave all or part of it, they are much more exposed to the sun. This can lead to nasty sunburns, as well as increase the risk of them getting skin cancer.
If you do choose to clip your Lab’s fur, make sure that you only cut off small amounts of fur. You can also clip off any hair that’s getting in their eyes.
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