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Tip of the Month

2/25/2013 Grooming America’s Favorite Breed: the Labrador Retriever

Grooming a Labrador Retriever
For the past 20 years, Labrador Retrievers have been one of the most popular breeds in America. Their reputation as fun-loving, family dogs has won the hearts of many admirers and has kept them at the head of the proverbial pack. One thing that draws potential owners to this breed is their easy-to-maintain coat. However, that doesn’t mean a Labrador doesn’t require any grooming. Here are a few steps to follow in order to help keep your lovable Labrador friend smelling fresh and always looking his best.

Labrador Shedding Control Tips

Talk to any Labrador owner and they will tell you their dog sheds a lot. This breed is notorious for covering everything they touch with loose hair. This means your buddy will need a good de-shedding before and in-between baths to help keep some of that hair under control. The appropriate tools to use include a rubber curry, a shedding blade and a carding tool.

The rubber curry is your first line of defense. It is safe to use on all parts of the body and will feel like a massage to the dog. Move the curry in circular motions or with the grain of the hair to pull out the loose hair. After you’ve gone over your dog with the curry, you may want to follow up with a shedding blade or a carding tool. These should only be used where the hair is thickest, such as on the back or barrel. Be careful to not press down too hard or you may scratch your dog. Once the de-shedding process is complete, your companion will be ready for a bath.

Tips on Bathing Your Labrador Retriever

To begin the bath, place cotton balls in your dog’s ears (not too deep) to keep water from getting into the ear canal. Wet your dog thoroughly with lukewarm water. A Labrador’s coat is naturally water-resistant, so you may have to really work the water in.

Shampooing

Next, spread a gentle shampoo throughout the coat and work into a lather. Be sure not to get any shampoo in your dog’s eyes. Use a wet washcloth with tearless shampoo to wash her face. Then use a clean, wet washcloth to remove the soap. Now that your dog is sufficiently soaped up, it is time to rinse. Rinse her coat until the water runs clean and no soapy residue is visible.

Coat Conditioning

Now it’s time to condition the coat. Spread conditioner around your dog’s body and allow it to sit on the coat for several minutes. Afterwards, rinse the conditioner out, much as you did for the shampoo. The bath portion is now complete. Encourage your furry friend to shake the water off as it will help take some of the excess water off of her.

Drying Your Dog

Towel dry your dog vigorously but gently. This may take more than one towel. If you have access to a high-velocity dryer, this is a great time to use it. The high-velocity dryer will not only help remove water, it also removes any loose hair left over from de-shedding. If you do not have a high-velocity dryer at your disposable, a human hair dryer on the “cool” setting will also work. Work your way around your dog, drying each section until she is void of water.

Once your Labrador is dry you will have a clean, de-shedded friend who is ready to take on life’s next adventure with you.

By Shelly Navarro

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