Grooming America’s Favorite Breed
By Shelly Navarro
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 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 help keep your lovable Labrador smelling fresh and always looking his best.
How to Control Lab Shedding
Talk to any Labrador owner and he’ll tell you his dog sheds a lot. The Labrador Retriever breed is notorious for covering everything they touch with loose hair. This means your dog will need a good deshedding before and in-between baths to help keep some of that hair under control. The appropriate tools to use include a rubber curry, shedding blade and 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 not to press down too hard or you may scratch your dog. Once the deshedding process is complete, your companion will be ready for a bath.
Bathing Your Labrador Retriever
Before you 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.
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.
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 as much as you did for the shampoo. The bath portion is now complete. Encourage your dog 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 not only helps remove water, but it also removes any loose hair left over from deshedding. If you don’t 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 deshedded pet who is ready to take on life’s next adventure with you.
READ ALSO: Irish Setter Grooming