What To Do To Groom A Labrador

Labradors are the most popular dog breed for owners of pet dogs in the United States according to the American Kennel Club. They sport dense, hard coatings that come in one of three colors: yellow, black, and luscious chocolate. One physical feature that help the Labradors stand out among other dog breeds is their thick, tapering otter tails.

This dog breed is technically called the Labrador Retriever, but for the sake of this post, I am just going to refer to it as Labrador. If you are one of the many dog owners, whether in the United States or elsewhere in the world, with a Labrador looking for grooming help, this is the post for you. Here is how you can groom a Labrador.

Steps To Groom A Labrador

1. Brush Your Labrador

(Photo courtesy of Hour House Photography via Flickr)

The first thing that you will want to do is to brush your Labrador. There are two main reasons for brushing your Labrador. The first is so that you can get rid of mats which is important as allowing them to gather among your dog’s hair can lead to skin pain for him/her.

The second reason is because Labradors are notorious for shedding hair throughout the year with the heaviest shedding occurring during the autumn and spring.

And so because of that, you will want to be proactive about removing the dead hair by brushing your Labrador, otherwise they will fall down to the floor like snow. Labradors sport a double coating and so that means that one kind of brush is going to work better on your dog’s coating than others.

You will want a slicker brush as it is designed to help you collect the mats not only from the outer coat of your dog, but also the undercoat.

One popular option for a slicker brush is the Ruff ‘n Ruffus Self-Cleaning Slicker Brush which, as you can see, comes with a self-cleaning mechanism to make cleaning mats and dead hair from the slicker brush much easier.

The slicker brush also comes with a nail clipper as a bonus which is nice since you will be needing it to clip your dog’s nails which I will be getting to in just a bit.

Now that you have a slicker brush, you can proceed to brush your Labrador in order to remove the mats and dead hair from the coating. Work on brushing the dog’s body from the head to the tail including the legs and belly. You will want to brush your Labrador once a week.

During the autumn and spring periods when your Labrador sheds the most hair, you will want to increase the brushing frequency to four times a week for three weeks.

2. Brush Your Labrador’s Teeth

Brushing your Labrador’s teeth is important because it stops tarter from gathering on the dog’s teeth which can result in tooth decay. That is true not just for Labradors, but for all dogs.

You will want to use the Virbac toothpaste to brush your dog’s teeth as that is what the veterinarians often recommend. Once you have the toothpaste, you can use a toothbrush for your dog’s teeth.

3. Bathe Your Labrador

(Photo courtesy of Joel Harter via Wikimedia)

Before you get started with bathing your Labrador, here is something that I want to note. Labradors have natural oils that does two things for this particular group of dogs.

The first thing that they do is that it stops excessive water from reaching the skin. The second thing is that the natural oils help to keep the Labrador’s coat smooth and shiny.

So, you don’t want to be bathing your Labrador often as that can strip the natural oils from the coat which isn’t good for your Labrador. With that in mind, bathing your Labrador once a month is enough under normal conditions.

Assuming that this is the time to bath your Labrador, let’s make sure you have the best shampoo possible to use with the dog.

Labradors are vulnerable to skin dryness and irritation. So, you will want a shampoo designed with these factors in mind while at the same time leaving a beautiful and shiny coat in its wake for your Labrador. Burt’s Bees Natural Oatmeal Dog Shampoo is one of the best shampoos that you can get for your Labrador.

Once you have the shampoo ready, you can put your Labrador in your bathtub and use a cup filled with warm water to pour on your Labrador to get him/her all wet.

Now, thoroughly apply the shampoo on your Labrador’s body. Once that is finished, rinse your dog until there isn’t any shampoo lingering within the coating. Then get your dog out of the bathtub and dry him/her with a towel.

Your Labrador will shed water because of its water-repellent coating. So, you don’t necessarily need a blow dryer for your Labrador. With the Labrador all dry, brush his/her coating again.

4. Your Labrador’s Ears And Nails

As is the case with any other dogs, it is important that the ears and nails of Labradors get the attention that they need. Check your Labrador’s ears first to see how they are looking so far.

If the ears seem dirty, that likely means that they need to be cleaned. Leaving your Labrador’s ears as they are can result in ear infection. You can use a cotton ball with an ear cleaner to clean out the dog’s ears.

You will want the Virbac ear cleaner as that is the one that veterinarians often recommend for cleaning a dog’s ears.

Also, if you are hearing a clipping sound while your Labrador is walking around, that is an indication that his/her nails need to be clipped. Having long nails isn’t good for your Labrador’s paws.

Do you remember that nail clipper that you got with your slicker brush? You can now use that to clip your Labrador’s nails. Just be careful not to cut the quick part of the dog’s nails as that can result in bleeding.

How To Groom A Labrador – Conclusion

There it is for what you can do to groom a Labrador. Now, you may be wondering if you should trim your Labrador’s hair. The thing is that the hair of a Labrador is of a short length.

Combine that with the fact that Labradors shed their hair throughout the year and you have a recipe for disaster if you trim your Labrador’s hair because that will strip him/her the protection that the double coating provides against the cold of the winters and the hot of the summers.

With that in mind, trimming your Labrador’s hair isn’t something that I can recommend. So, it is best that you avoid doing so.

Also, if your Labrador isn’t being cooperative while being groomed, this post will help you out with that. What are your thoughts? Are you one of the many pet dog owners with a Labrador? Feel free to leave a comment down below.

4 thoughts on “What To Do To Groom A Labrador”

  1. I have discovered the double purpose of brushing our Labrador. I didn’t pay attention at getting rid of mats. But it’s really helpful. Our Labrador is 4 years old and she just loves to bathe, which facilitates our job. And she looks so nice after we have groomed her that I always want to do it.

    • Oh, that is great to hear! Thank you for sharing your experience grooming your Labrador. I am glad that you have been able to get your Labrador to look so nice after grooming her.

  2. We had a chocolate lab a few years ago and she was a wonderful dog, we loved her so much. We did a lot of the things you suggest and found that she really liked it with we bushed her, and she loved taking baths too. We definitely miss her. Reading through your article makes me want to look for labrador puppies in my area… 

    • It sounds like you had a wonderful experience with your chocolate Labrador. So, it is easy to see why this post would stir up nostalgic memories of your chocolate Labrador and inspire you to look for a new Labrador puppy. I hope that you will be able to find one in your area.


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