Unlike popular belief, grooming your Labrador isn’t just about cleanliness and hygiene, it’s also an excellent bonding opportunity between you and your pet.
Grooming is a crucial part of pet ownership that every owner should hone. It also provides an opportunity to spot health issues before they morph into serious problems.
Here is our grooming checklist to ensure your pup is always well-groomed:
Labrador Grooming Checklist
- Bathing your puppy
- Brushing its fur
- Dental hygiene
- Cleaning your Lab’s ears
- Trimming its nails
Bathing your Labrador retriever puppy
Coming in black, yellow, and chocolate colors, Lab puppies have short, dense fur. Through their lives, they grow a double coat, which is water-resistant. No wonder labs can get training as hunters to retrieve ducks in the water.
While they love playing with mud and rolling up, these puppies can be a handful. You will need to bathe your pooch at least once in two months. Be sure not to use human shampoo and conditioner. Some contain harmful chemicals that could harm your puppy’s oil glands.
Labrador Friendly Shampoos
Topping the list for best shampoo is Earthbath All natural shampoo. Its organic nature assures you zero irritation to the pup. Aloe Vera, oatmeal, vanilla, and almond extracts make this shampoo such a gem.
Are you looking for a shampoo and conditioner combo? You may settle for Paws and Pals Oatmeal, Shea butter and Aloe Vera shampoo. This two in one makes bathing fun with its subtle scent and ability to disentangle your puppy’s fur. It can be costly, but it’s worth it!
You need to try the Nature’s Miracle Supreme Odor Control shampoo and conditioner. This is if the pup gets super smelly and requires a deep wash.
Labrador retrievers are more susceptible to allergies in comparison to other breeds. To curb this, you can choose Vet’s Best Hypoallergenic Shampoo with Aloe Vera.
If your pup is not that dirty, having some wipes can be a great save. Avoid baby wipes at all costs. Even the organic ones can irritate your Lab after it licks itself. The Earth rated dog wipes are also a good buy.
How do I bathe my Labrador Retriever puppy?
Wet down your Lab with warm water and using dog shampoo, rub the soap into his fur. During the summer, you can use a garden hose when it is hot out. Do not use the shampoo on his face, eyes, or ears. Thoroughly rub in the shampoo while massaging throughout your dog’s body. Carefully rinse off the shampoo and ensure no traces are left as they may cause irritation. You may repeat the process until you are sure your dog is clean. Using a dry towel, dry up as much water as you can. If he can tolerate it, use a hairdryer set on low.
When on a budget, a damp cloth is enough for effective spot cleaning. A crucial tip at bath times, remember to check for hot spots, and if any rush your puppy to the vet. They can make your puppy bald in no time.
Brushing its fur
It is recommended that you groom your puppy two to three times a week. This is not done in autumn and spring because your puppy will be shedding their entire coat. It is necessary to build this routine to save yourself the trouble of constant vacuuming. Aside from that, failing to brush your puppy’s fur will trap excess oil in it.
Also, be sure to purchase appropriate grooming brushes to avoid injuring your puppy. Here are a few some you could go for:
- The FURminator Deshedding tool.
This brush cleans the top and undercoat with ease. It is simple to use as you can clean it by removing the attached area. This gives room to remove the brushed fur.
- Representing the 2 in 1 buys is the Safari Bristle and Pin Combo Brush.
Brushing your Lab will be inexpensive, and it distributes the oils throughout its coat. You will need some patience when cleaning it, though.
Though designed for dogs with long fur, many lab owners attest to the saving grace of this rake. It makes brushing sessions fun-filled and less of a chore. Its manageable size and firm bristles are fantastic for your dog’s coat.
Like you, dogs have deciduous and adult teeth. Dental hygiene is necessary during the times when your puppy is teething. Proper dental grooming will avoid gum disease and maintain fresh breath. Once your puppy grows its first baby teeth at around six weeks, you wean them off their mother. Start introducing your Lab to dry kibble because wet food can cause decay and hard cleaning.
At around four months, your puppy will begin growing their adult teeth. This stage comes with a lot of discomfort. Provide them with chew toys if you don’t want to find all your clothes and furniture chewed on. You can expose your Lab to either synthetic chews or natural ones. The natural ones will need constant replacement in comparison to the synthetic options. Here are some chew toys you could go for:
This tag rope has some mint, which helps your puppy floss and maintain fresh breath all day. The toy is designed with three knots to provide a good grip during playtime. The sturdy rope is made of wax-coated nylon and is non-irritating on gums. It is perfect for both puppies and adult dogs. It has vibrant, lively colors that make it a fun and attention-grabbing toy for your kids and dog.
The dental chew has pronounced ridges that help keep your dog’s teeth sparkling. This toy makes it easy for your puppy to chew as it holds it in its paw. Labs love this for its bacon flavor and feel. Benebones are durable and super chewy and will keep your dog entertained.
These original dog treats are clinically proven to help reduce tartar build-up and plaque when used regularly. Their unique texture helps clean the gum line and is very tasty. The treat also has a patented ingredient that keeps your dog’s breath fresh.
Cleaning your Lab’s ears
The Labrador Retriever loves playing with mud. It is during these playtimes that our pooches are more susceptible to some pests like lice, ticks, or infections. Wax can also build up in the ears. To clean your puppy’s ears, you will need to place it on a table with their side. You can ask for help to restrain your dog then examine it. During this time, look out for excess hair in the ear that needs removing. Dampen a cloth on spotting the ears being dirty and use it. You can use ear solutions, witch hazel, or mineral oil.
In a real sense, cleaning your Lab’s ears need not be hard. You can do it yourself without going to a vet or groomer.
Some of the things to avoid when cleaning the ears are:
- Inserting cotton buds and hard objects into their ear canal.
- Cleaning when you spot an infection or irritation
- Deep-cleaning the ears.
- Cleaning them too often.
Trimming your dog’s nails
You can trim your puppy’s nails by cutting using nail trimmers or grinding the claws with a Dremel. Using trimmers is easier and gives smoother effects. There is an option of either Guillotine style trimmers or Scissor style trimmers.
Use the scissor style one when you notice your puppy’s claws are long and curled inside. Like the scissors, you control this tool’s cutting motion. The guillotine ones are best when you put your puppy’s nail in a hole and trim it with a sharp object. In case you cut your pup by mistake, don’t fret! Some kitchen cornstarch and flour can come in handy. Trimming your Lab’s nails will make it have improved gait.
Why should you groom your Labrador?
Some Labrador owners treat their dogs like royalty and give them bathes even weekly while other owners never groom their dogs. There are several reasons why you regularly groom your Labrador and here are a few:
- Control shedding
A suitable grooming schedule can help reduce your dog’s shedding. A well-timed schedule helps limit how often you have to run around with a vacuum cleaner after your dog.
2. It keeps your Labs coat healthy.
Regularly bathing and brushing your dog’s coat helps spread the natural oils produced in their coat. The oil keeps your Lab’s skin hydrated and gives the coat a beautiful sheen. These oils protect your dog from getting sunburns on a hot day and repels water when they go swimming.
3. Building trust and socialization
Spending time grooming your dog strengthens the bond you share. It also helps your canine buddy get more accustomed to the human touch. This makes it less probable for your dog to react poorly when kids pull at his tail, or the vet has to examine him. Grooming is a crucial part of socialization for your Lab.
Here are things to remember when grooming your Lab:
- Before grooming your dog, start with a massage session. Feel for any unusual lumps, dry patches, bumps, hair loss, and anything that may feel unusual. A good massage also helps loosen dead skin and hair that can be easily brushed off.
- Bathing your Lab too often can dry their skin, thereby laying a base for other skin and coat problems. Labradors have a coat of oil on their fur that prevents their skin from drying and dirt. Constant bathing will get rid of this healthy oil coat leading to health issues.
- Do not brush your dog’s coat over spring and autumn when their coat is almost completely shedding. Shed fur easily gets caught trapping excess dead skin and oil, causing irritation.
- Do not dig too deep into your dog’s ear canal when cleaning their ears. If you notice a heavy build-up of dark matter, consult a vet. Avoid using Q-tips when cleaning your dog’s ears.
- Do not brush your dog’s coat when wet. Preferably, brush the coat before having the bath.
- Your Labrador’s diet will determine the health of his coat and nails. A proper diet promotes normal growth and a shedding schedule.
Frequently Asked Questions about Labrador grooming
Is it okay to cut a Labrador’s hair?
Yes. Labradors are constant shedders with short hair. The best time to shave your Lab is during the shedding phase.
How often should I groom my Labrador?
When it comes to brushing, it is advisable to brush your Lab at least once a week. However, during the fall and spring, you will have to increase it to about four times a week. Alternatively, bathing should be done once or twice a month.
Should I take my Lab to a groomer?
Labradors, unlike poodles, do not require a lot of maintenance. Therefore there is no need to take them to a groomer unless it’s a special treat. Labradors need just a little help maintaining their beautiful coat, which is easily manageable.
Should I groom Lab puppies?
Yes, the earlier you get your pup accustomed to grooming, the more likely they are to take to it without problems as an adult. Grooming is also critical for puppies as it provides a head start in the socialization process. Limit the grooming sessions to once or twice a week and should only be for a few minutes each time. For every time you practice grooming your puppy, try a new area of his body.
When do Labs need grooming the most?
Over the fall and spring, your Lab will experience the most shedding. During this period is when your Lab needs grooming the most. To limit the shedding, you should brush him at least three to four times a week. De-shedding shampoos and conditioners will be very helpful over this period. There are also other times when you need to pay attention to your dog’s cleanliness, such as:
- When he is injured and cannot walk around for a long period of time.
- When he is unwell.
- When he rolls around in something gross.
- When he is smellier than usual.
The above checklist will help you avoid a handful of puppy diseases and ensure your dog always looks immaculate. While it is not exhaustive, it’s the perfect place to start for those looking to shine their Labs. In conclusion, having a well-groomed pup is not only amazing but also healthy. Regularly make time to groom your Lab to nurture a stronger bond and monitor their health.