As a Labrador owner myself, I know there is a lot of conflicting advice regarding grooming your Labrador. So I wanted to be able to use my experience and knowledge to help other owners. Grooming is a massive part of any dog’s life, so it’s important we get it right from the start.
- 0.1 My Background
- 0.2 What we’ll cover
- 0.3 The Labrador Coat Type
- 0.4 Grooming Your Labrador: Frequency
- 0.5 Grooming Your Labrador: Brushes
- 0.6 Grooming Your Labrador: Shampoo
- 0.7 What can a groomer do that I can’t do at home?
- 1 Want to Read More?
I started off my career working with animals at a Veterinary Practice as an Auxiliary Nurse and Supervisor. I’ve seen everything from Parvovirus to a cut pad and assisted in caring for some very poorly pets.
In the summer of 2017, I decided I would like to pursue further training in dog grooming and I attended Classic Canine Cuts. Classic Canine Cuts was the first dog grooming salon and training school in Wales. They also have three level 3 diploma City and Guilds Groomers. My training was full-time for 6 weeks, where I was professionally trained to groom many breeds of dogs.
I use the equipment discussed here on both my own dog and for my clients. Due to this, I feel I am able to correctly advise you about caring for your Labradors coat.
What we’ll cover
Now let us get started, I am going to discuss the following areas in order to help both new owners and more experienced owners. As such we will cover the following areas:
- The Labradors Coat Type
- Grooming Frequency
- What brushes do I need?
- What can a groomer do that I can’t do at home?
The Labrador Coat Type
It is important to understand that the Labrador is first and foremost a short coated dog. As such their coat lies close to the body but can be quite dense.
For groomers, coat types are categorised via breed groupings according to the kennel club and then their coat type. Under this system, the Labrador is in the Gundog category. They are a double coated breed that consists of a dense, soft undercoat concealed by a longer topcoat known as GdDc.
Grooming your Labrador: The Requirements
A Labradors coat doesn’t need to be trimmed, instead, they require grooming that removed the dead undercoat. Shedding is often year round, however, is often worse in Spring and Autumn. When the coat changes most drastically from winter coat to summer and vice versa.
If you consider this process a little more, you can understand the reasons why in the summer, dogs struggle with the heat. If your Labrador is unable to completely remove the dead and much thicker undercoat before the summer.
They will have, a thinner summer undercoat plus the layer of thicker dead undercoat plus the top coat on top of that……… quite frankly I think we would all suffer from the equivalent of 3 layers in the summer heat!
Grooming Your Labrador: Frequency
Ideally, your Labrador would benefit visiting a professional groomer every 12 weeks. However, you can brush at home in between these sessions no problem. I personally brush Lilly (my Labrador), once a week, which I feel is more than enough. However, you should be able to continue grooming your Labrador in between visits by using some of the information found here.
Grooming Your Labrador: Brushes
In all honesty, I believe you need only one brush to maintain your Labradors coat between grooms. So what is the name of this brush and why is it so good?
I use the KONG Zoom Groom, it is a rubber brush with cone-like rubber “bristles” that massage the dog as you brush. I sell these to many of my Labrador owners as they really are the best brush in my opinion for a Labrador.
Being that this brush is rubber and has no sharp edges it can be used regularly. I personally find that you get the best results if used in a circular, anti-clockwise motion.
You can use this brush to shampoo too by placing your shampoo onto the KONG Zoom Groom and brush in the bath. If I’m honest I’ve never needed to do this with a Labrador, but that doesn’t mean you can’t if you feel it helps.
Order your KONG Zoom Groom on Amazon
What about the FURminator? It can be a good tool however it can damage the coat over time. You will hear of many owners raving about how good it is, however, my fear is how do they know if they are damaging their coat?
Without knowledge of how a dogs coat grows and what each layer does. What a damaged hair shaft vs a healthy hair shaft looks like how can you know?
The FURminator cuts the guard hairs over time. These hairs take quite some time to regrow much longer than the undercoat does so please consider this. During high shedding periods, I highly recommend you visit your local professional dog groomer. They understand the entire process of hair growth, health and so forth.
They will be able to use the correct tools at the right time and avoid any unnecessary damage to your dogs’ beautiful coat! However, if you want to try the FURminator then I would recommend using the FURminator no more than once a month. Then I would also recommend a check with your professional dog groomer, so they can check for any damage.
If you’d like to try the FURminator then you can order the short coat version pictured above on Amazon.
Grooming Your Labrador: Shampoo
Please also consider the shampoo you use. Don’t use human shampoos as they are meant for our skin, which has a different pH to that of your dog. I personally use Hownd, shampoos and colognes but I also use Herbal Pet Supplies Shampoo. They are cruelty-free and use no chemicals at all.
Buy Hownd Shampoo on Amazon
- Hownd: Yup You Stink Shampoo 250ml
- Hownd: Got an Itch Shampoo 250ml
- Hownd: Keep Calm Shampoo 250ml
- Hownd: Miracle White and Bright Shampoo 250ml
What can a groomer do that I can’t do at home?
First of all your dog groomer is a professional, they understand the process of hair growth etc. I personally have a hydrobath that penetrates even the thickest of coats, ensuring the shampoo reaches the skin. They also have a high-velocity drier that really does shift that dead undercoat. Something that is difficult to do with towels alone.
Labradors are energetic, happy dogs that unless introduced to grooming from an early age they can be difficult to groom at home. A professional groomer will have support aids to be able to help keep your dog safe during the process. Over time your Labrador will become used to the process and will look forward to a visit to the groomer!
The other thing to consider is the mess that comes from a really good deshedding session. We’ve all complained about the amount of fur that comes out of our Labradors. So why not let your dog groomer handle the mess and save your hoover!
The amount of dead coat removed is significantly less on a Labrador that is regularly brushed and has 12 weekly appointments with a professional dog groomer!
Please consider speaking with your local dog groomer, let them guide you and even show you how they achieve the results they do. I’m sure they’ll have some top tips for grooming your Labrador.