Being an excellent family dog, Labradors are quite sought-after pets all over the world. They mature by the age of three and till then remain hyperactive. Later, while attaining adulthood, they become even-tempered but enthusiastic for outdoor activities or tasks. They are medium-sized breeds with short and dense coats usually of colors black, white and chocolate and a muscular body.
As Labrador tends to remain active, they also get dirty very quickly. Whichever task a Labrador might associate with, regular bathing and grooming are essential for this breed. Let us check-out the various guidelines that you must follow, being a parent to a Labrador.
Labrador Grooming- A necessity
For maintaining the overall development of a pet dog as a pet parent, you must take care of both health and hygiene. Likewise, in the case of Labradors, although they do not have long fur on the body, they still require regular maintenance. The coat of a Labrador is short and dense and, thus, does not form tangles.
However, they shed their fur a lot. They usually shed twice a year, but those residing in temperate climatic zones may shed throughout the year. Thus, it is necessary to regularly brush or comb their body hair to minimize the shedding and reduce the mess that shedding hair creates all over the house.
Bathing a Labrador
Every dog requires a regular bathing routine. Even if it is not a daily process, once a week is a must if your Labrador frequently indulges in outdoor activities and returns home with mud all over the body.
- Wipe clean:
After every training or activity session, make sure to clean your Lab with either dog wipes or just a simple dampened cloth. Wipe the entire body thoroughly, as you cannot take them for a bath daily. Damp clothes will do the trick on such situations, but ensure to clean them thoroughly at least once a week.
- Incidental Bathing:
Most Labs like playing and rolling in the mud, a bathing session is a must to get rid of all the dirt and dust. After a long and enjoyable day in the mud and dirt, he will also enjoy his bath and relieve the stress of all the hard work.
- Water temperature:
While bathing your Labrador, it is advisable to use lukewarm water to soothe the skin. In case of scorching and humid climate, instead of bathing him in a bathroom, you may also use a hosepipe and wash him in the lawn or garden.
- Bathing products:
Using a dog shampoo is a must for a Labrador. Purchase the one which does not have any harmful chemicals and consists only of natural ingredients. Some have scents due to the inclusion of fruit extracts and essential oils. These will remove any bad odor from his body, and you will have a refreshing smelling Labrador by your side. A tearless shampoo will keep his eyes unaffected.
- Lather and Rinse:
Read the instructions properly of applying shampoo on the surface of the body. Lather it well and use your fingers while doing so. It will help in extracting all the dirt and mud efficiently. After a good massage with the shampoo, now use the lukewarm water to get rid of it and rinse it thoroughly.
After a thorough bathing session, make sure to dry up the coat. Since the layer of Labrador is waterproof, it won’t take a long time for drying. However, you may use cotton cloth or a towel to get rid of the excess water.
After completing the bathing routine, give your Labrador his privacy for some time. Most dogs prefer to stay alone for a short period until the wet body dries up. Let him relax and provide him his meal. After a long tiring day and a good bath, a well-balanced meal will let him sleep peacefully.
Grooming a Labrador
Although you do not have to spend long hours brushing and grooming your Labrador, you must dedicate some time to your busy schedule to give him a quick session. Below mentioned is a list of parts of the Labrador that needs attention and grooming too.
Taking care of your Labs coat is not a difficult task as it is for other pet parents who have those breeds with long and dense fur. Labradors have a dual layer of short and thick coat. It helps to protect themselves during cold and chilly weather. It is the reason why Labradors very rarely catch a cold during the winter. The skin naturally releases oils that help in self-nourishing. Simple and regular bathing and brushing sessions will help you maintain their coat and retain its natural health and shine.
However, bathing daily or frequently will hamper the natural health of the fur. Most Labradors bath only a few times in a year, but make sure to wash them if they are stinking or have mud all over the body. It will ensure to keep the disease-causing germs away.
Brushing the coat
To help your Lab to look his best at any given day, ensure to brush his coat at least a few times a week. There is no harm if you brush him daily or every alternate day.
- Since his coat is dual-layered, deep brushing will help in extracting the natural oil from the skin and will itself distribute evenly.
- Brushing will help you to remove the dead hair and reduce the mess in and around your furniture. Utilize a bristle brush to remove the dead hair or skin and move it towards hair growth.
- It will also help you examine if there is any skin infection on the skin that requires immediate doctor’s intervention.
- Since most dogs like snuggling with their human counterparts, brushing and cuddling will let you spend some quality time with your Labrador and strengthen the bond. Human contact also allows them to relieve stress and give them a sense of protection.
Keep a regular check on the eyes and make sure there is no itching or scratching. The redness of the eye can indicate infections. If you stroke the head gently, the eyes will open up, and you will be able to have a closer look at his eyes. While bathing your Lab, use a mild shampoo that is tearless and will not affect the eyes. If the irritation or itching continues, you must seek a doctor’s advice.
After a swim or bath, clean the ears and dry it up. Keeping the ears clean will prevent ear infections.
- Ensure to clean the ears regularly as most Labradors suffer from ear infections due to the growth of microorganisms in the dark area.
- Check for fleas and ticks in the ears that generally come in contact with the body while rolling on soil or mud.
- Do not use any pointed and sharp tool for cleaning, and you may end up hurting the ear canal. If you notice any abnormalities, it is always better to take a doctor’s help.
- You can use a vet-approved cleaning solution, dip a cotton ball, and gently massage the ears. The hard dirt will start loosening, and it will be easy to wipe it off with a cloth.
Since Labs like to spend most of their time outdoors, it is natural to accumulate a lot of dirt. Other than that, they may also have injuries due to stepping on pointed or sharp objects, stones, etc.
- Make sure to keep a check of his paws. If there is any minute object embedding, you can use a sterilized tweezers for removal and then apply an antiseptic to prevent any sort of infection.
- If your Lab is unable to walk correctly, there may be internal injuries that need an immediate doctor’s diagnosis. Also, if the cut is too deep, it is better to take him for a thorough dressing to a clinic.
Like humans, Labradors also need to maintain their oral hygiene. Most of the gum diseases and infections occur due to poor maintenance of the oral cavity.
- To prevent your Lab from plaque or tartar, give them solid vegetables to chew like carrots. It will keep infections away and will also make the teeth stronger.
- Inculcate the habit of brushing teeth from a very young age. As soon as the young puppies start teething, introduce brushing every morning. It might take some time, but rapidly they will adapt to it. For puppies, finger toothbrushes are apt, while for the adults, regular dog toothbrushes are appropriate.
- You may also purchase chewing dog toys. These toys are sturdy and made, especially for chewing. It initiates healthy chewing in puppies and also keeps the teeth clean. Dental toys help is the removal of bad odor and keeps the mouth fresh and gums healthy. Chewing toys also minimizes destructive chewing.
- Regular dental visits are also necessary to keep a check on any underlying issues in the mouth.
Use a pair of nail clippers for trimming the nails of your Lab. If you allow it to grow, it will incur a few side-effects.
- Long nails will create gaps in between the toes and will create difficulty while walking.
- Labradors will scratch their body like any other breed. Due to the presence of long nails, he might end up scratching too hard and cut the skin. In case you do not notice these small cuts, they will remain unattended, which may also be prone to infections.
Besides indoor grooming methods, you may also visit professional grooming centers once a while for a thorough cleaning or understand of the process of regular cleaning. Provide your Labrador with a healthy meal and start training them early. It will help in their overall growth and development.