Maintaining your house along with your kids and a pet dog might seem a difficult task. But not if you can manage all of the work accordingly. Being a pet parent, you need to take care of your dog in a similar way as you take care of your child. Fulfilling their basic needs and requirements is your sole responsibility, especially if you have a Labrador as your companion. Early training and socializing will reduce most of your burden. However, shedding of coat in pet dogs is quite common in some breeds and can be a mess.
Is shedding an issue in Labradors and how to minimize it? Labradors are quite prone to shedding, especially during a particular time of the year. Identifying the specific season and maintaining their coat, which is although short but quite dense, can help to a certain extent. Regular grooming methods can reduce the shedding and minimize the mess in and around the house.
Before letting you know the techniques of how to control the shedding in Labradors, it is essential to know the kind of coat that a Lab possesses.
The dual-layered coat of Labradors
The Labrador Retriever dates back their origin in Newfoundland, where they served as fishing and water fowling. They could easily withstand the chilly weather as well as the freezing water of the regions. It led to the formation of their dense coat in due course of time. Labradors have a double-layered coat. The upper one is known as the topcoat, and the one below it is known as an undercoat. Both these layers have their specific purposes.
- The short yet thick undercoat helps in temperature regulation of the body. During the chilly winters, this undercoat grows thicker and protects from cold. The Labrador’s body can easily stay warm, and thus, they can withstand winters without catching a cold or being sick, like other breeds.
- The upper layer of the coat or the topcoat helps during the summers. During hot and humid temperature conditions, it becomes thinner than it was in winters. As summer approaches, the topcoat helps in relieving the body from heat. It also protects the soft skin from sun rays.
Logical reason behind shedding in Labradors
The various reasons for shedding excessively by Labradors are:
This phenomenon is about shedding coats twice a year. Labradors are too molt so that their bodies can adapt and regulate their body temperature according to the changing seasons. As soon as the temperature starts increasing by Spring, they will start shedding the dense coat. It will help them to keep their body cooler. Again, before the temperature starts decreasing, the existing hair will attain maturity, dry off, and fall. A new, thick and dense coat can simultaneously take its place and protect the body from the winters.
Apart from molting twice a year, your Labrador may shed throughout the year as well. Most Labradors do so. Some common causes of excessive hair fall throughout the year are:
Unlike humans, whose biological systems have been evolving over many years and have also proven fruitful, in the case of dogs remains lagging to some extent. Since development takes a long time, dogs still continue to shed as they did thousands of years ago during extreme temperature conditions. In the future, along with evolution, this trait in them may not be visible anymore.
Labradors are those breeds who prefer keeping indulging in various outdoor and physical activities. While being outdoors, there are high chances that fleas or ticks get stuck to their dense hair. The growth of parasites also leads to excessive shedding.
When cuts or abrasions remain unattended for a long time, there may be chances of diseases, especially bacterial or fungal. Continuous scratching with nails or licking may encourage the infection to grow further, which is another reason for hair loss in pets.
Labrador exists with three different coat colors. Some have black; others have either a yellow or chocolate-colored coat. All of them sheds similarly, but because of the color of coating and the interiors’ color, it may seem that one of them sheds more than the other.
If you have a female Labrador as a companion, and have not yet spayed her, you may notice higher hair loss than her male counterparts. The natural stimulation of physical needs and its inability to cope it up is another reason for shedding in females. Hormonal imbalance is also one of the primary causes of excessive shedding.
Keep a check on your Labrador’s regular activities and ensure if he has any sort of allergy for specific food items. Introducing a new food or ingredient may cause reactions and hair loss as a result.
Those Labradors undergoing stress due to aggression, loneliness, or absence of physical activities will shed more often than the usual shedding season. In case you have adopted an older Labrador, the change of environment and its adaptation can also incur stress.
Lack of sufficient nutrients in everyday meals can gradually increase the amount of hair fall. Even though you provide meals at regular intervals, certain deficiencies often increase the chances of diseases, including hair loss.
Dealing with Labrador’s shedding
If you are a new parent to a Labrador, be prepared for an everyday mess because of shedding. The shedding will increase during the molting seasons, but otherwise, you will have to deal with a certain amount of hair fall on a day-to-day basis. There are no medications yet to stop shedding as this is a natural phenomenon in Labradors. However, if you follow a few grooming procedures, you can minimize the mess in the house to some extent.
Labs are quite popular as pets in many countries all around the world. They are obedient, loyal as well as playful. Being an excellent family dog, they are faithful but as a parent to a Labrador brace yourself to clean your house due to excessive shedding. To deal with the mess of hair fall, you may follow the below-mentioned tips:
Although you cannot stop the shedding, managing the hair fall will undoubtedly reduce your burden of cleaning the house now and then. Some proactive grooming tips are as follows to help you deal with the same:
Dogs do not bath every day like humans. But occasional bathing keeps the skin soft and healthy. Use a mild dog shampoo whenever you bathe your Lab. It will keep the coat healthy, shiny and free from dust and dirt. In case, your Lab has just returned from outdoor activities and is covered with mud and soil, make sure to clean him up. Most parasites grow on contaminated land and attack other organisms when in contact. Use a damp or wet cloth to get rid of all of it and ensure he is clean and tidy.
Purchase a dog brush with bristles for regular brushing of the coat. It is advisable to brush your Labrador at least twice a day. It will help extract the dead hair and collect it at a time and reduce the mess. Brushing your canine will also enhance the release of natural oils from the skin and distribute it evenly throughout the body. It will gradually help in forming a healthy and shiny coat.
Some dog parents might consider shaving off a Labrador’s hair as a solution to avoid hair fall all over the house. But this is not at all a good idea. Shaving off your Lab’s natural coat will leave him vulnerable. The primary purpose of the coat is to protect the skin and regulate body temperature. In case you shave it off, the body will not be able to cope with the natural weather changes and deteriorate his health further.
Since you own a Labrador, make sure you start his training at a very early stage. During training, make sure to make them understand to keep away from furniture, beds, and carpets. It will help to reduce your work while cleaning the hair all around as cleaning furniture daily can be a difficult task. Apart from this, regular training will keep him fit and healthy. Outdoor activities will help minimize his aggression or stress, and your Lab will be able to cope up by distracting himself in other activities.
Invest in a vacuum cleaner if you have a Labrador. Cleaning the furniture and the corners will be more comfortable. It is crucial to maintain hygienic conditions not only for your pet but also for all other family members. Cleanliness in and around the house will keep disease-causing germs away.
Ensure that the meal you are providing to your Lab is rich with all the essential nutrients. Since deficiency is one reason for excessive hair fall in pets, thus examine the nutrient contents in the meal before purchasing it. Similarly, also examine if the meal contains any ingredient that your Lab is allergic to. While introducing any new food item, make sure you also keep a check in his behavior and health, to identify if it is causing any allergies.
To minimize the shedding all over the house, you can also provide your Lab with its own dog crate for younger ones or a dog bed for the adults. Since they will stay in their own space, messing around the house may reduce to some point. However, it is essential to regularly wash the crate or bed and maintain hygiene in its sleeping space.
Consult a veterinarian if there is excessive shedding, and no other remedies are minimizing it. A doctor will help you identify if there are any underlying diseases for which shedding may just be a reaction or symptom. Or else, he may also say that it is an average shedding for your pet. In both cases, taking a piece of expert advice will help in relieving your stress. Seek his recommendation for a balanced diet formula.
Labradors are one of the most faithful companions one can have. Taking good care of them and regular grooming will help in minimizing your stress of cleaning the mess. However, their love and affection towards you will enhance your bond towards them and help them to lead a happy, furry, and content life.