Lab’s have a Double-Coat, meaning they have two layers of fur: a top layer called the Guard coat that is the more “wiry” hairs. Then underneath you’ll find a softer and lighter under-layer called the Undercoat, which is that fluffy stuff they shed. These layers combined are used to regulate body temperature, protect from harmful UV rays, repel water, and protect their skin.
The undercoat is an amazing insulator, and it keeps them warm in the colder months. But those layers of fur also keep them cool in the summer, and insulate them from warm air.
Pretty clever hey!
Your lab has a water resistant coat, the undercoat has natural oil secretions among their thick undercoat that repels water and keeps their skin dry.
Ever noticed how fast they dry when they’ve been for a dunk in the river, its because the oil in their coat stopped them from actually getting their undercoat wet!
Every time your dog is bathed it strips those oils out of their coat but it will only take a few days for these to secrete back over the skin
You’ll often hear that stripping these oils will leave them with dry, flaky skin that becomes itchy and uncomfortable…. But dog shampoos contain natural oils that actually moisturise their skin and hair.
Labs that spends most of the time outdoors we wouldn’t recommend bathing too often as their oils will help protect them from the elements.
Oh yes. Don’t let that short hair fool you, they shed an impressive amount of coat during the entire year. But it varies from one Labrador to another, and you may get lucky and find your dog sheds considerably less than others.
Labs would typically “blow” their coat twice per year, but with central heating and inconsistent seasons you’ll find they will shed all year. The amount of hair that comes off a lab can range from moderate to absolutely ridiculous! so arm yourselves with a good regime of brushing at least twice per week.
Groomers have high velocity dryers which are great for removing all the loose hair when labs are blowing their coat. A good rubber curry comb will help lift further coat and boost circulation.
It is bad practice to shave your lab and can be detrimental to their health and overall comfort.
Some owners mistakenly believe that shaving their dog during hot weather will help them be more comfortable. However, double-coated dogs require their coat to regulate body temperature, protect them from weather, and to act as a natural barrier against harmful UV rays.
It won’t be doing them any favours by getting rid of the very thing that keeps their body temperature normal.Their coat serves an important function when they go diving head first into the river.
Also, some allergy sufferers believe shaving your dog will reduce allergic reactions. Also not true. Allergies are triggered from pet dander, which are particles of skin that shed all year. In fact, shaving them will make it worse, as you expose their skin even further.
And as a final warning, once you shave a double-coated dog their top coat hairs generally will not grow back in the same way. This could leave you with a rough and patchy coat. That beautiful lab coat may never look the same again. Especially if your dog has been neutered.
Always rule out any health issues for why your dog smells first. Such as poor oral hygiene, ear infections, anal glands, skin issues.
But most labs get stinky when that have rolled in something or simply smell from their environment.
Then of course there’s the smell of wet dog, which is actually from microorganisms living on your lab! As the water evaporates you actually smell their micro-excreta!
You can always just sponge down anything they’ve rolled in, or use a dry shampoo to simply freshen them up. But a good bath with leave them super clean and the blow-dry will eliminate the wet dog smell.
If you want a really clean and nice smelling lab or would like assistance with regular de-shedding then there really isn’t a problem with having them visit the parlour for a bath as often as once a month.
Overall the general guide is to bathe your lab when she starts to become a little too stinky or when they are really blowing their coat to help with the de-shedding process, normally 2 or 3 times per year.
Some labs are never bathed and thats fine too!
But remember there are so many benefits to regular grooming.
Shedding is a natural process for our four legged friends to naturally loose old or damaged hair. The amount and frequency of hair that is shed depends upon their health, lifestyle, breed type and the seasons.
Hopefully we can ‘shed’ some light on how you can help shedding (see what I did there)!
Grooming daily can really help to control the spread of pet fur around your home. Using a brush on your pooch every day will ensure that they stay clean and keep their coat free of dirt and debris.
Deshedding is different from brushing, as it removes dead hair from your pet’s undercoat. Using deShedding tool like a furminator or rubber curry will drag out that loose coat, and the best thing is you can discard it straight into the bin, rather than it ending up all over your home.
We recommend that you bath your dog monthly to keep on top of deshedding. The bathing process helps loosen coat and the high velocity dryers will blast it all out
Deshedding shampoos contain moisturisers and essential omega fatty acids. These help hydrate your dog’s skin and hair follicles, which makes them less likely to be dry, brittle and fall out in the form of shedding.
The oils in the product help open pores to release more hair. It’s also meant to strengthen hair so it doesn’t shed out as quickly over time.
It also cuts down static which make it blow out easier with the high high velocity dryers.
Keeping up with your regular flea and tick treatments is vital to the health of your pet. If your pet catches fleas or ticks it can cause damage to their skin and coat through constant scratching.
These critters can cause a lot of stress and anxiety for your pet which can be another factor affecting their skin and coat, so help them out by preventing them with regular treatments.
Make sure your pet visits the vet at least annually, ideally once every six months for a full check-up. Your vet will assess your pet’s skin and coat condition and be able to rule out any underlying medical issues, such as skin allergies, medication side effects, immune diseases. They can also recommend diet improvements or medication if necessary.
Pets need certain levels and ratios of particular nutrients in their diet to help keep their skin and coat looking radiant and healthy. A nutritional deficiency can have a huge effect on a dog’s skin and coat.
Make sure your dog is fed a high quality food and it contains all the required nutrients.
Dehydration can lead to dry skin, which can cause excessive shedding and even illness. Make sure your dog always has access to as much clean, fresh water as it wants to drink.
You can also up the water intake for your dog by incorporating moist foods into its diet. Wet dog food contains up to 78% moisture, compared to 10% for dry food, and can be a good way to make sure your dog stays hydrated.
Weirdly, A British scientist who is an expert in odours, describes wet dog odour as a combination of almond, fruit, honey, and mushroom. Although he added however, that the scent also includes faeces and sulphur among its scents.
It’s not actually your pooch that whiffs, its microorganisms that live on his body all of the time. The American Kennel Club explains that bacteria and yeast, are always present on dogs. These microorganisms leave behind micro excretions and when your dog gets wet, the moisture evaporating from the dog has some of these compounds within it.
When it comes to the wet dog odour, some breeds are going to smell worse than others. The hound group trumps, as they have more sebum in their coats than other breeds. While sebum, an oil, protects the dog’s skin from drying out by collecting on hair shafts, it also exacerbates the bad smell when oil and water start not mixing. Instead, the oil and water combo creates more bacteria to make the dog smell worse.
Golden retrievers are particularly stinky, this is because they have a thick undercoat which gets very oily.
The only way to prevent that wet dog smell would be to never let them get wet. This obviously is not realistic, they still need to go out for toilet and walks even if its raining… Ans who would want to deprive their furry friends from having fun splashing around in streams and puddles?
The only way to combat the smell is ensure when your dog gets wet they are dried thoroughly all the way through. Yup this means blowdrying, a towel just aint going to cut it.
Long-haired breeds may smell worse when wet than shorter-haired dogs because they tend to collect more potentially stinky items in their coats too. That includes poop around the rear end, and perhaps bits of food under the chin and on the chest. Clipping such dogs, especially in warm weather if they like to swim, may reduce wet dog odour.
Ultimately, all the bathing in the world isn’t going to evict your dog’s tiny tenants, but you wouldn’t want to. The normal resident population of the skin is part of what keeps it healthy.