Do labradors need to go to a grooming parlour?
Understanding the function of the labs coat

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!

What about these oils and their skin?

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.

Do labs shed?

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.


Can I Shave my Lab?

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.

What about the smell?

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.


The bottom line

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.