It probably comes as no surprise to you that the Labrador Retriever is one of America's most popular dog breeds. But what may be surprising is that they're also one of the top 10 breeds that sheds the most. How can this be, when they have shorter hair compared to other dogs?
You love your lab, but you don't love their shedding. If keeping up with your dog's hair has become a struggle, read on to learn more about Labrador shedding and how you can keep up with it.
Why Do Labs Shed So Much?
The secret to why labs tend to shed so much is their unique double layer of hair. Your dog has a built-in second coat of fur that keeps him or her insulated much the same way we feel when wearing thermal underwear.
Labs have what's called a guard or top coat. That's the fur you feel when you pet them and it tends to have a course or wiry feel.
Then they have their undercoat, which is their hidden insulator. This layer of fur tends to be softer to the touch and it acts almost like down to keep your dog warm.
The undercoat also contains more oils from your dog's skin that naturally repels water. If you've ever wondered why your lab is willing to go swimming on chilly days, you can blame it on their undercoat! Both coats act as built-in sunscreen, preventing harmful UV rays from reaching your dog's skin.
This means you have two shedding coats to deal with and like a lot of pets, a lab's shedding tends to get more intense with seasonal changes. Labs are known for "blowing out" a lot of their fur in the spring and again in the fall. These blow out periods can last several weeks.
Tips to Control Shedding
So how can you control your lab's shedding? Brushing is still the go-to beauty treatment that prevents hair from getting on your furniture and clothing. You'll want to brush your lab's coat at least weekly and step it up during their molting periods.
A pin, slicker or bristle brush all work well on your dog's double coat. You may also want to invest in an undercoat rake. Its teeth are designed to remove deep loose hair from the undercoat.
Vacuum your home regularly. A vacuum with a pet hair attachment can help keep your furniture clean. Lint rollers and brushes will help remove dog hair from clothing.
You should also make sure you're feeding a dog a healthy, high-quality diet that contains omega fatty acids. These promote healthy skin and fur.
What About Bathing My Lab?
There is good news for lab owners who aren't crazy about bathing dogs: bathing a lab really won't control their shedding and can do more harm than good. It can remove too much of their skin's natural oils, leading to dryness and flaking.
They really only need a bath when they begin to smell or they get dirty outdoors.
Keep Labrador Shedding Under Control
By following these tips you can keep Labrador shedding under control and spend more time enjoying your best friend.
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