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Grooming Your Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retrievers have beautiful coats that need regular grooming in addition to regular nail clipping, ear cleaning and dental care. While many dog owners prefer to take their pooch to the groomers, others like to groom their own dog. Grooming your Lab allows you to form a close bond and trust during the process. Always remain calm during grooming sessions and gently conduct each procedure with care. Following the tips below will guide you on your journey to grooming your Labrador Retriever.

  • Brushing: You will want to brush your Labrador Retriever with a nylon bristle or natural brush at least once a week. If your dog has an active lifestyle, daily brushing may be necessary. During brushing sessions you are removing debris and sticky substances that can cause the hair to become matted. Your dog will learn to enjoy this relaxing session since it feels great and it stimulates the natural oils in your dog’s skin.
  • Bathing: Since frequent bathing will dry out your Lab’s skin, you will want to keep bathing to a minimum. Bathe your dog when his or her coat appears to be dirty.
  • Nail Clipping: It is important to keep your Labrador Retrievers nails trimmed on a regular basis. Allowing the nails to grow long can cause the footpads to be apart causing discomfort to your dog. Use specially made dog nail clippers to cut your dog’s nails on a weekly basis. Beware of the quick which is located within the nail. If you accidentally cut into the quick, your dog will feel pain and possibly yelp due to the discomfort. Bleeding may occur and can be easily stopped by using a styptic stick.
  • Eye Cleaning: Your Lab will have discharge form in the corner of his or her eye from time to time. You will want to carefully use a cotton ball to wipe it away.
  • Teeth Cleaning: Dog’s teeth have plaque just like humans. To prevent plaque from building-up on your Lab’s teeth you will want to brush his or her teeth on a regular basis. Simply use toothpaste specially made for dogs and a toothbrush to brush your dog’s teeth (NEVER use toothpaste made for humans). You will need to lift your dog’s lips to have access to his or her teeth.
  • Final Inspection: Once you have completed the grooming process you will want to inspect your dog’s skin to see if there are any noticeable lesions, scabs, blisters, bumps, red spots or anything unusual. If you do find skin irritation it is best to discuss it with the veterinarian for advice on how to cure the specific skin ailment.

Your Lab may not enjoy his or her grooming session from the beginning. It is wise to begin grooming sessions from puppyhood in order to get your pup familiar with the procedures. It will also allow him or her to become comfortable with you conducting the procedures. Always remain calm and speak to your dog in a soft voice during the grooming process. If your dog appears to be nervous or show signs of fear and anxiety you may want to take things slower and maybe do one grooming procedure per day, instead of all in the same day, until your Lab gets use to the process.

Photo credit: Michael/Flickr