When you bring home a Labrador Retriever to the family, you need to make sure that you are giving them some of the proper love and attention that they need.
Part of this is going to be with their grooming.
There are many parts that come together when you are creating the grooming schedule for your Lab, but one question that many will have is when they should give the dog their first haircut.
You should not give your Lab a haircut or shave them. Due to the double coat that the Lab has, shaving them will do more harm than good for this dog. Proper grooming of the topcoat and the undercoat is plenty to maintain healthy hair and make sure that the skin stays good as well.
The hair will often shed out long before you need to give the dog a haircut, but definitely avoid shaving them or it will cause a lot of irritation.
However, there are many people who believe that they need to cut the hair of the lab or even shave them.
We are going to discuss some of the common questions that come with this and look at why this may not be the best idea for your dog.
When Do Labrador Retriever Puppies Need Their First Haircut?
There are a lot of unique things that make this a special type of dog to bring home.
Many families love the Lab for the energy and how it can keep up with the kids all day long.
But another thing that is going to make the Lab unique, and is the main reason why you should not give the dog a haircut, is because of the double coat that they come with.
What this double coat means is that the Lab will have a good top coat that is there to protect them in wet conditions and will repel all the moisture.
They will also have an undercoat that will be their primary one, the one that will keep them warm.
Both of these are important to the dog. This double coat is a result of all the centuries of genetics and adaptations to ensure that the dog is comfortable in all temperatures.
While it may not harm the dog to shave them, it is usually not a good thing.
It can damage their top and undercoat and will make it grow in strange sometimes.
And many pet owners will shave down too close to the skin, which can cause some issues when the hair grows back in later on.
It is best to avoid this practice because the dog will need both coats and the shedding is often enough to keep the coat nice and thin.
Does Shaving Help the Lab with Shedding?
One reason that a lot of pet owners are going to consider shaving their Lab is to try and prevent some of the issues with shedding.
If you have never owned a Lab before, you may be surprised by how much they shed.
Since they are short-haired most of the time, it is hard to imagine that they can shed so much, but this is often a big issue thanks to the double-coat.
While this may be part of the reason why the dog owner is considering shaving the dog, there is no impact on the amount of shedding that happens when you decide to shave the dog.
It does make the hair shorter so you may not find as long of strands on all of your furniture, but it is not going to stop the process at all.
Depending on the dog, this is actually something that is going to make the issue worse that you are trying to solve.
With the hair being smaller, when it does shed, and it will shed no matter how long or short it is, many of the vacuums that you would want to use to get it all picked up will struggle to do anything and the hair will just stay put.
Does Shaving Create a Cleaner Appearance on the Lab?
Another reason that you may find that pet owners are shaving the Lab is to help improve the visual appearance in the coat.
They may think that shaving is going to create a shiny and sleek look to the coat.
This may even make the coat look lighter and may seem to improve the overall appearance.
However, you may find that a simple grooming session can do the same thing, without all of the risks to the dog.
You can just brush through the hair and take care of it a few times a week and still get the sleek and shiny look without the hassle or some of the negative side effects along the way.
The grooming tools are not that expensive, so this is often a better way to go.
How Often Should I Groom My Labrador Retriever
Rather than trying to shave or cut the hair of your Lab, it is much better to take the time to groom them.
This can solve most of the issues that come with the shedding and will make it easier for the dog to get the shiny and soft coat that you are looking for.
Plus, it is going to create some good bonding time between you and the dog, without some of the potential issues along the way.
The good news is that there isn’t really a way to over groom the dog too much. While you do not want to groom them for hours a day, doing it two times a week is usually a good idea.
This can include a good brushing to remove some of the hair and make it feel better a well.
First, we can look at the basic grooming. This can include a good brushing that will make the dog feel good.
If they are getting near the shedding season, then you may want to consider brushing the hair three times a week.
This can remove some of the hair and allows less of it to fall on the ground.
During the rest of the year, two times a week is going to be enough.
This is also a good time for you to check the dog for other issues, cleaning out their ears, checking the teeth, and trimming the nails.
Doing this all at once when it is needed will save you time and can make sure that the dog is groomed and ready to go.
Then there is the matter of giving the dog a bath. You do not want to bathe them each day of the week.
This may sound like a fantastic way to get them cleaned up, but it will simply add on a lot of work for you and can thin out some of the natural oils that are in the skin along the way.
For some dogs, doing the bath too often is going to lead them to discomfort and it will not be fun.
For the most part, one bath a month is plenty.
If the dog gets really bad smelling, you can change it to a few times to help, but once is usually enough.
Should I Take the Lab to a Groomer?
You can do most of the grooming on your own. For just a few dollars, you can get all of the grooming supplies that you need, which is going to make life a little bit easier as well.
You can brush their hair and trim their nails from home as much as you would like.
And since it does need to be done once or twice a week, it can save a lot of money in the process to do it yourself.
You may find that taking the dog in to a groomer once or twice a year is a good idea too.
They can clean the ears and do some of the other tasks that may be hard for some to handle on their own.
If you are worried that you are not getting all of the grooming done well on your own or you would like to give your dog a little bit of extra care during the year so that they look amazing, then using a groomer may be the best option.
Choosing to Shave the Labrador Retriever
It is generally not a good idea to shave the Labrador Retriever.
This can be dangerous to their coats and will make it harder to take care of them as well.
If you feel like the length of the coat is getting too long, then it is a good idea to take them into a groomer and see if there is something to do about it.
They can trim the ends a bit and get the dog to look better, without the need for shaving or causing other issues to the dog along the way.
For the most part, the natural shedding that the dog does is enough to avoid any cutting or shaving.