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How To Groom a Labrador: 9 Expert Tips

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By Nicole Cosgrove

woman grooming labrador puppy

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If you’re tired of taking your Labrador to the groomers every few weeks and would rather groom them at home, you’re in luck because the process is simpler than you think. Keeping up with grooming might take a bit of time (though you needn’t worry about cutting your dog’s hair since they have short coats), but in the long run, you’ll end up saving time and money. All you need are a few tools and the know-how.

Here are nine tips and tricks on Labrador grooming to get you started on your grooming journey. With this list, you’ll soon become a pro at grooming your Labrador!

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Top 9 Labrador Grooming Tips

1.  Ensure Everything Is Ready

Before you begin grooming your dog, it’s vital to gather everything you need and put it all in one place so it’s on hand. What do you need to groom a Labrador?

labrador dog lying with groomming tolls
Image Credit: Aquarius Studio, Shutterstock
  • A brush
  • Wide toothed metal comb
  • Dog shampoo
  • Towels
  • Hairdryer (optional)
  • Nail clippers or nail grinder
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Cotton balls
  • Ear cleaner
  • Saline

Once you have these items in the bathroom or by the washing station where you’ll be washing your dog, you’ll be ready to begin.

2. Start with Inspection

Before you bathe or brush your dog, you’ll want to scrutinize your dog for any ticks, dry patches, lumps or bumps, hair loss—essentially anything out of the ordinary. A great way to do this inspection is with a doggie massage. You’ll find anything out of the ordinary, and your Labrador will feel great. Plus, this can loosen dead skin and hair so you can get rid of it with brushing. Start at your pup’s head, then massage your way down to the tail to inspect them, remembering to check underneath and between toes.

3. Brushing Is Your Friend

Brushing your Labrador at least once a week with a slicker brush will not only feel fabulous for your pet (and help you and your dog bond), but it will also help them stay clean. Weekly brushing will remove dirt and debris, as well as dead skin and loose fur. It will also redistribute the natural oil on your dog’s skin to make their coat look glossy. And you can brush your pet more than once a week if they enjoy it; there’s nothing wrong with daily brushing!

groomer brushing labrador puppy
Image Credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

4. Comb Before Bathing

If you’re going to bathe your Labrador during a grooming session, you’ll want to comb out their coat after you do your inspection. Combing right before bathing with a wide-toothed metal comb will remove dirt and debris, loose hair, and mats and tangles (because you don’t want to wash  !). Your dog might like the combing less than the brushing, but it’ll definitely help.

5. Bathtime

Truthfully, Labradors don’t need to be bathed that often. Unless your pup has wallowed in mud or rolled around in something that smells atrocious, you should only be bathing them every four to six weeks at tops. Too much bathing runs the risk of drying out your dog’s skin, which you don’t want. This makes life easier for you as bathing Labradors can be a challenge! When you bathe them, use lukewarm water—not hot!—and a good shampoo that won’t dry out skin or make them itchy. After, you can dry them off with towels or a hairdryer set to cool, whichever one your dog is more amenable to.

labrador dog taking a bath
Image Credit: Jaromir Chalabala, Shutterstock

6. Check the Eyes

Check around your pup’s eyes regularly for any discharge or anything out of the norm. If you have a yellow Labrador, you might see staining around the eyes from tears, but that’s no cause for alarm as it’s perfectly normal. If you see discharge, though, you can remove it using a cotton ball and some saline solution. Just be sure to wipe carefully, so you don’t accidentally swipe across your dog’s eyeball!

7. Don’t Forget the Ears

It might not be something you think of at first when it comes to grooming your Labrador, but you should regularly check your dog’s ears. Dogs with floppy ears, in particular, are more prone to ear infections, so taking a look inside once a week or so will help you notice any irritation or bad smells. You’ll also just be checking for dirt and waxy build-up, which can be removed with a cotton ball and some ear cleaner.

cleaning dog ear
Image Credit: fetrinka, Shutterstock

8. Clip Those Nails

If you aren’t taking your Labrador to the groomers any longer, you’ll need to clip their nails yourself, as letting them get too long can make it more difficult for your pup to walk. You’ll want to invest in a good nail clipper or a nail grinder to start with. When it comes to the clipping itself, you might want to grab a friend to help, especially if your dog isn’t fond of having its nails cut. You don’t want a wriggly pup while you’re doing this! You should see the quick in lighter colored Labradors, but you’ll have to guess for darker colored ones. If you do accidentally clip the quick, you can actually use ChapStick or Styptic powder to help the bleeding stop. Nails should be trimmed once a month or so.

9. Remember to Keep Teeth Clean

When grooming your Labrador, you need to remember to keep their teeth clean too! People often don’t brush their pets’ teeth because it can be a challenging task, but dental disease in dogs is no joke. Left untreated, it can cause damage to major organs in the body and constant discomfort. To brush your Labrador’s teeth, you’ll need a doggie toothbrush and toothpaste (never use human toothpaste as it could upset their stomach!). Once you’re ready, lift your dog’s lip and brush in a straight motion across teeth. If your pup doesn’t let you brush their teeth, you can try rubbing a soft cloth or your finger over the teeth in a brushing motion, then working your way up to using a toothbrush.

brushing teeth of labrador dog
Image Credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

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Grooming your Labrador on your own may seem like a Herculean task, but it’s really not so hard when you know what you’re doing. With these tips and tricks, you should have no difficulty grooming your dog (though you might need a friend willing to lend a hand when it’s time to clip nails). And once your dog gets used to the sensations of being brushed or having their teeth brushed or getting their nails trimmed, they’ll be less wiggly during the process, making your job easier. Labradors love to eat so try using a licky mat to keep them occupied while you groom. So, go try out one of these tips and tricks today and make your Labrador the most beautiful it can be!

Featured Image Credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

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