"How to Cope with Shedding and Dry Skin in Labrador Retrievers
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"How to Cope with Shedding and Dry Skin in Labrador Retrievers

Dogs
Grooming & Hygiene

For decades the Labrador Retriever has been one of the most popular dogs to keep as a family pet and with very good reason. These great characters boast one of the nicest natures on the planet and are renowned for being extremely good around children of all ages.

These lovely dogs boast short coats, but they do tend to shed quite a bit of hair which can be a real problem if you don't keep on top of things. This is why it's important to set up a regular grooming routine so you don't end up with loose dog hair everywhere around the home. A lot of Labs also tend to have pretty dry and flaky skin which adds to the problem making the whole situation that much worse.

You can never get rid of a “shedding” problem, but you can make things a lot better if you brush your dog regularly and bath them when needed. The other thing to bear in mind, is that all dogs tend to shed more at two specific times of the year, namely in the spring and then again in the autumn.

To keep on top of a shedding problem, you need to invest in certain grooming tools which includes the following:

  • A good quality wire slicker brush
  • A shedding blade
  • A dog specific shampoo which has the right PH balance

Dealing with a Dry, Flaky Skin Problem

If your Lab suddenly develops very dry, flaky skin and starts to shed hair profusely, it's time to take them to the vet so they can be thoroughly examined. You may find your dog is suffering from some sort of allergy or it could be a yeast infection that's causing the problem. The other thing to bear in mind, is that Labrador Retrievers are prone to suffer from thyroid issues and this too can affect the condition of their skin and their coats.

Regular Baths are Good

Whilst regular baths can be really beneficial, excessive bathing can be quite detrimental if your Lab suffers from any sort of skin condition. Most of these gorgeous dogs like nothing more than splashing around in water when the weather is warm – although some love taking the plunge even when the weather is colder too!

You can safely give your Lab a bath every two weeks or so, but if they have very greasy skin you may want to discuss the problem with your vet. They might recommend a specific shampoo and advise you on how often to bath your dog to get on top of the problem. Bathing a greasy dog also helps loosen any dry and shedding hair that builds up which could lead to a skin infection if not removed.

It's really important that your dog be towel dried after a bath and if necessary you should use a blow dryer to make sure they are completely dry to avoid them catching a chill, especially during the colder winter months.

Set Up a Grooming Routine

By setting up a regular grooming routine, it not only helps keep your dog's coat in great condition, but the one-to-one time you spend with them will strengthen the bond you have formed with them, and your dog will look forward to being groomed because of all the attention you give them.

It's always best to start at the front when you brush your dog and work your way to their hindquarters using the slicker brush. This is the best tool to use because it's really effective at removing any excess shedding hair while at the same time massaging your dog's skin. Having done one side, including the belly and back legs, you have to repeat the process on the other side.

Next, you should use the shedding blade on their coat which finishes the job nicely by removing any excess hair you missed with the slicker brush. When using a shedding blade, you have to work in one direction being extra careful. Start out at the neck and then work your way down the body to the flank and hip before doing the same on the opposite side. The last areas to do are the chest, belly leaving the tail till last.

You should carry on using the shedding blade until no more loose hair comes out. Although the first lot of grooming sessions may take you longer to complete, the more you brush your dog, the easier and quicker each session would be. That's the beauty of regularly grooming your dog, not only do you stay on top of the shedding and dry skin problem, but the quicker each session takes to keep your Labs coat looking good.

Conclusion

Although Labrador Retrievers boast short coats, they do tend to shed quite a lot and even more so during the spring and the autumn. By setting up a regular grooming routine it helps you keep on top of the problem and if your Lab suffers from dry and flaky skin, brushing them frequently helps massage their skin which stimulates oil glands. This naturally helps keep their coats and skin in much better condition and as a bonus, you have less dog hair to clean up around the house.

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