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Should I Shave My Labrador Retriever?
The short answer is no. You should not shave your Labrador's coat.
There are very few, if any, good reasons to shave your Labrador.
Many reputable groomers will outright refuse to shave certain dog breeds; we think that speaks volumes. Only in rare situations can you shave a black Labs hair.
Black Labrador owners should be aware that proper grooming requirements and a regular grooming routine for their Labrador’s fur require a different approach than the one taken for human hair.
Different techniques, products, and expectations must all be considered for a dog’s coat.
While a summer trim may help keep us cool, the same does not apply to our beloved Lab Retrievers.
As always, check with your trusted veterinarian if you have any serious concerns about trimming or shaving your Labrador Retriever.
How a Labrador’s Thick Double Coat Works
A Labrador coat is a double coat of fur, made up of a coarse outer coat, or top coat, and an inner layer that is soft, like a down comforter, called the undercoat.
Your Lab's fur outer coat works like a guard coat, protecting them from all the dirt, dust, and harmful UV rays from the sun while allowing their thick undercoat to stay healthy.
The undercoat helps keep the dog warm in winter and cool during summer. It is also responsible for distributing natural oils across your Lab's skin.
Why Do Labradors Shed?
As the weather shifts from one season into another, a Labrador coat undergoes a natural process known as "blowing their coat" as part of an instinctive preparation for upcoming weather.
In the warmer weather of spring, they rid themselves of excess winter hair, and during autumn, they bulk up their two layers to make a thick coat for warmth in cold temperatures.
These are the two distinct shedding seasons for Labrador Retrievers.
Five Reasons Why Shaving Your Black Lab Won't Work
We'll break down the potential consequences and explain how the Labrador double coat keeps your Lab healthy and requires no drastic trimming or shaving
Shaving Your Lab Will Not Reduce Shedding
While many Black Labrador owners may think trimming our Labs' coats will help control shedding, it generally has very limited or no effect at all.
Shaving your Lab does not change the reason Labs shed: the shedding season(s).
At best, you'll end up with a period of shorter hairs scattered around your home. You can also expect even more pet dander as your dog sheds.
It's clear that any minor reduction in your Labrador’s shedding gained from this extreme Labrador grooming doesn't outweigh its potential harm.
Proper nutrition and weekly brushing are key to maintaining optimal Labrador Retriever coat health and reducing excess fur loss. There are no shortcuts to overwrite why labs shed.
A Shaved Labrador Can't Regulate Their Body Temperature
The most common reason people choose to shave their dogs is that they think it will help keep the dog cool during the hot summer months. However, this isn't true for Labradors.
Labs are built for all seasons due to their double coats, which allow them to regulate body temperature no matter how cold or hot it is outside.
When a dog’s coat is shaved, the undercoat does not grow back quickly, if at all.
The insulation effect of a Labrador dog's coat is needed in hot and cold weather.
Shaving your Lab leaves them vulnerable to extreme temperatures and even sunburns.
By keeping your Labrador's coat intact, they will be far better protected against any type of climate.
Your Lab's Coat Will Not Grow Back the Same
If you decide to shave your Lab, be aware that your dog’s fur may not grow back the same as before. Shaving your Labrador can change their coat for the rest of their life.
The Labrador Retriever's soft undercoat will likely never return in full after a shave.
Unfortunately, when the double coat is shaved, the undercoat that grows back is often more coarse and prickly than before, leaving your pet prone to dog’s skin problems throughout its entirety of regrowth.
The new top coat will grow in faster than the undercoat, leading to a scraggly appearance that can persist for years.
A Shaved Labrador Needs to be Bathed More Often
The newly-shorn Lab’s coat of fur may appear neat and tidy; however, without its undercoat to support it, the outer layer is prone to dirt accumulation.
Shaving your Lab creates more problems and work for you as an owner, meaning more frequent baths are necessary for upkeep.
Not to mention, frequent baths can dry out a dog’s normally non-sensitive skin and leave it vulnerable to irritation, an issue that will only be amplified by the lack of protective natural oils from the undercoat.
Itchy skin is no fun for your dog or you, and the increased pet dander can cause allergic reactions in your family members.
Regrowing a Coat Is Uncomfortable For Your Lab
When considering the removal of your Lab's fur, it is important to remember that regrowth can be uncomfortable and even detrimental to their well-being.
The regrowth process can be painful for your Lab, severely worsening their quality of life.
Removing the original soft undercoat will leave your Lab stuck with a harsh, scratchy new undercoat.
As a responsible lab owner, it is crucial to carefully assess the potential consequences of any decision you make for your beloved canine companion.
Some decisions can have a permanent, negative impact on your dog's life; a good Lab owner will avoid these choices whenever possible.
How to Care for Your Labrador Retriever's Coat
The best way to care for your Labrador Retriever is to brush their coat twice weekly and help them maintain a healthy weight, low-stress lifestyle, and exercise routine.
This will alleviate all of the dog’s fur-related issues that might make owners consider the horrible option of shaving.
What's the Best Brush for Managing Labrador Shedding?
The best, most reliable de-shedding brush for a dense, short-coat dog like a Labrador is the FURminator. No matter which dog, there is a variety of FURminator suited to their needs.
We have used the FURminator line of tools on all of our dogs for years. While other brands exist, trust us when we say there's no need to experiment.
Pair with their deShedding Shampoo for the greatest effect.
Regular shampooing with a gentle canine shampoo will help maintain the condition of your Labrador's coat. Hopefully, proper care will make shaving seem less tempting.
What Dog Breeds Should Not Be Shaved?
Any double-coated dog breed should not be shaved.
This includes Labrador Retrievers and other dog breeds such as Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, and Huskies.
Shaving will make it difficult to maintain healthy skin, manage coat blow and loose hair, and maintain the dog’s natural barrier.
Regarding Labradors and other dogs with double coats, shaving is almost never recommended.