Dogs shed, except that the others can shed more and its amount can be affected by factors like the season. Our Labrador is no different. This breed sheds a lot, and that’s what first time owners must expect from the beginning.
Why does my Labrador shed so much? This is a question I always receive in this blog, and today, I’m answering this and other things associated with Lab shedding.
To answer this briefly, Labs have dual coats that work to protect them from changing seasons and temperatures especially if they’re working in the field. They shed so that they can replace their broken, damaged, and old fur with new hair. Not to forget, our labs also have thick hair!
Why does my Labrador shed so much?
You’re not alone on this! This favorite dog breed in America is one of the heaviest in terms of shedding.
While these furry friends of ours are so lovable and make for great companions that support our happiness and mental health, they also shed so much.
Our furry friend has a thick dual layered hair coat that causes a lot of shedding. Remember, they’re originally bred as working dogs in extreme weather climate areas like Newfoundland in Canada.
Their ancestors had double and thick coats so that they could comfortably live and work in cold regions and freezing temperatures.
In history, they used to swim in icy waters to retrieve fish that escaped hooks and were used to retrieve game.
Their coat served as a lifesaver for them because it enabled them to work long hours and most days in places where there were harsh temperatures and weather elements.
What are the causes of shedding in my Labrador retriever?
All dogs shed, although it’s just that some of them are not a lot. It is common for dogs to shed, particularly our dear Lab. However, pet owners should also know what is normal and abnormal shedding. There are a few factors that affect it.
Lack of essential nutrients, including vitamins and minerals in their diet can cause unhealthy and scratchy coats and skin. Poor diet will make them susceptible to contracting diseases and hair loss because of their weakened immune system.
Your dog may have an underlying condition that is causing hair loss. It may be affecting their coat and skin and can even be a cause of a chronic or acute illness. Too much shedding may also be caused by Cushing’s disease or hyperadrenocorticism.
Is your Labrador shedding out of the shedding season? You might want to take him to the vet immediately for a possible diagnosis of an underlying condition, such as fungal infection, skin illness, parasites, bacterial infection, liver disease, allergies, kidney disease, or thyroid disease.
You might suspect that your pet has parasites like ticks and fleas when they show too much shedding signs. Lice and mites and other parasites can lead to hair falling off because these creatures will attach themselves on the coat of labs, which may increase the tendency to scratch and bite their skin.
It is not only us humans but also animals that suffer from stress. Our Labradors are no different. Their hair might grow thin or even fall off when they feel stressed. Causes of stress are feeling bored, anxious, nervous, and even scared.
How can I manage my Labrador shedding?
Don’t worry if your Labrador sheds in the shedding seasons. Typically, they shed in the spring and fall. During springtime, they will have lighter coats so that they can prepare their body for the warm months. Then, they will shed their summer coat and start bulking up to prepare for the very cold winter. You can help them manage shedding through using a deshedding tool, bathing, and brushing.
These products will help big time in managing Labrador shedding and using them twice a year when your lab blows their coat is advised. These de-shedding products can keep those furs off your floors and other surfaces in your home.
They comb the top coat of your lab and get rid of excess hair, while also working their way into the undercoat. However, I don’t recommend using a deshedding brush a lot because they are abrasive.
Giving them a vet-recommended diet will also help prevent them from having allergies that might trigger skin allergic reaction.
For example, it is highly likely that they will develop a skin condition if they are allergic to gluten. A skin allergy may trigger or contribute to abnormal shedding.
Proper and well-balanced diets play an integral part in the health of your dog’s coat. Ensure that you’re feeding them with specifically formulated dog foods for Labradors.
Those with omega-3 fatty acids are also excellent choices because they aid in promoting coat and skin health, while improving the texture of their coat and making it smooth and shiny.
Adding natural foods, such as cooked sweet potatoes, can add vitamins and minerals to their typical dog food diet.
I recommend brushing your Labrador twice a week, preferably outside. Find a good quality brush that is specifically designed to help reduce Lab shedding.
Like humans, Labradors may also have sensitive skin. This is why you need to be extra cautious when using shampoos on them. Vets typically recommend an oatmeal shampoo, which can be gentle and moisturizing for a dog’s fur.
An anti-shedding shampoo is also a good idea. There are also hypoallergenic shampoos and those formulated to calm any condition that contributes to too much shedding. You may also ask your vet for some recommendations.
However, ensure not to give too many baths to your puppy, and once monthly is enough. This is to avoid the depletion of the natural oils in their coat.
Adding supplements in their diet and care routine is also a sound idea. For example, if your Lab doesn’t derive a lot of omega-3 fatty acids from their diet, ask your vet about a suitable fish oil supplement that can aid in managing the shedding.
Some pet owners also give their dogs chewable supplements designed to improve the health of the Lab’s coat. This can significantly reduce shedding.
Vacuuming your home often
You might find Lab fur scattered everywhere, and they’re crazy! Since Labradors are prone to shedding, you need to keep up through constant vacuuming. While grooming your dog will help in reducing the shedding, you should still have a plan to tackle their fur through a powerful vacuum cleaner.
You may want to invest in a smart, robotic vacuum cleaner that can do the job perfectly and can be set to a certain schedule to do the vacuuming at certain times of the day. It can help keep your home clean even when you’re not around.
There are also self-cleaning robots that can help in mapping out your home especially in specific areas that require cleaning. Such equipment may also have a brush roll that can remove the pet hair.
Is shaving Labrador a good idea?
Some pet owners want to eliminate shedding using an immediate solution like shaving. It’s not a good idea because labs have dual layered coats, which might be damaged permanently with shaving. This might cause the coat to not re-grow as it should. Shaving also does more harm than good because it will interfere with the natural coat structure.
Expect a lot of shedding from your Labrador because they have dual coats and shed their coat too much in specific times of the year like in the spring and fall. Don’t worry though because this is perfectly normal.
However, you must watch out for certain signs of abnormal hair loss and shedding especially when causes like stress and health conditions are involved. Nevertheless, monitor your lab closely and take him to the vet immediately if you notice that they shed too much in seasons when they don’t typically do.