Thursday, April 12, 2012

Grooming Your Labrador Retriever

Grooming Your Labrador Retriever is a Guest Post contributed by Emma Green.

If you own a Labrador Retriever, consider yourself very lucky when it comes to grooming your dog. As a groomer for several years, I have had the pleasure of grooming some very sweet Labradors, and they were always some of my favorite dogs to groom because of their sweet disposition and their love of water.

You will want to start out your grooming session by giving your Lab a good bath. Chocolate Labs tend to be more prone to skin allergies, but any dog can have allergies so you will want to check your dog’s skin before you begin bathing. If you notice any red spots or blotches under the fur (especially around the belly) or if your dog has been itching or sneezing frequently, try and find an oatmeal shampoo for dogs. This is available at almost any store that carries pet products. If your dog doesn’t appear to have any sign of allergies, you can get a regular dog shampoo.

I prefer to bathe dogs in a bathtub, but you may want to wash your dog outside if it is warm. Though many Labradors love water and welcome a bath, if your dog is scared of water, be really gentle and make sure that he is secured in the tub or tied to something outside with a leash. Having your dog tied to something on a very short leash will make things a lot easier for you, and allow you to focus on cleaning him without worrying that he will escape.

To begin the bath, you will want to wet your dog down completely. I use warm water if I am bathing them in a tub, but if you are outside, just make sure that it’s warm enough that he won’t get too cold from the hose water. Lightly place cotton balls inside of his ears if you are worried about water getting down them. (And always remember to take them out when you are done with the bath, or they could cause infection!)

After he is totally wet, you will scrub shampoo into his whole body. Be liberal with the shampoo. There should be soapy suds from head to toe (but please avoid the eyes!). After he is all soaped up, rinse all of the suds off. If he is very dirty, you will probably want to do another round of shampoo. Optionally, you can get a good coat conditioner to use so that his hair will be very soft. Put the conditioner on after you have rinsed out the last round of shampoo. Let the conditioner sit on his hair for about 5 minutes, and then rinse it out.

Make sure all of the suds and conditioner are totally rinsed off, or your dog could be itchy, and oily. Use a large absorbent towel to dry him off. Do not allow him to run around outside until he is 100% dry, or he will be dirty again in 5 seconds. To speed the drying time, you can use a hair blow dryer. Just make sure that it is set to the “cool” setting, so that your dog doesn’t overheat.

The final step is that after he is dry you should run a wire slicker brush or a comb over him to get some of the loose hair out. He will be shedding more than usual for a few days after the bath because you have loosened a lot of the hair. Doing a final brush will help get some of that hair out, and you may want to follow up for the next couple days since he will be shedding more. If you know how to clip the toenails you will want to do it at the end too. I don’t recommend clipping the nails before a bath because if you clip any of them too short, the water from the bath will make them bleed more. You now have a clean and happy Labrador Retriever!

Emma Green has been a dog groomer for several years, and though she no longer grooms professionally, she loves grooming dogs for her friends and family, as well as her own dogs. She is also passionate about Nutrition, Emergency Preparedness, and Food Storage. Feel free to visit her blog at, or you may contact her with any questions about Dog Grooming or Food Storage at

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Portland Vet Clinic April 13, 2012 9:43 PM  

Really learned a lot from your informative blog. More power to you! Thanks:-)

Emma Green May 09, 2012 4:35 PM  

Thank you Portland Vet Clinic! I appreciate the kind words! If I lived in Oregon, I would definitely bring my dogs to you!

Fay May 09, 2012 7:33 PM  

Thanks for the kind words on our blog Portland Vet Clinic. The big thanks goes to Emma Green for providing this "Grooming Your Labrador Retriever" post.

Hi Emma, thank you!!

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