If you live in a hot, humid temperature, your dog may be suffering. Many breeds of dogs can be shaved or clipped during the summer months to help them keep cool. However, Labradors have a coat that is slightly different from other dog breeds. They have a double coat and generally don’t need to be clipped as their fur will shed.
In most cases, a Labrador will shed their fur in the spring, which should be enough to stop them from overheating. Some owners do shave their Labradors, but many vets advise against this practice. This article will answer the question, ‘can you shave a Labrador?’
A look at the Labradors coat
Labrador Retrievers and many other large breeds of dog have what is known as a “double coat.” This means that your pet’s coat is made up of two distinct layers. There is an underlayer and an outer layer.
The under layer is also known as the undercoat and is a very dense layer of fur that’s close to the Labrador’s skin. This layer is made up of very soft short hairs that are almost woolly in texture.
Labradors then have an outer layer of fur, which is much coarser. Sometimes the outer layer is called the ‘guard hairs,’ as it protects the dog’s undercoat and skin from dirt, environmental pollutants, and the sun’s rays.
Many dog owners don’t understand how a double coat functions and shave their pet. This can cause issues for the dog. Rather than shaving a Labrador, it’s essential to wash and groom the dog’s fur correctly. This will help to keep your pet’s coat stay healthy and allow your dog to stay cool during the summer. As well as keeping a dog warm, a double coat can help a Labrador regulate temperature and stay clean. It also helps your pet avoid sunburn on hot days.
Is it a good idea to shave a Labrador?
Shaving a Labrador isn’t a good idea, although some owners claim to do so without issue. Those owners likely don’t fully understand how a double coat works and are creating problems for their dog.
There are many reasons you shouldn’t shave a Labrador. A Labradors coat will naturally shed, becoming lighter during the spring and summer so that the dog can cope with hotter weather. By shaving the coat, you’ll remove the protective topcoat, which will mean your dog will be prone to getting sunburnt.
A Labradors undercoat will provide insulation and allow your pet to stay cool in the summer months. It will also keep him warm in winter. Shaving a Labrador in the summer may mean that his coat hasn’t correctly grown back by winter, and he’ll feel the cold. The new fur regrowth will also be very hard and stubbly, making the dog feel a prickly sensation that will be uncomfortable.
A Labrador’s double coat also protects him from dirt and moisture; if you remove it by shaving, you may find that your dog starts to smell bad. Many owners want to shave their Labrador as they believe it will get rid of shedding, this isn’t the case, as your dog will continue to shed from the undercoat.
Labrador grooming tips
If you own a Labrador or another breed of dog, such as a husky or German Sheppard with a double coat, shedding may be a problem at certain times of the year. Dogs with double coats shed slightly differently from other dogs. Labradors, shedding style, is sometimes referred to as ‘coat blow.’ A Labrador will shed a small amount regularly year-round. In the spring, ‘coat blow’ happens when a Labrador transitions from a winter coat to a summer coat and loses a lot of fur in the process.
If you’re worried about the amount of fur that’s being dropped around your home, the best thing to do would be to brush your dog thoroughly daily. Do this outdoor if possible. You may also want to invest in a good vacuum cleaner that will help you remove unwanted hairs from your carpets and furniture.
Conclusion: Don’t Shave Your Lab
As you can see, there are many reasons why you shouldn’t shave your Labrador. Shaving or clipping a dog with a double-layered coat can have disastrous consequences. The dog may end up getting sunburnt, will feel itchy when the new fur grows back, or may not have an adequate outer layer of fur to keep warm in the winter. Instead of shaving your dog, it would be a good idea to increase grooming when your dog starts to shed in the spring.