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Do Labradors shed? Yes, they do.
Shedding in dogs is a natural occurrence, but Labrador Retriever shedding can be a lot, especially during the shedding season.
Labrador Retrievers, or Labs, are the most popular dogs in America according to a survey done in 2022. They are good companions for most families and are loved for their active energy and intelligence.
Lab owners have the extra task of cleaning up dog hair that sticks in most places in their households.
If you are planning on adopting a Labrador Retriever, then you should understand a few things about their shedding pattern.
They are sturdy, medium to large dog breeds from the Retriever family. Other dogs in this family are the Golden Retriever, the Flat-Coated Retriever, the Curly-Coated Retriever, and the Chesapeake Bay Retriever.
Labrador Retrievers are originally from Newfoundland Island, Canada. They were formerly known as St John’s dogs, named after the capital of Newfoundland.
Labradors were initially bred to be water dogs and were used by fishermen. Fishermen in Newfoundland would use their Labradors to pull out fishing nets from the sea.
These dogs also helped them to retrieve fish that fell from the hook. Labradors were very hardworking in their fishing and retrieving duties.
Outside their duties at the sea, Labradors were obedient companions at the fishermen’s home. Today’s Labradors are smaller than the St Johns Dogs that were mainly used in the seas.
The St John’s dogs were crossbred with the Newfoundland dogs to create the Labrador Retriever. This was done to improve their genetics and to come up with a perfect water dog.
Earl of Malmesbury was an English water sportsman who became the first person to ship the St. John’s dog to England.
He is credited as being the person who came up with the name ‘Labrador’, as seen in a letter he authored in 1887.
Labradors would later gain fame and reputation among many English sportsmen for their adaptability, and dedication to work.
The English sportsmen would then use the dogs for hunting and for retrieving objects from the sea.
Labrador Retriever became recognized as a dog breed by the English Kennel Club in 1903, and in 1917 by the American Kennel Club (AKC).
Looking At the Labrador Retrievers
Labradors are double-coated medium to large size dogs that are categorized under the sporting group. Their double coat constitutes a slicker top coat and a smooth undercoat.
Labrador Retrievers have various colors and color combinations. The most common are Black, Chocolate, and Yellow. They also exist in other lesser common colors like silver and red.
These dogs are intelligent and have muscular and strong bodies. Adult Labradors have an average height of between 22 to 25 inches and an average weight of 60 to 90 pounds.
Their body size will vary based on gender, fitness, and underlying medical conditions.
Labrador Retriever Coats
Labrador retrievers have a sleeker top coat and smooth undercoat which makes them double-coated. Some of the other few dog breeds that have a double coat include:
- Golden Retrievers
- German Shepherd
- Australian Shepherd
- Siberian Huskies
- Shih Tzu
- Chow, among others
The top coat fur is long, sleek, and waterproof. It is genetically adapted to protect the dog from moisture and prevent dirt from reaching their skin.
The undercoat’s dense fur is short and is useful to keep the dog warm. These dogs developed their double coat during their breeding years in Newfoundland to make them regulate body temperature.
Do Labrador Retrievers Shed a Lot?
Labrador retrievers shed a lot of hair regularly especially when there’s a change in weather. If you are a Labrador parent, then you know how often you collect dog hair from the carpet, couch, and many other places in your house.
How Bad Do Labradors Shed?
Labrador’s double coats are the main reason why they shed a lot of hair. Dogs shed dead hair from their coats to keep their bodies clean and to adapt to changes in temperatures.
Labrador Retrievers are among the dog breeds that shed the most. Dog breeds that shed similar to Labs include:
- Golden Retrievers
- German Shepherds
- Siberian Husky
- Alaskan Malamute
- Great Pyrenees
- Chow Chow, among others
Most dogs with double coats are prone to excessive shedding. Luckily enough, you can do a few things to reduce how frequently your dog sheds throughout the year.
Why Do Dogs Shed?
Shedding is natural in dogs and it differs from one breed to another. Dogs shed off damaged, broken, and dead hair to maintain clean coats.
It is therefore an essential part of maintaining their fur and skin health. The frequency and amount of fur a dog sheds will depend on the breed, type of coat, and the weather season.
I wrote an article on how to keep a dog’s fur shiny, make sure to check it out for some extra tips.
Labs tend to shed more hair than other short-haired dog breeds because of their dense double coat.
These double layers are adapted to keep the dog warm and prevent them from contacting dirt and moisture.
A double coat enables dogs to be tolerant to different temperatures. They shed some hair during the hot season to cool down and will build up denser hair during cold seasons.
How Frequently Do Labradors Shed? Is there a Labrador Shedding Season?
Labrador Retrievers moderately shed hair throughout the year. They will shed a lot of their hair during two seasons yearly; which lasts for two or three weeks.
This happens when there is a change in weather and the dogs are adjusting their coats.
During the winter, the dog will form a heavy coat to protect them from the cold. This excess hair is shed during springtime and it can be tedious to handle.
In summer, the Labs will shed off their dense coats and build up a smoother coat for the upcoming hot weather.
During these shedding seasons, you can expect to be cleaning dog hair from your household furniture, carpet, and curtains.
Common Causes of Shedding
It is completely normal for Labrador Retrievers to shed. There are several factors that make your dog shed their hair more frequently.
It is important that you know what makes your dog’s hair fall off, especially if you suspect that the shedding isn’t normal.
The following are some of the common factors that may make your Lab shed a lot.
Your dog’s hair might thin and fall off if they’re stressed. If your dog is shedding more hair while showing signs of stress and anxiety, then you may suspect that’s the cause of their hair loss.
Some of the common reasons why your dog might be stressed include a change of environment, and being nervous, bored, or scared.
Labrador retrievers are however not very prone to become easily stressed compared to small dog breeds.
Lice, mites, fleas, and other external parasites can cause your Labrador Retriever to shed a lot. These parasites lodge on your dog’s coat and they may scratch the skin hence making some hair fall off.
3. Lack of a balanced diet
If your dog lacks the basic nutrients and minerals, then he might have unhealthy skin and coat. This will also expose your dog to other health conditions due to a weakened immune system.
A well-balanced diet should have proteins, carbs, vitamins, minerals, fats, and other trace elements.
4. Health problems
Your dog might be shedding a lot because of an illness that is affecting their skin and coat. This might be an acute condition or a chronic illness such as cancer.
If you notice that your Labrador is shedding a lot outside the shedding season, then that might be a sign of an illness. The following are some of the health issues that may make your pup shed more hair:
- Skin conditions
- Bacterial infections
- Fungal infections
- Liver conditions
- Kidney conditions
- Thyroid diseases
If you suspect that your dog is suffering from any health condition, then you need to visit your vet. Your vet will do some blood work to try and determine what ails your dog.
How To Reduce Labrador Retriever Shedding
If you are a Labrador parent, you have probably asked yourself ‘How can I stop my Labrador from shedding?’. Well, it is impossible to completely stop your dog from shedding.
But the good news is that there are a few things you can do to reduce how much fur they shed.
If you notice that your Labrador is shedding more than normal then you should take them to your vet. Excessive shedding can be a sign of an underlying illness.
Here are some Labrador shedding solutions you can try:
1. Brush your dog regularly
Get a good labrador shedding brush and rake over your dog’s coat smoothly in one direction. Brushing your dog is one of the best ways to remove loose hair from his coat.
Brushing your dog will keep their coat clean and smooth. It removes dirt and debris from their coat hence clearing their coats.
You should carefully choose the type of brush that you will use to groom your dog. Bristle brushes are the most common and they can be used to groom Labrador Retrievers effectively.
If your Labrador has mats and tangles on his coat, then you can opt for a slicker brush to de-mat his coat.
Brushing your dog also helps in spreading their natural skin oil to keep them smooth and glossy. The Rubber curry combs are the best suited for this.
You can also use these brushes to give your dog a smooth massage around their body. You should however not brush your dog more than twice a week. Excessive brushing may itch your dog’s skin and can lead to premature shedding.
2. Use a de-shedding tool
A dog brush is useful when you want to remove the loose lying dog hair from the dog’s top coat. Labrador Retrievers have a double coat and you might be required to rake deeper to remove hair from the undercoat.
De-shedding tools are used to remove loose hair from dogs who shed seasonally or throughout the year like the Labradors.
A de-shedding tool will remove loose fur from your dog’s coat before they shed. They also eliminate other debris material from the coat hence making them clean and shiny.
It is recommended to use the de-shedding tool during the shedding season of the year when your dog is losing too much hair. This will help to remove more fur that would have otherwise ended up on your furniture.
During other times of the year, you can use your dog brush to rake your dog’s coat regularly to clean their coats.
3. Bath your dog regularly
Bathing your dog at home is not only good for their hygiene but also to remove dead hair and loose fur that is almost coming off.
Ensure you use warm water when bathing the dog to make them comfortable and break off the loose fur with ease.
There are many shampoo options that you can get for bathing your pup. I recommend going for the one with natural ingredients and oil to keep your dog’s skin healthy and prevent itching.
Some shampoos are also formulated to reduce your dog’s shedding.
It is recommended to bathe your Labrador Retriever once every month to keep them clean and to remove damaged hair. Feel free to bathe your dog as needed, especially when they have accumulated too much dirt.
Some parasites can be removed from your dog’s fur by simply brushing over their coat. If you notice that your dog is heavily infested with parasites, then you need to thoroughly bathe them.
You can take your pup to the vet for medicated coat cleaning and grooming. Your vet can perform a further diagnosis to determine how the parasites have affected your dog.
4. Proper diet
A well-balanced diet with the right nutrients can significantly reduce your Lab’s shedding by helping to form strong hair follicles and well-nourished fur.
Such a diet is crucial in keeping your pup fit and healthy. It also strengthens your dog’s hair hence they cannot break off and fall easily.
Ensure that your pup has a good mix of proteins, carbs, fats, minerals, and vitamins that will constitute a healthy and balanced diet.
When purchasing your dog’s food, you need to be familiar with the ingredients. Go for the ones that have very little or no fillers. Choose dog food that has whole ingredients e.g. chicken, beef, lamb, and vegetables.
This diet will strengthen your dog’s hair and prevent it from easily breaking off. They also make your dog’s coat shine and remain healthy.
Minerals such as calcium, iron, and phosphorus are good for healthy hair. The best vitamins for your dog’s skin and hair are B12, D, E, A, and C.
Starchy grains and green vegetables are good sources of such minerals and vitamins. Protein should constitute around 30% of your dog’s diet.
The fat content of your dog’s food should be within the range of 10-25%. Omega 3 fatty acids help to smoothen your dog’s skin and keep the coat shiny.
You can have a mix of both homemade and commercial dog food for your dog’s nutritional benefits. Have some tasty dog treats for your dog to supplement his diet and for rewarding them for good behavior.
5. Increase your dog’s water intake
One of the reasons why your dog might be shedding is because their skin is dry. Lack of water causes dry skin, unhealthy fur, and a possible fall out of some hair.
Your dog’s water intake should depend on their weight. You should give an ounce of clean water per pound of your Labrador’s weight.
If your dog weighs 65 pounds, then you should ensure that they drink 65 ounces of clean water to remain hydrated.
If your dog is not drinking enough water, you can encourage them to drink by rewarding them with a treat and praising them.
You can also get a beautiful water fountain instead of the conventional water bowls. Some dogs are more motivated to drink from water fountains than they are from bowls.
Another great way to encourage your dog to drink water is by flavoring his water. Get some bone broth or chicken broth and encourage your dog to take in more water.
6. Nutritional supplement
You can use nutritional supplements to complement your dog’s diet. If your dog’s food does not contain enough omega-3, you can look for healthy fish oil supplements.
You will give the supplement to your dog based on the information provided on the packaging. Ideally, you should vary the amount based on your dog’s age, size, and weight.
There is also the option of omega-3 chewable supplements for your dog. You can also use these kibbles to reward your dog during training.
Should You Shave Your Labrador to Reduce Shedding?
You might be thinking of shaving your Lab as an immediate solution to eliminate shedding. But, is this a good idea?
Shaving a lab to reduce shedding is not a good idea because they have a double-layered coat. This is a bit different from single-layered hair which can easily be cut off and regrown properly.
Cutting off your Lab’s coat might do more harm than good. The coat might be permanently damaged and may not regrow properly.
When you shave your Labrador, you are interfering with their double coat structure. The inner undercoat protects them from cold and the outer coat keeps moisture and dirt away.
A simple haircut may make your Labrador get exposed to dirt, cold, and allergies.
How To Manage Labrador Shedding
How do you manage fallen dog hair in your house? Ensure that you remove all dog hair from your house to prevent a buildup.
You also need to clean up your dog’s bed regularly and change his bedding to reduce the buildup of fur. Sometimes your Lab can just pick up fur from their bed and take them to another location.
Invest in a good vacuum cleaner that you can use to clean your carpet and furniture. You can consider a modern smart vacuum that can be controlled remotely using a smartphone app.
This makes cleaning easier and you can now reduce the chances of encountering your dog’s hair on our couch.
Use an effective carpet cleaner for pets to clean your carpet thoroughly. Dogs spend most of their time on carpets; lying, sleeping, and playing.
You should regularly clean your carpet to remove all stuck hair and other dirt that may have stuck with time.
Use air purifiers to clean up the atmosphere in your house. There’s a risk of allergies when your dog leaves their hair in almost all corners of the house.
Labrador Retriever shedding is normal, so you should expect to see some fur around your house. Labs will shed more hair during seasonal changes, twice a year for a maximum of three weeks.
This is because they change their coats every six months to prepare for the temperature change. If you notice that your Labrador is shedding more than normal, then you should visit your vet for immediate diagnosis.
You can control how frequently your Lab sheds their hair by giving them a proper diet, drinking water, brushing their coat, using dietary supplements, and bathing.
Thank you for reading through this article. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below and I will gladly get back to you.
Laura is the founder of Furs'n'Paws. She is a also a pet writer and expert with more than 20 years of experience of working with dogs and cats. She developed a very strong love for animals at a young age. Her passion led her to establish a thriving pet sitting and dog walking business in Dubai. As an expert in pet training, behavior, and nutrition, Laura is committed to helping pet owners and pet lovers by offering high-quality information on a wide range of topics.