from Lanette Drewery – Wildrose Kennel Health Manager
- Do not “over” wash your lab. Once or twice a month should be sufficient unless circumstances require otherwise – then use a natural shampoo. Though you may see animals washed on TV with dish soap, never use dish soap to wash your lab.
- Never shave or trim a lab’s coat.
- Do not put cleaner such as peroxide in a dog’s ear. A dog’s ear canal is “L” shaped and introducing liquid may cause more problems with bacteria.
- Do clean the inside ear flap if necessary with a damp cloth.
- If you do brush your lab’s teeth, do it routinely before a tartar “build-up” begins.
- Trim nails once a month.
Take Care of Your HERO – Brushing, grooming and cleaning keeps your lab looking fantastic and feeling great!
If taking a quick dip in the pond or romping in gulf ocean surf, labs are first in line for the challenge. If instead you’re working in heavy cover, tall grass or mud flats, chances are your lab will need attention before the day is done. Though cleaning may be necessary, look at it as another opportunity to take advantage of “bonding through grooming.”
The lab coat consists of a double layer; a course outer layer of hollow hair and a thick undercoat of fine hair that’s always growing. The softer undercoat helps to keep the lab warm in the winter a cool during summer months. Frequent brushing removes dead hair and dirt. The brushing may not be enough however, and a bath is required to remove mud, salt residue or an organic, Earthy pond smell.
Most commercial dog (and human) shampoos use a formula heavy in sodium laurel sulfate (SLS) or a similar, chemical derivative. SLS is a harsh chemical typically used for floor degreasers or as an automotive cleaner. However, using a SLS based shampoo can strip your lab’s coat of all important oils necessary for a soft, sleek and buoyant coat. Less buoyancy means your companion must work harder to stay afloat. Further, SLS can result in a brittle, dull coat and flaky, itchy skin.
A natural alternative to SLS is an oil-based shampoo formula. This type of soap or shampoo is made with saponified vegetable oils that clean without totally stripping the lab’s coat of naturally occurring oils. In addition, natural oil-based oil shampoos retain glycerin; a natural humectant. This type of shampoo can be used frequently without fear of performance degradation or causing itching and scratching that may lead to dreaded “hot spots.”
You may choose to use an “in-between” silicon oil based bath spray that will help to repel fleas and, with brushing after application keeps the coat slick and smelling fresh.
Demonstrate your love by checking your companion’s eyes, ears, feet, teeth, nails and coat daily. Look for mud, matted fur, sore spots or any area where the coat is rubbed off. This type of frequent attention is an important part of detecting and preventing common medical problems. Be gentle and make grooming together a happy experience!
Lil’ Bud and Becky Shampoo and Pet Care Products Formulator