Bathing and grooming your Lab is one of the important aspects you should learn as a Labrador owner. You should know these issues in more detail especially if you are a first-time dog owner.
Coming to the actual question. How often should you bathe a Labrador? Some say that Labradors don’t need frequent baths, whereas some contradict and bathe their Labradors bi-weekly and sometimes even do it weekly.
But what is the accurate Labrador bathing frequency? This article explains all the details with respect to Labrador bathing.
How often should you bathe a Labrador?
A common question that i hear from many people is, how often should i bathe my Lab? This question is asked especially by Labrador owners because they might have heard many things like, Labs coat is self-maintaining, it is self-cleaning in nature, etc or whatever.
People might have heard all these things and get confused regarding bathing Labradors. But actually, it is important to know all the facts regarding the Labrador coat and its way to be maintained, by proper bathing schedules. Hence as a Labrador owner, you should first learn about the Labrador coat.
The special Labrador coat
A Labrador has something amazing on it which is called the double coat. The double coat has two layers of fur, one is the top layer which is called the guard coat or outer coat, and the coat underneath is called the undercoat. Learn more about the Labrador double coat in this article.
Labs have a great affinity with water and its coat is designed by nature in such a way suitable for working in the waters.
Do you remember the basic science that water and oil do not mix?
This is what that exactly happens with respect to a Labrador coat. The Lab’s undercoat has natural oil secretions that repel the excess water from reaching its skin. It acts as a natural barrier and these oils also keep the Lab’s coat smooth and shiny.
This is an important thing you need to understand while thinking of bathing your Labrador. There are also certain factors that play an important role in deciding how often should you wash your Labrador.
Factors that decide how often should you wash a Labrador
1. Place of living
This is one of the important factors that might determine the frequency of your Labrador bathing.
Suppose if you live in the countryside with your dog or if your house has open fields around it, there is a greater chance of your dog getting dirty easily. Labs are naughty dogs and they like playing in the mud and dirt always. If these kinds of areas are present around your house, your Lab might need frequent baths.
But if you live in an apartment or if your Lab stays indoors most of the times, It might not be necessary to bathe him frequently. As there are lesser chances of your dog getting dirty.
2. Age of your Lab
Labrador puppies do not require frequent baths like that of adult Labrador dogs. If you want me to speak about bathing Labrador puppy, it shouldn’t get its first bath until it reaches an age of 8-10 weeks.
When your Labrador puppy is younger than 8 weeks, bathing him is not a good idea, as it might be difficult for him to regulate his body temperature. Hence it is not necessary to bathe your puppy unless it gets dirty.
But you can habituate your puppy to get him used to the sensation of water and bath to avoid bathing problems with him later.
3. Labrador smell
Labradors are one of the strongest smelling breeds and no two labs smell alike. Some Labs produce strong odours whereas some Labs have milder body odour.
Labs that produce stronger odour tend to produce a more stinkier smell when they get dirty or when they haven’t had a bath for a long time. So the Labrador’s smell also plays a role in deciding their bathing frequency.
4. Skin issues
If your Labrador has any skin issues like ticks, fleas, mites or other skin problems, there might be a need to bathe your dog more frequently.
How often to wash Labrador in such cases depends upon the condition of the skin and its severity. Your vet would be the best person to determine how often to bathe your dog in such cases.
5. How naughty is your Lab
This is also the other deciding factor. My Labrador always wants to play with the mud and always runs towards the garbage bin.
So whenever it gets dirty i wipe him with a wet cloth or spray him with water using a garden hose. Or I personally recommend this dog shower that makes your job easy. Or else you can use this outdoor shower that helps when you are on a trip or anywhere outdoors.
Hence if your Lab is also a naughty one, it might need frequent baths whenever it gets dirty.
How often to bathe a Labrador?- The exact frequency
If you want to maintain a proper schedule for bathing your Labrador and if you want me to tell the exact frequency for your Labrador bath. I would say that monthly once would be the ideal frequency. Yes, you can bathe your Labrador once a month.
But if situations arise where your Labrador gets dirty during play. You can just wash him with water and that wouldn’t be a big problem.
I bathe my Labrador the same way, i maintain a regular schedule and do it on the last day of every month. And if my Lab gets dirty due to play in the middle of the month, i will wash him once in between the month with plain water.
Hence bathing once in a month can be an ideal frequency for bathing your Labrador.
Things to consider while bathing your Labrador
Bathing your Labrador does not mean cleaning only its coat. Bathing your dog involves a lot of things such as cleaning its ears, eyes and also taking care of its teeth which is very much essential.
1. Cleaning its ears
Cleaning your Labs ears is important as the curvy twists in the ears provides an ideal ground for bacteria, yeast and other parasites. Cleaning the ears should not be neglected as it can cause various types of ear infections, especially in Labs.
If you observe that your Labs ears are dirty or greasy, it is an indication that its ears need to be cleaned immediately. You can use a cotton ball or these cotton buds along with a canine ear cleaning solution for cleaning your dog’s ears.
Check for the quality of the solution as cheap solutions with various chemicals can cause irritation inside your dog’s ears. After my research, i came across this ear cleaner kit that seemed perfect.
2. Cleaning its eyes
It is not necessary to invest a lot of time and energy in cleaning your Lab’s eyes. Unless it suffers from some kind of infection or irritation, special care is not required. But is necessary to clean the area around the eyes, as it also catches dirt and dust like other parts of the body.
Use a soft damp cloth and start cleaning your dog’s eyes, especially after playing outdoors. Other than this no specialized form of cleaning the eye area is required.
3. Cleaning the teeth
This is an important aspect of your dog cleaning routine.
The issues that can affect your dog’s dental health depends upon the type of food it eats. If your dog eats foods that contain starch, there is a greater chance of occurrence of dental disease for your dog. Hence it is important to feed your dog with a high-quality canine food.
Sometimes you may require a brush to maintain your dog’s teeth. You can use this toothbrush and toothpaste to clean your dog’s teeth. You can make this as a monthly routine to your dog during the bath itself.
Or else it would be a better idea to provide your dog with some dental chews, that tend to be abrasive in nature. There are many options available, but these and these are my favourites. Dental chews help in cleaning off the plaque buildup from your dog’s teeth and you may not need to brush your dog’s teeth.
Best shampoo for Labradors
Does dogs in nature use shampoos for bathing? Not at all. It means that when you use shampoo on your dog, it is not something that is natural. Hence you have to understand that whenever you want to bathe your Labrador using shampoo it is always better to use a shampoo that is natural and free of chemicals.
It is always the best option to use a natural shampoo for your Lab unless it has some specific skin-related issue.
I have found some excellent dog shampoos with natural ingredients that could be milder and effective for your dog.
1. Colloidal Oatmeal Dog Shampoo with Pure Lavender Essential Oils. This can help in soothing your dog’s skin as it contains natural ingredients such as jojoba. It seems to be gentle and effective.
2. Bodhi dog waterless shampoo is another excellent choice if you want a shampoo for dogs with sensitive skin. This is one of the best Labrador shampoos you can use. It is made from natural extracts and works very well for dogs with sensitive skin and other allergies.
3. An oatmeal pet shampoo also works like wonder if your dog has dry skin and itchy skin. Earthbath All Natural Pet Shampoo is an excellent choice as it is completely natural and soap-free dog shampoo.
Bathing Labs can be a fun activity with little love and patience. Even though bathing seems to be a simple task sometimes, it is not so. Proper methods of bathing and grooming your Lab can keep his coat healthy and in a great appearance.