One of the most popular dog breeds is the Labrador retriever. It is a very active breed that is highly intelligent and is a wonderful human companion. Labrador retrievers have short coats that shed easily, requiring very little grooming and much vacuuming all over the house.
Even with a short coat, Labrador retrievers need to have their skin checked regularly. Caring for their skin ensures their health and well-being.
Caring for your Labrador retriever's coat and skin
- Spend time to pet your dog every day. Apart from being a good bonding moment, you can take this opportunity to examine your Labrador retriever's coat. Look for anything out of the ordinary: wounds, inflamed areas, rashes, rough spots, dry areas, flaky skin and more.
- Remove any dirt and loose hair. Use a rubber brush or one with natural bristles. You can also use a hound glove for this step which you can wear over your hand. Do this daily or several times a week. Be prepared with a vacuum cleaner to gather all the loose hair.
- Use a soft-bristle brush to redistribute the natural oils. Labrador retrievers have natural oils in their coat. By brushing your dog's coat with a soft-bristle brush, you can make sure that these oils can be distributed all over his body keeping his coat healthy.
- Put flea treatment or medicine on your dog's coat once a month. Allergens are found in the saliva of fleas. These allergens can cause unfavorable reactions when left on your dog's skin. Ask your Labrador retriever's vet for suggestions on which flea treatment or medicine to use and how to apply it.
- Give your Labrador retriever a bath only when necessary. You don't need to bathe your dog every time he is dirty. If is enough to use a soft damp cloth to wipe off dirt. But if the odor or dirt is excessive, then a bath is warranted. When bathing your dog, always start from his rear end and move towards the head. Use a shampoo that is designed specifically for the Labrador retriever's coat. Tepid water is used to wash and rinse your dog's coat. It is important to remove all the shampoo residue from his coat. Grab your dog's towel and pat him dry. In between baths, you can use a dry shampoo that is sprinkled on the Labrador retriever's coat. After sprinkling, brush the dog's coat.
- Observe your Labrador retriever if he is unusually rubbing, chewing or biting his skin or fur. This may be a sign that something is wrong with the skin underneath the fur. Check his skin color as well. Skin discoloration is not a good sign. Bring your dog to his vet when you see notice something different about his skin.
- Feed your dog the right dog foods. Human food is not dog food. There are many foods that humans enjoy but should not be fed to dogs. This can cause them to develop allergies and illnesses.
Labrador retrievers, much like other dogs, are susceptible to all sorts of skin irritation due to allergens (both external and internal). As the dog's owner, it is your job to check his coat and skin for any signs of skin irritation. When you notice something out of the ordinary, bring your Labrador retriever to the vet for proper diagnosis. On a daily basis, you can care for your dog's skin by brushing his coat and keeping him clean. Give him a bath only when necessary and provide him with nutritious dog food to keep his skin healthy and glowing.