Last Updated on January 20, 2022 by Griselda M.
Having dog hair all over the place isn’t fun. Nor is seeing your dog panting in the summer heat. So, here’s how to shave a lab and why you maybe shouldn’t. Shaving is, after all, a pretty intuitive solution to both of these problems – the excess dog hair and the heat. The heat is why many of us cut, or shave our own hair and beards during the summer too. Dogs are different from humans, however, so there may be a few unexpected issues you’ll face.
How To Shave A Lab?
Shaving a lab is a tricky but not impossible task. Really, all you’d need is a few grooming tools available in every pet store, a bit of know-how, and some patience. Labs are harder to shave than some breeders but not as daunting as a few others, so everyone should be able to manage it at home.
Here’s All You’d Need To Shave A Lab:
- A short-haired rake for removing dead hair
- A narrow-toothed comb
- A pair of sharp hair-clipping scissors
- A standard hair clipper with at least two-speed settings and interchangeable (sharp) blades. The clipper should be both quiet and powerful – a speed of 4,200 strokes per minute is recommended.
- The clipper should have at least a couple of types of blades. Number 7 is for shaving, and numbers 10-15 are for trimming the paw pads and other tricky areas.
- Pet shampoo to wash your lab with before shaving
- Get a muzzle and/or a dog harness if you fear your dog is going to be unruly and disobedient.
Once You’ve Got All You Need, This Is The Step-by-step Process For How To Shave A Lab:
- Get your dog used to the sound of the clippers ahead of time (a week or two). Get it used to the sensation too, by shaving small parts of a leg and then rewarding your pooch with a treat. Do this once a day for several days until your dog is completely comfortable with the sound and feel of the clippers.
- Bathe your lab thoroughly on the previous day. The key first step for how to shave a lab is to never shave your dog when he or she is dirty – this will make the process much harder and will damage your tools.
- Once ~24 hours have passed after the bath, get your lab out in the yard. If you don’t have a yard, clear out the bath – it’s about to get messy.
- Rake all the dead hair with the short-haired rake to ease the shaving process.
- Comb your dog’s hair to find matted spots. Look especially thoroughly behind the ears, under the chin, on and under the tail, and behind the legs. Then, just clip those away.
- Start shaving with the difficult areas first with a number 10 blade. These are the same ones that usually get matted.
- Move on to the legs and torse by switching to the number 7 blade. Use a pair of sharp scissors first for the longer hairs to make the clipping easier.
And that’s about it. Once you’ve thoroughly shaved your dog, you can either give it another quick bath or just pat it well and let it run around to get any remaining small hairs off.
Figuring out how to shave a lab isn’t the hardest part of the whole endeavor, however. Instead, the much more crucial step is whether you actually want to shave your dog.
Read more about Do Labs Have Hair Or Fur And Why That Matters?
Is Shaving A Labrador Actually A Good Idea?
So, can you shave a Labrador? Sure. But most experts who know what they are talking about would tell you not to. And there are more than just a couple of reasons for that. Here are the 5 key factors to consider before shaving your lab:
1. Heat Insulation
Labrador Retrievers may be a northern breed as they were developed in Newfoundland. However, that doesn’t mean that they can’t tolerate heat at all. On the contrary – the lab’s thick double coat is actually great for keeping your dog cool in the summer as well as for keeping it warm in the winter. That’s because labs have double-layered coats – a water-proof upper layer which makes them a great water retriever dog and a thick lower level for thermal insulation. So, if you’re shaving your dog precisely and solely to keep it cool in the summer – don’t! That’s the exact opposite of what you should be doing.
2. Sunburns Are Painful And Dangerous
Bald men certainly know that from experience. That’s why they either wear caps in the summer or apply sunscreen on their heads every time they have to go out. The same applies to dogs but to an even greater degree. A dog’s skin just isn’t meant to be directly exposed to the sun – it’s way too sensitive for that.
3. Get Ready For A Lot Of Cleaning And Skin Maintenance
If you think brushing and grooming a lab is annoying, wait to see how much effort you’re going to have to go through with a shaved lab. You’ll need to manually clean your dog after every walk. You’re also going to have to inspect your dog for parasites and skin problems much more carefully as your dog’s natural protection is gone.
4. The Coat Regrowth Will Be Uncomfortable, Painful, And Often “Abnormal”
Unlike human hair, dog coats don’t regrow in the same way after they get shaven. This is true for double-coated dogs only, but that’s what the lab is. If you fully shave your dog, you can expect its next set of hair to grow unevenly, more densely, and to be more coarse to the touch. The process itself will also be very itchy, uncomfortable, and even slightly painful for the dog.
5. More Allergies
People wrongly assume that dog allergies come from the dog’s hair. That’s not the case – they are actually caused by the dog’s dandruff that flies in the air with the dog’s hair. So, if allergies are your problem, they will get worse cause the dog is still going to have excess dandruff. At least when the dog has hair, you can brush 90% of it off to ease its effect on your allergies.
In short, the whole adventure simply isn’t worth it. If there is some medical reason for the procedure, just get in contact with a good vet and/or groomer to do it. But, if you’re just doing it for your allergies, for the summer, or to have less dog hair at your home – it’s not worth it. Just make sure that you brush your dog regularly, that’s all you need to do.
Read more about How To Wash A Lab Coat – All Must-Know Tips And Tricks