How to Prevent Dry Skin and Shedding in a Labrador Retreiver

Even with their short coats, Labs shed a lot more than many people think.
Even with their short coats, Labs shed a lot more than many people think. (Image: Black Labrador Retriever image by crazy.nataly from

All dogs shed some of their coat during the year. While black Labrador retrievers tend to "blow" their undercoat and shed more than usual once or twice a year, yellow Labs have one shedding season -- it starts at the beginning of January and ends in late December. You can help keep your Lab's skin moisturized and its coat soft and shiny, but you can't stop it from shedding. However, you can minimize the amount of dog hair loose in your home.

Things You'll Need

  • Brushes
  • Vacuum attachment (optional)
  • Non-drying soap
  • Towels
  • Blow dryer
  • Fish oil pills
  • Rosemary
  • Water
  • Saucepan
  • Strainer
  • Squirt bottle

Brush your dog. The more you brush your dog, the less shed hair ends up on your carpet and furniture. A wire slicker brush and a grooming rake are the basic brushes you need. If your black Lab is in a heavy shedding period, brush it at least every two to three days. Once or twice a week is fine for general shedding periods. Some Labs can learn to love special dog-brushing vacuum cleaner attachments (available at most pet supply stores). This has the added advantage of transferring the loose hair directly from your dog to your vacuum, eliminating the carpet and your clothes as transfer points.

Wash your Lab. Giving your Labrador retriever a bath at least once during heavy shedding season and every three months the rest of the year can remove a lot of loose hair and keep its skin healthy and soft. Use a moisturizing dog shampoo -- one containing oatmeal as an ingredient will work fine. After towel drying your Lab, use a blow dryer to dry your dog and blow away hair you've dislodged during the bath. Blow against the grain of the coat for optimal hair removal.

Lubricate from within. A healthy coat and dry skin prevention also can be tackled from the inside out. Feed your adult Lab one fish oil capsule per meal for a sleek, shiny coat and limit dry skin flaking. Give younger Labs one fish oil capsule per day.

Make your own conditioning spray. Andi Brown, author of "The Whole Pet Diet: Eight Weeks to Great Health for Dogs and Cats," suggests a rosemary spray is beneficial to your dog's skin and coat. Add 2 tsp. rosemary (fresh or dried) to 3 cups boiling water. Allow it to steep until cool. Strain out the rosemary and pour the "tea" into a spray bottle. Spray your Lab after every brushing.

Tips & Warnings

  • During a bath, make absolutely sure you rinse all the soap out of your Labrador's coat. Even moisturizing soap can dry out the skin if it is left on indefinitely.

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