Labradors have notoriously sensitive skin, and this can cause a lot of frustration for the owners of these beloved dogs. A great way to avoid serious problems is to make sure you take care of your dog’s skin well on a daily basis. When you are in tune with the health of your lab's skin, you are more likely to see problems when they are first developing, easing the pain and suffering your dog has to endure.
Grooming for Healthy Skin
One of the best things you can do for your Labrador is brush it regularly. It is important for labs to be brushed regularly to remove the buildup of oils and dead hair. Spend 10 to 15 minutes once a week brushing your lab with a natural bristle or rubber bristle brush. This will remove the loose hair and dirt and support healthy skin. Brush your lab from the head and neck area down the body in the direction that the hair grows.
Next, you need to be sure you bathe your Labrador monthly. Choose a shampoo meant for dogs with sensitive skin. Bathe them starting head first and then be sure you rinse their bodies thoroughly. Soap residue can cause skin irritation that leads to biting and scratching and, eventually, to sores and open wounds.
Prevent Flea Infestation
Labs are known for their flea allergies. Be sure you use a topical flea preventative monthly to keep the fleas at bay. The flea medication may cause some irritation, but it will reside within a couple days and will be less irritating than the flea infestation itself.
Avoid Skin Problems with a Healthy Diet
Feeding a healthy diet is an important part of ensuring your lab does not suffer with skin problems. Feed only premium dog foods that have meat products, not fillers, as the first ingredient. If your dog still suffers from skin problems, try feeding a raw diet, as many labs respond better to raw foods than they do to commercial dog food. This will be a process and will take some getting used to, but it can effectively do away with most skin problems.
Get the Support of Your Vet
Be sure there are not any underlying diseases in the dog that are causing the skin problems. The best way you can do this is to have an open relationship with your vet. Having him in on preventing and treating skin problems will help you be the best lab owner you can be.