With medium-length coats and rambunctious personalities, Labrador retrievers are a hit pet! But with all that fur and energy, many are wondering — how much do Labrador retriever shed?
Generally, Labrador retrievers shed a lot around winter and summer. After all, these are the seasons when they change their coats. But on average, lab retrievers shed year-round.
Read on to see how much Labrador retrievers shed, how often, and how to manage it.
The Labrador Retriever Coat
Labrador retrievers sport a double coat, making their fur thick and long. The top layer protects your lab retriever against harsh elements like sun rays and rain. Meanwhile, the undercoat keeps your lab retriever warm during the colder months. Combined, they offer a powerful protective barrier around your dog.
Although lab retrievers shed year-round, they “blow” their top coat twice a year. And yes, this logic applies to all Labrador retrievers, regardless of their coat color.
Unlike how it affects health, coat color doesn’t impact a lab retriever’s grooming needs. So, whether your Labrador retriever has a yellow, black, or chocolate coat — it’ll shed like any other lab!
How Much Do Labrador Retriever Shed?
So, how much do Labrador retriever shed? Labrador retrievers are heavy shedders and shed fur year-round. It doesn’t end there, as this breed also molts its undercoat twice a year! Most lab retrievers “blow” their coats during spring and autumn, but some also do it during winter.
After all, these fluffy giants need to stay warm somehow!
You can expect seasonal shedding from your lab retriever. After all, it’s a double-coated breed and needs to adapt to the ever-changing climates! For instance, a Labrador retriever sheds its thick winter coat off to stay cool during spring.
Generally, the shedding from Labrador retrievers isn’t as noticeable as in other breeds. After all, despite their thick coats, a lab retriever’s fur isn’t very long. So, don’t expect piles of hair throughout your home as you’d often see with a German Shepherd.
But you may notice your lab retriever’s fur falling out more between spring and fall.
Many factors can cause shedding in Labrador retrievers, including health and coat conditions. And though it’s normal for lab retrievers to shed, excess shedding might be a cause for concern. After all, this often hails from stress, poor diet, fleas, and allergic reactions. So, if you suspect your lab’s shedding to have underlying causes, contact your vet ASAP.
Then again, shedding is standard among healthy Labrador retrievers. So, be sure to check for other symptoms to confirm your suspicions.
In short, Labrador retrievers do shed — a lot. Luckily, you don’t need to worry about fur taking over your home, as there are many things you can do to manage it. And it isn’t too difficult, thanks to the breed’s not-too-long fur!
Is it a Good Idea to Shave my Labrador Retriever?
As tempting as it is to make your life easier by shaving your Labrador retriever to stop it from shedding — don’t! Never shave off your lab’s fur unless instructed by a vet, as it can have drastic consequences.
You’ll be taking off one of the things protecting your lab from harsh elements. And this can result in sunburnt skin, open wound infections, hypothermia, and more!
So, no matter how much your Labrador retriever sheds, never shave off its fur.
What Causes a Labrador Retriever to Shed?
We all know shedding is normal for Labrador retrievers and is unavoidable. The best thing you can do as an owner is to understand the factors that make your lab shed more often — and address them! Knowing what makes your dog’s fur fall off is essential, especially if you think it isn’t normal.
Here are five factors that force Labrador retrievers to shed a lot:
Your Labrador retriever’s fur might become thinner and fall if stressed. So, if you see your lab displaying symptoms of stress and anxiety, it might be the cause of its hair loss. And this should be a cause of concern as this indicates your Labrador retriever is uncomfortable to the point it’s showing physical signs of distress.
Here are scenarios of why your lab retriever is stressing out and losing hair:
- A sudden change in environment.
- Overly nervous (going to the vet, doggy park, etc.).
Luckily, you likely don’t need to worry about all these, as Labrador retrievers don’t get stressed often. After all, they’re happy dogs who love socializing with family or strangers.
External parasites, like fleas, are common causes of excess shedding in lab retrievers. They often lodge on your lab’s coat, causing its skin to itch. And what do we usually do when something itches? We scratch it, and it’s no different for your Labrador retriever.
Although scratching seldom won’t affect your lab’s shedding, too much of it can. And the worst-case scenario, your Labrador retriever may scratch until it bleeds!
So, be up-to-date with your lab’s flea treatments and have it checked with its vet ASAP. This way, you can stop your Labrador retriever from scratching itself bald — and the parasites from spreading.
✂️ Health Problems
Your Labrador retriever might be shedding tons due to an illness affecting its skin and coat. Either way, your dog might be sick if you see it shedding a lot beyond its shedding season.
Below are a few common health issues that might make your lab retriever shed more than usual.
- Cushing’s disease. It hails from a benign tumor, affecting the pituitary gland and forcing excess production of cortisol.
- Hypothyroidism. This disease can lead to excess thinning and eventual hair loss. But this isn’t prevalent in large breeds, so it’s less likely your lab has hypothyroidism.
- Improperly developed hair follicles. This congenital condition forces hair follicles to become underdeveloped. But note that this isn’t 100% hereditary, and your lab might acquire it. Either way, this can lead to patches on the coat or complete hair loss.
- Skin trauma. Bacterial and fungal infections are examples of this condition leading to excess shedding. Aside from that, allergies and some prescribed doggy drugs can also lead to skin trauma.
If you suspect your Labrador retriever is suffering from excess shedding due to health conditions, consult your vet ASAP. They’ll often conduct lab tests to see what ails your lab.
If your Labrador retriever doesn’t get enough nutrients, it can get unhealthy skin. As a result, your lab may get patches in its coat, leading to eventual shedding. Aside from that, it can expose the dog to many diseases and illnesses. After all, a poor diet equals a compromised immune system.
So, ensure that your lab retriever has a well-balanced and healthy diet. It would help if you fed your Labrador retriever with top-quality kibble once a day. And if possible, add healthy treats like broiled chicken breast.
A proper diet for lab retrievers includes ample proteins, vitamins, healthy fats, and minerals. If unsure, consult a vet to create the perfect diet plan for your Labrador retriever.
Excess shedding in Labrador retrievers can come from something as simple as dehydration. Once your lab doesn’t get enough water, not enough blood and oxygen will flow into its tissues and organs. And yes, that includes your dog’s skin!
What happens if a Labrador retriever’s skin doesn’t get enough circulation? Of course, thinning of the fur eventually leads to excess shedding.
Hence, always prepare a bowl of water for your Labrador retriever to keep it hydrated and its fur healthy!
How to Manage a Labrador Retriever’s Shedding?
No matter how much fur your Labrador retriever sheds, it shouldn’t be too much of a concern. After all, there are many ways for you to reduce the shedding and manage it.
Here are foolproof and easy ways to reduce and manage your lab retriever’s shedding:
✔️ Regularly Brush Your Labrador Retriever
Brushing your lab retriever’s coat is a simple yet efficient way to manage its shedding. Doing this daily is best to keep your lab’s fur thick and robust.
I recommend brushing your lab retriever with a slicker brush and an undercoat or de-shedder rake. Combining these two with regular brushing, you’ll get a happier Labrador with a healthier coat. They’ll help remove the bulk of dead fur around your lab’s body before it falls off.
Aside from that, brushing helps distribute your lab retriever’s skin oils, promoting healthier growth.
That said, it’s crucial not to overbrush your lab retriever. After all, constant brushing can weaken your lab’s roots, leading to its fur falling off.
Also, be mindful when brushing around your Labrador retriever’s thinner parts, like the coat and belly.
✔️ Bath Your Labrador Retriever with Moisturizing Dog Shampoo
Bathing is a fun way for lab retrievers to try to reduce their shedding. Generally, Labrador retrievers only need to bathe once every few months for easier brushing. But don’t just lather your lab with any shampoo!
Use a high-quality dog shampoo with moisturizing properties for your Labrador retriever. The extra ingredient moisturizes your lab’s skin, promoting healthier coat growth. I recommend avoiding using poor-quality shampoos, especially formulas made for people!
After all, what’s safe for you and I can be dangerous and dry out your Labrador retriever’s skin and fur when used. Hence, it’s also crucial to not over-bathe your lab.
Overall, dry skin and fur are one of the leading reasons why Labrador retrievers shed a lot. So avoid doing anything that may lead to dryness and irritation.
✔️ Feed Your Lab Retriever with Top-Quality Kibble with Omega-3 and -6 Fatty Acids
The healthier your Labrador retriever is, its coat and skin will be better. As a result, your lab will shed less. So, choosing the right dog food for your Labrador retriever is crucial.
Ensure the food contains top-quality ingredients with ample vitamins and minerals. And if possible, choose formulas with healthy fatty acids such as Omega-3 and -6. These promote healthier coat growth, reducing shedding.
But remember, this isn’t a foolproof technique, and there’s no such thing as “anti-shedding food” for Labrador retrievers! Still, your lab will have better food choices, so consult a vet to see which would suit your lab retriever best.
✔️ Add Supplements to Your Labrador Retriever’s Diet
Supplements are an excellent way to reduce shedding in Labrador retrievers. If your lab is already eating food with little to no nutrients, it’s wise to supplement it. I recommend adding fish oil supplements safe for dogs to promote healthy coat growth.
You can find fish oil supplements safe for Labrador retrievers in liquid and pill forms. And if your lab is a brave dog, you can give it chewable supplements to its skin and coat. Another benefit is that you can use it to train your Labrador retriever, making it fun and healthy.
Like with their diet, it’s best to find supplements rich in Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids to promote healthier coat growth for your Labrador retriever.
✔️ Increase Your Lab Retriever’s Water Intake
Excess shedding in labs can root from dehydration as it dries up the skin. So, give your Labrador retriever enough water to keep it hydrated and its coat pristine. Labs should have one ounce of water per pound of their body weight. For example, if your Labrador retriever weighs 70 pounds, it should drink at least 70 ounces of water daily.
If you’re struggling to let your Labrador retriever drink water, treat it every time it goes for a sip. Aside from that, you can add more flavor to the water by adding bone or chicken broth.
✔️ Use a Deshedding Tool
If you have a Labrador retriever, you already know that a regular brush won’t do it for this breed. You’ll need a specialized de-shedding tool to go through your lab’s thick double coat. It can get through your Labrador retriever’s fur well, promoting healthier growth.
Regular brushes, even those designed for excess shedding, can only target topcoat debris. That means your Labrador retriever’s undercoat remains untouched.
✔️ Flea Treatment
Although flea treatments won’t stop your Labrador retriever from shedding, they’ll stop it from scratching itself a lot to get rid of that annoying tick or flea. Although harmless at first, excessive scratching can pull out more hair. So, be up-to-date with your lab’s flea treatments.
✔️ Consult a Vet for Excess Shedding — and Never Shave it Off
Shaving might seem fast and foolproof to combat shedding in Labrador retrievers, but it’s not. Instead, shaving off your lab’s fur will only result in more issues. It makes the lab retriever prone to many conditions, ranging from sunburn to kidnapping.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Are Labrador retrievers high shedding?
A: Labrador retrievers are notorious for shedding a lot of fur year-round! But labs don’t shed as much as their large fellow dogs with long coats as they have short hair. Still, it’s normal for owners to find lab hair gathering throughout their homes.
Q: How much do Labrador retriever shed?
A: A Labrador retriever sheds year-round, especially during winter and summer. After all, these are the seasons when labs change their coat to adjust to the climate. Although this breed sheds a lot, its fur isn’t too noticeable like other long-coated dogs. Remember, lab retrievers have short hairs, which often slip into the cracks.
Q: How can I get my Labrador retriever to stop shedding a lot?
A: You can reduce your Labrador retriever’s seasonal shedding by shedding it at least once a week. But it would help if you did this more often during your lab’s molting season, and giving occasional baths can also help loosen shed fur. If no home remedy works for your lab, its excess shedding might indicate a health issue. And if this is the case, consult your Labrador retriever’s vet ASAP!
Q: What color do Labrador retrievers shed the least?
A: Coat color doesn’t impact the amount of shedding a Labrador retriever does. Grooming is the same for all lab retrievers, regardless of whether they’re yellow or black. But lab retrievers with lighter coats can be tougher to handle as their fur is more visible.
Q: Is it reasonable to brush my Labrador retriever’s coat daily?
A: Although brushing your Labrador retriever every day is ideal, doing it at least once a week should be enough. It improves shedding, often reducing the amount it sheds. But remember to use a de-shedding tool to guarantee the best and long-lasting results.
How much do Labrador retriever shed? Thanks to their medium coats and energetic personalities, lab retrievers shed year-round. But you don’t need to worry much about your lab’s shedding, as there are many ways to manage it. From regular brushing to providing a proper diet, you can reduce your Labrador retriever’s shedding in no time.