Why do Labs shed so much? Any Labrador Retriever owner will tell you that if they don’t keep their vacuum handy, then their week will end in a swamp of hairy terror throughout the house. Okay, that might be over-exaggerating- but just a little. While you might think the short-haired Labrador isn’t a shedding machine, you’d be incorrect. Labs shed- and they shed a lot.
So, why do Labs shed so much? The amount of shedding your Labrador Retriever does is caused by his thick double coat. While the double coat is necessary for temperature regulation, it can cause a hassle as he sheds continuously throughout the year. He will also shed even more during the molting season, which occurs before summer and winter months.
Vacuuming your floors day in and day out can seem like quite a hassle. But if you know the reasoning behind why your vacuum is packed to the brim with yellow, brown or black hair, then it might help with the situation just a little. We are going to discuss why your beloved Labby sheds so much, and a few ways you can cut down on the hair hurricane.
Why Does Your Lab Shed so Much?
The main reason why your Lab sheds continuously throughout the year is all due to his coat, which is known as a double coat. This is where a lot of people get confused with the Labrador Retriever. Their coat may have the appearance of being short and easy to manage with little to no shedding, but the double coat design has other plants.
Yes, it’s true that the Labrador does have short hair. However, he has two layers of hair- and that’s why he ends up shedding so much. The top layer is a sleek, water-resistant layer that allows him to dry off quickly after a swim. The undercoat, on the other hand, is specifically designed to keep him warm- even when he is venturing out into the icy lake and river waters.
A Look Into History and the Reasoning Behind the Double Coat
You see, the Labrador Retriever was originally bred to be a hunter. But for the most part, the hunting he engaged in wasn’t ‘typical’ hunting in the woods (although he could do that, too). Instead, most Labrador Retrievers of Newfoundland were bred to help the fishermen retrieve fish from the water.
As you can imagine, Newfoundland waters aren’t exactly temperate, where swimmers travel to lounge on the sands and dip their toes in the water. Instead of dreamy, warm waters, you might find in Hawaii, Newfoundland water is ice cold. The Labrador Retriever needed something to keep him warm when he dove into the water, and that’s where the double coat came in handy.
That being said, you should not be alarmed if you find your Labrador Retriever hopping into the water- even waters with freezing temperatures. The Labrador breed has a fond love for water and swimming, and his double coat ensures he can withstand all types of waters and their temperatures.
Why Labradors Need Their Double Coat Today
You are probably wondering why Labradors still have their double coat, even though the bulk of this breed is found in homes across America. Being America’s favorite dog and being the family pet everyone wants to own, it seems a little weird that they would still be the shedding nightmares that they are- even though they don’t have to jump into ice-cold lakes.
The fact of the matter is, whether he is jumping into icy waters or not, the Labrador Retriever is designed with a double coat- and it’s not going away anytime soon. It’s simply the design of this breed and is necessary in order to keep their temperature regulated.
That being said, a lot of people believe that Labrador Retriever tends to shed more when they are found inside of homes regularly. This is simply because homes tend to always be temperate, and it may be too hot or too cold for your dog, depending on the season.
Labs that spend more time outside in a kennel or simply in the backyard, however, may have a tendency to shed less. But why? You can thank the molting seasons for that.
Your Labrador Retriever and the Molting Seasons
While his double coat is always going to cause trouble when it comes to shedding throughout the year, there is another reason why your Labrador sheds so much: the molting seasons.
So what is molting, exactly?
Well, molting happens twice a year to a number of different breeds, including your beloved Lab. This is especially prominent in dogs that boast a handy, beautiful double coat because they require different temperatures at different times throughout the year.
Molting will occur just before the summer and winter seasons. To put it simply, your Labrador Retriever needs to get prepared for the upcoming seasons. When winter is approaching, he needs to get rid of his lightweight summer coat to make room for a warm, snuggly coat that will keep him safe and cozy when the temperatures drop significantly.
On the other hand, your Lab will also need to ditch the comfy layers when summer is approaching. This will ensure that he does not end up with a sunburn but also won’t have to worry about becoming overheated as he plays around in the sunlight.
Of course, molting for winter and summer will always cause an increase in shedding. You should be prepared for these 3 weeks of excessive shedding that will occur in the month before summer and winter begins.
A Few Tips for Lab Shedding
There is no magical potion to stop your Labrador from shedding, but here are a few simple tips to help cut down on the overall amount of shedding:
- Brush your Labrador regularly. Do a good, thorough brushing at least once or twice a day.
- Have a good vacuum on hand. Consider a vacuum specifically designed for handling pe thair. You may also consider a robotic vacuum that can stroll around the house throughout the day.
- Never shave your Lab. This might seem like the easy way out, but you will be setting your Lab up for infection, sunburns, and the inability to regulate his temperature.
- Have your Lab professionally groomed. This is a wonderful option as groomers are professionals who will be able to brush the Lab’s hair properly and get rid of any excess dead hair that would otherwise end up on your floor and furniture.
Excessive shedding is normal for your Labrador – especially if summer or winter are approaching. However, a significant increase in shedding that is not correlated with molting can be due to stress, a poor diet, or a medical condition. Double-check his food for quality, otherwise, consider taking him into the vet to get checked out.
You can bathe your Labrador at least once a month, or whenever he ends up covered in dirt and grime (which can be sometimes often for your fun-loving Lab). However, it is important to use dog-specific shampoo. Anything else can hurt him and cause dried-out skin.