Bringing home a dog is a beautiful thing for many of us. They easily become much more than home guards and companions. In fact, keeping a dog is like raising a kid. There is a whole lot of responsibility to raise a healthy and well-mannered puppy. This involves a lot of challenges for the owner, but with knowledge and good care of your puppy, you can sail through it smoothly. You can choose the right dog breed for you, depending upon its size, nature, cost of raising it, and many more. A few breeds require a lot of care and attention and can stay healthy in certain conditions only. Some breeds can adapt to almost every condition and do not require much attention from the owner.

Labrador retrievers are one of the best choices for someone who wants to adopt a good family dog. Labs are a breed of retriever gun dogs used to retrieve the hunted prey in the UK. The Labs usually are very intelligent, even-tempered, agile, gentle, and can be trusted. These traits make them one of the most popular dog breeds across the world. The Labradors are little bundles of joy and never fail to brighten up your mood.. However, like every other breed, the labs also have specific issues that the owner should take care of. A good and healthy labrador retriever is agile and playful. It should have smooth and soft hair and a good stance. They are usually active and need to exercise at least once every day. The primary health issues that come across labradors are that they are prone to obesity and need a good hair care regime. Maintaining good hair for your dog can be challenging but is necessary. Here we will discuss some common questions about the hair care of Labradors.

What causes hair loss in Labradors?

Labradors shed a lot. Shedding is something that all dog parents are concerned about and should be prepared for. Do not be surprised if you find a heap of hair in your bed, car, or carpet. But why do Labs shed so much? When compared to other short-haired dog breeds, Labs shed more. The main reason for that is their double coat and dense hair. This double coat comprises layers: the thin and sleek outer layer that prevents the water from getting in, and the second is a thick and fluffy layer that prevents the body from cold and helps keep the dog warm. Usually, the Labs shed hair throughout the year, but during season change, this shedding becomes evident as, during winters, the summer coat is replaced by the warm winter coat and vice versa. This shedding is widespread in most Labs but sometimes is also a result of different allergies or ailments. So, the dog parents should keep a vigil on how much their lab is shedding, and a good hair care regime should be followed.

How can I treat my dog’s hair loss?

While most hair shedding in labradors is natural and does not require any treatment, many cases still need preventive measures to check the hair fall. Let us discuss some tips to prevent hair fall in labradors.

Healthy diet: 'You are what you eat', all of us believe in this principle, and the same applies to dogs. Healthy skin and hair require a balanced diet, comprising all the essential nutrients for your dog. Protein rich food can improve the hair health of your dog. Usually, dogs need a moderate amount of fats in their food, and a meager quantity of carbohydrates is recommended.
Massage with oils: Massaging the hair can improve the hair health of your lab. Specific oils, when applied topically, can heal the cuts and wounds and rejuvenate the skin of your labrador.
Regular brushing: The skin of labradors produces essential oils for the hair, and brushing them regularly helps in evenly spreading those oils. These oils can drastically improve the hair quality of your dog. Hence brushing 3-4 times a week is essential.

At What Age Does a Dog’s Hair Stop Growing?

There is no age at which a dog’s hair stop growing. Usually, a labrador’s hair grow fully between three and four months. Dog’s hair grow in seasonal cycles and not throughout the year. When the hair reach a certain length, they stop growing and start falling out. This process is called shedding.

How Can I Manage Labrador Shedding

Shedding can be frustrating for most lab owners; despite being short-coated, labs shed a lot that sometimes becomes a bit hard to handle. But with some precautions, managing your labrador’s hair shedding can become more manageable. First of all, you should try clearing the already shed hair using a vacuum cleaner. Using a good shampoo and giving a good bath to your pup once every week can lower the amount of shedding. Regularly brushing your dog’s hair would also help to manage shedding as it pulls out those loose hair.

Is coconut oil good for dogs' hair loss?

Many veterinarians suggest using coconut oil for good hair health among dogs. The main reason for this is a component called lauric acid in coconut oil. Lauric acid is known to have antifungal and antibacterial properties and can heal wounds or allergies under your dog’s hair. Thus coconut oil can be used for treating hair loss in many dog breeds.

Which foods promote hair growth in labs and other dogs?

As discussed above, diet plays a vital role in having healthy hair for Labradorsdogs. Foods that are rich in particular nutrients are proven to promote the healthy growth of hair in dogs. A high percentage of protein is generally required for dogs. The amount of carbohydrates should be kept minimal in the diet. The diet should include things like:

  • Fish (Rich in omega acids)
  • Chia seeds (Rich in Potassium, protein, zinc, and iron)
  • Oats (Rich in Calcium, Magnesium, and iron)
  • Almonds (Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin B and E)
  • Sweet potatoes (Rich in vitamins A, C, E)
  • Foods rich in Zinc
    These foods promote hair growth among dogs.

How Can I Soften my Dog's Fur?

A soft fur does not only make your Labrador dog look good but is also a sign of healthy hair. Keeping your canine’s hair soft requires some effort. Here are some tips to soften your dog’s hair.

  • Choose the right shampoo - A good shampoo can drastically improve hair quality by providing essential nutrients to the hair and preventing any allergies.
  • Brushing -Brushing helps to spread the naturally produced essential oils on the skin to spread throughout. These oils prevent and cure several kinds of allergies and wounds.
  • Massaging- Giving a hair massage to your dog with coconut oil or any other oil can help improve the hair quality and cure any coarseness in the hair. Massaging keeps the hair smooth and prevents hair loss also.

How Can I Thicken my Dog's Fur?

Thick hair is another evidence of good hair health. It will take substantial care to thicken their hair.:

  • A good bathing routine - Bathing your pup with the right kind of shampoo promotes thick, soft, and healthy hair.
  • Use health supplements - No matter how good your dog’s diet is, some of the essential nutrients may be missing. For this, it is advised to use certain health supplements like spirulina and horsetail.
  • High-quality diet - Include foods that are rich in proteins and omega -3 fatty acids if you want thick hair for your dog. You can consult your vet for specialized dog foods for healthy coat and fur.

What Type of Brush Should I Use for Brushing my Dog?

We have already stressed upon the importance of brushing your dog’s hair. So, choosing the right type of brush for your dog also becomes important. Here are some brushes that you can use for grooming your dogs.

  • Slicker brush - This brush is made up of fine bristles of wire and is used for entangling fur in dogs having short or medium coats.
  • Rubber brush - Rubber brushes use soft bristles, which are very comforting to your dogs.
  • Pin brush- A pin brush has small rubber pins as bristles. These help remove dirt from the skin and curly hair. These are mainly used for breeds with long hair.
  • Undercoat brush- This brush is used for detangling and brushing the undercoat in breeds with thick and long hair.

What Time of a Year do Dogs Shed the Most?

Dogs usually shed throughout the year, but the shedding intensifies in certain seasons.During the spring and the fall, their bodies are undergoing a transition to adapt to the upcoming weather conditions. For double coat breeds, the upper layer sheds when the winter arrives, the upper thinner coat is replaced by the warm winter coat, and during the summers, the warm winter coat sheds, and more of the sleeker coat is grown.

Double-coated dog breeds tend to shed more than those having a single coat. The undercoat in the double-haired breeds sheds twice a year during the spring and the fall. On the other hand, single-haired breeds shed only when they are grown to a certain length.

When Should I be Worried About my Dog's Hair Shedding?

All dogs, irrespective of their breed, coat type, or health, shed hair. Usually, hair shedding happens during seasonal changes. Veterinarians say that this type of hair shedding is completely normal and natural. Female dogs also tend to shed hair during heat. But if your dog sheds hair unusually throughout the year or in large quantities, then it may be a signal. You should check for any wounds or allergies on their skin. If your dog is not growing back hair normally, you should take him to a vet for a thorough examination.

Abnormal shedding in dogs may also be linked to mite/flea infestation or bacterial/fungal infections. If any one or more of the following signs last beyond a week, its best to get your vet’s appointment.

  • Rashes, scabs or bumps on the skin
  • Bald spots
  • Coat getting progressively thinner
  • Open sores
  • Face pawing and/or excessive itching
  • Excessive licking

Conclusion

Maintaining the overall health of your pup can be is challenging but essential. By following specific measures, you can make sure that your dog is fit and fine. A good diet, regular grooming, visits to the vets, and giving supplements can help you in this cause. Dont forget a lot of time and patience too. Devise a healthy-habit routine to not only manage shedding, but also raising a healthy and happy pet.