Labrador Retrievers are big and loveable dogs. But, did you know that Labrador lose their puppy fur, too?
Here are some things about your Labrador pup and their puppy coat that you may be interested to know.
When Do Lab Puppies Lose Their Puppy Fur?
You might notice that your Labrador puppy is starting to lose a lot of hair. However, there is a good chance you do not have to worry.
Labrador puppies usually lose their baby coats when they are 4-5 months old. They start shedding a lot by this time, but some puppies can start shedding a bit by 3 months old, so it can vary.
You might notice that your Labrador puppy’s coat looks patchy or shaggy at this stage. That is because their fur is falling out faster than it can be replaced.
However, that is completely normal. As long as the Labrador puppy is healthy and not stressed, you have nothing to worry about.
Additionally, you may notice that your Labrador has subtle changes of color in their coat as their fur falls out and grows, but it varies from each pup.
They often lose all of their baby coats a month after they start to shed. By that time, they will have a new adult coat of fur.
Why Do Labrador Lose Their Baby Coat Fur?
When puppies are born, they have a puppy coat that is soft and thin. It helps them regulate their own body temperature and protects them from any outside elements. Puppy coats are usually shorter than adult fur.
However, their puppy coats are not enough to protect their bodies when they are older. Their adult coats are usually rougher than their baby coats. That is because they grow double coats, which is an essential and helpful trait your Lab has.
Why Do Labrador Have Double Coats?
Labradors have two coats of fur when they are adults. The first coat is coarse and is called the topcoat. The second coat is softer and is called the undercoat. The undercoat can be thick or fine.
Labradors have double coats because of their breeding. They are working dogs who hunt and swim. Therefore, they need double coats to protect them from the water and from possible injuries.
Dogs cannot sweat. Therefore, they need other ways to keep them warm and cool, which is why some breeds like Labrador Retrievers have double coats.
The guard hairs protect your Labrador fur from the sun’s harsh UV rays. Humans have 16-20 skin layers, but dogs only have 6-10. Therefore, they burn easily, and the guard hairs are their natural sunscreen.
Double coats are very important to Labradors for another reason―it helps them when they swim. As mentioned earlier, double coats help repel water, which keeps their skin dry when they swim.
Plus, double coats help your Labrador swim because it does not weigh them down. The fur is practically water repellant, so they will be able to swim without exerting too much effort.
When Do the Labrador Puppies Start to Lose Their Fur?
As stated earlier, your Labrador will start shedding a lot when they are 4-5 months old to shed their puppy coat. However, Labradors are notorious for shedding a lot.
However, most Labradors will heavily shed at least 1-2 times a year when they are adults. Since dogs have double coats, their undercoat sheds when it is warm.
So, you can expect your Labrador to start shedding a lot when it is spring and summer. They shed their undercoat to prepare their bodies for the warmer months.
Can I Shave My Labrador?
First, shaving your Labrador is actually not going to help you deal with the shedding. Your Labrador will grow new hairs, which will be more prickly and painful for both you and them. Those new hairs will fall out, too, so it is not worth the effort.
Secondly, you can potentially damage their skin. They do not have any way they can shield their skin from the sun, so they may burn easily.
Shaving your Labrador also messes up their temperature regulation. Without their undercoat, they cannot keep hot and cold air away from their skin. Therefore, they may feel extreme temperatures and feel very uncomfortable.
Plus, it will be itchy and uncomfortable for your dog to grow new fur after you shave it. Most undercoats will not be the same after you shave it. It will feel prickly when you touch it, and your Labrador will feel very itchy as it grows.
Instead of shaving your Labrador, you can use special brushes like a slicker brush to remove their loose undercoat hairs. You can also vacuum your home more regularly to keep it clean.
You can brush your Lab a few times a week. However, you may need to brush them 1-2 times a day during the spring and summer to deal with heavy shedding.
When you own a Labrador Retriever, a big part of it will be dealing with the fur. While it may be a nuisance, regular grooming and vacuuming can help you deal with the shedding.