How to bath your labrador

How to bathe your Labrador is one of the first skills a Labrador Retriever owner must learn.

As much as your Labrador enjoy getting wet, they must also be bathed to keep their coat clean and healthy.

A step-by-step guide on how to wash your Labrador

How to bathe your Labrador

Gather the necessary supplies

Before you start washing your Labrador, you will need to gather the bathing supplies.

You will need a tub or a large sink, a non-slip mat to place at the bottom of the tub, a detachable showerhead or a bucket, dog shampoo, a large towel, and a brush.

Brush your Labrador

Brushing your Labrador before you bathe them will help remove loose fur, dirt, and debris from their coat.

While dogs do have a natural process for maintaining skin and coat health, brushing is still necessary to keep their coat in good condition.

This is especially true for breeds like Labradors that have thick double coats, as they can easily develop tangles and mats if their coat is not properly cared for.

Regular brushing also helps to prevent shedding, fleas, ticks, and other health issues that can affect your dog’s skin and coat.

Preventing Tangles and Mats

Labradors have a thick double coat that sheds regularly throughout the year.

This shedding can lead to tangles and mats, especially if your dog has long hair.

Regular brushing helps to remove any loose hair and prevent tangles from forming.

If left unattended, these tangles can turn into mats, which are painful for your dog to remove and can even lead to skin infections.

A clean coat is necessary for a quality Labrador
Img: Pixabay

Reducing Shedding

Regular brushing can also help to reduce shedding.

By removing loose hair, you’ll be preventing it from ending up on your furniture and clothes.

This is especially important during shedding season, which typically occurs twice a year.

Brushing your Labrador once or twice a week during this time can make a big difference in the amount of hair you find around your home.

Promoting Healthy Skin and Coat

Brushing your Labrador helps to distribute natural oils throughout its coat, which promotes healthy skin and a shiny coat.

It also helps remove dirt and debris that can accumulate on your dog’s skin, leading to skin irritation and infections if left unattended.

Regular brushing can help to identify any lumps, bumps, or cuts on your dog’s skin, allowing you to address any potential health issues before they become serious.

Bonding with Your Dog

Brushing your Labrador can be a great way to bond with your dog.

Many dogs enjoy the sensation of being brushed and will even relax and fall asleep during the process.

This can be a great way to spend quality time with your dog while also taking care of its grooming needs.

Preventing Health Issues

Regular brushing can also help to prevent a variety of health issues.

For example, it can help to prevent the formation of hot spots, which are painful skin irritations that can occur when your dog’s coat is damp or matted.

It also helps to prevent fleas and ticks, as these pests are often found in the hair on a dog’s body.

Prepare the water

Place the non-slip mat at the bottom of the tub to prevent your dog from slipping.

Use a detachable showerhead or a bucket to wet your dog’s coat thoroughly.

The ideal temperature of bathwater for Labradors is between 100°F and 102°F (37.8°C to 38.9°C).

This is close to their body temperature and can help them to feel comfortable during their bath.

It’s important to avoid using water that is too hot, as this can burn your dog’s skin and cause discomfort. Water that is too cold can also be uncomfortable for your dog and may cause them to shiver.

When bathing your Labrador, it’s important to test the water temperature before you begin. You can do this by using a thermometer or testing the water with your hand to make sure it’s not too hot or too cold.

Remember to adjust the water temperature as needed throughout the bath to keep it within the ideal range.

Apply shampoo

Apply a small amount of dog shampoo to your Labrador’s coat and lather it up, being careful not to get any in their eyes, nose, or ears.

The best type of shampoo to bathe a dog depends on the dog’s specific needs and skin type.

What type of shampoo?

Some dogs may require a shampoo that is designed for sensitive skin, while others may need a shampoo that is formulated to treat a specific skin condition, such as allergies or fleas.

In general, it’s best to choose a shampoo that is specifically formulated for dogs, as human shampoos can be too harsh and can cause skin irritation. Look for a shampoo that is pH-balanced for dogs, as their skin has a different pH level than human skin.

When choosing a shampoo, avoid products that contain harsh chemicals or artificial fragrances, as these can irritate your dog’s skin.

Look for a shampoo that contains natural ingredients, such as oatmeal, aloe vera, or tea tree oil, which can help to soothe and nourish your dog’s skin.

If your dog has a specific skin condition, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian before choosing a shampoo. They can recommend a shampoo that is specifically formulated to treat your dog’s condition and can provide guidance on how often to bathe your dog.

Overall, it’s important to choose a high-quality dog shampoo that is appropriate for your dog’s skin type and needs and to follow the instructions on the label for safe and effective use.

Be sure to work the shampoo into their fur all the way down to their skin.

Rinse thoroughly

Use the detachable showerhead or the bucket to rinse your Labrador’s coat thoroughly, making sure to remove all the shampoo.

Any leftover shampoo can cause irritation or dryness to your dog’s skin.

Remember the extra layer of hair

Keep in mind that Labradors have an extra coat of hair which helps to keep it from soaking when they work in water.

The additional coat may require extra effort when shampooing and rinsing your dog to make sure the shampoo and the rinsing water reach the skin.

Dry your Labrador

Use a large towel to dry your Labrador’s coat, gently patting them down and avoiding vigorous rubbing.

If you have a long-haired (Fluffy) Labrador, which is a Labrador with a genetic deviation or as a result of selective breeding to produce a certain look or coat type, you may need to use a hairdryer on the lowest heat setting to help dry the coat.

Brush again

After your Labrador is completely dry, brush their coat again to remove any tangles and mats that may have formed during the bath.

This is also a great time to check for any signs of skin irritation or ticks.

Can I bathe my Labrador once a week?

Regular bathing can help keep your Labrador Retriever clean and smelling fresh, but it’s important to not overdo it.

Bathing your Labrador too frequently can strip the coat of its natural oils, which are essential for maintaining healthy skin and a lustrous coat.

Overbathing can lead to dry, itchy skin, and may make your dog more susceptible to skin infections.

A general recommendation for most dogs is to bathe them every 4-6 weeks, although this can vary depending on several factors:

  1. Lifestyle: Dogs that spend a lot of time outdoors, get dirty, or have a specific job (like hunting or herding) may need to be bathed more frequently.
  2. Skin Conditions: Some dogs have skin issues that require more frequent bathing with medicated shampoos. Always consult your veterinarian for advice tailored to your dog’s specific health needs.
  3. Coat Type: Labradors have a double coat that is water-resistant. While this makes them great swimmers, it also means that their coat can trap oils and smells. However, frequent washing can disrupt the natural balance of oils.
  4. Odor and Dirt: Some Labradors have a stronger “doggy smell” than others and may require more frequent baths. If your dog gets dirty frequently due to outdoor activities, a rinse with water or using dog wipes between full baths can often suffice.

If you’re considering bathing your Labrador weekly, consult your veterinarian for advice tailored to your dog’s specific health needs.

Some vets may recommend more frequent baths for dogs with certain skin conditions but using a more mild or medicated shampoo.

Always follow the advice of your veterinarian regarding your pet’s grooming and health care needs.


Bathing your Labrador can be a simple and enjoyable experience if you follow these steps.

Regular baths keep your dog looking and smelling good and help keep its coat healthy and shiny.

Happy washing!