Your Labrador Retriever should be brushed two to three times each week. Brushing will reduce some of the hair in the house, and that’s always nice. But brushing also stimu¬lates the oil glands in the skin, which help keep the coat healthy and shiny. There are three grooming tools you can use.
A pin brush looks like a woman’s hairbrush. It has an oval head with numerous metal, pinlike bristles. These pins have round heads on them, like a bead. This brush will go through the coat down to the skin (and the bead on the bristle pre¬vents scratching the skin) and will loosen clumps of coat, dirt, grass seeds, burrs, or other debris. Use this brush first.
To brush your dog, lay him on his side and sit or kneel next to him so that you and he can both relax. Then, starting at his head, begin brushing in the direction the coat grows. Brush with the coat, from the head down to the tip of the tail. Make sure the brush goes all the way through the coat to the skin; don’t just skim over the top of the coat. By going through the coat to the skin, this brush will make sure the undercoat is not bunched, clumped, or stuck together. It will also pull out the dead undercoat.
When you have finished one side, then roll your dog over and do the same thing on the other side.
Not all Lab coats have the same density and texture. If your Lab has a more dense coat, the slicker brush may be a better choice. A slicker brush has many thin wire bristles that are bent at an angle. This brush is effective at getting out all the dead hair, especially from the undercoat. Use the slicker brush after the pin brush, and use it the same way you did the pin brush. Don’t forget the tail!
The next tool you will use is a shedding blade. This looks like a flexible saw blade bent into a U shape with a handle holding both blades together. This does not go through the coat but, instead, will pull out all the dead outercoat. With your dog still lying on his side, repeat your previous pattern, going over the dog from head to tail on each side with the shedding blade.
You may also wish to introduce your dog to a canister vacuum. If he will toler¬ate it, it will help tremendously to get the last bits of shedding coat off the dog. When you’re done brushing your Lab, you should have a dog with a clean, shiny coat and a garbage bag (or vacuum bag) full of loose hair.