can you shave a labrador (featured image)

Can You Shave a Labrador? A Guide to Fur-Care

Are you searching for ways to cool off your Labrador this summer? Or do you want to reduce or manage your Labrador’s shedding better? Either way, Labrador owners often ponder shaving their furry friend’s coat away. But the burning question is: can you shave a Labrador?

As tempting as it is to shave your Labrador to cool it off or save you the hassle of handling its shedding — don’t do it! Shaving your Labrador can have dire effects, making it more prone to skin diseases and injury. 

See why shaving your Labrador is never a good idea — and discover the best alternatives for it: 

Understanding the Purpose of a Labrador’s Coat

Free Two Adult Yellow Labrador Retrievers Stock Photo

If you have a Labrador, you’re likely aware that this furry dog has a thick double coat. It consists of two layers, including the top layer and the undercoat. When combined, your Labrador gets a functional furry coat that protects it from fluctuating temperatures, keeping it cool or warm.

The top layer or “guard” hair consists of more extended and coarse fur, often abrasive to the touch. Generally, it acts as the primary barrier, keeping debris and harmful sun rays away from your Labrador’s skin and undercoat.

Meanwhile, the inner layer or undercoat consists of denser and shorter fur, often sporting a wooly texture, making it soft to the touch. This layer produces all the fur your Labrador’s shedding throughout your home year-round!

Besides providing Labrador’s signature short yet fluffy look, their double coat offers more essential functions. These include natural temperature regulation, added protection, and a protective barrier against debris. In short, it acts as your Labrador’s insulation system, working non-stop to protect your dog against all elements year-round.

Once you shave your Labrador, you’re practically stripping your dog from all these benefits! In other words, you’re removing the very thing protecting your Lab’s skin, putting it at risk for skin diseases and skin cancer.

Can You Shave a Labrador?

As functional as a Labrador’s coat is, many owners still get concerned about their dog’s comfort and safety, especially during the hotter months. Hence, many opt to trim, cut, or remove all their Lab’s fur. But can you shave a Labrador? Although it’s possible, dog groomers and veterinarians agree that shaving a Labrador is never a good idea.

Remember, a Labrador’s coat is adaptive, meaning it comes and go depending on the climate. And there’s often no need to assist your Lab’s natural insulation system as you may cause irreversible damage!

This breed has its genetics related to colder temperatures and water. Therefore, you’ll notice a Labrador’s coat to be water-repellant, protecting it from water and ice alongside other debris. In short, it acts as your Labrador’s natural barrier to its skin.

Meanwhile, the thicker and coarser undercoat protects your Labrador from sudden temperature changes. It shields your Lab from the sun during the hotter months and keeps it toasty warm in the winter.

Shaving a Labrador strips it of all the benefits mentioned, making it more vulnerable to skin disease, sunburn, and skin cancer. So, it’s better not to interfere with the dog’s coat and opt for better grooming alternatives other than shaving!

Also, remember that Labradors shed year-round, so you don’t have to worry about your dog suffering from the heat even during the peak of summer. This breed undergoes seasonal shedding called “coat blow,” helping your Lab transition from winter to summer and vice-versa without issues.

A Labrador’s body is already adapted to the changing climates, and shaving its coat off will only interfere with the natural process.

Why Shaving A Labrador To Manage Shedding Will Not Work? 

Now that you have a clearer picture of why you should never shave a Labrador, you should also understand why doing that in the first place won’t work.

You’ll need to deal with a LOT of shedding if you decide to get a double-coated Labrador. And unlike breeds with a single coat, double-coated dogs shed year-round and go through seasonal shedding. During this season, your Labrador will shed more fur than usual, making shaving unnecessary.

Shaving your Labrador can disrupt its coat growth, often leading to irreversible damage. So, not only will you be doing nothing to help with your Lab’s fur care, but you will also cause more harm than good.

Although shaving your Labrador can reduce its shedding temporarily, it’s not worth risking your dog’s health over short-term reduced shedding.


Why Should You Never Shave a Labrador?

can you shave a labrador (infographic)

🪒 Once You Shave a Labrador’s Coat, It Will Never Be the Same Again

Most Labrador owners who decide to shave their dog can cause irreversible damage to its coat. And many only realize this impact once it’s too late! A Labrador sports a soft and thick undercoat, but once you shave that — it’ll become heavier and coarser.

So, instead of re-growing the soft and short hair Labradors are famous for, your Lab may grow harsher hair! Although it may not seem evident initially, you’ll see the full extent of the damage once your Lab’s coat re-grows.

Don’t expect your Labrador’s fur to ever be soft, fluffy, and thick before shaving.

Besides, even if your Labrador’s undercoat re-grows faster, it’s the opposite for the top layer. As a result, a Lab’s new coat often looks unruly, making it more vulnerable to dirt and other debris. 

🪒 If You Shave a Labrador’s Coat, It May Cause Skin Issues

Shaving your Labrador’s coat can make it more vulnerable to skin issues. After all, you’ll be stripping your Lab from its protective fur, exposing its skin to harsh outdoor elements! But the extent depends on each Lab. Still, I’ve seen some suffering from irreversible skin problems after getting shaved once. 

Aside from that, shaving Labrador can lead to “hot spots,” which occur on the dog’s skin — taking some time to heal. So, please don’t risk it with your Lab, and avoid shaving its coat altogether. 

🪒 Shaving Your Labrador Can Make it Feel Hotter

A misconception Labrador owners have when shaving their furry friends is that they’ll feel cooler. That’s far from the truth, as removing your Lab’s coat can do the opposite. Instead of serving its purpose of protecting your Labrador from the heat, it exposes the dog more to it!

Aside from that, shaving your Labrador can lead to unruly regrowth, preventing air from reaching its skin. As a result, your Labrador may feel hotter during summer. 

🪒 A Shaved Labrador Becomes More Vulnerable to Sunburns

A Labrador’s top layer of fur protects it from the harmful sun rays, shielding its skin. Once removed, you’re making your Lab vulnerable to sunburns. Even short-term exposure to direct sun can wreck your Labrador’s skin. After all, dogs have more sensitive skins than humans!

So, not only will shaving your Labrador’s coat makes it feel hotter, but it will also burn its skin. Or worse, develop skin cancer!

🪒 You Can Make Labrador More Prone to Allergies Once You Shave its Coat

Many Labrador owners with allergies often believe that it’s their dog’s coat and shedding causing their constant sneezing, wheezing, and runny nose! Hence, many opt to minimize the breed’s shedding by shaving their hair. But, this is a mere misconception, as it’s the dander causing the allergic reactions — not Labrador’s fur.

Shaving your Labrador’s coat won’t do anything to aid with your allergies. Instead, you’re placing your Lab at a higher risk of developing allergies!

🪒 Shaving a Labrador’s Coat Can Make Re-growth Uncomfortable

Coat re-growth is something many Labrador owners fail to consider before shaving off their dog’s coat. Once you shave your Lab’s fur off, you’ll be causing irreversible damage as it removes its undercoat permanently. Although re-growth is still possible, it’ll be uncomfortable for your Labrador as the fur will be harsher and more prickly!

With that, your Labrador may feel itchy, forcing it to scratch its skin. And we all know over-scratching can lead to painful self-inflicted injuries, especially since a Lab has sensitive skin! Your Labrador may even transfer bacteria from its paws to its skin — causing skin infection.

🪒 If You Shave a Labrador Coat, it Can Disrupt its Natural Insulation System

A Labrador’s top layer or outer coat protects the undercoat, while the latter shields the skin. Once you shave these off, you’ll put your Lab in danger, making your dog more sensitive to the temperatures. From extreme heat to harsh winds — your Labrador might not be able to withstand these once shaved. 

A Labrador becomes more vulnerable because it no longer has an undercoat. Remember, it’s responsible for keeping the dog insulated, regulating its body temperature naturally. Moreover, this second layer has been insulating your Labrador since birth, and your dog has adapted to this function. 

Therefore, your Labrador will get stripped of this basic level of insulation once you shave its coat off! Aside from that, once you remove your Lab’s fur, the re-growth quality can plummet. And there, the new hair won’t be able to cool down or keep your Labrador warm.

🪒 Shaved Labradors are Challenging to Keep Clean

Finally, shaving your Labrador’s coat makes it more challenging for you to groom the dog. After all, Labs are famous for their playful personalities and neverending energy! And it’s expected for this breed to become dirty now and then. But this breed’s water-repellant coat traps all the debris away from its skin, keeping it cleaner for longer.

Once at its limit, grooming shouldn’t be an issue, considering the coat makes it easier to clean a Labrador. But once you remove this, not only will your Lab become dirtier often, it can make it challenging for you to bathe it! 

What are the Alternatives to Shaving a Labrador?

Although shaving has proven to be a no-go for a Labrador, there are many alternatives you can explore. These methods keep your Labrador clean and cool year-round without putting it at risk!

The best alternative to shaving your Labrador is regular grooming. You should attend to your Labrador’s needs more often, especially during molting season. And it’s also an excellent idea to send your Lab to a professional groomer at least once a year (preferably in spring). It helps remove excess dander, keeping your dog’s skin healthy and clean.

Another foolproof alternative is keeping your Labrador hydrated. Ensuring your Lab drinks enough water daily helps keep its temperature regulated. If not, your Labrador may struggle to maintain the correct body temperature.

Finally, bathing is an excellent alternative to keeping your Labrador’s shedding under control, removing the need for shaving! But I recommend saving it for the warmer and hotter months to keep your Lab cool and maintain healthy skin!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can you shave a Labrador to stop it from shedding?

A: Labradors are notorious for excess shedding but as problematic as this is, never shave this dog! It can lead to irreversible damage to this breed’s fur quality. Moreover, it can make your Labrador feel uncomfortable and vulnerable to skin diseases. So, please don’t risk it, and protect your Labrador by practicing proper grooming.

Q: What will happen if I shave a Labrador’s coat?

A: Shaving your Labrador’s coat can cause irreversible damage to its fur! And even when trimming the top layer, you still may damage your Labrador’s undercoat. Once that happens, your Labrador will become more vulnerable to skin diseases. Plus, it disrupts your Lab’s ability to self-cool during the scorching months. 

Q: Will a Labrador’s fur grow back if I shave its coat?

A: Shaving a Labrador’s fur can be disastrous, but it doesn’t stop the dog from growing its fur back. How long your Labrador will re-grow its hair depends on the season. For instance, when you shave your Lab during the summer, it’ll take approximately 14.6 weeks for its fur to grow. Meanwhile, it can take longer for a Labrador to re-grow its coat during the winter, maxing at 15.4 weeks.

Q: How long will a Labrador need to grow its hair after shaving? 

A: How long a Labrador re-grows its hair depends on the season. Generally, this breed will take longer to get its luscious coat back during the colder months than the hotter ones. For example, a Labrador can take 14.5 weeks to re-grow its hair during the summer. Meanwhile, it can take longer for the breed to get its luscious fur back, often taking over 15 weeks!

Q: Why isn’t it best to shave a Labrador’s coat?

A: A Labrador’s coat protects it from the harsh outdoor elements, shielding its skin from sun rays, and once you shave that off, it can cause irreversible effects. You may place your Labrador at risk of developing malignant skin cancer and getting extremely sunburnt! Either way, shaving can cause long-term and extreme damage, so never shave your Labrador.

Final Words

Can you shave a Labrador to help cool it off or prevent shedding? Although shaving a Labrador may seem like a miracle move to keep it cool and stop shedding, it’s not. After all, it can have dire effects on the breed, making it more vulnerable to skin diseases and sunburn. Instead of taking the shortcut, let your Labrador naturally shed off its excess fur — and explore the safer alternatives mentioned.

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