Labrador Retrievers are well known and loved for being a hardy working dog breed that has playful and adventurous characteristics. They’re reasonably easy to look after in terms of grooming and bathing, but due to their seemingly never-ending desire to get wet, wild, and mucky – ensuring that you pick the best Labrador Retriever shampoo on the market is something that can make your life much, much easier.


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With that in mind today we’re going to be looking at the bathing and grooming requirements of the Labrador Retriever. We’re going to talk about how often you should bathe them, what kind of grooming routine is required, and we’re going to talk a little bit about some of the most frequently asked Labrador Retriever bathing questions that we get from our readers.

We’re also going to be focusing on the products you should be using. There’s going to be general advice on the kinds of properties a good Labrador Retriever shampoo should have, and we’re going to talk a little bit about grooming products you’ll want to stock up on too.

To conclude we’re going to provide you with several specific product recommendations that represent the culmination of countless hours of research into what we think are the best Labrador Retriever shampoos on the market in 2019.

Let’s get started.

To start this article, we’re going to be looking at the kinds of shampoo you should be looking at for your Labrador Retriever. Luckily the breed is low maintenance (which is one of the reasons they were such popular working dogs) and there’s only really one special consideration you need to take into account – shedding.

Shedding Control

Like many working dogs, the Labrador Retriever has two separate coats. The visible top coat of your pooch is the glossy shiny stuff that instantly comes into mind whenever anyone mentions the breed. The bottom coat is much more functional and is an excellent insulator. This coat is much denser than the upper coat, and it’s slightly shorter too.

The huge amount of hair that these two coats contain make the Labrador Retriever a breed that’s known for shedding more than usual. They’re not the worst shedders in the world, but you (and your vacuum cleaner) are going to appreciate every little trick that helps minimize the amount of shedding that takes place.

Aside from a proper grooming routine (which we will talk about later), the best thing you can do to reduce shedding in Labrador Retrievers is to use a dedicated shedding control shampoo. These products are designed to nourish and enrich both of your dog’s coats to keep the individual hairs, and the skin they are attached to in tip-top condition.

Not all shedding control shampoos are created equally, and less than reputable brands regularly slap a “shedding control” sticker on their products – despite them having almost no noticeable effect. Be sure to check the reviews of any product you buy before parting with your cash (or read our impartial product review section later in this article).

2 Tips On Maintaining The Perfect Labrador Retriever Coat

Here are 2 simple tips that we recommend any Labrador Retriever owner takes into account when they are planning a grooming routine for their pooch.

Change Up Your Grooming Schedule

Like many breeds that have a double coat, Labrador Retrievers shed differently depending upon the time of year. There’s no exact science to when this happens, and it differs depending on where you live, and the seasonal climate changes in your local area.

There are two potential molting seasons, and the most notorious is the one that takes place in the spring. Your dog’s body notices the shift in temperature, and it begins to shed the thicker, warmer winter coat that it has grown to keep it comfortable during the winter months.

While this was extremely useful when Labrador Retrievers were mainly used as working dogs (because they can work in almost all weather conditions) it’s not so useful when you’re trying to keep your house clean.

The second potential molting season is at the start of winter when your dog gets rid of the shorter lighter summer coat that grows in during the molting period we just mentioned above. It happens for the same reason as the spring molt, just in reverse (your dog’s body notices dropping temperatures and begins to make room for a thicker winter coat).

During these molting seasons, it’s strongly recommended that you groom your pooch at least once a day, but to be honest – twice a day is better.

As you’re sitting here reading this, you’re probably thinking “that sounds like a huge amount of work – what’s the point?”, but honestly, it’s a time saver. The amount of effort it takes to clean up after a Labrador Retriever that’s in full molting mode is massive compared to giving them a quick groom twice a day. The amount of hair you’ll find around your home is going to be drastically reduced, and if you keep on top of the grooming – it’s a 5-minute job at most.

If your dog molts during molting season, then during the rest of the year, there’s very little grooming required for Labrador Retrievers that would be considered essential. Again, the low maintenance hardy nature of the breed is why they became so popular in the first place. Giving them a good brush two or three times, a month is more than enough to keep your pooch happy and healthy (and your home reasonably clean) at the same time.

Keep A Consistent Grooming Schedule

To make things a little more confusing, there’s a good chance that none of the above advice will apply to you.

Modern-day Labrador Retrievers usually live their lives inside homes with humans. Because we live in a modern world with air conditioning and central heating, there’s a reasonably stable temperature for the vast majority of your dog’s day all year round. Unless they are an outdoor dog, the only time they are really going to notice a huge difference in seasonal temperatures is when they are being taken outside for a walk.

If this is the case, you’re possibly going to be spared the hassle of molting season, and your pooch may simply keep their warmer summer coat all year round. There are anecdotal reports that state that the Labrador Retrievers that don’t molt during molting season shed more consistently throughout the year (at a higher rate than their molting brothers and sisters), but we’re unable to verify this.

The golden rule of grooming a Labrador Retriever (or any breed for that matter) is that if you’re seeing too much hair around your home – you need to increase the frequency of your grooming routine.

It’s a balancing act between the amount of effort you want to put in, and the amount of hair your specific pooch sheds.

Overall Best Shampoo for Labrador Retrievers

Buddy Wash Original Lavender & Mint Dog Shampoo & Conditioner

So now we know that Labrador Retrievers are reasonably low maintenance when it comes to grooming and bathing and that apart from doing all you can to control their shedding – there’s not that many specific requirements owners of the breed need to take into account.

Due to this, it was reasonably easy for us to find several great shampoos on the market that are perfect for Labrador Retrievers. Most good dog shampoos control shedding to some extent, so we had a wide range to pick from.

This actually made our job a little harder than usual, when we’re looking for recommendations for other breeds we can easily narrow down our selections based on the specific requirements they have – but for a hardy, reasonably short-haired, low maintenance breed like the Labrador Retriever, the world was our oyster.

However, we did manage to come to a conclusion.

We’re going to mention some other excellent products later on in this article (which are runners up but are still excellent choices), however, we think that the overall best Labrador Retriever shampoo on the market right now is Buddy Wash’s Original Lavender & Mint Dog Shampoo & Conditioner.

For those of you who don’t already know, Buddy Wash is one of the biggest, and best brands in the world of dog shampoos. They’ve built a reputation over the years for creating products that provide powerful cleaning performance (without using harmful ingredients) that don’t break the bank.

This excellent shampoo is no different from any of their others in terms of quality.

It’s a soap-free product (like any good shampoo we’d be comfortable recommending in most cases) that uses natural ingredients to provide its impressive cleaning power. Wheat protein is one of the main soap alternatives in the bottle, it’s well known for its deodorizing properties, and it’ll keep your pooch fresher for longer. The primary base of the product is coconut, which works hand in hand with the other botanical natural extracts in the shampoo to ensure that it creates a thick, rich lather that will get deep inside both layers of your dog’s coat – ensuring a complete clean from head to tail.

This is a 2 in 1 product that also conditions while it cleans – which is great news for our Labrador Retrievers and their tendency to shed. Infusions of natural sage and rosemary will nourish each individual hair on your dog’s body ensuring that they stay attached for as long as possible. Skin nourishment is also essential to prevent shedding (healthy follicles are happy follicles) and the huge dose of mother nature’s best skin care creation (aloe vera) does an excellent job.

A lovely addition to this product is lavender, which is a natural soothing agent that creates a calming therapeutic effect via aromatherapy. Quite honestly, this infusion isn’t required for Labrador Retrievers as the breed is usually quite happy in the tub compared to other breeds – but it’s a lovely addition to have.

As you’d expect from a brand with a reputation as well respected as Buddy Wash, this is a cruelty-free product that has not been tested on animals in any way, shape, or form. It’s got no horrible chemicals inside which means it’s safe for us humans to handle, and as an added bonus, it’s made right here in the USA.

All this cleaning power and performance might leave you thinking that this is a shampoo that’s going to break the bank – but it won’t.

At only around $7 for a bottle that’s 16oz in size, it’s great value for money. Quite honestly, this is a premium product, without the premium price tag (like almost all of Buddy Wash’s other offerings). The products we’re going to list in the runner up section below are all more than worthy of your consideration, but unless you’ve got a very good reason – we strongly recommend you give this one a go.

In our opinion, it’s the best shampoo for Labrador Retrievers on the market right now.

4-Legger Hypo-Allergenic, Lemongrass & Aloe Dog Shampoo

Runner Up – We mentioned earlier how difficult it was to pick an overall winner for this article due to the fact that Labrador Retrievers are very easy to care for, and we almost chose a different overall recommendation. The excellent Hypo-Allergenic, Lemongrass & Aloe Dog Shampoo, by 4-Legger only just lost out on the top spot, and if you wanted a second option that comes strongly recommended – this is a product you should be paying close attention to.

Like the Buddy Wash product above, this is an all-natural product that doesn’t use harmful soap (or alcohol) to clean and cleanse your pooch. No expense has been spared here, and one of the most effective and powerful (yet gentle) natural cleansers on the planet provide the bulk of the cleaning power in this product – lemongrass.

The huge lemongrass infusion in this formula demolishes any bacteria that are currently residing on your pooch (which is what causes them to stink) and leaves them fresher and cleaner than ever. Lemongrass is used in a wide range of products (canine or human) due to its sanitizing properties – it’s antifungal, it’s antibacterial, and it’s got some minimal (yet beneficial) pest repellent capabilities too.

Despite all these powerful and impressive cleaning credentials, this is a super gentle product that is 100% cruelty-free. Every single ingredient in this bottle is organic, there’s not a single artificial chemical in sight. It’s a US made product, and 4-Legger have even gone to the effort of having their natural claims verified by the USDA who have certified it as “Organic to exceptional standards”.

Again, this is a 2 in 1 shampoo that contains a conditioner in the formula. There’s a combination of essential oils that have been carefully selected to work in perfect harmony with one another to protect and enhance your dog’s hair. There’s a healthy supply of aloe vera in the conditioner too which heals and enhances your dog’s skin in the same way as the product we chose as our overall recommendation.

When you put all this conditioning power together in a single bottle, it’ll minimize shedding and leave your pooch with a glossier, and healthier coat.

If we are being completely honest here, there’s a reasonable chance that in terms of pure performance this is a better product than the one from Buddy Wash that we chose as our overall recommendation. The ingredients are a little more powerful, and it could be argued that it’s going to leave you with a cleaner pooch.

The only reason it’s not our overall recommendation is the price – it’s more or less twice as expensive as the product we mentioned earlier at almost $15 for a 16oz bottle. It’s worth us pointing out that this is a super concentrated formula, and you’ll need to use less of it per bathing session compared to our overall recommendation – but to be honest, the Buddy Wash product is reasonably concentrated too, and the difference is negligible between them.

Either way, this is an excellent product that is more than worthy of your consideration. If you don’t mind splashing the cash a little, we strongly recommend you give it a go – because it’s worth every cent.

Nature’s Miracle’s Supreme Odor Control Natural Puppy Shampoo & Conditioner

Best Labrador Retriever Puppy Shampoo – Labrador Retriever puppies are reasonably hardy compared to puppies of other breeds. However, despite being made from strong stuff, they’re still a little more delicate than their fully-grown mothers and fathers, and as such, they will often benefit from dedicated puppy shampoos. There are several excellent products on the market, but we really like Nature’s Miracle’s Supreme Odor Control Natural Puppy Shampoo & Conditioner.

This is a super gentle formula that has been created specifically to cater to the needs of younger pups. It’s a tearless shampoo which is super important for the first few bathing sessions in your pup’s life – if they have a bad experience from a young age, it’s possible that they will become anxious around bath time for the rest of their life.

Despite being gentle and tearless, this is an effective 4 in 1 shampoo that cleans, conditions, nourishes, and protects against pests all at the same time. It’s a deodorizing shampoo that will leave your pooch smelling super fresh and clean, and it’s also completely soap free too.

The only thing that you may not like about this shampoo is that it doesn’t do as much as adult shampoos to combat deshedding. We assume this is because the compounds that are used in other deshedding formulas are incompatible with the tearless nature of this product. This isn’t a huge issue as your pup is going to have less hair than an adult dog anyway (because they are smaller), but it’s worth bearing in mind.

Start your puppy on this, and when they get a little older – transition to one of the adult recommendations on this page instead.

3 More Top Rated Dog Shampoos For Labrador Retrievers

To conclude this review section, we’re going to talk about 3 other great shampoos for Labrador Retrievers that we came across during our research. They didn’t quite make it to the top spots above, but they’re brilliant shampoos that are still worthy of your consideration if you’re looking for alternatives.

FURminator DeShedding Ultra Premium Shampoo For Dogs

As you might have guessed from the title, this is a product that has been designed specifically to deal with dogs that are causing their owners issues with shedding. The proprietary blend of ingredients in this shampoo work with one another to ensure that your Labrador Retriever’s hair stays strong, healthy, and most importantly – attached to their body.

The cleaning and cleansing power of this product is more than acceptable, although you’re going to get better performance from our picks above. However, if your pooch is going through a molt, it’s not a bad idea to switch to this stuff while the shedding is at its worst.

Earthbath Shed Control Green Tea & Awapuhi Dog & Cat Shampoo

This is another product that has been designed specifically to deal with shedding, and in our opinion, it’s better than the product above. This is an all-natural shampoo that’s completely soap free, and it’s perfectly PH balanced to protect your dog’s skin. There’s loads of good stuff in here like aloe vera, green tea extract, and shea butter, and it’s one of the best all-natural products on the market in terms of shedding control.

It’s more or less twice as expensive as the product above, but in our opinion, it’s worth the additional cost if you can afford it – because it’s almost twice as good.

Burt’s Bees Oatmeal Shampoo with Colloidal Oat Flour & Honey for Dogs

The final product we want to mention is more of an allrounder compared to the two anti shedding shampoos above. This is an all-natural product from a highly reputable brand – Burt’s Bees. The soap-free (and alcohol-free formula) gets its cleaning power from oatmeal, and the honey in the formula is excellent at promoting a healthy coat and will also provide a little bit of help in the shedding department (but not as much as the two recommendations above).

As an added bonus, this is one of the cheapest products that we’re comfortable recommending. It might not have the bells and whistles of some of the other shampoos we have talked about today – but it gets the job done without breaking the bank.

4 Tips On Bathing Your Labrador Retriever

Rinse Them Well

Most of the breed specific advice in this article so far has been related to the double coat of the Labrador Retriever in some form or another, and one of the most important things you need to make sure you do to take care of it is to rinse it properly after bathing.

The huge amount of hair on a Labrador Retriever traps water and soap more than other single coated or short-haired breeds. Dog shampoo is not meant to be left on your pooch after the bathing session is over – all of it needs to be removed. If any shampoo remains in your dog’s coat it can cause skin irritation and other issues that are best avoided.

You should be super careful when rinsing your Labrador Retriever to ensure that you get every single last drop of shampoo off of them before you take them out of the bath. Go over your pooch once with water like normal, and then give them a second quicker rinse to get any shampoo that managed to avoid your rinsing efforts the first time around.

Brush Them Before Bathing

By grooming your pooch before bathing them you’re going to remove any hair that has been shed but hasn’t quite left your dog’s body yet. Give them a really good brushing before putting them in the tub (and remember to give them a quick brush after bathing too). By doing this you’re going to drastically reduce the amount of hair you find around your home and minimize the additional cleaning required.

Get Everything Ready Before Bathing

Our Labrador Retrievers are perhaps one of the few breeds of dog that have a reasonable chance of enjoying bath time. Labrador Retrievers can often see it as a fun experience instead of something stressful that needs to be endured. Keeping them still in the bathtub requires your constant attention, so if you need to leave them on their own for some reason – they’re fully capable of getting out on their own.

Realizing you’ve forgotten the shampoo or towel when you’ve already started to soak your pooch is a mistake you’re only going to make once. A super excitable soaking wet dog running around your home while you go and grab something from the other room is going to ruin your day, to say the least.

Check you’ve got everything before you even call your dog into the bathroom, and check again before you start to get them wet.

Put A Towel Down

This is a bathing tip that works for all breeds, not just the Labrador Retriever. Standing in a bathtub that’s covered in soapy water can be tricky for us humans, and it can be tricky for your pooch too. The combination of a super smooth ceramic surface combined with a healthy dose of hot soapy water makes an already slippery situation even worse.

Your dog’s paws are not made for standing on surfaces like this, and it can be a little difficult for them to stay stable. Even if your pooch shows no signs of slipping in the tub, we’re willing to bet that it requires concentration, and increases their stress levels.

By simply putting a towel down in the bottom of the tub before you start bathing, you’re going to be making it much easier for your pooch to stand up. The rough texture of the towel provides a huge amount of grip compared to the smooth surface they’d otherwise be standing on.

FAQ Regarding Bathing a Labrador Retriever

Is It True The Different Color Labradors Shed Different Amounts?

This is one of the most common misconceptions we hear about Labrador Retrievers. Some people claim that black Labrador Retrievers shed less than chocolate or yellow Labrador Retrievers (or the other way around).

While there’s a reason behind this line of thinking – it’s simply not true.

The myth seems to come from owners that have had more than one Labrador Retriever in their household at the same time. We suspect that they have noticed more hair from one their dogs than the other and as such the claim that different colored Labrador Retrievers shed different amounts.

There is no real-world evidence whatsoever to back this claim up.

What is much more likely is that the décor of their home conceals the color of certain dog hair better than others. This makes it seem like different colored versions of the same breed shed different amounts – but in reality, it’s nothing more than an optical illusion.

Can I Use A Hairdrier On A Labrador Retriever?

Yes, you can, but there’s a catch.

The skin of a dog looks a lot like the skin of a human, however, it’s very different. Over the years people have realized that simply towel drying (and shake drying) your dog isn’t the most effective way to stop your pooch making things in your home damp directly after bathing – so dedicated doggy hairdryers have been created.

They’re reasonably inexpensive, and they do an excellent job, and if having your pooch slightly wet from a towel dry is an issue for you – they’re worth every single cent.

However, you should never use a normal human hairdryer with a Labrador Retriever (or any breed for that matter). A dog’s skin is much more sensitive to heat compared to the skin of us humans, and it’s very easy to accidentally burn them or cause skin irritation that causes them discomfort.

Conclusion

So there you have it, that concludes our review into the best Labrador Retriever shampoos on the market right now.

We hope that you’ve learned a thing or two in this guide today, and we strongly recommend you try any of the products we’ve recommended above. It’s a minefield of false advertising and unsubstantiated claims out there in the dog shampoo world…

Save yourself the hassle, and trust our recommendations instead.

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