Most labradoodles love to get dirty and roll in smelly stuff. If this sounds like your doodle, he probably needs bathing between grooming appointments. Though labradoodles have a variety of coat types, they don’t require frequent baths, as dirt and mud will likely fall off his coat without a bath.
Buy shampoo that suits your doodle’s fur and skin. For instance, if he’s black, get shampoo for black dogs; if he has dry skin, look for a shampoo for dry skin. If you have multiple doodles to bathe, buy a gentle shampoo such as one that's oatmeal-based or made especially for puppies. Doodles do not have an undercoat and do not need an extra conditioning or deep-cleaning shampoo.
Brush your labradoodle out before getting him wet. Doodles tend to mat and if yours has mats, comb or pull them out with your fingers before his bath. If his mats get wet, they will be more difficult to remove and may cause pain or discomfort if they are close to the skin.
Place your doodle in the bathtub and test the water to make sure it’s not too hot or cold. Use a handheld shower head to wet him completely, making sure you get the hair underneath wet. Pour a dime- or quarter-size amount of shampoo in your hands and squeeze the shampoo through his coat rather than rubbing it in.
Rinse your doodle off thoroughly, making sure all the shampoo is washed out. If your labradoodle is super curly, rinse carefully: shampoo not washed out can become itchy. If your doodle’s coat is straighter and thinner, rinsing out will probably not be much work.
Watch his ears so they do not get too wet: try to avoid getting water in his ear canals. You may want to put cotton in his ears to keep them dry, or avoid washing around his ears. Labradoodles have floppy ears that are not exposed to air and are often prone to chronic ear infections. After a bath, take a few cotton balls and swab the ear canal to dry it.
Dry your doodle off with towels and allow him to air-dry so his coat falls naturally. Wait to brush him out until he is completely dry.
- Don't bathe your labradoodle too often, as bathing can strip the natural oils from his skin.
Francine Richards is a licensed multi-state insurance agent with years of human resources and insurance industry experience. Her work has appeared on Blue Cross Blue Shield websites and newsletters, the Houston Chronicle and The Nest. Richards holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications from the University of Maryland.