Black Labrador retrievers have a very short, thick coat that has a healthy shine when properly groomed. Most owners find black labs very easy to groom, although their playful nature may result in both the dog and the owner being soaked in the process. With some patience, you can groom your dog at home rather than taking her to a professional.
Black labs tend to shed less than yellow labs, but twice a year they have a regrowth of their coats. The key to grooming a black lab is to remove as much of this dead fur as possible by gently using a shedding blade, rake or rubber curry brush. Remove as much dead fur as you can before bathing the dog. The bathing process will help remove the last of the dirt, debris and dead fur. Use a mild soap made for dogs, and be especially careful around the eyes, ears and nose.
If your black Labrador has a problem with discharge around the eyes, wiping them with a clean cloth and lukewarm water regularly can help prevent eye infections caused by buildup. If you notice redness or irritation around the eyes, contact your veterinarian. Redness, swelling and any colored eye discharge is an indication of infection.
If your dog's ears are relatively clean and odor-free, you can simply wipe them with a warm, damp cloth. Never stick your finger or a cotton swab into the ear itself. If your lab does have excessive wax or a foul smell from the ear, you can purchase over-the-counter ear wipes to help clean the ear. A dog who shakes her head, has a foul odor coming from her ears or is sensitive when you try to clean them may have mites or an infection, which require veterinary attention.
Trimming a black Labrador's nails is much more difficult than it is on a dog with transparent nails. Black nails make it difficult to know where the quick of the nail is located. Because of the risk of clipping too much nail, it is best to let your groomer or veterinarian handle this aspect of grooming.
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