Your Labrador retriever's double coat acts as a natural insulator from the heat and cold, but it's also a major source of shedding. Before you buy lint rollers in bulk, consider a variety of natural ways to keep the hair on your Lab and off you.
Brushing your Lab at least three times a week, or more if he's in the midst of fall or spring shedding, is one of the best and most natural ways to treat shedding. During shedding season, usually in the fall and spring, daily brushing is optimal. Use a slicker brush to remove the coarse needle-like hair on your Lab's outer coat and, when he's in shedding season, a shedding rake or comb to remove the soft, downy-like hairs in his undercoat. Brush outside or someplace where you don't mind clouds of dog hair accumulating.
Inexpensive, low-quality dog food contains more fillers and fewer vitamins, minerals and fatty acids than grain-free or high-grade dog foods. Look for foods labeled "no byproducts" or "all natural." The correct nutritional balance can strengthen hair follicles and skin, which can in turn reduce excessive shedding. However, if your Lab already eats a high-quality diet, vitamin or mineral supplements may not necessarily reduce his shedding.
Labs are often genetically predisposed to allergies, which can range from corn to grass to flea saliva. In addition to sore, red feet and bumpy skin, allergies cause your Lab to itch and scratch himself often. Even if he's otherwise in good health, the constant scratching will remove hair and increase his shedding. Speak with your veterinarian about your Lab's symptoms, potential allergens in your home and hypoallergenic solutions or food that would reduce his itching, thus reducing his shedding.
While brushing and combing remove dead hair, a vigorous bath loosens both layers of your Lab's coat and remove dirt as well. Use a rubber scrubber, available at any pet store, and use it to apply a coat-strengthening shampoo. Massage the scrubber vigorously all over his body so it reaches through to his undercoat. Repeat this massaging motion with the rubber scrubber while rinsing him with a shower hose. Leaving even a small layer of soapy residue on his coat can cause irritation, and scratching leads to more shedding.
Christina Bednarz Schnell began writing full-time in 2010. Her areas of expertise include child development and behavior, medical conditions and pet health. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in international relations.