Labs were bred to withstand harsh environments and their double, water-shedding coat is ideal for water sports and retrieving during all types of weather. It's great for him, sure, but for you, it's an almost endless supply of course fur year-round and flying fluff each fall and spring!
If you don't use any other brush when grooming your big baby, use the slicker. These are particularly useful on the sometimes odd coats of labs that are long in some places, but generally short all over. While some other tools can help perform a few tasks, the slicker can brush, de-mat, remove most of the undercoat and finish his coat. It's an all-in-one, so to say. The slicker brush is on a straight or slightly bent handle and has a wide, rectangular head. The wire bristles are also angled, with bends about halfway through and sometimes near the head. These stiff, wire bristles easily glide through your lab's shorter overcoat while pulling out the fluffy undercoat. Being so close together, the bristles also help tackle mats; regular, weekly use of the slicker can prevent mats near your baby's skin.
Undercoat rakes, as the name implies, are made specifically for undercoats. They're particularly useful on your lab's coat and coats similar to them. Because a Labrador's coat is somewhat long and coarse, and longer in certain areas, the undercoat rake cuts through the overcoat and rakes out that fluffy madness underneath it. When your lab starts blowing his coat, prepare yourself for an undercoat rake full of black, brown or golden wool, depending on his coat color. Like the slicker, these tools have a wide, rectangular head and most often metal bristles. The bristles aren't as close together as on the slicker, but they're still angled.
Vacuum attachments for a dog? Sure, why not? Some of these attach to your actual vacuum, while others are handheld devices capable of sucking up your pup's shedding undercoat. They comb through the course top fur and literally suck the wooly undercoat off of your lab. If your lab is the typical sort that loves his butt scratched, rubbed and pushes up against you to get this reaction, he may end up loving the feel of the vacuum in his "spot."
De-Matting Tools, Shedding Tools and Wide-Toothed Combs
If you have one or two of the other tools listed, these aren't really important. They can, however, help you during times of intense grooming. A lab's coat is particularly thick around his shoulders and rump, areas where mats are most common. The de-matting tool is a smaller, more compact version of the slicker brush and is made to literally break apart mats, not necessarily comb them out. A shedding tool has a handle with a metal, toothed loop at the end. The teeth pull away loose furs from the topcoat and undercoat. A wide-toothed comb, on the other hand, can help either finish your lab's coat or comb through tangles.
With a professional background in gardening, landscapes, pests and natural ecosystems, Jasey Kelly has been sharing her knowledge through writing since 2009 and has served as an expert writer in these fields. Kelly's background also includes childcare, and animal rescue and care.