How Often Should A Labrador Retriever Be Bathed?

Bathing a Labrador retriever dog

If you are a Labrador owner, you know that dealing with the shedding can be challenging. Regular brushing and bathing can reduce shedding to a great extent. In this post, we will talk specifically about Labrador Retriever bathing.

Bathing a Labrador retriever dog

Regular baths would remove dirt, mats, and tangles and improve your Lab’s coat health. Note that doing it too often can be bad for your canine.

So, the question is, how often should a Labrador be bathed?

Labrador Retrievers are low-maintenance dogs. They need to be bathed once every 4 to 6 weeks. Depending on the lifestyle, they can go without baths even for months. Their water-resistant fur has healthy oils. So, washing them too often means stripping their coats of natural oils.

In the end, it comes down to the individual Lab’s lifestyle. Let’s say if your Labrador is mostly outdoors, he will need more frequent baths to clean the coat. On the flip side, if your Lab is indoors most of the time, it may go without bathing for a couple of months.

Labrador Retriever Coat

Labrador Retrievers are the best low-maintenance dogs. They have short, dense fur. So, their coat is less likely to form mats and tangles.

Their little grooming needs and fun-loving temperaments are enough to become a part of any family.

Labradors are double-coated dogs; like any other double-coated breeds, Labs also shed a lot.

They shed moderately all year round. The shedding gets even worse during the spring and fall seasons.

During spring, they lose their winter coat to grow thin hair. And during fall, they lose their lighter coat to grow a dense winter coat.

When can I bathe my Labrador puppy?

Firstly, never bathe your Lab puppy at a very young age. If your pup is less than eight weeks old, avoid giving a bath because bathing at a young age can create health concerns.

Wait for your pup to turn 8-10 weeks old. Then, you can give your Lab puppy its first bath. The chances are your pup might have already got its first bath from the breeder. Just confirm it with your breeder.

After your pup gets its first bath, you can bathe once a month or so. Depending on your puppy’s lifestyle, it may need more or less frequent baths.

Factors Affecting Labrador Retriever’s Bathing Frequency

As mentioned earlier, bathing too often isn’t advisable. Doing so can damage your canine’s coat and make it look dull.

Though the ideal frequency for Labrador bathing is around 4-6 weeks, depending on the individual Lab’s lifestyle, it may vary. Here are some factors Affecting how often should a Labrador be bathed:

Lab’s lifestyle

If your Labrador spends most of his time outdoors, his coat will get dirty faster, and he will need more frequent baths. Furthermore, if your Lab plays in the mud and dirt, it can smell bad. However, if your Lab spends most of his time indoors, he will need less frequent baths.


If your Labrador is too young, he may not need as much bathing as an adult Labrador would need. If it’s lesser than eight weeks old, it’s better to avoid bathing. Once your canine becomes an adult, you can bathe him once a month.

Skin issues

In case of skin issues, your Lab may need more frequent baths. Depending on the skin condition, your veterinarian will provide you with the best bathing schedule for your canine.

Can you bathe a Lab too much?

While you may want to wash your Lab’s coat very often to keep it looking good, does it really help? Will giving more baths improve your Lab’s coat?

The answer is NO. Labradors have natural oils on their undercoat. These oils prevent them from drying out.

More frequent baths will do more harm than good. Rather than improving your canine’s coat health, it will damage it. Frequent baths will reduce natural oils from your Lab’s coats. As a result, the coat will look dry and dull.

Also Read: Are There Miniature Labrador Retrievers?

Bathing Tips For Labrador Retrievers

Here are several things you need to keep in mind when giving your Labrador a bath:

Bathing a Labrador outside

Prepare all products

First, you want to prepare all the products and tools you will need when bathing your Lab. These include:

  • Bathtub/shower
  • Dog shampoo
  • Dog conditioner
  • Dog brush
  • Handheld shower tool
  • Towel
  • Lick pads

Note that you cannot use human shampoo or conditioner on a dog.

Make your Lab comfortable

If your Lab hates bathing, it might be due to a bad experience with bathing in the past. In such a situation, what you can do is associate bathing with something positive. It could be something like your dog’s favorite treat.

Bath location

You have two options: give the bath at home or take your canine to a dog groomer. If you decide to bathe at home, you can do it indoors or outside (backyard). If it’s warm weather, you can wash your Labrador outside. But, if the weather is too cold, it’s better to bathe indoors.

Brush before bathing

Brush your furry friend with a Furminator before bathing. This way, you can remove loose fur from his coat. It will also remove mats and tangles (though Labs’ short coats don’t usually get mats or tangles).

Bathe the right way

Start by getting your canine’s body parts wet. Then, apply shampoo to the entire body. Once you are done shampooing, you can rinse it off. Apply shampoo carefully because you don’t want it to go in the eyes or ears.

You can use a handheld shower tool to wash different body areas properly.

Your Lab may or may not need a conditioner. If you bathe your Lab more than once per month, you should use conditioner after shampoo.

Dry your Lab

Once you are done washing, it’s time to dry your canine. Use multiple towels to dry your canine. It may take a few hours to dry completely.

Related Questions

Do Labradors need professional grooming?

Yes, Labradors do need professional grooming. Their grooming needs include brushing, baths, nail clipping, and ear cleaning. Though Labradors are low-maintenance dogs, taking them to professional groomers from time to time will keep them healthy and look good.

Should you bathe a Lab before grooming?

It’s better to bathe the dog after grooming. This way, you can remove dirt, mats, and debris from the coat, so you don’t have to deal with a wet & tangled coat.

How often should a Labrador be brushed?

Labradors should be brushed at least 2 to 3 times a week. In shedding seasons, i.e., spring and fall, they should be brushed 4 to 5 times a week (preferably daily).

Do Labrador Retrievers shed a lot?

Yes, Labrador Retrievers shed a lot all year round. In spring and fall, they shed even more. Regular brushing and bathing are the best ways to reduce excessive shedding.

Final Thoughts

Labrador Retrievers are known for two things: first, their fun-loving temperaments, and second, their limited grooming needs. They are short-coated dogs with low maintenance.

Unlike its retriever cousin, i.e., Golden Retriever, Labrador has a short coat, so it doesn’t usually get too many tangles.

To keep your Lab’s coat healthy and looking good, it’s imperative to provide regular brushing and baths. Depending on the shedding level, brushing a few times a week would be fine.

Talking about baths, they need a bath once every 4 to 6 weeks. It can be more or less depending on the individual Lab’s lifestyle.



[adinserter block="1"]
Spread the love
Brandon Dickinson

Brandon Dickinson

I love playing and spending time with pups. On RetrieverPaws, I share tips, guides, and my experiences with retriever dogs (Labrador and Golden Retrievers mainly).

About Us

Retriever Paws is the official news and review site dedicated to Retriever dog owners and lovers.

Recent Posts

Sign up for our Newsletter

Scroll to Top