7 Best Brushes for Labrador Retriever With 5 Simple Brushing Tips

Labrador Retrievers are high energy, lovable family dogs with a lot of personality. They have buckets of curiosity and enjoy nothing better than roaming around exploring with their favorite people. They don’t have the voluminous coat of their Golden cousins, but their coats will take some abuse over their lifetime of explorations.

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A good brush can help maintain the quality of your Lab’s coat and ensure that it doesn’t trap dirt and debris underneath the surface. Labs are a short coat breed, but they do shed quite a bit. Their double coat helps keep them insulated from cold and water, but it will shed if you don’t have a basic grooming regimen.

The right brush can help your Lab remain comfortable, and it could offer both of you some critical bonding time. Brushing is usually one of the few grooming activities dogs enjoy, so you shouldn’t have much of a fight (unlike bathing or tooth brushing).

We’ve put together a list of great brushes for Lab Retrievers, starting with our absolute favorite. Plus, we’ve answered some of your burning questions and offered brushing tips to get you started. Let’s take a look.

What is the Best Brush for a Labrador Retriever?

Different Types of Popular Labrador Retriever Brushes

Not all brushes are created equal. Different types of brushes perform a different service, and some are better suited to the short, double coat of a Lab. Let’s take a look at four common types to see which might suit your Lab best.

Rakes

Rakes have a single line of bristles and help remove not only mats but trapped undercoat as well. With double coated dogs, these are highly useful because the undercoat can shed but still be trapped by the outer coat. Standard brushes alone won’t address the undercoat and will probably get stuck.

Rakes have different pin lengths, so find one that matches your Lab’s shorter coat. Longer pins will irritate the skin and cause a lot of discomfort.

Slicker Brushes

Slicker brushes are designed to work out mats and dirt with long hair breeds. They have tightly spaced pins and can cause a lot of discomfort for shorter coated breeds. They’re particularly suited to curly hair breeds and help prevent matting below the surface of the coat.

Slicker brushes may not be the best option for your Lab because the thick, double coat, in this case, will prevent the slicker brush from getting below the surface of the fur. That waterproofing layer needs more sturdy pins, and even if you do get down to the skin, the style of brush will get stuck pretty fast.

Bristle Brushes

Bristle brushes, on the other hand, use natural bristles to gently remove fur as well as layers of dirt and grime. These are suitable for short coated breeds, but your Lab’s double coat could be an issue. They might be ideal for the non-shedding season to keep up the lustrous appearance of the coat and help redistribute oils in between baths. They could also be good for gentle grooming for bonding purposes or to help calm your Lab.

Pin Brushes

Pin brushes look a lot like your human brush. For longer hair breeds with complicated grooming styles, these can finish off or fluff the coat. Lab coats are densely packed to provide waterproofing, so fluffing isn’t going to happen. They’re often a cheap option and could be useful to help calm and soothe a Lab before bed, for example, or to provide bonding without risking irritating the delicate skin underneath the coat.

Purpose of the Brush

Brushes are classified into a few different categories based on what their primary purpose is. You may need to have more than one type of brush, depending on what your goal actually is. Keeping a Lab’s coat looking good isn’t tough, but it will require the right tools.

Rakes are de-shedders, helping to remove the undercoat and reduce any itchiness or irritation caused by trapped hair below the surface of the top coat. Slicker brushes are good for getting through a thicker, longer coat and helping gently tease out loose hair regardless of top or bottom coat.

Pin brushes help finish the top coat and can improve the overall look and feel of your Lab’s coat by redistributing oils and flattening any wily spots. Bristle brushes can also help smooth the top coat and remove dirt and debris as well as gently untangle minor mats. They’re also suitable for every day brushing as a bonding and calming exercise.

Overall Best Brush for Labs

FURminator Deshedding Tool

Our absolute favorite brush for double coated breeds. The Furminator uses tightly backed bristles in a single row to quickly and efficiently remove dead undercoat and reduce shedding and discomfort significantly. The bristles are heavy duty but curved at the ends, so there’s less irritation. During shedding season, this brush may be the only thing that saves your sanity.

The wide handle is easy to grip and maneuver, but the head is typically small enough to get into hard to reach places like the back of the haunches. It’s not cheap, but again, the amount of hair you’ll get from this rake is well worth the price. While replacement blades are available, they aren’t the easiest to find. However, you shouldn’t need to think about that for many, many uses.

6 More Top-Rated Labrador Retriever Dog Brushes

Kong ZoomGroom Rubber Wet or Dry Brush

Kong’s fun brush is an excellent option for bath time. While your Lab’s fur is wet, other types of brushes may be too harsh. This rubber brush gets down to the skin, massaging it and removing loose fur that can wash away under the faucet. It’s gentle enough for daily use dry as well although it may not get down to the undercoat during shedding season.

Wet brushes can cause a lot of damage because the pores of your dog’s skin are open, and their natural protection is compromised. Using something really soft can help condition the skin while loosening up any lingering fur that needs to come out. Your dog may decide that it’s a chew toy, however, so be careful that your dog doesn’t get hold of it. A few chews and small pieces could be a huge choking hazard.

Pat Your Pet Glove Grooming Tool

For bonding and gentle brushing at the end of each day, the Pet Glove is a good choice. It provides plenty of small bristles to capture errant hair and fits over your hand just like a glove. It combines two things your dog loves most, you and plentiful petting.

The pet glove won’t handle the problem during heavy shedding, but for daily maintenance, it’s easy to maneuver and provides your dog with quality one on one time with its favorite humans. The pad is easy to clean, and the bristles are a soft rubber material. You can use this while spacing out in front of the TV without worrying you’ll accidentally brush too hard. It’s affordable and a useful everyday tool for light, outer coat shedding.

JW Pet Company Double Row Rake

This rake style brush offers excellent combing for your Lab’s double coat, but it’s particularly useful for puppies because of its size. Puppies are exceptionally delicate, but they do need a good grooming tool to encourage the skin and coat to grow healthy. When your Lab is all grown up, this brush can help get underneath the chin and chest without getting caught or leaving behind areas.

It’s highly affordable and could be a great first brush for your new Lab puppy. The bristles are durable and don’t require much maintenance. The spacing is easy to remove fur, and the double row helps rake up more hair than the average brush. Make sure you aren’t brushing too hard if it’s for your puppy, and use it to untangle hard to reach places with your adult Lab.

HappyDogz Magic Pro Deshedding Tool

Another rake style brush with enough power to get up your Lab’s undercoat, this one is slightly more affordable and comes in two different sizes. It doesn’t distinguish between long and sort coats, but it still offers plenty of combing power. The tines are well spaced, and the handle is easy to grip.

During high shedding season, it can help reduce shedding significantly by removing stubborn hair. The handle is easy to grip, and the brush is straightforward to clean. You’ll have to be careful with the strength of your brushing, however. Too hard and you may end up irritating the skin or causing discomfort with the brush. It will get tangled in mats pretty quickly, but as long as your Lab has basic grooming, it’s an excellent choice for shedding season.

iPettie Portable Slicker Brush 2 in 1 Dryer

You had to walk your Lab out in the rain, and you need to combat that wet dog smell fast. Normally a slicker brush wouldn’t be an excellent choice for a Lab, but this one features a small headed dryer that works in tandem with the brush. It gently parts the surface of the hair to distribute heat and dry that top coat quickly.

Labs have a water-resistant double coat, so chances are your Lab isn’t even wet all the way through. With just a little rain or some minor splashing, the top coat is what you worry about. This brush tackles a wet top coat and prevents that wet dog odor from sticking around. It’s easy to use and great for those rainy day walks. You may need to spend some time getting your Lab used to the noise if it isn’t already used to dryers.

FURminator Curry Comb

This is another entry from one of our favorite grooming companies. This style of brush is for those precious Labs that go exploring and come back with all kinds of debris trapped in that top coat. It’s handy for raking up those burrs or pieces of underbrush that catch rides in your Lab’s top coat. It’s too small to be a full de-shedding brush, but for wrangling the appearance of the top coat? Well worth it.

It looks like a pedicure tool, but the soft bristles gently dislodge dirt and debris from the top coat as you brush. Its massaging action stimulates the natural oils of the coat, improving texture and helping to eliminate oily patches. It’s a good choice for brushing after activities and for keeping the surface of the coat clean.

5 Simple Tips to Properly Brush a Labrador Retriever

  1. Make it a habit. Brushing your dog regularly helps with bonding, but it also helps your dog understand that good things happen when it stays still for the brush. Luckily, most dogs love the feeling of the brush and are more than willing to remain still while their favorite human brushes their fur.
  1. Be gentle. De-shedding brushes can be really uncomfortable for dogs if you’re brushing too hard. Remember that you’re raking the surface of the skin to release the undercoat, so brush your dog like you would brush your teeth. Gently but thoroughly. Try not to go over the same spot too many times and watch your dog closely for any signs of discomfort.
  1. Check for any mats or debris before you start with a de-shedding brush. The de-shedding tool isn’t going to get out mats, and pulling on them accidentally could cause a lot of pain. Likewise with burrs or any other debris trapped in the coat. Labs are short coated, so they don’t have as many problems with mats as a long hair breed, but it’s a good practice to check anyway.
  1. Once you’ve checked for mats, you can begin with the de-shedding tool. Work gently through the entire coat making sure to clean the tines of the brush regularly. During shedding season, you may get a lot of undercoat, but don’t worry if there’s always a lot of fur coming out. Unless you see bald patches, this is totally normal.
  1. Finishing with a top coat brush can help distribute oils and give the top coat a polished look. It’s useful for smoothing down the top layer to help protect from the sun and remove any remaining loose fur from the top coat. Be gentle here as well, but this will likely be your dog’s favorite part of the whole process!

FAQ Regarding Labrador Retriever Brushing/Grooming

  • How often should you brush a Labrador Retriever? – Labs are notorious shedders, so brushing every day isn’t out of the ordinary. Keeping the coat under control helps reduce the amount of fur you find in your house and make it a lot easier to brush day to day. When you wait a long time between brushing, the coat has time to build up, and it takes a lot longer to get things under control. Make it a daily habit and twice-daily during peak shedding season.
  • Do Labrador Retrievers shed? – Oh yes. Their double coat is an excellent protection tool against the elements, but it’s constantly turning over. From fall to spring/summer, you might feel like your Lab won’t have any fur left, but that shedding is necessary to rebuild the undercoat as heat insulation during the spring. In winter, the undercoat sheds a little bit to make room for the softer, thicker winter coat.

Their short coats are deceiving. You’re always going to have some measure of dog hair in your house with this breed, but regular brushing can help keep things under control. Make sure you’re vacuuming and sweeping every day as well.

  • Can you over brush a Labrador Retriever? – The short answer is no. A longer, more complicated answer depends on the type of brushing you’re doing. Rakes can sometimes irritate the skin if you insist on brushing really hard or if you decide to go over and over a specific section of skin. Your dog should let you know quickly if there’s discomfort, so pay attention to the signs.

Daily brushing is necessary for a Lab, however, so gentle brushing that’s mindful of the skin’s surface and any mats should be fine. Change up the style of brush, so you’re giving the skin and coat a break, and your Lab should be fine.

  • Can I shave my Labrador Retriever? – Shaving a double coated breed can cause more problems than solutions. First, a shaved Lab loses protection from the elements and is more at risk for sunburn or infections from the water. As the coat grows back in, the double coat can cause massive irritation coming back through the skin. You may end up with an ultra-itchy dog that sheds anyway. Best to address the problem with bathing and brushing.

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