When choosing a labradoodle as your new companion, there are many exciting moments and many questions that can arise. A lot of the questions with new Labradoodle owners tend to revolve around the grooming process such as how to do it, how often it is needed, and why it is important.
Bathing your Labradoodle regularly is important for their health. It helps with their hair tangles and growth and allows you to take a closer look at their whole body for irregularities and ticks. It is best to bathe them every 2 – 3 weeks but could go longer depending on the time of year, other grooming, and lifestyle.
This guide to bathing a Labradoodle will teach you everything you ever wanted to know about bathing your friendly, furry pup. Below we will take a look at how often to bathe your dog, how to do so, best products to use, and different grooming styles you may choose from.
How Often Should You Bathe a Labradoodle?
It is important to realize that brushing, bathing, and grooming are different things. Grooming includes the trimming of the hair, and is usually done in tandem with bathing (or directly after) but does not need to happen quite as frequently, although you are welcome to do so if you would like. Bathing helps you check in on your Labradoodle, maintain their coat from tangling, and keeps them healthy and clean.
Labradoodles should be bathed every 2 to 3 weeks but can go up to 4 or 5 weeks depending on the time of year and their other grooming habits. For example, a dog will shed more in the fall and spring as he or she prepares for the cold or hot weather respectively; you will want to bathe him or her more during this time. Bathing your Labradoodle regularly helps you take care of their hair and also allows you to inspect all areas of their body.
You will want to take into consideration the amount of shedding happening as well as the amount of outside time your Labradoodle is getting. If it is a high shedding season, you will want to bathe and groom your Labradoodle more frequently to assist in the shedding process. Similarly, when they spend a lot of time outdoors they get dirtier with sweat, mud, pollen, or sticks and need more regular grooming as well.
Keep in mind, though, that bathing too frequently can cause your Labradoodle’s skin to dry out, strip the healthy oils, and thus cause your pup to become itchy. While there are doggy conditioners and lotions that are 100% doggy safe, this additional step is not necessary if you do not bathe them too frequently. Since Labradoodle fur repels dirt, anyways, this should not be difficult. Simply follow the standard guidelines, and you should be fine.
Do Labradoodle Puppies Need More Bathing?
Labradoodle puppies actually need less bathing than full-grown Labradoodles, except in the case of visible dirt. When a Labradoodle puppy is developing his or her adult fur coat, his or her body will be attempting to regulate the oils that help to prevent dry skin among other concerns. Additionally, it is not until a dog has reached past the six- to eight-month range that his or her fur coat has become more water-resistant.
Thus, as your Labradoodle puppy grows and plays, it is important to consider only bathing once per month or unless you can see visible dirt. If you are able to simply brush the dirt away, and your puppy does not have a strong odor, you may consider doing this to spread the bathing process out.
Labradoodles are pretty playful dogs all throughout their lifetime, but this may be especially true during their puppy years. Therefore, you may find that your Labradoodle puppy tends to roll around in the dirt more than he or she will in later years. If this is the case, then the brushing or rinsing method may be preferable to bathing weekly.
Many people wonder when it is safe to first bathe a puppy. Puppies can be bathed as soon as they are ready and able to go home. Keep in mind, though, that bathing a puppy can be a scary process for them, so you will want to consider a few tricks to make the process more fun.
As examples, you may bathe them in a smaller bin than a large white tub, run the water prior to baths so that the initial process is not as loud, and provide a treat before and after they complete a job well done in the bath. By creating a safe and fun environment and reflecting an exciting personality for them to mirror, your Labradoodle will have a better likelihood of enjoying bath time from the start.
How Often Should You Groom Your Labradoodle?
How often you groom your Labradoodle will largely depend on your lifestyle and preferences. Many Labradoodles do not need to be fully groomed more than four times per year. You can minimize full shaves by trimming more regularly before a full shave is needed. It is time to groom your dog when you notice that your Labradoodle’s fur is becoming super tangly during the course of regular bathing.
How to Bathe Your Labradoodle
Figuring Out When
Setting up a time to bathe your dog ahead of time is important. Labradoodles have thick, curly coats which means it will take longer to bathe them in comparison to other dogs with straight or thinner coats. Choosing when you will bathe your Labradoodle, as well as having all of your bathing tools ready in advance is important for a successful bath. Do not expect to be done in a few minutes like you would with a short-haired or small dog.
One thing to note is that if you want your Labradoodle to have time outside afterward (for drying purposes) or just to help them be comfortable before bed, you should aim for mid-day so the sun is out and they have plenty of drying time. Otherwise, you may choose to dry them with a towel or blow dryer if they will let you do so. Keep in mind, though, that many dogs are scared of loud noises, so your Labradoodle may take some warming up to a hairdryer if this is the option you choose to go with.
Knowing What You Need
Getting the right products and equipment is very important for bathing your Labradoodle. Below, I will include a section on great shampoos and conditioners to use with your furry friend. If you are comfortable just using your regular tub, you will not really need much more. Just a couple of towels (and maybe a hairdryer) for drying as well as a good brush to detangle after will be the essentials! Ideally, you will have a hose or removable showerhead so that you can rinse easier.
If you decide that you would rather use something other than a regular tub, you may need access to other tools to help make this process go smoothly. You may choose to use a bin for them to stand in and a bucket to transport water for rinsing purposes. By choosing something that will require less effort on your part, you will be more accessible to your dog and make this process a fun and routine experience for him or her.
The Process in the Bath for your Labradoodle
- Acclimate Your Labradoodle and Rinse
The first thing you will need to do is get your Labradoodle used to the bath (and showerhead). A bath is not something that a dog has naturally been bred to understand, so it takes a little coaching and familiarizing on your part. Many dogs quickly acclimate to the process, but it is helpful if you are there encouraging them along the way both in practice and in attitude.
To help acclimate your Labradoodle to the bath, put a little water in the bottom of the tub and allow them to stand in it. Making sure it is warm is a good idea to get them a positive first impression. This can be done in a quiet and calm fashion to show your Labradoodle that this is nothing to be scared of or dreaded. Rather, this is actually just a “normal” process that they can learn to enjoy.
After you have gotten them more comfortable with their surroundings (the tub plus a small amount of water), try turning on the showerhead or hose attachment while petting them. Let them see it is not harmful and allow them to get used to the noise and feeling. Again, your calming presence and helpful comfort will be helpful if they are more fearful of the bath or bathing devices.
- Add Products and Check on Their Skin
Once you are able to get them fully rinsed off (as in there is no visible dirt on the fur and their coat is entirely wet), you will want to lather them with the product of your choice. Please ensure that this product is safe for your dog by checking with your vet or by using products that are designed for your fur baby.
When you are lathering them with the suds, it is best to use your hands to do this so that you can feel around under the coat on the skin for any problems such as lumps, bumps, or parasitic ticks. Regularly feeling them (including during bath time) will help you to detect ticks or abnormalities earlier on and could save your Labradoodle from experiencing much worse pains. This is considered more of a preventative health approach than a reactive one.
Keep in mind it is good to avoid ears on Labradoodles when rinsing and using products. Their floppy, large ears are prone to infections and issues. By using your hands to rinse and wash them, you will have much more control over the areas of the body that receive treatment.
As they may be excited and moving about more freely, you can help to show them how to stay calm by holding them lovingly as you rinse them. It will be important for you to consider wearing clothes that you do not mind getting wet or sudsy so that you can feel comfortable providing whatever support your pup may need during bath time.
- Rinse (and Maybe Repeat)
After lathering your Labradoodle with shampoo and inspecting by rustling your fingers through his or her fur, you should thoroughly rinse them off. You will want to make sure to use the hose or showerhead to get all areas of them thoroughly rinsed off.
Be sure that there are no more bubbles or suds that are coming off from their hair as you complete the process. This is particularly important because leaving in shampoo by accident can cause worse tangling after the bath. So, rather than helping in the grooming process, this can actually hurt their fur and can become painful for them.
Additionally, this can cause the next bath and grooming time to be much more difficult for you as you will have to untangle more fur than you would have had you just rinsed your dog off completely the first time. Instead of spending time later on in the week or month, it makes the most sense (for your time and your dog’s comfortability) to take the additional time while you are already bathing them to finish rinsing them off.
Drying the coat of a Labradoodle is no easy task! This is not only because they are a playful puppy that may be very excited about you “petting” them all over (with a towel), but because they have a thick, curly fur coat. If you know anyone with thick, curly hair (or if that is you in this case), then that person can absolutely verify that drying their hair is likely the lengthiest part of the hair maintenance process.
When drying off a Labradoodle, you can expect to go through 2-5 large towels during this. You will want to use towels that have a higher absorbency, but they do not have to specifically be designed for use with a dog. There are products such as “quick-drying” towels that you may find to be helpful- but many of these have a smaller surface area so they may not work as well on your medium to large Labradoodle. You can simply use bath towels designed for humans and be sure to wash them well to get any lingering hair/fur off before their next use.
Using a hairdryer (if your pup will let you) can improve drying time significantly! Many dogs get very excited (positively or negatively) by loud noises such as hairdryers. If your dog is positively excited about the hairdryer, you will want to hold them more firmly while you dry them off- though be sure that this is still considered a fun activity for your pup. If they are negatively excited by the loud hairdryer, be sure to warn them before you turn it on, calmly approach them, and keep the intervals of use short.
Take extra care to dry their ears, using tissue or cotton, to make sure they do not have water caught in there for long. It is important to note that just like humans should not cram a Q-tip into the ear canal (as this can actually push and pack wax and other substances further into the canal), you will want to follow the same precautions for your dog. Wipe off any surface of the ear that is visible to the human eye, but do not go any further.
Once they are dry, you should work on detangling your Labradoodle’s thick, curly fur coat right away. Allowing tangles to sit can cause them to become much worse – and the last thing you want is to end up at a groomer after spending time and effort attempting to do this on your own.
Similar to human hair, one of the best things you can do is to use a thick bristle comb on the fur while it is still wet. This will ensure that the tangles are removed thoroughly without breaking or damaging the hair. You can find thick bristle combs specifically designed for dogs, or you can even just use one that is designed for human hair as long as you remain cautious and aware of your dog during the grooming process.
Brushing with a thin bristle brush or comb before they are dry can cause their hair to break or come out more easily, so waiting to brush them is the best option here. If you are going to attempt to do this on your own, this is also the best time to trim them as well. If you notice they need it and have learned how to do so without causing harm to your dog (there are several areas you can learn online) then taking off a bit of length can be a great thing for them and you.
If you are unfamiliar with the trimming process or do not have the right tools, it is important to take your dog to a professional groomer instead of attempting this and accidentally harming your furry friend. This would absolutely delay their enjoyment of bath and grooming time.
Many people learn how to trim their dog’s fur by watching a professional groomer do it for the first time (or first few times) until the owner has enough confidence that he or she can do so effectively at home. Then, the owner can attempt in a small capacity on areas that he or she feels comfortable prior to the groomer trimming the rest, and then eliminate the groomer completely.
What Are the Best Shampoos and Conditioners for Labradoodles?
When considering purchasing a shampoo and conditioner for your Labradoodle, it is critical to remember that you must find one that is designed for doggy fur. Shampoos and conditioners that are designed for human use often contain chemicals and oils that can harm a dog’s skin and fur. Sometimes, human baby shampoos can be used on dogs, but it is best to purchase one that is designed specifically for use with animals. Here are a few to consider:
One of the things that I love about using this brand of shampoo is the fact that it makes untangling so much easier afterward. I am not positive as to why this is the case, although I assume it has something to do with the oatmeal. Either way, it definitely feels great for their fur.
Healthy Breeds Pet Shampoo is a great product that is also economical. You will not be breaking the bank when using this shampoo, and most bottles will last you for several baths depending on how much shampoo your dog’s bath requires. This brand is a great, safe choice if you are looking for a shampoo to try out for the first time!
With this product, I definitely have no complaints – the coconut oil base seems to do similar things to the coat as the oatmeal scrub, but leaves it a bit shinier in my opinion! I would recommend this as a great shampoo and conditioner combination for someone who wants to keep his or her Labradoodle’s coat looking and feeling sleek all the time
This brand is also safe on other pets, so if you have more than one pet (or more than one dog) this is an awesome option! The final thing I will include about why I like this option is that this one is human-safe as well. Many brands do not recommend allowing humans to have contact with them, but this one is safe and could be used by you as well.
Many people swear by Mane ‘N Tail’s ability to help their human hair grow longer and stronger, so this could benefit you, too, if that is what you are looking for. So, if you are looking for a one-stop product, the Mane ‘N Tail is a good option.
Labradoodle Grooming Styles
Labradoodles are known for their fluffy curls as well as their friendly personality. This social breed can be groomed according to the look you desire for them, so long as their fur is maintained healthy and untangles.
There are many different grooming styles you may choose from with a Labradoodle. Some of the common ones include a medium-cut all over, a shorter cut on the body and legs with a medium-cut on the head and ears, and a short trim all over.
Many people choose to maintain their dog’s fur health and appearance through regularly trimming the fur. Then, a full shave will not be necessary as frequently unless this is the style that you prefer. Your lifestyle will affect your Labradoodle’s grooming needs through the activities that your dog will attend to.
If you regularly hike in the outdoors, for example, your Labradoodle will be more exposed to the elements and may need to be groomed more regularly. If you live in a hot area where your dog may need a less dense coat, choosing to help keep your dog cool with a shorter haircut can be appreciated by your dog. You will become more familiar with your grooming style preferences the longer that you are taking care of your dog with his or her best interests in mind.
Why It is Important to Bathe Your Labradoodle
Bathing a Labradoodle, similar to bathing any dog, is important for their health and safety. Additionally, bathing and grooming provide long-term comfort for your furry friend. Bathing your Labradoodle is important for cleaning them, maintaining a healthy fur coat, and checking for other health risks as well.
In bathing for cleaning purposes, it is pretty obvious that you will be removing dirt and odor that would otherwise be on your dog’s fur coat. In the spring season, you may notice that pollen or other dirt may build up more regularly- making it all the more important to bathe your dog. Bathing during seasonal changes, when your dog is shedding or building his seasonally appropriate coat, is also important to help maintain your dog’s cleanliness.
Bathing to maintain a healthy fur coat is also important in seasonal changes as well as in general. Regular bathing, in the appropriate increments, will help your dog to maintain a healthy PH balance and oil production levels for their body.
Finally, in bathing your Labradoodle, you will check for other health risks innately. You will be feeling your dog’s fur, so you will be able to promptly find ticks or other parasites. Additionally, in the case of your dog having any painful lumps or bumps, bathing them will help you to find these promptly so you can take action accordingly. For this, and other reasons I may not have even mentioned, bathing your Labradoodle every two to three weeks is important.