Even though the lab has a short coat, you would be forgiven for thinking that it doesn't shed. The lab has a double coat that is water repellent, and even though their hair is short, they do shed regularly. They also blow their coats when the temperature changes and they switch out between a coat for warmer months and one for the colder season.
The brushes you will need to keep on hand for a lab are:
A slicker brush
A Furminator and de-shedding rake.
And a rubber curry comb.
Out of shedding seasons, the slicker brush is going to be the go-to brush for the lab. Thankfully, they don't have long hair, and a quick weekly brushing will keep their coat in great shape. Even if you can stand the hair around your house, on your clothes, and all over your furniture, brushing is still essential. It spreads around healthy, naturally produced oils that form close to the dog's skin and serves as a great bonding experience for you and your canine companion.
When you are brushing, make sure to run the brush in both directions- both against the hair growth and against it. This allows the top layer of fur to be lifted up and access the lower level of hair more easily and remove any that might be loose. It doesn't bother the dog at all, even if it looks uncomfortable. Just make sure to brush it back down in place once you are done with that section. A rubber curry comb also helps because it can reach down further into the coat and loosen any hair to make it easier to brush up.
When it is shedding season, you will need to pull out the big guns: your de-shedding rake or your Furminator. You want to be careful when selecting either of these brushes as they come in different coat types variations. Getting one that does not suit your dog's coat length can damage the guard hairs- which are the top layer of hairs.
When it comes to bathing, labs can be easy keepers. Maybe. If the individual dog isn't that active, then you will have to worry about this less. The lab also loves water. So, if there are puddles to explore, they will help themselves to it. This can result in more baths to keep your house clean and free of that wet dog smell instead of them actually needing one.
For shampoo needs, a lab should be washed with a high-quality natural shampoo for dogs. Your rubber curry comb can also help you out here as it can help you work the soap through that water repellent coat. However, it should be noted that you should never use human shampoo on a dog of any breed. Human shampoo is not chemically formulated for a dog's skin or fur and can cause more harm than good.
Once a lab is bathed, it is vital to make sure they are also well dried, and once they are dried, they should be given a good once over with a comb. Water can become trapped under the bottom layer of their coat. This can cause the fur to mat and cause skin irritation or hot spots.
Labs' do not have many eye concerns or special instructions. Though, if you do see any discharge- which is entirely normal from time to time- just wipe it off with a cotton ball.
Like with all breeds with floppy ears, ear cleaning should become a regular part of your lab's grooming routine. You will need cotton balls and ear cleaning solution formulated for canines. Just add a little of the solution to the cotton ball and then wipe down the inside of the dog's ear. But do not press it down into the ear canal and only run it around where you can see. Pushing the cotton ball past where you can see can damage the lab's sensitive inner ear. It is the same reason why Q-tips are not recommend for cleaning dog ears.
Ears should also be kept dry, and even if you don't always need to do a full cleaning after a bath or swimming, they should at least be dry. Just grab a dry cotton ball and pat it around the ear to absorb any water. Not doing this can result in possible ear infections.
If you notice your dog scratching at their ears, tilting their head, a bad smell, or a lot of flaky build-up in their ear, it is time for a vet appointment as this could be a sign of infection or parasites.
Labs don't have any special needs when it comes to nail care. Just make sure to trim them regularly. A good judge of when it is time for a clip is when you hear the dog's nails click on a hard surface while they are getting up from lying down.