Gray Hair Problems in Labrador Retrievers

By Cindi Pearce

Some dogs, such as Labrador Retrievers, tend to gray early. If the dog is black, this is one of the reasons that he is greying early, according to Labs have the dominant black gene A. The black color will start to fade until it becomes gray. The gray hair will first be noticed near the muzzle.


Labrador Retrievers usually live between 10 and 12 years. As your Lab gets older you will notice that his fur begins to gray, particularly around his eyes, mouth and nose. This is characteristic of this breed of dog. Graying can start before the Lab turns 7 years old and it will become more prominent over the subsequent years. You may also notice that the fur on your Lab’s feet have become gray, especially in the area around the pads and in between his toes where there is long hair.

To Be Expected But ...

While graying is to be expected, if your dog is young and has gray hair, this may indicate a medical disorder which has altered the color of the dog’s hair. When premature graying occurs it is often accompanied by a change in the texture of your dog’s hair -- it becomes softer -- and by hair loss. Take your dog to see the vet so he can determine what is going on.

What the Dog Is Drinking and Eating

If a dog is drinking chlorinated or fluoridated water, this can lead to premature graying. When a dog is fed vegetables and grains, it puts stress on the liver and pancreas and can lead to premature graying. A dog is a carnivore and should eat meat.

Dog Health

As the dog ages, his coat thins. An older dog no longer has good circulation in his skin, which can cause his fur to become brittle. It breaks easier than it did when he was young and he will shed more. When a dog’s coat becomes thin and dull, regardless of the color, this can indicate a nutritional deficiency or a disease. Your vet may advise you to give your dog a fatty acid supplement, which brings back the luster to his coat.