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When I first got my fur baby, I was utterly in love with him. I didn’t think there was anything he could ever do that would annoy me in the slightest! That was until I started finding soft, golden fur EVERYWHERE! Why on earth do Golden Retrievers shed so much?
Like humans, Golden Retrievers constantly lose hair throughout the year. However, shedding does increase exponentially during “molting season.” Molting is the process of trading in a summer coat for a winter one or vice versa. The process happens twice a year and lasts about three weeks.
Whether you’re considering adding a Golden Retriever to your home, or you’ve already jumped into that golden pile of fur, it’s important to understand shedding. Knowing how to manage shedding is the best way to keep yourself out of a hairy situation.
The Hairy History of Shedding
Almost every animal goes through a process called “molting,” in mammals, this means exchanging one season’s coat for another. You may even notice your hair becoming thicker in the winter months; this is the same for Golden Retrievers.
Dogs switch their coats every two months as the temperature changes. Autumn’s dropping temperatures trigger hormones in your dog’s body that cause their undercoats to shed so they can grow back thicker and warmer. The same thing happens in spring, except the fur grows back shorter and cooler.
You could say that Golden Retriever’s “shedding season” occurs in the spring and the fall. This is when Golden Retrievers shed the most, but every Golden owner knows that shedding season is every season.
I know what you’re thinking: “my Golden Retriever lives a pampered life in an air-conditioned house! There is no temperature change! So why are they still shedding!” Well, in the grand scheme of the universe, temperature regulation is a modern innovation. It will take nature thousands of years before dogs stop shedding due to climate regulation.
Golden Retrievers shed more than most dog breeds due to their long double coats. A Golden Retriever’s coat is made up of two fundamental layers: the topcoat and the undercoat.
The Top Coat
The topcoat is the shiny, silky coat you probably fell in love with when you saw your Golden Retriever. This fluffy layer is waterproof and works to prevent cold water from contacting the skin.
The undercoat regulates body temperature and is the reason your house is covered in hair. The undercoat sheds every six months so that it can grow back thicker or thinner depending on the time of year.
Before you continue, notice that this subheading is titled “preventing shedding” and not “stopping shedding.”
There is no one way to stop shedding entirely, but there are ways to significantly decrease the amount of hair your Golden Retriever is losing and ending up on your floors. Using the proper brushes, soaps, and diets will help manage the amount of hair stuck to your clothes, furniture, and floors.
You should never, under any circumstances, shave your Golden Retriever. Shaving a dog with a double coat can cause irreparable damage to their skin and fur.
Your Golden Retriever’s coat is its natural cooling system. It keeps them warm and cools them off as the situation changes. Shaving your dog’s coat disrupts this, causing a temperature imbalance that can lead to overheating or hypothermia.
The undercoat of a Golden Retriever is made up of soft, dense hair. Shaving this will cause the hair to grow back coarse and heavy. Not only will this cause itchy discomfort for your dog, the fur will not function the correct way anymore.
Properly grooming your Golden Retriever is the best way to manage their shedding. By brushing your dog, you are essentially controlling their hair loss.
Brushes like the FURminator gather the loose hair in your dog’s undercoat and remove them. This allows you to dispose of the dog hair instead of letting it drop around your house.
Regularly washing your Golden Retriever essentially does the same thing as brushing, but more intensely.
I recommend brushing your Golden Retriever every day during their molting process and at least once a week throughout the rest of the year. In addition, it would be best if you washed your Golden Retriever once a week during their molt and every two weeks otherwise.
Using a de-shedding shampoo will not stop your dog from shedding; it just causes all the loose hair stuck in their coat to release. Don’t wash your dog with de-shedding shampoo if you aren’t prepared for a lot of wet hair.
Diet is another crucial factor in determining how much your dog will shed. A low nutrition diet will cause your dog’s coat to be brittle and break easily. This will increase the amount of hair that ends up everywhere but your dog’s coat.
A diet rich in Omega-3 fatty acids will strengthen your dog’s hair follicles, preventing damage and hair loss. An Omega-3 rich diet will also cause your dog’s coat to shine!
Dealing with Shedding
Preventing shedding is the first step in stopping your floors from looking like your dog. But, unfortunately, there will still be shedding regardless of how much grooming upkeep you do.
If you’re like me, you love to cuddle up on the couch with your fur baby and watch a movie. Unfortunately, as cozy and cute as it is, this does lead to a lot of dog hair on your furniture. If you want to snuggle but want hairless furniture for guests, I recommend a leather couch or a machine washable couch cover.
Leather and similar materials don’t hold onto fur as easily as cloth, so a simple wipe down will remove most fur from your couch. If you have a cloth couch, using an easily removable cover makes for a quick clean-up.
You may want to invest in a couch cover even if you own a leather couch. Covers can prevent rips in leather from your dog’s nails as well as general wear and tear on your furniture.
If you own a lot of black clothing, be prepared to use a lint roller…a lot. I personally have three mini lint rollers in my car, and a dozen large lint rollers spread throughout my house. Investing in lint rollers is the best preventative measure you can take in the battle of fur vs. clothing.
I’ve owned dogs my entire life, and I have dealt with shedding my entire life. I used to vacuum twice a week and I still was up to my elbows in dog hair.
I saw advertisements for robot vacuums that vacuum your house while you’re not home. While I was skeptical, I caved in and bought an iRobot.
It was the best decision of my life!
I run my iRobot once a day, and it cleans the entire house with a touch of a button.
As a result, the amount of dog hair in my house has dramatically decreased, and so has my stress about vacuuming!
Golden Retrievers are bubbly balls of golden fur, and that fur will end up on every surface of your house if not managed properly. However, there are preventative measures you can take to manage your Golden Retriever’s shedding.
Golden Retrievers shed so much due to their thick double coats that change every six months due to environmental changes. While your Golden Retriever will shed year-round, the shedding will increase twice a year for two to three weeks during molting.
Using grooming brushes and de-shedding shampoo are great ways to control the amount of hair loss that falls out of your dog’s coat. In addition, a self-driving vacuum such as an iRobot or a Roomba will help in preventing hairy floors.