Golden Retriever Grooming: Simple Tips to Make It Easy

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When we decided to add our Golden Retriever to our family, we knew he would shed more than other dog breeds. However, I didn't realize just how much he would shed until I was knee high in hair. Then, through tons of trial and error, I figured out the trick to make Golden Retriever grooming easy and prevent the worst of the shedding.

  • Having a bathing schedule is necessary, and YES you can over bathe!
  • Brushing regularly is essential to coat health.
  • Proper grooming techniques should be practices from head to toes!
  • Robot vacuums are the best thing since sliced bread.
  • You and your dog don't need to be on opposite sides of the war against fur!

Whether you already have a Golden Retriever or consider adding one to your home, you need to know about grooming. Knowing proper bathing and grooming techniques will make a big difference in the amount of hair in your house and increase the comfort of your dog.

How Often Should You Bathe Your Golden Retriever?

Golden Retrievers are generally a water-loving breed. I thought this would mean my golden boy would love bath time. I have never been more wrong in my life. The first time I put my puppy in the bath, he howled the entire time and tried to jump out of the sink. I began to wonder if I needed to give him baths.

Golden Retrievers should be bathed at least once every six weeks. Any longer and your dog could develop mats. If your dog is very active and gets dirty, you can bathe them as often as once per week. However, washing more than once per week can cause the skin to dry out and become irritated.

Washing your Golden Retriever

When your Golden Retriever is a puppy, you can wash them in a large sink; once they grow larger, using a bathtub or shower will be the easiest way to wash them. One nifty tool that you can use is a shower head that can be attached directly to your garden hose outside!

How cool is that?

Let the water run until it is lukewarm before putting your dog into the bath. Next, soak your dog thoroughly to saturate both their top and bottom coats. You want to ensure they are entirely wet, so their skin is not irritated by the soap.

Once you have soaked your dog, lather your chosen soap into their coat. You can use a bath brush or a grooming glove to massage the soap into your dog's coat. Make sure to wash their legs and feet along with their body. 

When you finish scrubbing your dog down, rinse the soap from your dog's coat.

golden-retriever-bathing

This is the most crucial part of bathing your dog.

If you leave soap suds in your dog's coat, it will irritate the skin and cause itching.

After you've rinsed your dog, you can towel dry them with a soft towel, let them air dry, or blow-dry them. If you decide to blow dry your Golden Retriever, make sure you use a dog-safe blow dryer with a low heat setting.

Washing a Golden Retriever That Does Not Want to be Washed

My Golden Retriever hated bath time when he was a puppy, it's still not something he enjoys, but he tolerates it enough to let me do it. So if you have a Golden Retriever that despises bath time, don't worry; there are steps you can take to make bath time more enjoyable.

It can be very traumatizing for a puppy to be put in a sink, soaked, soaped, and soaked again. Therefore, it is vital to make baths feel as safe as possible for a young dog. Being traumatized early in life will only make bath time difficult in the future. 

If you are already in that future of difficult bath times, try to make them as enjoyable as possible. For example, talk to your dog in a calming voice throughout the bath, and try giving them treats when they sit still. This will show your dog that the tub is not a bad place.

Keep your dog on a leash during the bath so they can't jump out and run away. If you have someone to help you, have them hold the leash while you soap up your dog. Your dog will begin to associate positive feelings with bath time if you reward them after the bath.

Brushing vs. Shaving

Golden Retrievers have two layers to their coats. When the lower layer loses hair, it becomes trapped between the two layers until it becomes too heavy. Therefore, it would be best to groom your Golden Retriever every 1-2 weeks to prevent an excessive amount of loose shedding. 

Brushing

Hand brushing your Golden Retriever is a great way to bond with your dog while preventing hair loss. However, brushing your Golden Retriever does not necessarily prevent shedding; it just controls the location and time of the shedding.

When you brush your Golden Retriever with a grooming brush, you are taking the fur that has detached from their body and pulling it out of their coat. If you don't brush out the loose hair, it will fall out on its own.

All. Over. Your. Home.

I have found the best grooming brush for Golden Retrievers is from the Amazon Basic 8-peice Pet Brush and Grooming Set. The set includes multiple brushes and combs to target every angle of hair loss. It also comes with grooming mits that are great for bathtime, and nail clipper!

Brushing your Golden Retriever also helps reduce mats and knots that can build up in your dog's coat. Mats and knots can become huge if not dealt with in a timely manner. Some knots can become so huge they have, a groomer or veterinarian has to cut them out. To prevent knots and matting, brushing your dog one to two times a week is good practice.

Shaving

You should never shave a Golden Retriever under any circumstances. Shaving a double-coated dog can significantly damage their fur. Shaved fur may grow back coarse and itchy, or not at all. Shaving your Golden Retriever also messes with their natural hair growth cycle.

There are many myths surrounding shaving Golden Retrievers; some believe shaving will reduce hot spots or cool dogs off during warmer months. Unfortunately, not only are these beliefs false, they can harm Golden Retrievers in the long run.

Golden Retrievers follow a yearly cycle of shedding and hair regrowth. During the fall, Golden Retrievers shed their coats and grow them back thicker in preparation for winter. During spring, they shed their thick winter coats and grow them back thinner and lighter. This switching period is called molting. Shaving your Golden Retriever in the summer will cause them to be too cold in the winter months, which can lead to hypothermia

Shaving your Golden Retriever is never a good idea; it does not prevent shedding or hot spots. If you want to take care of your Golden Retriever's coat, brush it on a weekly basis and talk to your veterinarian about any skin concerns you may have.

How Short Should Golden Retrievers' Nails Be?

A Golden Retrievers' fur is not the only thing that needs to be groomed; their nails are essential as well! If a Golden Retrievers' nails are too long, it can affect how they walk, cut their paws, and cause many other health issues.

Golden Retrievers' nails should be cut every two to four weeks and kept within 2 millimeters of the quick. The quick of the nail is the light, pink-colored skin on the underside of the nail where the new nail is formed. A good rule to follow is that your dog's nails should not curl or touch the floor.

How to Cut Your Golden Retrievers' Nails

You cannot use regular, human nail clippers on your Golden Retriever. Instead, you must use dog nail clippers. Dog nail clippers are specially designed for dogs' thick, round nails. 

A well-trained and willing dog will make the best manicure client. For example, I taught my dogs how to shake when they were young. Not only does this look adorable, but it makes them comfortable with having their feet touched. 

When it comes time to cut their nails, I ask them to shake and hold their paw while I cut their nails. I also talk to them and give them rewards when we are finished. Rewarding them ensures they will let me cut their nails again in the future. 

golden-retriever-nail-cut

Be careful not to cut the quick of your dog's nails as this will be extremely painful and cause bleeding. You can identify your dog's quick by looking at the underside of their nail. You should see a pink line at the root of the nail; this is the quick. Do not cut your dog's nails shorter than 2 millimeters away from this line.

Some people believe that cutting the quick will stop new nail growth. This is not true. Your dog's nails will continue to grow even if you cut the quick. The only thing that will happen after cutting the quick is bleeding and a lot of pain for your dog.

If you are scared of cutting your dog's nails too short, you can try using a dog-safe Dremel tool as a safe alternative to nail clippers. Using the Dremel will take longer than nail clippers as you have to file down your dog's nail. However, you are less likely to cut too short with the Dremel, so it is safer than clippers if you have enough time. Here's one on Amazon that is designed for use on dogs:

Tips for Golden Retriever Grooming

The happiness a Golden Retriever will bring to your household far outweighs the amount of fur you will need to pick up. Golden Retriever grooming can be easy if you follow these simple tips.

  1. Brush your dog. Using a de-shedding brush or glove and grooming your dog a few times a week will make a massive difference in your dog's shedding level. By purposely removing the loose fur from your dog's coat, you prevent it from falling out around the house.
  2. Make bath time fun. Bathing your Golden Retriever regularly is the best way to control and contain your dog's inevitable hair loss. If you want to maximize bath time hair loss, use a de-shedding shampoo with your regular soap. Making bath time enjoyable is a way to minimize shedding while spending quality time with your dog
  3. Trim your dog's nails. You can use a Dremel tool or a regular pair of dog-safe nail clippers to trim their nails. Make sure their nails do not touch the floor and don't cut the quick. Use treats to make the manicure process enjoyable for both you and your dog.
  4. Get a good vacuum. Having a good vacuum on your side will be your secret weapon in the war against fur. I have an iRobot that I run during the day while I'm at work. It has been life-changing and time-saving as it picks up all the hair my fur babies drop during the day.

Hands down, the best decision I ever made was to get the robot vacuum.

Final Thoughts

  • Golden Retriever Grooming does not have to be a war between you and your dog.
  • Golden Retriever's double coats are the reason they shed more than other single coat dogs.
  • Bathing your Golden Retriever is extremely important as their double coats can trap hair and dirt that cause knots and infections.
  • Ensure you rinse all the soap out of your dog's coat when giving them a bath to prevent irritation and itching.
  • If your dog is scared of the bath, using a calming voice and treats can make bath time more enjoyable for you and your dog. 
  • You can use a de-shedding shampoo to increase the amount of loose hair you get off your dog during bath time.
  • Brushing your Golden Retriever is a great way to control the location and time of hair loss. Brush your dog a few times a week for the best results.
  • Brushing your dog is a great way to bond with them while minimizing shedding.
  • You should never shave your Golden Retriever as it can mess up the growth cycle of your dog's coat.
  • Investing in an iRobot can reduce the amount of golden hair that ends up on your floor and furniture.
  • Nails are the other major component in grooming your dog.
  • You should cut your dog's nails short enough not to touch the floor but not too short as to cut the clip.
  • Dremels and dog nail clippers are both equally effective in trimming your dog's nails. A Dremel will take significantly longer to get the same results as nail clippers.

About THE AUTHOR

Shelby Hatcher

Shelby Hatcher

Shelby has a love for animals of all types and enjoys researching and writing about them. She’s currently a student at the University of Florida. When she’s not studying she enjoys volunteering in her community and spending time in nature.

Read more about Shelby Hatcher