Why You Should Never Shave Your Golden Retriever

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When my friend added her Golden Retrievers to her home we loved cuddling up on the couch together during the winter months. When the summer months began approaching, we began to worry the dog would be too hot in the Florida sun. Unfortunately we made the huge mistake of shaving her! Now I know why you should never shave your Golden Retriever.

Golden Retrievers have double coats that protect their skin from water, bugs, and harmful sunlight. Shaving a Golden Retriever will cause your dog to lose this protection, which can lead to sunburn, parasites, and infection. Your dog's coat will also grow back coarse and prickly. 

We learned the consequences of shaving a Golden Retriever the hard way. Now we know the truth about how to groom and take care of a Golden Retriever's coat. We also know the truth to the myths surrounding Golden Retrievers and shaving.

Myths vs Truths of Shaving a Golden Retriever

Golden Retrievers' double coats is what gives them their gorgeous thick look. The under coat provides fluff for the top coat to lay smoothly over. Unfortunately, Double coats are more complicated when it comes to grooming habits when compared to single coats.

There are lots of myths about taking care of a Golden Retrievers' coat, especially in regards to shaving. Let's straighten them out!

Myths Facts
â€Shaving a golden retriever will allow them to cool off easier in the warmer months†Dogs don’t release heat through their skin, instead they cool off by panting and releasing heat through their paw pads. Shaving a Golden Retriever exposes their skin to direct sunlight, which will cause them to heat up faster. Shaving your dog makes it harder for them to cool off!
â€Shaving my Golden Retriever will prevent fleas and ticks from attacking my dog†Shaving is not a successful method in reducing flea and tick issues. Instead use preventative medications or a flea and tick spray!
â€Shaving will prevent hot spots on my Golden Retriever†Shaving your dog will not prevent hot spots. The best way to combat hot spots it through a rich diet with proper supplements

I believed these myths for a long time, I only found out the truth when my friend and I shaved her Golden Retriever. You're not alone if you thought these things to be true, and you are right to be worried about them. However, there are other alternatives to control temperature, parasites, and hot spots.

If you are worried about your Golden Retriever overheating in the warmer months, make sure they have plenty of water, and access to shade. You can also use cooling blankets to help them stay cool despite the heat

Every dog owner's biggest pain is fleas, ticks and hot spots! Trust me, I've dealt with all of them, but shaving is not the solution. If your dog is constantly plagued by these issues, consult your veterinarian about treatment. 

For everyday preventatives I spray my dogs with Advantage Flea and Tick Treatment Spray to give them an extra defense. To fight off the hot spots I bathe my dogs in anti-fungal soap once every two weeks.

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Can You Cut a Golden Retriever's Hair Short?

Just because you can't shave your Golden Retriever doesn't mean they can't get a haircut every now and then to stay sharp. I personally don't have the confidence or the skill to cut my Golden Retriever's hair, so she goes to the groomer once a month. If you decide to DIY your dog's coat, there are a few things to keep in mind.

You can absolutely cut a Golden Retriever's hair short, but it should not be shorter than three inches from your dog's body. Never use an electric razor to cut hair, instead use shearing scissors to maintain that feathered look. You can also brush your dog with a deshedding brush to cut down on hair around the house.

Proper grooming practice is extremely important for Golden Retrievers and other double coated breeds. You should brush them at least once a week to avoid matting. If you and your dog are outdoors often, you should increase brushing to two times a week. 

Your Golden Retriever's paw pads are also important areas to pay attention to. Dogs expel heat through their paw pads, so making sure the fur surrounding their paws is short and maintained is extremely important to make sure they don't overheat. 

If your dog is often outside in wet environments, make sure you pay close attention to their ears. Clean them regularly to prevent infection and keep them trimmed to stop wax buildup.

If you have concerns about how to maintain your Golden Retriever's coat, consult your local groomer. In my experience groomers are always ready to assist you in managing your dog's hair!

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Does Shaving a Golden Retriever Ruin Their Coat?

I can tell you from first hand experience that shaving a Golden Retriever will ruin their coat! When we shaved my friend's dog and her fur finally grew back in, it was an absolute mess of wirey fur mixed with soft tufts. It is still patchy in some areas and the poor thing was itchy for a month. You should never shave your Golden Retriever.

Shaving your Golden Retriever's coat can and will ruin their coat. Shaving your dog's coat will disrupt your dog's natural molting cycle. This will be a big problem when the winter months approach and your dog's body is not prepared. Your dog's hair will also grow back coarse and itchy.

We talked a bit about Golden Retrievers' double coats, but let's get into the hairy details! Golden Retrievers have two very distinct parts of their coats: the top coat and the under coat.

The top coat is the surface layer of fur. This part of the double coat contributes to the long, sleek look standard in the breed. This part of the coat is used to stop water and debris from reaching the skin. 

The undercoat is the second layer of fur. It consists of soft fur under the tough top coat. The undercoat keeps Golden Retrievers warm in the winter and cool in the summer. The under coat sheds twice a year during a process known as "molting." Summer molting causes the undercoat of your dog's fur to shed off and grow back thinner. During winter molting, the under coat sheds off and grows in thicker to keep them warm.

Final Thoughts

You should never shave your Golden Retriever, under any circumstances. Shaving a double coated dog can cause irreversible damage to their coat. 

You may think that shaving your Golden Retriever would allow them to cool off easier, but that is simply a myth. While it may not appear to, your Golden's coat is doing exactly what it's supposed to do in those warm months.

Shaving a Golden Retriever has no benefit to you or your dog, they will get fleas/ticks and hot spots either way, and they will actually become hotter in the summer if shaved. When grooming your Golden Retriever, take care not to trim the under coat, or it will grow back course and itchy for your dog.

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