Does a Golden Retriever Need Grooming?
Does a Golden Retriever need grooming? The short answer is yes. Golden Retrievers have a gorgeous, golden double coat that does not need much daily care, but weekly brushing is wise, especially when they shed. Besides brushing, your Golden will need trimming of the feet, heels, and ears.
You can take your Golden to a grooming salon, but you can also groom yourself. Here are some tips and recommendations to get you started.
It’s wise to begin grooming when your Golden is still a puppy. The coat of a young puppy doesn’t need grooming yet, but this way, your Golden pup can get familiar with the brush, the scissors, with you touching and stroking him or her, looking at his or her teeth by opening the mouth, etc.
This will make the grooming experience a positive one for you as well as your dog. Your local grooming salon will also be thankful that your pup is allowing people to touch him or her if you decide to take your dog to the groomer!
Some dogs love to be brushed, groomed, and bathed. My dog Stippy isn’t a big fan of grooming, but he’ll endure it and is very sweet and patient. Goldens need weekly brushing, and when they are molting, they need brushing every other day. While brushing your Golden, you can check the fur and skin of your Golden Retriever for wounds or parasites.
It also allows you to check whether the ears are clean. The thick coat and undercoat keep your Golden warm in winter, cool in summer, and offer protection against all kinds of external influences. Abundant hairs on the legs and ears can easily be trimmed; see the “trimming advice” later on in this blog.
How Do I Brush My Golden Retriever?
Start by putting your puppy or dog on a table and have him or her stand up. It’s easier to brush and groom your Golden when he or she is standing, and it will make the experience for your dog much better. Having a young pup standing for a more extended period can be difficult, I know, but don’t give up.
In the beginning, have someone help you by holding your Golden puppy and reward him or her with some yummy treats for standing still and being such a good girl or boy. Your pup will learn and will get more relaxed in time.
There are several types of brushes you can use; each has its purpose. Begin brushing by using a slicker brush. Brush the entire body of your dog. The head, back, belly, chest, paws, tail, behind the ears, the armpits, and the back legs. These last three mentioned spots are spots where matting can occur, so they are essential to brush and prevent matting.
Brush gently down to the skin, a small section at the time, and be careful not to brush too firm, which can hurt your dog. Brush with the direction the hair grows. A dog groomer, who is a friend of mine, told me it is best to start brushing at the bottom and work your way up, start at the end of the dog and work towards the front.
After you’ve finished brushing, you can start with combing your Golden by using a stainless steel combination comb, which has wide-spaced teeth and one end and narrow-spaced teeth and the other end. Start combing with the wide end, and once it glides through the coat, repeat the combing with the narrow end so you can comb away any tangles or knots that can lead to matting.
Adult Golden Retrievers shed during the shedding season, which is twice a year around Spring and Autumn. You’ll know it’s that time of the year again when you find more golden hairs than usual on your floor, clothes, and couch, and your vacuum cleaner will is used a lot more!
During these periods, the dead undercoat of your Golden needs to be brushed out. The best tool to use for that is an undercoat rake. I use that on my Toller Stippy, who has a similar type of coat as a Golden, and it brushes out the dead, dull hair very quickly and will save you a lot of grooming time. Be gentle when using the undercoat rake and pull away from the skin, not rake into the surface, or you will hurt your dog.
Also, my groomer friend advises not to use the undercoat rake too often as it can cut away the outer coat as well, and brushing your Golden Retriever too much can stimulate more shedding as well and we definately don’t want even more shedding!
Golden Retriever Grooming Advice
The Golden Retriever comes with a double coat: An undercoat that insulates against heat, cold and water, and an outer coat that protects the skin, for example, when your dog runs through dense bushes. The coat of a Golden Retriever does not need much maintenance, and the dog should look natural and normal. Still, some parts need to be trimmed to give the Golden a well-cared for and functional appearance. I decided to buy a trimming kit (link to check the price on Amazon) for grooming my retriever Stippy.
How To Groom a Golden Retriever’s Ears?
On top of the ears and behind the Golden Retriever’s ears grows long, fuzzy hair that can form tangles if not shortened. Use thinning scissors for that. I’ve bought a scissors kit (click here for the link to Amazon) which I use on a regular basis and makes trimming life so much easier.
You can follow this step by step guide about how to trim your Golden’s ears.
Step 1. Start with trimming the fuzzy hairs behind the ear. Hold the thinning shears vertically (with the scissors’ tips upwards and make sure the blades of the shears are under the fuzzy hair close to the skin.
Make sure you don’t touch or cut the skin. Make about three cuts with the shears. After that, stop, brush out, and take a look. Repeat this a couple of times until the fuzzy hairs are thinned to your liking. Don’t remove all of the hair. You just need to thin it and trim the straggly, messy hair so it will fall neatly on the neck.
Step 2. Trim the inside of the ear. Start in the middle below the ear entrance and work your way towards the face. The shorter and flatter you trim, the more you will create a “hard look” for your dog, so be careful with cutting too short.
Step 3. Trim the inside of the ear above the entrance of the ear. Unless your Golden is heavily, thickly coated on the inside of his or her ear, you only need to make one gentle stroke with the trimming scissors. Make on cut upwards following the shape of the ear, and one cut the opposite direction (towards the face of your dog) while making sure you cut close to the skin under the coat.
Step 4. Trim the top of the ear. The hair of your Golden naturally grows longer at the top front of the ear and grows shorter towards the ear’s tip. When trimming the ears, you want to keep this natural effect by trimming the ear only to neaten and shorten. So if you cut off too much at the front, you can create a harsh facial expression instead of the Goldens natural soft, kind expression.
Hold the hair on the top front of the ear between your fingers and keep the trimming scissors’ angle the same as the long hair on top of the ear with the tip of the scissors facing upwards. This way, the cut will be shorter at the tip and longer at the top of the ear to maintain the Golden’s natural look.
If you are a beginner, the advice is to do the ear trimming in small steps over a period of several days so you can see the progress of your trimming and the impact of the cuts.
Step 5. Trim the outside edge of the ear using the thinner shears with quick repetitive cuts around the edge of the ear. Start by holding the ear up and begin cutting from below upwards. Be very careful not to cut into the skin and keep the ear away from your dog’s face and head.
How To Groom a Golden Retriever’s Feet?
Between the soles of the feet, the hair grows over the soles of the feet. This hair is usually cut short to align with the soles of the feet themselves, which gives a cleaner image but is also more pleasant for your Golden. Dogs sweat through the soles of their feet, so it is better and more comfortable for them when their feet and soles are free of long hair.
In the winter, these long hairs can also cause ice formation between the soles of the feet that will irritate the dog. In the Spring and Summer, long hairs on the feet and paws can pick up grass spikes, which can be very irritating and even dangerous for your dog if they are not picked out of their hair quickly.
For cutting the feet, you use straight scissors, the size does not matter much, but a small pair of scissors is more pleasant due to the small surface. To prevent accidental damage to the skin, make sure you cut with the scissors’ blade, not with the tip.
Keep the blade flat on the section to be cut and the tip directed outwards. This way, you’ll cut the hair between the soles of the feet and the outer edges. For the largest, upper sole, bring the hairs down, from top to bottom. The hairs, which fall over the sole, need to be cut away on that line with the straight scissors.
On the front legs, there is an extra cushion above the foot at the wrist’s height. The hair that grows between that cushion and the foot is trimmed with thinning shears. Such scissors have a standard blade and a blade with a kind of comb, this means that the fur is thinned evenly instead of cut straight as normal with straight scissors do.
Hold the front leg by the forefoot and comb the hair between the foot and upper cushion before you cut. Then you epilate the hair there in a straight line from the foot to the very tip of the cushion so that it gradually becomes longer and overflows into the feathering of the front leg.
When the foot is back on the ground, you can use a straight pair of scissors to adjust the foot’s lower edges so that no tufts stick out. Be careful not to cut away too much. You should not be able to see the cushion clearly from the side of the foot.
The hair between the toes must be shortened to the top of the foot. To do this, we lift the hairs between the toes, making sure that you only raise the long, soft hairs between the toes. Next, hold the single scissors flat on your dog’s foot, cut the hairs against the direction of the hair growth, and point the scissors towards the dog.
A few short snaps on your Golden Retriever’s foot (not between the toes) and then drop the coat again and see if more needs to be cut away. You can use a normal comb to lift the hairs. The overall look must be natural.
The Golden has a so-called “cat foot”: round with well-connected toes. Therefore, it is important not to cut away too much hair and not to cut between the toes. The result is a round, closed foot with neat, straight edges and no protruding tufts.
How To Groom a Golden Retriever’s Heels?
The hair on the back of the heels grows longer, and it is desirable to shorten this with a small curved shear. For this, you first comb the hair straight back so that the hairs protrude. Then place the scissors at the top of the heel, pointing vertically downwards. Cut down several times in a straight line, cutting the hair entirely to one length.
Regularly comb the hair back to get an overview of what still needs to be shortened. Shorten well from all sides until the coat on the heel forms a neat overall look.
How Often Should I Trim My Golden Retriever’s Nails?
The nails need to be trimmed at least every 2 – 4 weeks unless your dog walks a lot on hard surfaces like pavements, this will wear the nails so they can be cut with more extended time in between the trimming.
On average, it must be done every 2- 4 weeks, and if you’ll do it yourself, it is recommended to buy a nail clipper that is suitable for large dogs. The pliers’ type is the best. Be very careful not to cut into the life of a nail! That will hurt and bleed a lot. If you don’t want to cut the nails yourself, go to your local dog grooming salon or vet for a nail trim regularly. I do that, as well. If the groomer doesn’t have time, I’ll go to the vet and have Stippy’s nails done!
How Often Should I Brush My Golden Retriever’s Teeth?
An essential part of your Golden’s care that is often overlooked is the care of the teeth. If the dog’s teeth are not clean, he will have bad breath, but more importantly, poor oral hygiene can result in all kinds of diseases, discomfort, and pain.
Dogs with dirty teeth can suffer from mouth infections. Periodontitis, if not controlled, can result in infections that can occur in essential organs such as kidneys, liver, brain, and heart. Other problems, such as mouth ulcers and loose teeth, can also be caused by inadequate oral hygiene.
You can prevent all these unpleasant problems by brushing your dog’s teeth regularly. I was advised by my vet and dog groomer to brush my dog’s teeth at least once a week, but twice a week is better. I brush his teeth on Sundays and Wednesdays.
Do not use toothpaste for people, but toothpaste and toothbrushes that have been specially developed for dogs. It is best to start learning this method of dental care at a young age. Our dog Stippy loves the taste of the dog toothpaste, so he doesn’t mind when I brush his teeth twice every week. Offering chewing tufts and chew toys also promotes dental cleaning.
How To Brush my Golden Retriever’s Teeth?
If you do this for the first time, I recommend first to let your dog taste the dog toothpaste. For my dog I use the Virbac CET Enzymatic Toothpaste which is vet recommended. Dogs like the taste most of the time! After that, let your dog get used to the toothbrush inside its mouth, so without putting the toothpaste on the brush, first, gently move the toothbrush inside your dog’s mouth and rub it against the side of the teeth and the front teeth. Make this a positive experience for your pup by rewarding your dog with praise and a yummy treat.
Now the real brushing begins. Start by putting the dog toothpaste on the dog toothbrush. Have your dog sit or stand on a table or something high enough, so you don’t have to bend over. Make sure your dog is safe and can’t fall off the table. If you prefer your dog on the ground, then kneel in front of or beside your dog.
Gently move the toothbrush with the dog toothpaste on it inside your dog’s mouth and brush it against the teeth. Make sure you clean the side, on top, and the back. Repeat this to brush on the other side and make sure you put new toothpaste on it before brushing the other side.
To brush the front upper teeth, apply some new toothpaste on the brush and gently pull up the front of your dog’s upper lip to clean the front teeth. To brush the front lower teeth, gently pull down your dog’s lower lip so you can brush the lower front teeth.
And that’s it, you’re done! Praise your sweet pup for his or her good behavior and always make the brushing of teeth a positive, fun experience for your doggy.
How Often Should a Golden Retriever be Groomed?
The Golden Retriever should be groomed at least every six weeks to keep your Goldens coat shiny, healthy, and tidy. The nails should be clipped every 2 to 4 weeks, and the teeth should be brushed once or twice a week.
The Golden Retriever has a double coat, so if your Golden gets wet or dirty, which he or she most likely will be since it’s a Golden, a high-velocity dryer can be very convenient! With this device, you can easily and quickly blow dry your Goldens coat and meanwhile blow most of the sand and dirt out of the coat as well. This can save you and your dog the hassle of a bath unless your pooch stinks after the outdoor adventure!
If you’re interested, click on this link to Amazon to check the high-velocity blow dryers they have in store. For Stippy, my Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, also double-coated, I use the Upgraded Dog Dryer when he’s wet and sandy (we live near the beach, so he’s sandy most of the time). It blows the sand and dirt right out of his double coat. He hates taking a bath, so this is very helpful and prevents a lot of stress for him and hassle for me.
Do Golden Retrievers Need to be Shaved in the Summer?
The answer is no, never shave a Golden Retriever, no matter how hot the weather is. The double coat of the Golden protects your furbaby during every season and every temperature. The double coat keeps your dog cool during summer and warm during winter.
Look at it this way, the double coat of a Golden or any other double-coated breed works like sort of an insulation for the dog. Besides keeping your Golden nice and cool during summer and warm during winter, the double coat also protects your Golden’s skin from getting sunburned.
How Often Does a Golden Retriever Need a Bath?
It is not advisable to wash your Golden regularly because the shampoo detracts natural skin oils from your dog. Of course, your Golden gets dirty during your walks with him or her, so to prevent having a smelly dog in the house, you’ll need to bathe your Golden at some point. If you want to bathe your Golden regularly or your Golden pooch really needs to because he or she has rolled in something dirty again, make sure you use a mild dog shampoo, especially for dogs with skin conditions.
On average, if you give your Golden a bath once every 1 – 3 months is fine. Bathing is not a necessity. I know people who almost never give their Golden a bath or shower because the coat tens to “clean naturally.” When the coat dries, most of the dirt, sand, and mud will fall off. If you regularly let your Golden swim in clean water, the coat will remain beautiful and frequent washing is unnecessary.
If you don’t have clean, natural water in your area, the high-velocity dryer, which I wrote about earlier, might also be a good option for you to blow dry the dirt and sand out of your Goldens coat.
If your Golden retriever needs a bath, I recommend giving him or her a shower instead of a bath. Because Goldens have a double coat, it’s almost impossible to get all the shampoo out of the coat unless you shower them. Bathing them in standing water is fine as long as you can rinse them off with a hand-held shower sprayer to rinse away all the shampoo.
When bathing a puppy, make sure to use a good quality mild dog shampoo especially for puppies. You can bathe your small pup in the sink, to begin with, and as your puppy grows, you can use the bathtub or shower. Because they are so young, they can get used to bathing, and learning it is a positive thing. The coat of a puppy dries fast but to prevent your little furball from cooling down too much dry your puppy off as quickly as possible. Never put shampoo directly on the coat. Make sure your puppy or adult dog is fully wet before you apply shampoo.
Scrub your dog thoroughly, the head (make sure to avoid soap in the eyes!), ears, face, tail, armpits, everywhere. Make sure that you get all the shampoo rinsed out; otherwise, your puppy or adult dog can get flaky skin. I always rinse my dog at least twice to make sure all the shampoo is gone.
I hope this article was helpful, and I wish you happy grooming, trimming, and bathing! Try not to get too wet yourself!