How To Give A Golden Retriever A Bath (Step By Step)

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Want to learn how to give your golden retriever a bath so that they’re clean and healthy…

And do it in a way that they enjoy it?

You’re in the right place!

Most people are approaching bath time the wrong way, which is why their dog hates it.

And then when they finally do drag their pup into the shower, they’re not doing the few simple things that will leave their golden squeaky clean with a very soft coat.

But that won’t be you!

In this post, you’ll learn:

  • What you’ll need to bathe your golden
  • Step by step instructions for how to give them a bath
  • How to make bathtime EASIER (most people don’t do these 4 things, and that’s why their dog hates baths)
  • What to AVOID that can cause health problems for your golden
  • How often to bathe your golden retriever
  • And much more

Let’s dive in!

Golden Retriever Bath Supplies

Here’s what you’ll need to give your golden a good bath:

The above items are necessities, but two other items that you might want to have are:

  1. Blow dryer
  2. Treats

Your golden’s thick coat will make it tough for them to towel dry, and moisture trapped in their fur can cause skin problems, so many people (me included) get blow dryers for their dogs.

And as you’ll see in the video from the groomer below, blow dryers also help get dead fur out from their undercoat as you’re drying them.

We got this blow dryer from Amazon.

Treats will also be helpful because you want your pup to have an enjoyable experience while they’re getting a bath.

Giving them treats is the easiest way to do that, and Oliver likes these Zuke’s minis.

Now that you know what you need to give your golden retriever a bath, here’s how to do it, step by step.

How To Bathe Your Golden Retriever Step By Step

give golden retriever bath

Step 1: Get all of your supplies together

This will make things much easier, as you don’t want to leave your wet pup unattended to go grab the towels.

Definitely a recipe for a soaked house.

Step 2: Brush your golden

Getting as much dead fur out of their coat by brushing them before you wash them will help them get extra clean and soft.

Step 3: Get the water ready

You want the water to be lukewarm when you give your golden a bath.

Just like how you turn the water on and get the temperature right before you get in the shower, you’ll want to do it for your dog, too.

Step 4: Soak your golden retriever’s coat

Get their coat soaked down to the skin so that the shampoo will be able to work its magic.

And when you’re getting their face wet, hold their ears closed and put your hand over their nose so water doesn’t get in them.

Step 5: Wash their fur with shampoo

Use your fingers to massage the shampoo all the way down to their skin so that you’re getting all of the dirt and grime out of their fur and skin.

Scrub their muzzles, cheeks, butt, belly… everything!

Step 6: Brush them again

While the shampoo is soaking in their coat, brush your dog again.

You’ll get even more hair out of their coat and it’ll allow some extra time for the shampoo to do its work and clean them.

Step 7: Rinse them off

Leaving shampoo in your golden’s coat is an easy way for them to develop skin problems, so rinse them off until the water coming off of them is clear and there’s for sure no more shampoo in their coat… then rinse them some more.

And like when you were soaking them at the start of the bath, protect their ears and nose from getting water in them as you’re rinsing them off.

Step 8: Brush them again

After you rinse them off, here’s another opportunity to get more dead fur out of their coat.

We use a slicker brush again here, but the groomer in the video below used a comb instead of a brush for this step.

Step 9: Clean their ears

Cleaning your dog’s ears after giving them a bath will make sure that there’s no extra water sitting in their ear, which could cause an infection.

We use this ear cleaner for Oliver.

Step 10: Dry them

Start drying them off by using towels, then the blow dryer.

Step 11: Brush them one last time

Brushing them after they’re dry will give you one last chance to get some more of the undercoat out, plus get the fur laying straight down again after the blow dryer has messed it all up.

Bonus Step: Trim their nails

This is a good time to trim their nails because they’re wet and less brittle.

If you want to see how a groomer professionally bathes a golden retriever, check out the video below.

She also incorporates conditioning, a facial scrub, and trimming, which are not listed in the steps above.

How To Bathe Your Golden Retriever [VIDEO]

4 Bonus Tips To Make Bathing Your Golden Retriever Easier

Tip #1: Introduce your golden retriever to the bath equipment prior to bathtime

By getting them used to the sound of the water and the blow dryer, and getting them used to being in the tub or shower (even without the water on), they’ll be more comfortable come bathtime.

Tip #2: Exercise your golden before bathtime

If your golden is full of energy, bath time will be much harder.

Play some games or exercise them beforehand to get some energy out so they’ll be more relaxed in the tub.

Tip #3: Give lots of treats throughout the whole process

By giving treats throughout bath time, they’ll be more likely to enjoy it.

And if they enjoy it, it’ll be much easier for you.

Tip #4: Place a bath mat in the tub

If you bathe them in a tub, placing a rubber bath mat on the floor will help them get some traction and not slip and slide all over the place.

How Often To Give Your Golden Retriever A Bath

Golden Retrievers need a bath every 1-2 months.

They have natural oils that protect their skin and coats, so bathing them too often can strip them of these oils and leave their skin prone to drying out or getting infections.

It also depends on their lifestyle and their environment.

If you have an older golden that likes to stay inside, then they won’t need a bath that much, but if you have a younger golden that likes to roll around in the dirt outside, then they’ll need baths more often.

Golden Retriever Bathtime FAQ

bathe golden retriever

Here are some common questions golden retriever owners have about giving their dog a bath:

How do you dry your golden retriever?

The best way to dry your golden retriever is to use a combination of towels and a blow dryer.

First, use towels to get as much of the water off as you can.

When we wash Oliver, we usually use a couple towels to make sure they’re dry and soaking up a lot of water.

Then, once the towels have done their job, bring out the blow dryer to finish getting all of the water off.

It’s important to dry them as much as you can because if water is sitting in their coat, they’re more likely to develop skin issues like hot spots.

What’s the best shampoo for golden retrievers?

When choosing a shampoo for your golden, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Don’t use human shampoo (only use a dog-friendly shampoo)
  2. Take into account whether or not your golden has current skin issues or allergies
  3. Ask your vet what they recommend

We use this lavender oatmeal shampoo for Oliver and we like it, and you can learn more about the best shampoos for golden retrievers here.

Do golden retrievers like baths?

Every golden is different — some golden retrievers love baths, while others hate them.

Here are some tips to help your golden like bathtime:

  1. Start giving them baths early (even if they don’t need it and you don’t use shampoo, getting them used to the process will help)
  2. Give them lots of treats
  3. Exercise them before bathtime
  4. Get them used to the equipment before it’s actually bath time (we turned on the blow dryer before we used it on Oliver and scattered treats around it several times to teach Oliver that it was not a scary monster)

When should you start giving your golden retriever puppy a bath?

You can give your puppy a bath as soon as you get them (assuming you get them at 8 weeks old or older).

Like I said in the above question, starting them young will make things a lot easier down the road.

Getting a Golden Retriever puppy? Download the Potty Training Cheat Sheet to potty train them fast!

Where should you give your golden retriever a bath?

Puppies are usually small enough where they can get baths in the sink or a large bin.

But when they get bigger (they grow so fast!) you can wash them in the tub or shower.

I’ve even seen people make grooming stations for their backyard that consists of a raised platform and hooks to attach their collar to, then they just bring over the hose and blow dryer.


golden retriever bath

Bathing your golden retriever should be a fun bonding experience that you and your pup enjoy together.

Follow the steps above to make bathtime easy and effective, and you’ll enjoy a happy, healthy, clean golden retriever.

Have any questions about giving your golden retriever a bath?

Let me know down in the comments.

And if you liked this article, you’ll love these tips for grooming your golden retriever (including taking care of their paws, nails, teeth, and ears).

P.S. Getting a golden retriever puppy? Check out the Golden Retriever Puppy Handbook!

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