In this post, I’m going to show you exactly how (and how often) to groom your golden retriever.
Goldens have beautiful golden coats, which do require some work to take care of, but grooming them isn’t as bad as many people make it out to be.
Grooming your golden retriever should include taking care of their coats, paws, nails, ears, and teeth.
And in addition to keeping them looking their best, grooming them has many health benefits, too, like keeping their skin healthy, preventing joint issues, and fighting against infection.
Keep reading to learn how to groom your golden retriever step by step, plus when and how often to do each grooming task.
How To Take Care Of Your Golden Retriever’s Coat
When most people think of grooming, they think of taking care of their dog’s coat.
And although goldens have beautiful coats, they aren’t just for looks—they’re important for their health as well.
Golden retrievers are a double-coated breed which means that they have a thick, fluffy undercoat and a long, smooth outer coat.
Their water-proof double coat protects them from sunburn, extreme warm and cold temperatures, dirt, and other debris.
Because of the importance of their double coat, it’s important to never shave them.
Many people think that shaving them in the summer is helping them, but since their double coat regulates their body temperature (they release heat through their paws and nose, they don’t sweat like we do), it’s important to never do this.
When it comes to taking care of your golden retriever’s coat, there are three parts:
When, How, And How Often To Brush Your Golden Retriever
Golden retrievers need to be brushed 3-7 times per week with a slicker brush.
My golden, Oliver, doesn’t have that much or that long of fur (he resembles more of a field-bred golden), so we brush him 3-4 times per week.
Other goldens with lots of fluff may need to be brushed more often.
Brushing them will help prevent matting and get rid of the dead fur, as well as prevent shedding all over your house.
And here’s a bonus tip: to help keep your house clean, make sure to brush your golden outside.
After you’ve brushed them, rub your hands down their back, chest, tail and legs to get any extra fur sticking to their coat.
Before I go out on a walk with Oliver, I take the brush out and leave it on the doorstep.
This ensures I do it when I get back, while also helping me remember to do it while he’s already outside.
Now a lot of people ask about deshedding their golden retriever with a tool such as the Furminator.
It’s not recommended to do this as their undercoats are incredibly important, and it can also strip their outer coats.
And finally, one more tip about brushing your golden is to take this opportunity of brushing and rubbing them all over to check for lumps, cuts, or any other abnormal spots.
When, How And How Often To Bathe Your Golden Retriever
Golden retrievers have natural oils that protect their skin and coats so bathing them too often can strip them of this oil and leave their skin prone to drying out or getting infections.
Most people bathe their golden retrievers every 1-2 months, although it would not hurt to wait even longer between baths.
And when bathing your golden retriever, make sure to:
- Use a dog-friendly shampoo
- Rinse them off thoroughly
- Dry them off completely with a blow dryer or towel
If you don’t rinse them off thoroughly, soap can get trapped in their fur and cause skin irritations.
The same goes for drying them off.
If you don’t dry them off well, moisture can get caught in their fur and cause hot spots.
To see an example of how to give your golden a bath, watch the video below.
How To Bathe Your Golden Retriever [VIDEO]
What a good boy!
Trimming Your Golden Retriever
Trimming your golden is not usually necessary unless you’re showing your dog, plus it can be dangerous if you cut their coat too short.
However, there are two areas that you might want to consider trimming whether you show them or not:
- Their feet
- Their potty parts
Golden retrievers tend to have “grinch feet” or “slippers” and grow lots of fur between their toes and pads.
If the bottoms of your dog’s pads are too furry, the fur can easily become matted and splay their toes, causing joint issues.
Another issue is that furry pads can cause them to not get good traction on wood or tile floors, which can also cause joint issues.
You can clip their paw fur to be about even with their pads.
The other area you may want to consider trimming are the areas around their butt and genitals.
If they have issues getting poop or pee on their coats, then you may do a light trim in those areas, but if not, then most people don’t trim around there at all.
How To Keep Your Golden Retriever’s Coat Shiny
Here are three tips for you if you want to keep your golden retriever’s coat looking shiny and healthy:
- Take care of their coat using the tips above
- Feed them a high-quality food
- Consider supplementing with fish oil
Now before you run away thinking you need to give your dog fish oil, talk to your veterinarian first and get their opinion.
They can help you decide if it’s a good idea for them considering their overall health.
Plus, fish oil may already be in their food, so there may be no need to supplement with it.
How To Take Care Of Your Golden Retriever’s Ears
The next important element of grooming your golden retriever is to take care of their ears.
Goldens have big, floppy ears that are adorable, but can sometimes cause ear infections because they easily trap in moisture and heat.
According to PetMD, you should clean your dog’s ears once a week with an ear cleaner and use a cotton ball to remove any wax buildup.
We use this ear cleaner for Oliver.
How To Take Care Of Your Golden Retriever’s Nails
If your dog’s nails get too long, they can easily break or tear off (leaving them prone to infection) or become so long that they interfere with how they walk.
To make sure neither of these things happens, clip your dog’s nails about once or twice a month.
How often they need to be clipped can depend on their environment and activity levels.
For example, a dog that runs or walks on concreate will naturally grind their nails down more than one that only walks on grass, dirt, or carpet.
When you clip their nails, cut the nail above the quick, but be sure to have styptic powder on hand to quickly stop the bleeding in case an accident happens.
We accidentally cut the very end of the quick once and were very thankful we had styptic powder on hand (we felt terrible and yes, Oliver got lots of treats as an apology gift).
How To Take Care Of Your Golden Retriever’s Paws
Taking care of your golden’s paw pads is another important part of their regular grooming.
First, make sure that their pads are not dry or cracked.
Walking on hot concrete or road salt are two things can cause this to happen.
If you notice this happening, talk to your veterinarian about it.
Another thing is to keep an eye on the fur between their pads.
We talked about it in the section on trimming your golden, but this fur can mat easily and splay your dog’s feet, so make sure it is trimmed, or at least not matted.
How To Take Care Of Your Golden Retriever’s Teeth
The final part of grooming your golden is to brush their teeth.
If you don’t, they can easily develop dental diseases, which can cause a multitude of health issues beyond just mouth problems if bacteria gets into their bloodstream.
Many people suggest that you brush your dog’s teeth every day, although PetMD concedes that you should brush your dog’s teeth at least 2-3 times per week.
Dry kibble, chewing on chew toys, dental toys, rope toys, and treats made for dental health can also help keep your dog’s teeth clean.
In addition to regular brushing, eating dry kibble, and chewing on toys, you can help take care of their teeth by bringing them in for a teeth cleaning from your veterinarian about once a year.
What About Professional Grooming?
Many people take their goldens to get professionally groomed every few months.
It typically costs about $50 (although this varies widely depending on quality and location) and they take care of all of the tasks listed above.
However, be sure to get a recommendation from another golden retriever owner as I’ve heard many horror stories of groomers cutting too much off of goldens and calling it a “puppy cut”, “athletic cut” or a “swimmer cut.”
Golden Retriever Grooming Calendar
With all of the grooming tasks that need to be done, it can be confusing on when to do each one, so we put together this calendar for you.
Tools For Grooming Your Golden Retriever
Of course, you can’t groom your golden without tools!
Here is what we recommend and use:
Slicker brush for brushing
Scissors for trimming paw and booty fur
Ear Cleaning Solution For Dogs
Grooming Your Golden Retriever Puppy
Many people are unsure of how to go about grooming their golden retriever puppy.
You might be thinking, “Why brush my puppy’s teeth? They’re just going to fall out…”
Or, “Why brush my puppy? His coat isn’t even fully grown.”
Very true, but getting your puppy used to being groomed will be so helpful when they’re bigger.
An unhappy 75 lb golden retriever in the shower is not easy to manage, but if you groom them often as puppies and pair it with positive rewards such as treats and praise, your puppy will enjoy grooming and it will be easy for you.
Grooming your golden retriever is so important because it can keep them looking their best while also keeping them healthy.
It’s a good chance for you to bond with them, check them for lumps and bumps, and keep the house clean from extra shedding.
Have any questions about how to groom your golden retriever?
Let me know in the comments below!
And if you know someone who needs to learn how to groom their golden, please share this with them!
And speaking of grooming, that’s one way to help manage your golden’s shedding, but we shared 16 other tips in our guide 17 Tips To Manage Golden Retriever Shedding (& Keep Your House Clean).