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In this post, you’re going to learn exactly how (and how often) to groom your Golden Retriever step by step.
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.
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 protecting them from infection and sunburn.
And not only will you learn how to groom your Golden Retriever, but you’ll also learn:
- The biggest mistake people make when grooming their Golden
- How to keep your Golden’s coat soft and shiny
- The secret to grooming your Golden Retriever puppy
- And whether or not you should take your dog to a professional groomer
Let’s get started with step one!
Gather Your Grooming Supplies
The first step in grooming your Golden Retriever is to get your grooming tools ready.
Doing this before you start grooming your dog will make this process go a lot faster and easier, especially if your dog doesn’t like to be groomed.
Here is what we recommend and use:
Ear Cleaning Solution For Dogs
Brush Your Golden Retriever
Brushing your Golden Retriever before you give them a bath is like picking up toys off the floor before you vacuum.
It’ll make bathing them a lot more effective and easier.
It gets the knots, mats, dead fur, and some of the dirt out so that you can get in there and clean the healthy fur.
Plus, it’ll help them be extra soft when you’re done grooming them.
Click here to read about the best brushes for Golden Retrievers.
Bathe Them With A Dog-Friendly Shampoo
To bathe your Golden Retriever, first, get them totally soaked so that the shampoo can lather up.
Next, start cleaning them with the shampoo.
(Read this article for more information about which type of shampoo is best for your Golden Retriever.)
I choose one section at a time when I’m bathing my Golden, Oliver.
I’ll start with his head and neck, move on to his shoulders and front legs, then his midsection, and finally his back legs and tail.
After you’re done washing them, be sure to rinse them off thoroughly so that all of the soap is out of their coat.
Their coats are thick and easily trap soap — and if that happens, it can lead to skin problems.
But it’s not only soap you need to be careful about their coats trapping…
Dry Them Thoroughly To Prevent Skin Problems
Golden Retrievers are prone to hot spots, and moisture trapped in their undercoats can become hot spot havens.
Dry them off with a towel as much as you can (microfiber towels work really well), then use a dog blow dryer to get even more water out of their coats.
Pro tip: to get your dog used to the blow dryer take it step by step.
First, turn it on in another room and give your dog treats while it’s on.
Then, have them in the same room while it’s on and give them treats.
Finally, once they’re comfortable with the sound, you can start slowly using it on them, praising them and giving them treats so they know it’s a good thing.
We did this process with my dog over about a week and he doesn’t mind it at all.
After you’ve dried your dog, brush them again to get more dead fur and water out of their coats.
Trim Their Coat
One of the biggest mistakes both Golden Retriever owners and professional groomers make is that they trim too much of their Golden’s coat.
Golden Retrievers have a double coat that protects them from both the cold and the heat.
Yes, even in the hot summer, their double coat keeps them cool, so never shave them.
Now, you could go full-on show dog and trim them to have a perfect coat that’s show ring-ready, but that’s not necessary for most Goldens.
All you really need to trim are their potty parts (so they don’t pee or poop on their fur), which is called a sanitary trim, and their feet.
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.
Clip their paw fur to be about even with their pads.
After this step, grooming their coat is finally finished!
On to the other parts that need grooming…
Clip Their Nails
After a bath, your dog’s nails will be wet and a little softer.
They’ll be easier to clip because they’re less likely to splinter.
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, so this is an important part of grooming them.
And when you’re trimming their nails, be sure to have styptic powder on hand.
This powder is to help stop the bleeding if you accidentally clip your dog’s nails too short and clip the quick in their nails.
Dogs’ toes bleed a lot if you do this and they’ll track blood all over your home.
Having styptic powder is like having a fire extinguisher in your kitchen — hopefully, you’ll never have to use it, but you definitely want to have it in case of an emergency.
We accidentally cut the very end of the quick once with Oliver and were very thankful we had some of this powder with us (we felt terrible and yes, Oliver got lots of treats as an apology).
Clean Their Ears
The next step in grooming your Golden Retriever is to clean their ears.
Goldens have big, floppy ears that are adorable, but can sometimes cause ear infections because they easily trap in moisture and heat.
Clean their ears with ear cleaner for dogs and some cotton balls.
Learn how to clean your Golden Retriever’s ears here.
Brush Their 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.
This kit has a toothbrush, a brush to slip over your finger, and toothpaste for dogs:
Now the next question you probably have is this: how often do I need to groom my dog?
You don’t need to do the whole regimen every time — some items need to be done more often than others.
Here’s a good rule of thumb for each of these tasks:
How Often To Brush Your Golden Retriever
Golden Retrievers need to be brushed 3-7 times per week with a slicker brush depending on the season and their coat.
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 times per week.
Other Goldens with lots of fluff may need to be brushed more often.
And here’s a bonus tip: to help keep your house clean from the brushing and shedding, 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.
Most groomers don’t recommend doing this because it can damage their 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.
You can learn more about the best brushes for Golden Retrievers here.
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.
Learn more about how to give your Golden Retriever a bath here.
How Often To Clean Your Golden Retriever’s Ears
You should clean your dog’s ears once or twice a month with a vet-approved ear cleaner and cotton balls.
We use this ear cleaner for Oliver.
How Often To Clip Your Golden Retriever’s Nails
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.
You’ll probably need to clip your dog’s nails about once or twice a month.
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 that 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 Often To Brush Your Golden Retriever’s Teeth
PetMD recommends 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 the tips above, you can help take care of their teeth by bringing them in for a teeth cleaning from your veterinarian.
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.
To read more about the best food Golden retrievers, check out these articles to learn about adult food and this article to learn about puppy food.
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 too many horror stories of groomers cutting too much fur off of Goldens and calling it a “puppy cut,” “athletic cut,” “teddy cut,” “swimmer’s cut,” or a “summer cut.”
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 dirty.”
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 (or at least tolerate it) 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).
2 thoughts on “How To Groom Your Golden Retriever (Step By Step)”
When I got my puppy, I started playing with his feet right away… he was fine with. After a couple weeks I went ahead and cut his nails… he rolled over on his back and I cut them with no issues at all.
Then, I took him into the vet for a round of vaccinations, and since they were using Covid protocols I couldn’t go in with him. When I got the bill they had giving him a complementary nail trim. A couple weeks later when I tried to cut them he acted like he was scared to death and it was a total tug of war… long and short of it is that if I can get one or two nails cut each week I feel good. It seems like his “complementary trim” traumatized him. I’ve tried everything and it’s horrible. I hate to have him drugged every time I want to trim his nails. HELP!!
If you have a golden retriever or if you are considering getting one, then you will need to know about the special needs of this dog including how to feed, groom, entertain, train, and protect your golden retriever.