Why You Should Never Shave Your Golden Retriever (Even In Summer)

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Many people think that shaving their Golden Retriever will help keep them cool in the summer.

But it can actually cause them to overheat and can damage their skin.

I know, it sounds counterintuitive, so let’s get into this a little deeper.

Should I Shave My Golden Retriever?

You should never shave your Golden Retriever, even if it’s hot in the summer. Their long, thick coat keeps them cool when it’s hot out by trapping cool air near their skin. It also protects their skin from the sun and from bugs.

Golden Retrievers have what’s called a double coat.

They have a thick, fluffy undercoat, and a long, flowy outer coat.

Their double coat keeps them cool by trapping air between the two layers. This keeps the heat away and helps them regulate their body temperature so that they don’t overheat.

Goldens don’t sweat like us to beat the heat.

They have a few sweat glands in their paw pads, but it’s not their primary way to cool down.

Dogs cool down by panting. 

When they pant, moisture is evaporating from their lungs, tongue, and their nose, which cools them from the inside out.

This is why whenever you get inside from a hot walk, your dog is panting like crazy.

And it’s not only the heat that their coat protects them from in the summer.

It also protects them from the sun and from bugs. 

It’s mostly the outer coat that protects them from these two elements, so even if you think your dog is fine because you’re not totally shaving them, if you cut their outer coat too short you could leave them exposed to the sun, which could cause sunburn, or leave them vulnerable to bug bites.

golden retriever with long coat

What Happens If You Shave Your Golden Retriever?

If you shave your Golden Retriever they could overheat or get sunburn or bug bites. Plus, you may permanently damage their coat and it may never grow back the same.

We once fostered a Golden Retriever who had been shaved a few times by her previous owners.

Her coat was patchy, thin, and coarse, and I’m sure it could’ve been avoided if they hadn’t shaved her.

Will My Golden Retrievers Fur Grow Back After I Shave It?

Your Golden Retriever’s fur may grow back like it was before after you shave it, or it may grow in patchy and discolored. This is because their undercoat grows faster than their top coat, which could crowd out the top coat and change the texture and color of it.

There are many people who have shaved their Goldens in the past and their coats have grown back fine, but every time you shave them you’re increasing the odds of damaging their coat in the future.

If you’re just now learning this for the first time and you’ve shaved your Golden in the past, feed them a high quality food and take good care of their coat now to help them have a healthy coat in the future.

P.S. Want to raise your Golden Retriever puppy into the dog of your dreams? Check out the Golden Retriever Puppy Handbook.

Should I Trim My Golden Retriever’s Fur?

You can trim your Golden Retriever’s fur, but you don’t want to trim it too short. Trimming it too short can remove the top coat, which helps keep them cool and protects them from the sun and from bugs.

To help your Golden look good, many people do trim their Golden Retriever’s coat, especially around their ears, feet, legs, and butt.

But, if you’re looking to keep your Golden Retriever cool, there are other things you should do besides trimming them.

How Can I Keep My Golden Retriever Cool In The Summer?

You can keep your Golden Retriever cool in the summer by:

  • Avoiding the hottest part of the day
  • Doing indoor activities
  • Making sure they have plenty of shade when outside
  • Letting them swim
  • Keeping them at an appropriate weight

The first tip is to avoid the heat.

Take your dog for their walks early in the morning or later in the evening when it’s cooler out.

You can also avoid the heat by staying indoors.

This might sound boring, but there are a lot of fun things you can do indoors with your pup when it’s hot out.

You can train them, play games like hide and seek or tug of war, or, my Golden’s favorite thing, give them puzzle toys.

Toys, like frozen kongs or snuffle mats, can keep your pup entertained in the air conditioning.

If you do like to hang out outside with your dog in the summer, then make sure your pup has some dog-friendly ways to keep cool.

You can put out a box fan in the yard for them, and make sure they have plenty of shade.

Something that our dog absolutely loves is this mini pool.

This little pool is a blast, quick to fill, folds up pretty small, and has lasted us three summers so far.

I also stumbled on this shaded cot.

I haven’t used it yet, but it seems like it could work in giving your pup some shade.

Plus, the fact that it’s raised up off the ground helps with the airflow below them to keep them cool.

And if you really wanted to make it an oasis for your dog, you could put a tray of ice below it so that the air circulating underneath is even cooler.

Golden Retrievers were bred to retrieve birds in water, and many Goldens love to go for a swim in the lake or pool on a hot summer day.

But this brings us back to the shaving issue.

Some people shave their Goldens in the summer to help them dry quicker and prevent hot spots.

If you’re not familiar with hot spots, they’re red, oozing sores that are painful for your dog. They often lick, chew, and scratch at them, which just makes them worse and worse.

They’re a common health problem in Golden Retrievers and they can be caused by several things, including water trapped for too long in your dog’s coat after swimming or bathing.

We already talked about the dangers of shaving your dog, so you definitely don’t want to shave them to prevent hot spots — you’ll just be trading one issue for another.

Instead, make sure that you dry them off thoroughly after they swim with towels or even a blow dryer made specifically for dogs.

Yes, I know, it’s a lot of work, but that’s what you signed up for when you got a Golden

And look at your sweet Golden’s face right now… they’re worth it, right?

Other factors, like allergies, can cause hot spots, too, so definitely talk to your vet if your Golden is getting hot spots.

And hot spots aren’t the only potential hazard from swimming regularly.

Your Golden Retriever’s floppy ears are adorable, but they do make them susceptible to getting ear infections.

They trap moisture in their ears, which is obviously a bigger issue if they’re swimming often.

Be sure to dry out and clean your Golden Retriever’s ears after they swim and just like with hot spots, talk to your vet if you think your dog might have an ear infection.

Now here’s a tip that many people might not want to hear…

If you want to help keep your Golden Retriever cool in the summer, make sure that they’re at a healthy weight.

Golden Retrievers love food, so they’re susceptible to being obese.

If they’re overweight, it can be harder for them to cool off.

Talk to your vet about a healthy weight for your dog and how to keep them cool in the summer.

There’s also the risk of their paws getting burned or blisters on the hot pavement during walks in the summer.

To see if the ground is too hot for your dog, the AKC recommends placing your hand comfortably on the pavement for 10 seconds.

If it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws.

If your Golden gets too hot in the summer, they can have a heat stroke, which can be life-threatening, so definitely keep a careful eye on how hot it is outside and how much your dog is panting.

If you live in a hot climate, talk to your vet about how to protect your dog in the summer.

Keeping Your Golden Retriever Cool In The Summer

Instead of shaving your Golden Retriever, you can keep them cool in the summer by doing indoor activities, making sure they have plenty of shade outside, and keeping them at an appropriate weight.

If you liked this article, you’ll enjoy our article about the best games to play with your Golden Retriever.

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