Golden Retrievers are known for being excellent family dogs with great personalities, but they’re also a highly capable breed. They can be companion pets or working dogs and are often employed by law enforcement or trained to be assistant dogs.
This lovable breed comes equipped with long, golden-toned fur, which is often darker on top. They’re a double-coated breed, which is why their lighter fur seems fluffier and softer than the darker top layer. Their double coat protects them, but it also makes a lot of mess around the house when they are grooming or shedding.
In this guide, we look at the best ways to help your pup shed their fur and how to care for their coat and skin. Golden Retrievers have a lot of hair in their double coat, with the underlayer being the culprit for the majority of the dog hair mess they make. If you have questions about Golden Retrievers shedding, we have the answers here.
Do Golden Retrievers Shed?
As you’ve probably guessed, Golden Retriever dogs do shed. You’ll likely find their fur around your home, clinging to plush surfaces like your couch, pillows, blankets, and dog bed. It’s one of the reasons that some dog owners don’t allow their pets on their furniture and will train them to stay on the floor and use their own bed as somewhere to sit and lie down.
It’s not a bad practice, but other pet parents prefer to let their dogs sit with them and treat them like human members of their family. If you have dark-colored furniture, you’re more likely to see your dog’s fur cover it because a Golden Retriever’s hair will be more obvious in dark colors than in light ones.
For better furniture protection, check out our guide to the top-rated Dog Couch Covers.
Whether you let them on the couch or not, your dog is going to shed around your home. Cats shed, too. As do humans! We humans just don’t notice the hairs that we lose each day, but they’re there.
When do Golden Retrievers shed?
Want to know when to expect shedding from your Golden Retriever? We can’t blame you for wanting to preemptively get ready for shedding season before it happens.
What is shedding season? You may be asking. New dog owners may not be aware of this, but some dogs – especially double-coated dogs – will shed large amounts of fur twice a year. This occurs in Spring and Fall. The Spring shed is to get rid of their bulky winter coat and give them a lighter summer coat, while the Fall shed helps prepare their fur for the colder months.
Every double-coated dog sheds twice a year, but they will also lightly shed year-round to get rid of loose and dead fur.
How much do Golden Retrievers shed?
The Golden Retriever shedding level is fairly moderate. There are definitely other breeds out there than shed more fur than they do, but there are also those that shed significantly less. If you’re looking for a dog that doesn’t shed much, a Golden Retriever might not be the right kind of dog for you.
You can’t stop dogs from shedding any more than you can stop your own body from losing hair and skin every day. If you want to be a dog owner, shedding is just something you’re going to have to be prepared for or get used to.
How to Reduce Golden Retriever Shedding
Though you can’t stop your canine companion from shedding their fur, you can help reduce the amount of fur that gets spread around your home by regularly grooming your dog and helping them keep their skin and coat healthy.
A dog who is unhealthy will experience hair loss because their hair follicles are weaker. Similarly, if a dog’s grooming routine is poor, they are more likely to lose hair.
To reduce Golden Retriever shedding, you’ll need to learn how to help your pup shed properly and how to get rid of excess hair from their coat for them. Dogs usually wait for the fur to come out naturally, but there are things dog owners can do to speed the process along. Ultimately, this means there’s less dead hair in your pet’s coat, so it won’t come out around your home.
Helping Your Golden Retrievers Shed Properly
To help your Golden Retriever with their shedding, there are a number of actions you can take and changes you can make to their lifestyle.
Think about the advice given to humans who experience damaged hair or hair loss. They are told to change their diet, their shampoo, their brushing habits, and try supplements. The same directions are applicable to dogs!
Let’s start with removing excess dead hair and brushing your pup.
Removing excess hair from Golden Retriever fur
Does your pup have a problem with excessive shedding and leaving fur everywhere in your home? It could be that the dead fur has built up in their coat, which means they aren’t being groomed correctly.
As we’ve mentioned, Golden Retriever shed fur a lot. Outside of shedding seasons, you should be brushing your pup three times a week to keep their coat healthy and help distribute the oils in their skin. If you don’t brush them enough, the natural oils on their skin won’t make it through their fur, and that’s part of what keeps dog coats shiny and healthy. If you run your fingers through your pup’s coat in the same direction their fur grows, you’ll be able to tell if they need to be brushed.
During shedding seasons, you’ll want to brush your canine a little more often. Excessive Golden Retriever shedding usually only occurs during the Spring and Fall seasons, but that doesn’t mean other factors causing hair loss won’t come into play. If you feel that your dog is losing too much hair or has bald spots, check in with your vet.
Find the best shedding brush for your dog
To get rid of your pup’s loose hair, you need the right kind of brush. For daily maintenance and to remove knots from their long coat, you can use a slicker brush. The slicker brush is designed to unknot a dog’s coat during the grooming process without hurting them. Never pull at your dog’s fur. Start at the end of the knotted section and brush through, gently working your way up the hair follicles until you hit the roots.
If you’re having trouble caring for your pup’s fur when they’re shedding a lot, try another product like a de-shedding tool. Your Golden’s coat needs a lot of love and care to control shedding and prevent excessive hair loss.
Which dog shampoo is best for shedding season?
Choosing a dog shampoo is difficult because there are so many out there, and they all seem to be the same thing on the surface. With a double-coated dog, you’ll want to protect their fluffy undercoat while also caring for their outer coat, which is full of protective guard hairs. A Golden’s hair is basically two layers of very different textured hair, and there are shampoos out there that are made for dogs with thick double coats which need specialized treatment and care.
You can also try de-shedding shampoos for dogs that have lots of loose furs or are in their shedding seasons. The shampoo you choose should be as natural as possible, without any harmful chemicals or unnecessary additives. Always check reviews, and the certifications of the band making the shampoo. Vet-recommended shampoos are a good place to start.
When you bathe your Golden Retriever, remember that their coat will trap a lot of water in it. Golden Retriever hair will come out of a bath very wet, so lay down a towel or two and be ready with another to start drying your pup off.
Does diet affect how Golden Retrievers shed?
What you feed your dog can affect their skin and coat. Dogs who aren’t getting enough nutrition or the right kind of nutrition may experience dry skin, hair loss, and other health issues.
You may find that what is missing from your dog’s diet is omega fatty acids. These are used to treat dogs with dry, itchy skin, and to keep their coat healthy. They also do a lot more than that, but for the purposes of this conversation, all you need to know is that they’re a crucial part of what you should be feeding your Golden Retriever daily.
To increase your pup’s omega-fatty acid intake, include foods that are rich in EPA and DHA. The National Research Council recommends a supplemental dose for dogs of EPA and DHA at 50-75 mg per kg of weight per day. If you can’t find quality dog food for your Retriever with enough omega-3, try a supplement.
Zinc deficiency can loss cause hair loss and skin issues in dogs, too. Zinc is easily found in fresh meat, fresh fish, and a number of vegetables (such as spinach, broccoli, and kale).
Supplements for your dog’s coat
Both Omega-3 and Zinc can be given in supplement forms to help your dog with their coat and skin, but there are also specific supplements designed to help dogs with these issues. Fish oil supplements are the most popular ones to give a dog regularly, and can be found just about anywhere.
Before you give any supplements to your Golden Retriever, check with your vet. Never self-prescribe anything to your dog.
What to Do When Your Dog’s Skin is Irritated
Skin irritations can result in increased shedding as well as other skin problems that you may not notice straight away. Your dog’s skin is very sensitive and it needs to be kept healthy for them to have a healthy coat, too.
If you over-bathe your dog, you may be introducing too many chemicals to their skin, which can cause irritated skin and make your dog shed excessively. When bathing your pup, it’s important to use natural products and not ones with lists of chemicals. If you can’t find a natural product for your pup, use those marketed for dogs with sensitive skin or make your own home remedy.
Once you do notice that your dog has gone past their normal shedding or their skin seems to be red, dry, cracked, or sore, check in with your local veterinary practice. Your vet is widely known and they will have seen an abundance of dog parents come in about the same issues. If anyone has the answers and knows the right treatment, it’s your vet.
There are, of course, some natural remedies that may work, and plenty of doggy creams that you can try.
Frequently Asked Questions
Golden Retrievers are part of the wonderfully fluffy group of dog breeds that have double coats. A double coat has two layers - the outer layer, which is thicker and more protective, and the fluffy under layer. Any dog breed with a double coat will require more grooming year-round than dogs without a double coat. Pet parents should be prepared for regular trips to groomers and to read up on caring for a double coat to keep their pup's fur healthy.
If you're talking about regular shedding, there isn't much you can do. Dogs shed, it's just a fact. If the amount of fur on around your home bothers you, you should try to groom your dog more often and train them to stay off the furniture. Additionally, invest in products that remove pet fur from furniture and clothes. There are plenty of gadgets out there better than a sticky lint roller now!
Never, ever shave any dog with a double coat. Shaving a double-coated dog can cause long-term damage to your dog's skin and fur. Their double coat keeps their skin healthy, yes, but it also protects them from the weather and helps regulate their body temperature. If you shave them, the undercoat grows back faster, which can crowd the outer layer of guard hairs. This will make your dog's coat patchy and cause it to stop protecting them as well as it should.