Golden Retriever Grooming: The Essential Guide With Pictures Of Haircut Styles
With those irresistible good looks, and the funniest, friendliest demeanor you’ll find around town, it’s no wonder that golden retrievers are consistently one of the most popular breeds in the world. In fact, according to the American Kennel Club, they are, “outgoing, trustworthy, and eager-to-please family dogs, and relatively easy to train.” Who could resist a dog like that?
Initially developed as a breed in the 1800s by Lord Tweedmouth in Scotland, they are a cross of a yellow wavy coated retriever and a tweed water spaniel—making them excellent sporting dogs, retrievers , and companions.
And there’s that beautiful coat! Their most noticeable attribute, their gorgeous, golden fur, sets them apart in the canine kingdom—but also come with a few special instructions to keep it shiny, chic and looking fabulous.
To help you get there, here are some golden grooming tips unique to this breed.
How Often Should You Groom A Golden Retriever
Golden Retrievers are arguably one of the most desired companions for pet owners and especially dog lovers. After all, what is there not to love about them? These dogs are among the most friendly, lovable, and intelligent kinds of dogs out there. People could spend hours upon hours playing with these hunks of fur to be met with the same amount of enthusiasm and energy.
A Golden Retriever is the perfect family pet and a friend to all people. You will find yourself spending a large amount of your time with these playful dogs. As their name might suggest, these dogs have golden fur to compliment their wonderful personalities. This is why pet owners must always remember to take good care and groom their Golden Retrievers.
What Type Of Shampoo Should I Use To Wash My Golden Retriever
According to many canine experts, it’s not recommended to wash your dog using dish soap or human shampoo. This will most definitely strip your dog of its natural oils. Plus, shampoo made for humans is too acidic for regular use on a Golden Retrievers hair and skin.
The best shampoo to use is one that’s specially formulated for dogs. It’s recommended that you use a highly-rated oatmeal shampoo like at amazon.com to help in the nourishment of their coats. It’s organic, soap-free, and contains vitamin E and Aloe Vera to naturally soothe and moisturize sensitive or dry skin.
While using this shampoo, you should wash your pup from front to back, gently scrubbing your dog’s fur to get the dirt that’s attached to the undercoat.
When drying your Golden Retriever you can choose to use an old dog towel, but many people choose to use a blow dryer on their dog in order to make sure that all their fur is dry. A double-coated dog, like a Golden Retriever, can stay wet for hours, even after being towel dried so a hair dryer can really speed up this process.
A pet-friendly hair dryer like this on amazon.com, can also help with regular grooming. It’s temperature controlled so it won’t get too hot for your pooch.
How To Take Care Of Your Golden Retrievers 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.
Do You Groom Your Dogs Tail Wet Or Dry
You should groom your dog’s tail when it’s dry. Grooming them, in general, should always be when they are dry, even after a shower, you should dry them first and then groom them.
You should also use the tips of sharp shears to trim their tail, feet, and face because it will prevent cutting your dog if they move unexpectedly.
You can learn how to dry your golden retriever completely and quickly after a bath here. I recommend 11 different ways in this post, so I definitely recommend taking your time checking the post out.
How To Prep Your Golden Retriever For Grooming
It’s not always easy to groom your pets. They can be nervous or scared, especially if they’ve never been groomed before. This is why it’s always great to get your puppy used to grooming from as early an age as possible.
It’s always a must to make the grooming process as enjoyable as possible for your dog, such as by having lots of treats or ending the grooming session with a fun playing session. Here are other tips to keep your dog calm.
Let your pet explore the room. If you’re grooming your dog inside, you want to secure a room so that it can’t escape. Let your pet walk around the room that has all your tools and products so that they can become familiar with the environment.
- Show them the tools. Your dog is less likely to be scared of your brush or clippers if you introduce them to him or her before you even try to groom them. Let them sniff everything and hear the noises they make so that they won’t see these tools as harmful.
- Take it slow. If your dog won’t stop fidgeting or trying to escape, you’ll have to get them used to the grooming process in small steps. This could mean that if you want to brush them, you only sweep the brush across their fur until they try to get away from you and then stop. You don’t want to make your dog view being groomed in a negative way because then the next time you try to groom them they will be even more uncomfortable and anxious.
Rarely Moving Around Much
Lethargy is one of the first indications of a major disease or the onset of death, and it tends to get worse with time.
- Hygiene has deteriorated: A dog’s ability to groom has deteriorated.
- Sleeping: A dog may begin to sleep more and seek alone in locations where he or she would be unaffected. Some habits and activities in the dog’s typical range of actions may begin to diminish or vanish.
- Apathy: A dog may stop greeting owners at the entrance or show little interest in going for walks or playing. They may become weaker and begin to walk more slowly.
They may be hesitant to get up to eat and drink, or to go outdoors to pee; they may lie down in the same area and position for extended periods of time if their lethargy worsens.
It’s also important to note that your golden retriever may become lazier than usual at any age for other reasons than growing old. You can learn why some golden retrievers become lazy here and find out what could be causing your golden’s transition into becoming a couch potato and what you could do about it.
How To Trim The Shoulder
All your trying to do here is to remove some undercoat thickenings of the coat. We are NOT actually trying to make heavy cuts to strip your dog’s hair.
For this task, all you want to do is use the thinning shears to take away some of the hair around the shoulder area. Ideally, it would be great to have your dog sitting when you do this in order to see the finished look.
Remember to always trim in the same direction that the hair grows in. And then come each time after trimming brush down and look to see where you at.
It’s almost like a kind of evaluation or assessment before making a decision of whether to cut some more. Trimming should be really minimal around this area and I recommend you do it step by step may be over a couple of days.
Treats Treats And More Treats
It’s up to you what works best, but many groomers suggest tiny, healthy treats or a large distraction treat. Whatever route you choose, make sure that the treats aren’t messy, or they’ll counteract all of the cleaning and grooming you’ve been working so hard on.
Smaller treats can work well for reinforcing your dog’s behavior when he or she is being a good pup. Sitting still or laying down could earn your dog a little snack.
If you want to try a bigger distraction treat, you can pick a bone or rawhide that’s a favorite for your dog. Hopefully, they’ll gnaw on it while you do all the hard work of grooming.
Fleas Ticks And Parasites
Fleas and Ticks cause your dog to be very itchy and uncomfortable, which leads to excessive scratching and hair loss.
Fleas and Ticks can be treated with flea shampoos or insecticides from your vet or pet store. Pet bedding and anything they lay down on must be go through the laundry. And you may need to do a very thorough cleaning of your home.
Do NOT take a dog with fleas to a dog groomer, as it may spread to other dogs.
Cleaning The Eyes And Ears
Unfortunately, ear infections are common among Golden Retrievers. It’s their long floppy ears that leave no room for aeration that are typically to blame. But fortunately, with a little care and attention, you can prevent such issues.
When you bathe your dog, take time to wipe inside their ears with a ball of cotton wool and some mineral water. In addition, white vinegar in warm water is also good enough for regular ear-wiping.
I squirt some cleaning solution in his ear, rub it with his ear closed, than clean the gunk out with a cotton ball after he shakes his head. NEVER use q tips!
Should you notice that your Golden is shaking his or her head or scratching the ears against a surface, it’s probably itchy. You should check for signs of infection or ear mites. Discharge and redness will eventually manifest with an infection.
When signs of infection or ear mites are identified, do a more thorough job by inserting five drops of mineral water into each ear canal. Let it sit for a minute before wiping it out with cotton wool.
If this routing ear-cleaning is done for three days without improvement, take your Golden to a vet. Discharge is always a sign of bigger problems and should be reported immediately to the dog doctor.
A little mineral oil and a ball of cotton wool should also be used to wipe the eyes. Just pay attention not to get it into your Golden’s eye. Discharging eyes are also a sign of infection and should be checked by a vet.
Golden Retriever Scissors And Thinning Shears
Learning how to groom a Golden Retriever doesn’t just include brushing them. Your grooming kit should also contain a pair of scissors and a pair of thinning shears.
Scissors are good for detail work around small areas like the ears and feet.
Thinning shears are scissors with notches cut out of the blade, perfect for removing bulk from areas like the ruff, and softening edges.
Grooming A Golden Retriever In The Summer
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Summer is here, and perhaps your long-haired Golden Retriever is suffering from all this heat. Before you decide to head to your local groomer you may want to read on to find out what not to do when grooming a Golden Retriever in the summer.
Golden Retrievers have a lot of hair, and your first thought might be to shave it all off to help your dog keep cool in this heat. After all, that is what most of us do in the summer when we are too hot, we end up getting our hair cut shorter.
Well, let me tell you that shaving your Golden Retriever is a big mistake! I will tell you the reasons why below.
But first, let’s talk about the beautiful coat of a Golden Retriever!
When properly maintained it is striking to look at. Golden’s have a double coat that serves a purpose.
Table of Contents
What Is The Problem With Not Enough Baths
There are a lot of problems that can arise if you don’t bath your Golden Retriever enough.
The biggest concern is a problem for you–especially if you keep your Golden Retriever inside. If your dog does not get enough baths, she will probably start to stink and shed even more than normal.
Another problem with not bathing your Golden enough is that her coat will become matted and gross.
Because shedding and smelling are pretty high on people’s “YUCK” list, the problem when baths is not that owners do them too infrequently. The opposite is usually more likely to be true: PEOPLE TYPICALLY BATH THEIR DOG TOO OFTEN.
Ears Eyes And Skin Care
“The Golden’s coated and floppy ears are susceptible to ear infections,” says Talbott. “Check the ears once a week for debris and infection and clean if necessary.”
Goldens who like to swim will need more frequent ear checks, as the water gets deep inside the ear and makes them more prone to infections. After swimming, thoroughly dry the inside of the ears with cotton balls.
According to Talbott, Goldens are not susceptible to dry skin, but fleas will quickly produce allergies and hot spots. “Keeping your Golden flea-free is crucial,” she says.
Grooming Your Golden Retriever
Golden Retrievers flowing coats are relatively easy to care for. But grooming is important to help keep them looking their best. Goldens were bred to be hunting dogs, and their “wash and wear” style hails from the breed’s long days spent retrieving in the fields. For proper routine maintenance, it can often entail daily brushing and about 30-minutes per week of coat, nail and ear care to help you have a clean, happy golden.
There are also various golden retriever grooming styles to choose from that range from higher to lower maintenance. The “show cut” or natural style doesn’t require much cutting at all—it’s a simple golden retriever haircut that goes along with the golden’s natural hair. This means hair on the tail, neck and chest stays long and feathered, letting that fur flow.
For the least amount of golden retriever grooming, you can opt for a shorter cut. The tail, paws, neck and chest will be thinned and trimmed, and the body fur will be clipped shorter. You’ll still need to brush, but the process will be quicker.
Bathing: Step By Step
Bathing your dog is less complicated than you think. If you want to give your Golden Retriever the perfect bath, follow these steps:
How Do I Trim My Golden Retrievers Feet
As long as your dog’s nails have been trimmed correctly then you can get started on trimming their feet: First, push the fur between your Retriever’s toes down with your fingers. Hold the paw backwards and with straight edge scissors trim the unruly hairs so that they’re even and level. Turn back to the other side of the paw, pull the fur from between your dog’s toes up and carefully trim this hair. Always take critical care around your pup’s foot pads, doing this wrong could leave serious damage for them when they walk.
How To Groom A Golden Retrievers Ears
On top of the ears and behind the Golden Retriever’s ears grows long, fuzzy hair that can form tangles if not shortened. Use thinning scissors for that. I’ve bought a which I use on a regular basis and makes trimming life so much easier.
You can follow this step by step guide about how to trim your Golden’s ears.
Step 1. Start with trimming the fuzzy hairs behind the ear. Hold the thinning shears vertically (with the scissors’ tips upwards and make sure the blades of the shears are under the fuzzy hair close to the skin.
Make sure you don’t touch or cut the skin. Make about three cuts with the shears. After that, stop, brush out, and take a look. Repeat this a couple of times until the fuzzy hairs are thinned to your liking. Don’t remove all of the hair. You just need to thin it and trim the straggly, messy hair so it will fall neatly on the neck.
Step 2. Trim the inside of the ear. Start in the middle below the ear entrance and work your way towards the face. The shorter and flatter you trim, the more you will create a “hard look” for your dog, so be careful with cutting too short.
Step 3. Trim the inside of the ear above the entrance of the ear. Unless your Golden is heavily, thickly coated on the inside of his or her ear, you only need to make one gentle stroke with the trimming scissors. Make on cut upwards following the shape of the ear, and one cut the opposite direction while making sure you cut close to the skin under the coat.
Environmental And Lifestyle Factors To Consider
Although your dog is built for the life aquatic and is capable of flinging away the majority of water accumulated after a dip with a good shake, frequent swimming may lead to a dirty coat and an unpleasant smell.
This is especially true if your Golden has a penchant for algae-filled ponds and other less-than-pristine bodies of water.
Naturally, a dog that spends a lot of time indoors is going to pick up less dirt and debris than one that is regularly outdoors. And whether or not those outdoor romps are in the country or in the city can also make a big difference to how quickly a Retriever gets dirty.
If you are aware of a parasite problem in your area , it is important to be on high alert, and more frequent baths and grooming may be in order.
Carefully Does It Now
Remember to complete the task properly, you need to be brushing down their hair to see exactly how it looks after you trim. That way you can get a definite image of exactly what it looks like.
There are too many times I’ve made the mistake of actually cutting away here not brushing it and then cutting some more. As you can imagine me and my dog were not happy with the result.
I now call my procedure fail-safe, as it prevents things from going wrong when following the stops. When you’re touching up behind the leg just above the pads you want to bend the legs back just a little. You can then use straight shears to target the hair around the underneath of the paw. Here’s an image to help you understand this better:
Therefore this process you can use to straight shares but I do suggest that if you are new to trimming that to use the thinning shears.
That is until you’re experienced and you can easily avoid things going wrong that way. The idea of the look that you’re trying to achieve is to basically take away any type of that you see in the hair.
Can You Shave A Golden Retriever
Technically, you can shave a golden retriever. You can very easily take a pair of electric clippers and shave your dog. In theory, it sounds like a quick and easy way to trim your dogs’ fur.
But the question is really should you shave a golden retriever. And the answer to that is very simple: no.
Golden retrievers have a very complex coat, with two separate layers of fur. Together, the two coats work as a heating and cooling system, water repellent, and sunscreen.
Therefore, removing too much of this could upset the balance that your dog has to go on.
Although it may seem like shaving in the summertime will help your pup stay cool, it can actually cause an unhealthy balance in their coat and open them up to exposure to the sun.
Overall, shaving your Golden at home isn’t the best way to go about grooming. There are better ways you can keep your fur baby’s coat looking healthy and shiny, as well as helping him or her stay cool.
Taking Your Golden Retrievers Hair Length Into Consideration
Did you know: the shorter your Golden Retrievers hair is the less often you have to bathe them? Although this may be a fun fact, it’s not recommended to cut your dog’s hair short. Some people even go so far as to shave their Goldens!
This, however, is not recommended! When you shave a Golden Retriever you are exposing their skin and undercoat to the harmful environmental elements around them, including the sun and temperature extremes. Shaving a Golden Retriever can not only eliminate the dog’s ability to regulate their body temperature, it can also permanently damage their coat.
It should be noted that combing your dog often is actually more beneficial for your dogs skin and coat than it is to bathe them. Brushing your dog daily or weekly is not only encouraged, it’s recommended.
Regularly brushing your Goldens fur will go a long way toward a healthy coat that’s free of tangles and parasites.
Your Retriever May Want To Communicate
You probably know that your dog is pawing at you to get something. You can have many things, but your dog may be looking for something. Your dog wants to interact with you and has a reason for pawing at you. Your attention is drawn away from your previous activities when your dog paws at your face. The attention now shifts to him and the interaction that you are having.
Completing The Grooming Of Your Golden Retriever