How Often Should I Wash My Golden Retriever? (Explained!)

If you own a golden retriever, and have been looking up questions like “how often should I wash my golden retriever?” on Google, then you’re likely going to be confused by the answers you find. 

You should wash your Golden Retriever once a month on average. You can, however, bathe him as often as every two weeks if your golden gets particularly dirty. Washing your Golden Retriever more frequently than this will strip his coat of natural oils and dry out his skin.

There’s a lot of conflicting information out there, but, luckily, we’re going to break down the question in detail in this article. After all, knowing how frequently you should be bathing your Golden is critical. 

Bathing too little could result in a dirty pooch who is a breeding ground for bacteria, ticks/fleas, and illnesses. Bathe them too much, though, and you could be doing more harm than good when it comes to your dog’s skin and coat. 

A golden retriever getting a bath.

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When Should I Give My Golden Retriever a Bath? Consider These Location Factors First

Goldens are an active breed in nature so you could safely assume they may need to be bathed quite often. A lot of people refer to this breed as a “water dog”, for the simple fact that they love to swim, as well as being active in the outdoors in general. Sometimes these outdoor adventures include a spontaneous jump in a body of water that is filled with algae and mud. 

Having said that, Golden Retrievers do not need a sudsy bath as often as you may think! Depending on their environment, a Golden Retriever might do well getting a bath as little as every two months. 

There are many factors that we should take into consideration when it comes to bathing our furry friends! In this article, we’ll look at location factors, some specifics, and a few tips that I’ve found useful myself. Let’s take a look at some of those now! 

Rural vs. Urban Areas

Believe it or not, location plays a huge factor in how often you should bathe your Golden Retriever. If you live in a rural area then it is probably safe to assume your dog spends a lot of time outside. 

Therefore, they may need an extra dog bath or two to get rid of all the dirt and debris they’ve accumulated in their adventures around the block, not to mention the wet dog smell that may accompany all of this fun! 

On the other side of things, if you live in a more urban city environment, where your pup spends more time indoors, it’s likely that they wouldn’t need a bath quite as often.

Wherever you live, however, whether it’s rural or urban, your dog still has a good chance of coming into contact with fleas, ticks or other parasites and regular bathing can help identify and eliminate these issues, as well. 

Now that we’ve covered that, lets get to question at hand which is just how often you need give your Golden Retriever a bath.

Washing a Golden Retriever.

How Often Should I Wash my Golden Retriever? The Answer

You should plan on giving your Golden Retriever a bath once every month or two. Because of the body oils that Golden Retrievers naturally produce, it’s important that you not bathe your Golden more than twice a month. Of course, if you’ve recently given him a bath, and he rolls in something disgusting, it’s time for another wash! Just don’t over do it.

Just as it’s important to not wash your Golden Retriever too frequently, it can be just as harmful not to bathe your dog often enough. An infrequently bathed dog can fall prey to a skin allergy, parasites, infections or other skin condition.

For a full explanation on caring for your dogs coat, check out my article: How to Take Care of Your Golden Retriever’s Coat: Step-by-Step

We as humans have to wash our hair depending on the oil build up from our scalp. This could mean that we wash our hair everyday or every couple of days. With Golden retrievers though, we see that washing them as frequently as we would ourselves, can cause their fur to appear matted,  dull and unhealthy looking. 

Taking Your Golden Retriever’s 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.

Bath time for Golden Retriever puppies.

Discover how to train your Golden Retriever by playing games: 21 games to play with your Golden that will make them smarter and better behaved!

Bathing Schedule To Reduce Owner Allergies

We should also factor in the owners allergies (if any). Some owners will have an allergic reaction to pet dander which is why some dogs get baths more often than they really need.

In the case of allergies, it may be necessary to wash your dog weekly rather than on a monthly basis to help eliminate dander and allergic reactions from members of your household. Allergies are the only reason to wash your Golden weekly.

Regardless of how often you bathe your dog, it’s extremely important to use the right dog shampoo as using the wrong shampoo can be bad for your dog.

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 this one at 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 (on a low setting) can really speed up this process.

A pet-friendly hair dryer like this adjustable speed pet hair dryer on, can also help with regular grooming. It’s temperature controlled so it won’t get too hot for your pooch.

Bathing Tips For Your Golden Retriever

It’s a good idea to introduce baths to your Golden as soon as possible. If you have a new puppy, you should start baths at six weeks of age. Early on, these baths can even be “fake baths” so to speak. Just run some water on them, so they grow accustomed to the process and learn to enjoy their bath time routine.

It’s also important to note that you should praise and reward your dog during and after a bath. So, I say after a successful and well-behaved bath time routine, that your pup be rewarded with a treat… or two!

I also highly recommend giving them lots of snuggles and play time after their bath as this will help them relieve the stress they had before or during this event. In time, your Golden Retriever may even come to look forward to bath time!

Washing a Golden Retriever in a tub.

Fleas, Ticks, Other Parasites and Bath Time

I covered earlier the fact that location plays a significant role when it comes to how often you need to bathe your golden retriever. But, did you know that environmental factors around your home also play an extensive part in this decision? 

Some factors to take into consideration is whether your yard is prone to fleas, ticks, or other parasites. If it is, then you should be very proactive when it comes to checking your dog’s coat on a regular basis. 

If this issue becomes excessive, it may be time to treat your yard. Treating your yard will not only reduce the number of parasites your dog comes into contact with, it will also cut down on the number of baths you’ll need to give your dog to combat these parasites.

If fleas or ticks are a problem in your area, it would be better to stick to a regular monthly bath with a hydrating medicated shampoo (amazon) followed by a flea treatment like this one (amazon). This will keep your dogs skin and coat in tip-top shape, while eliminating the parasites.

Watch Bailey the Golden Retriever get a bath in the shower. He’s very patient!


As you can see, the real answer to the question “how often should I wash my golden retriever?” depends heavily on your environment and lifestyle. 

If your pup is more active and loves jumping into a pond or rolling in a mud puddle, then they may need a bath a little more frequently than the Golden retriever that lies on the lawn all day soaking up the sun. 

Giving your Golden Retriever a bath once a month is a good general timeframe. However, based on you and your dogs particular needs may be as infrequently as every six weeks or as often as every other week.

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Bryan Mullennix

Bryan's a freelance travel photographer and happy dog dad. He currently lives in Las Vegas with his wife, his son, and two dogs Nom Nom & Speck.

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