One of my favorite things about Golden Retrievers are their gorgeous fur coats. If you’re thinking of getting a Golden Retriever or if you already have one, then you need to know exactly how to care for their beautiful coat.
The best way to take care of your Golden Retriever’s coat is by brushing it regularly and keeping it clean. In addition to this, a well-balanced diet is essential to the health of your dog’s coat. A healthy diet should contain all the essential minerals and nutrients to allow your Golden’s coat to shine.
In this article I’ll tell you how to properly brush and clean your Golden Retriever’s coat. I’ll also share with you some of the best foods and treats to add to your Golden Retrievers diet to make her coat absolutely shine.
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Do Golden Retrievers Have Hair or Fur?
First let’s have a quick discussion about hair vs. fur. Golden Retrievers coats are made of fur not hair. Fur grows out several inches and then sheds off, while dog breeds that have hair need to have their hair cut as it doesn’t fall out on its own, it just keeps growing.
Golden Retrievers have a golden fur that comes in many shades. You can see pictures of all the different shades and colors a Golden Retriever can have in my article here.
Golden Retrievers possess what’s called a double-coat. This double-coat consists of a thick undercoat, covered by a dense outer coat. This double coat protects your pet from the cold and the heat. It also protects their skin from biting insects.
Also, a Golden Retriever will have either a wavy or straight coat, and they tend to have “feathers” or feathery hair on their tail, thighs, chest, and legs.
Golden Retriever Shedding
It’s completely normal for Golden Retrievers to shed their fur throughout the year. However, these dogs tend to shed even more during the fall and the spring.
In the spring, Golden Retrievers shed their heavy undercoats to make ready for the warm summer months ahead. A lighter undercoat forms in the place of the heavier undercoat. They will then shed this lighter undercoat in the fall to so that a thick winter undercoat can grow in its place.
Excessive Fur Loss May Be A Sign Of Illness
It’s important to note, however, that if your Golden’s excessively shedding, it could be due to an underlying health condition. You should immediately contact your veterinarian if your Golden Retriever is losing hair in big patches or clumps. Here are some of the medical conditions that can cause excessive hair loss for your pooch.
- Food allergies
- Bacterial infection
- Fungal infection
- External parasites
- Endocrine disorder (hypothyroidism, Cushing’s disease)
Your Golden should never loose fur to the point that you start seeing bald or extremely thin patches. This is a sure sign it’s time to visit the vet.
Brushing a Golden Retrievers Coat
While normal shedding is to be expected, and it will happen on its own, your Golden Retriever will be much happier (and you’ll have less fur all over your house) if you make it a habit to help out by brushing your dog on a regular basis. So, how often should you brush a Golden Retrievers coat?
It is a good idea to brush your Golden Retrievers coat a minimum of 3 – 5 times each week. This will reduce shedding and helps to eliminate or reduce tangling and matting of their fur. Brushing also assists in distributing oils throughout the coat for a healthy shine.
Brushing is an essential part of your Golden Retriever’s grooming and care. The sooner you begin brushing, the quicker your pet will get used to it as part of his daily routine. Brush the coat of your puppy with a soft brush and brush the coat of your adult Golden with a stiff-bristled brush or comb.
It’s worth knowing that regular brushing can help decrease shedding because it gets rid of unhealthy and loose hairs and makes way for new, healthy hairs. Apart from this, brushing helps eliminate dead skin cells and decreases the amount of dander that can accumulate around your house. Plus, brushing uniformly distributes skin oils along the hairs of your Golden Retriever.
Golden Retriever Hairballs
Pets that don’t shed much are less likely to develop hairballs. However, thick-furred dogs that shed quite a bit, like a Golden Retriever, are more likely to have issues with hairballs. Hairballs are basically a group of hair follicles that build up in the intestines of the dog.
Hairballs happen because hair follicles that your pet swallows are unable to pass through the digestive tract. Gradually, this undigested hair builds-up and hardens to create a solid mass of fur. They will increase in size until your dog is finally able to vomit up the hairball.
One of the causes of hairballs is self-grooming. Pets groom themselves. When they self-groom, they lick loose fur and debris from the coat and end up swallowing it.
Regular brushing of you Golden Retriever with the proper tools will help eliminate this behavior.
Best Dog Brushes for Your Golden Retrievers
The following are the types of brushes and combs you’ll need to have on hand for the daily brushing needs of your Golden Retriever.
Hertzko Dematting Comb (Amazon)
This comb from Hertzko softly removes dander, debris, loose hair, and knots. It has sharp and round teeth that groom the undercoat of your Golden Retriever efficiently without scratching his skin. The comb offers a comfortable grip and has an anti-slip handle for easy use.
Self Cleaning Slicker Brush (Amazon)
This brush removes loose fur, dirt, tangles, and mats from the coat of your Golden Retriever easily. Tangles and mats can cause pain and discomfort for your dog. The brush has stainless steel bristles that are gentle and soft on the skin and coat of your furry buddy. On top of that, this tool comes with an ebook on dog grooming. Daily brushing with a brush like this enhances blood circulation for your pooch which will allow for better growth of his fur.
This pet grooming tool can keep your Golden feeling great. It features an ergonomic design that makes it a breeze to handle. What’s more, you can clean this brush in just 5 seconds thanks to its self-cleaning feature. You just need to push a button and remove the fur. All in all, this pet grooming tool provides you and your Golden Retriever with a comfortable grooming experience.
Premium Dog Brush Set (Amazon)
This brush set is perfect for you if you’re on a budget. It’s ideal for daily brushing of your Golden Retriever’s coat and contains all the brushes you’ll need on a regular basis.
This brush set keeps your pooch’s coat looking healthy and clean. It includes tools for detangling, dematting, and brushing.
What’s more, you can use this set easily. The set includes a drawstring bag for convenient storage and you can keep all of the brushes in the bag when not in use.
The slicker brush removes debris and loose hair. The detangling comb features rotating pins that are perfect for knot removal and daily grooming.
Note: One benefit of regular bushing is that you’ll know your Golden’s body completely. Which means that if any worrisome growths appear, you’ll notice them and get them examined by your veterinarian fast.
How to Keep Your Golden Retrievers Coat Clean
Tiny leaves and stems can become entangled in your Golden Retriever’s fur and lead to mats of hair, which you may find hard to remove. Check your pup after every walk because it’s easier to remove leaves and stems when they first become entangled.
Moreover, it’s easier to take out these items before a bath. Bathe your dog once every six to eight weeks. More frequent bathing can also help dogs during the height of the shedding season but will tend to dry out their skin. So don’t over do it.
Bathing your Golden helps eliminate dead hair and dander. Deshedding conditioners and shampoos contain ingredients such as omega fatty acids and moisturizers that help hydrate the fur and skin of your Golden Retriever to create strong follicles.
In addition to this, they can also help eliminate your Golden’s extra undercoat. Bathing your Golden Retriever frequently and grooming him using deshedding tools once he’s dry can help decrease shedding.
Make sure to use a shampoo that’s specially manufactured for dogs unless otherwise instructed by your veterinarian. Human shampoos, even gentle baby shampoos, can strip your dog’s coat of too many essential oils.
If you’re unable to bathe your pooch yourself, you can take him to the grooming salon. Groomers can trim your pet’s coat, clean his ears, and cut his nails. Additionally, they can remove mats that are near to your Golden Retriever’s skin.
You can also trim your Golden’s feathers around her feet and ears a bit to reduce the amount of dirt than can accumulate in these places. However, you should keep in mind not to have your pooch’s hair trimmed shorter than one inch because it is essential to have hairs to protect the skin of your Golden from the harmful rays of the sun.
Best Dog Shampoos for Your Golden Retriever
As previously mentioned, using the right dog shampoo will make a world of difference in the health of your Golden’s coat. I’ve handpicked some of the best shampoos to use with your Golden Retriever.
Pet Oatmeal Shampoo (Amazon)
This dog shampoo contains vital ingredients, such as coconut, aloe vera, and oatmeal, that help deodorize and cleanse your Golden’s coat. This formula is hypoallergenic and will help reduce itching. Most importantly, this dog shampoo helps protect your Golden Retriever against allergies and fleas. It is alcohol- and detergent-free and does not contain any harmful chemicals.
4-Legger Dog Shampoo (Amazon)
This dog shampoo contains beneficial essential and organic oils that gently condition, moisturize, and clean the coat and skin of your Golden Retriever. It contains rosemary and lemongrass oils, that smell great and help to repel insects. And the shampoo does not contain any artificial or synthetic chemicals.
If your pooch has sensitive skin, then this organic formula is perfect for him. The ingredients in this shampoo are non-toxic and safe.
Earthbath Oatmeal & Aloe Pet Shampoo (Amazon)
This shampoo from Earthbath contains aloe vera and oatmeal that re-moisturize dry skin, improve healing, and relieve any itching. It doesn’t contain soap, phthalates, synthetic dyes, sulfates, or parabens. This shampoo deeply cleans the skin and coat of your Golden Retriever. What’s more, you can use it with tick and flea applications.
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Give Importance to Brushing and Bathing Your Golden Retriever
While Golden Retrievers shed all the year-round, they shed more in the fall and spring when their coats change. As a matter of fact, you need to brush your pooch every day to improve shedding. You can also use an undercoat rake to groom your pet.
An undercoat rake is a specialized grooming tool with small teeth that are made to reach through the topcoat of your pooch and remove loose hair from the undercoat. It also helps break up pesky tangles and mats on pets with long hairs.
You can use an undercoat rake pet grooming tool every couple of days if your pet has a thick undercoat that tangles or mats easily. The tool will help keep the coat of your canine healthy.
Best Undercoat Rakes for Your Golden Retriever
Here are some of the best undercoat rakes that will work well for your canine friend.
Oster Dog Rake and Shedding Brush (Amazon)
This undercoat rake is easy to use and is perfect for de-shedding, thinning, finishing, and shaping. It eliminates loose hair and undercoat without causing skin irritation if you use it every couple of weeks. The tool leaves your Golden Retriever’s coat looking healthy and smooth. This undercoat rake is particularly designed for dog breeds that have thick or medium undercoats.
What’s more, you can easily clean these rakes. This brush is made of rust-resistant and durable aluminum and has stainless steel blades.
FURminator Grooming Rake (Amazon)
This grooming rake is perfect for dogs that have double coats and thick fur. It has an ergonomic non-slip handle that is ideal for long grooming sessions. The tool features long straight teeth that eliminate loose hairs, tangles, and mats with less skin irritation.
FURminator Undercoat Deshedding Tool (Amazon)
This undercoat rake is specially made to reach through your Golden Retriever’s topcoat and eliminate loose hair without damaging the skin. It features a curved edge that conforms to your pooch’s natural shape. In addition to this, the undercoat rake also features a FURejector button to swiftly release the hair. The tool has an ergonomic handle for ease of use and comfort.
According to the manufacturer, for excellent results, you should use this undercoat rake two times a week for 15 minutes each session. While this tool will remove massive amounts of loose hair, I would personally use it less often than the manufacturer states as it can irritate your dogs skin if used too often. Once, every couple of weeks should do the job.
You can check out my full article about the FURminator here.
A Healthy Diet = A Healthy Coat
A healthy and nutritious diet plays an important role in keeping your Golden Retriever’s coat in good condition. Several commercial dog diets contain the correct balance of nutrients, such as minerals, vitamins, fiber, fats, carbohydrates, and proteins.
Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E are a few of the vital nutrients that will help maintain a healthy fur coat. Fish oils are also a good source of these nutrients. Commercial diets containing vitamin E, an antioxidant, helps protect the skin from damage caused by the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
Omega-3 fatty acids, on the other hand, exhibit an anti-inflammatory effect and help contribute to natural skin oils. Most diets contain low amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Therefore, omega-3 supplementation is sometimes essential for a complete effect.
Best Dog Foods and Treats for Your Golden Retriever
Keep your Golden Retriever’s coat and skin looking great with these foods and treats.
Sweet potatoes are good for your Golden Retriever’s skin. They are an excellent source of vitamin E, beta-carotene, and vitamin A. Apart from these vitamins, sweet potatoes are also a good source of thiamine, copper, potassium, iron, and calcium. They also contain vitamin C that helps promote healing and supports the synthesis of collagen.
It’s important to note that you should not give raw sweet potatoes to your Golden. You should always feed cooked sweet potatoes. Steam and mash the sweet potatoes and add a little to your pet’s food. Boiling or steaming sweet potatoes retain more nutrients than other cooking methods.
Cranberries are rich in bioactive components, such as ellagic acid, anthocyanins, and proanthocyanidins. Anthocyanins give these fruits their red color. These pigments help reduce allergic reactions in your dog and possess anti-inflammatory properties.
Salmon is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which can support the immune system, may decrease inflammation, and can keep your Golden’s coat looking healthy and lustrous. In addition, omega-3 fatty acids may reduce inflammation and boost immune systems. Many good quality foods contain salmon as an ingredient.
Keep in mind never to feed your Golden Retriever undercooked or raw salmon. Raw or under cooked salmon can contain Neorickettsia helminthoeca, an organism that causes salmon poisoning disease. This disease is a life-threatening condition. Furthermore, raw salmon contains lots of small brittle bones that can lodge in your Golden Retriever’s intestines or choke him.
Hence, you should give boneless and well-cooked salmon to your pooch. Opt for fresh boneless fillets as they are less likely to contain tiny bones. However, you should always check for small bones before cooking. Feed salmon to your pup once a week.
Oats are rich in phosphorus and potassium and low in starch. Other than that, they are also a decent source of iron, B vitamins, magnesium, and calcium. Oats support healthy hair and skin by eliminating toxins from your Golden’s body and supporting his digestive system.
You should not serve raw oats to your Golden Retriever as they are difficult for your dog to digest. Therefore, remember to always serve cooked oats to your furry friend. Also, oats should be plain.
You should never feed your Golden Retriever oatmeal with additives. Additives, such as raisins, chocolate, butter, or salt, can be harmful to your canine’s health. Apart from this, you should not give flavored oatmeal to your Golden as it usually contains extra sugar and artificial sweeteners that are harmful to your dog.
Carob is a chocolate substitute that is perfectly safe for your Golden Retriever. It is obtained from the carob tree that is indigenous to the Mediterranean region.
Carob is a good source of natural sugars and contains all vital minerals and vitamins. These include niacin, vitamin B2, vitamin E, vitamin B1, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, iron, and calcium. The vitamin E in carob particularly promotes healthy skin.
Carob also has antibacterial and antiviral properties. What’s so great about this food is that it doesn’t have any unique storage requirements, lasts long, and needs no preparation.
What’s more, carob contains no theobromine and caffeine found in chocolate, so it is safe for your Golden Retriever.
Theobromine is the substance that makes chocolate harmful for dogs. We can metabolize this substance, but the digestive system of your pooch works in a different way. The dog’s digestive system metabolizes this substance very slowly, which allows harmful levels of theobromine to accumulate in your Golden’s body.
If a large quantity of theobromine is consumed, your pet will experience irregular heartbeat, internal bleeding, muscle tremors, and seizures. White chocolate, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and baking chocolate are all high in theobromine.
So chocolate = NO, but carob = YES
Coconut and Coconut Oil
You can feed coconut meat to your Golden Retriever. It’s generally safe for your pet in small amounts. However, coconut contains medium-chain triglycerides, which can lead to bloating and stomach upset. Therefore, it is advisable to talk to your veterinarian before feeding raw coconut to your Golden Retriever.
Coconut oil, on the other hand, is beneficial for the coat and skin of your furry friend. It has anti-inflammatory properties that can help decrease itchy skin, flea allergies, and yeast infections. What’s more, the fatty acids in coconut oil promote a healthy coat. The oil moisturizes your dog’s skin and can be used on wounds to help relieve inflammation and encourage healing.
If you want to give coconut oil to your Golden Retriever orally, begin with small amounts and increase the dosage slowly and steadily. Even better, ask your veterinarian about dosage.
You can apply coconut oil directly to your pooch’s skin once every week, and allow it to be absorbed for some time. Rinse your Golden Retriever off after five minutes. If your dog still feels oily, use a regular dog shampoo to remove the excess oil. As another option, you can use a shampoo formulated with coconut oil.
Eggs are an excellent source of protein and are great for your pooch’s coat and skin health. What’s more, eggs give luster and strength to your dog’s fur. They contain lutein that helps keep your Golden Retriever’s skin well hydrated. Lutein also plays a role in tissue repair.
Eggs also contain zinc, which supports hair and skin health. Vitamin A in eggs helps keep your Golden’s coat glowing and skin healthy. Egg yolks are rich in biotin, a B vitamin that helps promote healthy coats and skin. Signs and symptoms of a biotin deficiency include fungus, skin irritation, and hair loss. Besides, biotin helps treat skin conditions and allergic reactions.
Chia seeds are loaded with protein, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and B vitamins. In addition to these nutrients, they are an excellent source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), calcium, iron, copper, and antioxidants.
ALA is a plant-based form of omega-3 fatty acids that helps fight skin inflammation. Chia seeds do not contain gluten. These seeds nourish your Golden Retriever’s skin thoroughly.
You can add a teaspoon of chia seeds on your Golden Retriever’s dinner if he likes moist food. Other than that, you can also soak a teaspoon of chia seeds in water and mix with dry food.
In addition to this, you can prepare a chia pudding by mixing two cups of water with 1/3 cup of chia seeds. Leave the concoction for ten minutes and then serve. You can store the chia pudding in your fridge and add it to your Golden’s food. She’ll love it!
The liver from grass-fed meat helps improve skin health. It contains the following nutrients:
- Folic acid
- Pantothenic acid
- Vitamins E, D, B12, B6, C, and A
Effect of Your Golden Retriever’s Diet on Coat Health
Adequate fat and protein content are essential for a healthy coat. It’s worth knowing that 75% of your Golden’s hair is composed of protein; therefore, if your dog is deficient in protein, his coat will suffer. Look for patches of hair loss or weak or dry fur. Adding a good quality protein source to your four-legged friends diet can resolve the problem.
Besides protein, healthy fats are important for the hair and skin of your Golden Retriever. A right balance of essential fatty acids – omega-6 fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids – eventually leads to a shiny and strong coat.
If your Golden Retriever is not getting enough essential fatty acids, the symptoms of fatty acid deficiency may appear, including:
- Ear infections
- Slow wound healing
- Flaky and dry skin
- Allergy symptoms, itching, and eczema
- Poor coat quality
- Greasy and thin hair
- Aggressive behavior
If you think your pooch might have a fatty acid deficiency, you can add flaxseed or fish oil to his diet. If you are feeding home-cooked food to your Golden Retriever, check in with your veterinarian to make sure that your dog is getting a balanced diet.
There are many things you can do to keep your pooch’s coat healthy and shiny.
Golden Retrievers shed hair throughout the year. However, shedding is most intense during the fall and spring seasons. Regular grooming, bathing, and balanced nutrition can keep your Golden Retriever’s coat healthy and lustrous. Begin introducing some of the aforementioned healthy ingredients into your Golden’s diet if you want him to have a healthy and shiny coat.
If your dog is losing hair in massive amounts, consult your veterinarian as soon as possible. Remember, the faster you act, the faster you can get your pooch back to being healthy and strong.