Golden Retrievers are covered by a fur coat with two layers: a thick-short inner coat, and a longer outer coat that lies flat against the body. As with most double-coated dogs, you will find that Golden Retrievers shed a lot throughout the year. But is there a particular season where it’s worse than normal? If so, what time of year do Golden Retrievers shed most?
Golden Retrievers shed the most during the late spring, and late fall seasons. Though they shed year-round, a Golden Retriever will shed even more during the spring and fall in order to grow a new coat that is more appropriate for the upcoming warmer and colder months ahead.
This article discusses in more detail why Golden Retrievers shed, as well as other factors that might lead your Golden Retriever to shed their fur. I’ll also cover some ways to handle the increased amount of seasonal shedding.
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Why Do Golden Retrievers Shed?
When the weather changes, it is perfectly normal to see excess shedding from your Golden Retriever. This helps them to adjust and be more comfortable in the extreme heat or cold. When the weather starts getting warm in the spring, your dog will begin shedding his thick winter undercoat to help him keep his body cooler during the hot summer months ahead.
When it begins getting colder in the fall, your Golden Retriever will shed his thin summer undercoat, and start growing his thick winter coat. So in both cases of extreme shedding, it’s the undercoat that is shed. The overcoat, while it might lose a hair or two here and there, typically does not shed.
Reasons Your Golden Retriever Is Shedding
Outside the extreme spring and fall blowout of their coat, Golden Retrievers, like most dogs that shed, do so on a daily basis, year-round. Though you can keep excess loose hair in your house to a minimum by frequent brushing, it will always be an issue for dogs with a double coat.
In addition to changes in the weather, there are some other reasons your Golden Retriever may be excessively shedding. Let’s explore the most common causes of shedding in Golden Retrievers besides the weather.
Shedding Their Puppy Coat
When a Golden Retriever gives birth, the puppies are born with only their undercoat. This coat protects them from the elements and gives a Golden Retriever puppy its fluffy appearance. During the first year of their lives they begin to grow their full double coat which requires them to drop their puppy coat as the new under and outer coats begin to grow in.
This is where shedding first begins for a Golden Retriever dog, and it continues throughout their lifetime.
Shedding Due to Pregnancy
After a Golden Retriever has just had a litter, it is common and very normal for her to begin shedding. During the pregnancy and lactating period, your Golden Retriever will shed her fur due to a lack of nutrients. Either through breastfeeding or when the puppies are still in the womb, the mother will pass along her nutrients to the puppies, leaving her body somewhat depleted.
A natural result of this lack of nutrients is for her coat to shed more than normal. You can reduce the rate of her shedding with supplements and a healthy diet.
Recommended Reading: How to Care for a Pregnant Golden Retriever (A Complete Guide)
Shedding Because of Allergies
One of the ways your Golden Retriever reacts to allergies is by shedding excessively. This is a result of the allergic reaction aggravating their skin. Your dog might be allergic to several things, including:
- An ingredient in their food
- Type of shampoo
- Your laundry detergent
- Flea allergy dermatitis
These are only a few of the things that your Golden may possibly be allergic to. If you notice excessive shedding and scratching, it is crucial to identify exactly what is causing the allergic reaction so you can address it. Visiting the vet will also help in diagnosing their condition and getting treatment.
Shedding Due to Parasites
Fleas and ticks are the most common pests known to attack dogs. When they infest Golden Retrievers, they irritate their skin, causing inflammation. Goldens react to the irritation and discomfort by scratching, which leads to more shedding than usual.
It is crucial to take immediate action to eliminate fleas and ticks by identifying the issue and applying vet-approved treatments. Ticks should be removed carefully and thoroughly, and you will need to make sure that none of the bug’s body has been left behind.
If using a dog-friendly pesticide, always perform a spot check to ensure your dog is not allergic. If you have several dogs, isolate the affected one for a while to avoid infesting the others. Make sure they are pest-free before reintroducing them to the pack.
Recommended Reading: How To Get Rid of Fleas on a Golden Retriever (Safely & Naturally)
Stress Can Cause Shedding
Just like humans, your Golden Retriever can become stressed. Here are some of the things that can trigger your dog’s stress:
- Constant loud noises (e.g., construction, loud music, people arguing)
- Change of routine
- Change of environment
- Family changes (e.g., the birth of a newborn or a new person coming to visit or live)
- Separation anxiety
- Feeling the stress of the owner
They tend to react to stress by shedding, or sometimes they can initiate it by licking and biting themselves, causing more fur to come off.
Medication & Shedding
Your Golden pup might begin shedding its fur as a result of the introduction of new medicine. Medication such as corticosteroids, which is a form of steroids for pets, increases the dog’s shedding rate. When this happens, you should visit a vet, most preferably the one who prescribed that medication.
The vet may change the medication or give another option to stop the shedding. Changing the medication will most likely cause a Golden Retriever’s coat, and it’s level of shedding, to return to normal.
Shedding Due to a Poor Diet
A poor diet will not only lead to increased shedding in your Golden Retriever, but it will also affect your dog’s weight and general health. Cheaper food that is missing important nutrients are typically full of fillers and junk that’s not good for your Golden. These types of foods typically cause shedding and hair loss.
Food allergies can also lead to your dog experiencing skin and coat problems. Ingredients that are commonly found in cheap foods are corn, wheat, soy, and byproducts from other animals. These ingredients are often marked as byproducts and not clearly labeled as allergens.
Proper nutrition not only promotes a healthy double coat but also helps your dog stay at a healthy weight.
Shedding Because of Disease
If you notice that your Golden Retriever is acting unusual, and begins shedding its fur, it may be a sign of an underlying illness. When this happens, the best way forward is to visit the vet to diagnose any issues, and to treat the illness before it gets worse.
Is My Golden Retriever Shedding Too Much?
As a Golden Retriever owner, you have to expect that your dog is going to shed. Knowing what’s normal, however, can help you determine if the amount their shedding is to be expected, or a symptom of a more serious problem. This is important to know in order to maintain your Golden’s health.
As mentioned earlier, the shedding might be caused by factors other than the change of seasons, which may mean your dog is experiencing other health issues. Therefore, you’ll want to carefully observe how your dog sheds its fur.
Here are some signs you should watch out for that may indicate your Golden Retriever is shedding due to a health related issue.
The Shedding Is Not Even
When it comes to losing fur through shedding, it is normal for the excess fur to be shed evenly all over the body. This means that if you notice your Golden Retriever is shedding more on one part of its body than anywhere else, there is likely an issue.
Look for areas of their coat that are getting noticably thinner compared to the rest of their body. Bare patches, or extremly thin fur in one or more areas of a Golden Retrievers body requires an immediate visit to the vet.
The Shedding Is Causing Behavioral Changes
Normal shedding should not affect your dog’s mood and behavior, and it should also be a slow process that happens daily over time. If you notice that your dog is changing behavior, such as becoming aggressive or lethargic, or suddenly sheds a lot over a short period of time, take this as a sign that something else may be wrong.
If your Golden suddenly starts shedding in large quantities and is not acting normally, it could be an indicator of a medical issue. Time for a trip to the veterinarian.
How To Handle Golden Retrievers’ Shedding
If you’re getting, or have a Golden Retriever, you’ll need to expect lots of shedding. It’s just part of owning this dog breed. So is grooming. Goldens have thick, long coats that require regular brushing. If left untamed, you will begin to see lots of matting and knots.
Regularly Brushing Your Golden Retriever
Brushing your dog with a Hertzko Self Cleaning Slicker Brush from Amazon is the most effective way to control shedding, especially around the house. It removes loose fur before it falls off in your home. Brushing your Golden Retriever on a daily basis to keep shed hair to a minimum should do the trick, especially during the spring and fall shedding season.
Though your Golden will still shed with daily brushing, it should be far less than if the dog’s coat was left unkempt. To avoid a mess in the house, it’s a good idea to brush them outside.
You can also use what’s called an undercoat rake like the Maxpower Planet Pet Grooming Brush (Amazon). It’s a special brush that helps to thin your Golden Retriever’s undercoat. This type of brush does wonders for getting the dead hair off before it is shed.
An undercoat rake does such a good job, however, that you will want to be careful to use it only occasionally so that it doesn’t damage you dog’s undercoat. I just use this brush once every week or two, not daily.
Recommended Reading: Do Golden Retrievers Have Hair or Fur? (A Golden’s Coat)
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!
Give Your Golden a Bath
Bathe your dog, but be careful not to overdo it. Over washing your Golden Retriever will strip his coat of necessary oils, and will dry out the dog’s skin (which in turn could cause more shedding). Bathing your Golden every four to eight weeks should be about right.
You should also take caution on which shampoo you’re using. Never use a human based shampoo on your Golden Retriever. Also, when using a new dog shampoo, keep an eye out for any allergic reactions.
For a Golden Retriever, I’d recommend Burt’s Bee’s Natural Shampoo For Dogs (Amazon). It’s Ph balanced especially for dogs, and is an oatmeal based shampoo that soothes itchy skin.
Recommended Reading: How Often Should I Wash My Golden Retriever? (Explained!)
More Exercise = Less Stress = Less Shedding
Allowing your Golden Retriever to have fun, and regularly de-stress through exercise will help to lessen any shedding caused by stress or over excitement. Golden Retrievers need to be exercised a minimum of an hour a day, and getting their pent-up energy out will do wonders for their stress levels. Less stress = less shedding.
A Golden needs mental stimulation as well, try playing some of these fun games with your Golden Retriever.
Feed Your Golden Retriever a Good Diet To Reduce Shedding
Your Golden’s health mainly depends on the food you are feeding him. Ensuring you provide your Golden Retriever with food rich in all the required nutrients and necessary supplements will help maintain a healthy coat.
If you got your Golden from a breeder, keep using the same brand of food they’re used to. Move up to different types as your dog ages, sticking with the brand you know they like and can tolerate.
Recommended Reading: How Much To Feed a Golden Retriever Daily (Puppy, Adult, Senior)
Use a Pet Vacuum Cleaner and a Lint Roller For Golden Retriever Hair
A quality vacuum cleaner made for picking up pet hair, like the Bissell Cleanview Swivel Pet (Amazon), and a lint roller (Amazon) will both come in handy when you have a Golden Retriever in your house. No matter what you do, fur will be everywhere, including on the furniture and on your clothes. Vacuum a few times a week to remove excess fur from the floor and keep a lint roller close by when getting dressed.
Does Shaving a Golden Retriever Help With Shedding?
Shaving a Golden Retriever does not help with shedding, and should never be done. A Golden will continue to shed even after they have been shaved, and shaving a Golden Retriever’s coat leaves your dog unprotected from the elements in both summer and winter. Also, shaving a Golden Retriever may permanently damage their coat.
If you want a Golden Retriever, expect that there will be plenty of fur in your house. These double-coated dogs will shed daily, and in excess during the late spring and fall. Daily brushing can help to reduce the amount of a Golden’s shedding, but it is not possible to prevent it.
Though it can be a lot of work, this should not discourage you from owning a Golden Retriever. They are truly one of the best dogs you could ever have!