Yes. Golden retrievers do shed.
Probably a more accurate way to say this is... OH MY GOD, YES THEY SHED!!
It always surprises me to hear some Golden Retriever owners say they are "moderate shedders."
Don't worry though, I'll be covering everything you need to know about your golden retriever's shedding in this article.
We will be covering:
- Why do golden retrievers Shed?
- When do golden retrievers Shed?
- Can I shave my golden retriever?
- Creating a golden retriever brushing routine
- Tips And Tricks to keeping a clean home with a golden retriever
Why do Golden Retrievers Shed?
Shedding is a natural part of a dog's life, especially for a golden retriever. Dogs shed to help control their body temperature and skin against environmental elements and fluctuating temperatures. When a dog's hair stops growing at its natural life cycle, it breaks off (or sheds).
When it comes to golden retrievers, they shed quite a bit because they have to shed a heavy double coat.
What is a double coat?
A double coat is two separate layers of fur: an undercoat and a top coat. The undercoat is dense short fur that is woolly in nature and helps golden retrievers maintain body temperature, it helps protect your dog from hot and cold temperatures. Double coats are very common among water fowl dogs.
The top coat consists of longer fur called guard hairs that help repel moisture and dirt. The top coat is oilier and waterproof. To properly maintain a healthy coat with as little shedding as possible, you will need to get two different types of brushes in order to maintain your dog's hair (a slicker brush and an undercoat rake). Check out our article for Best Golden Retriever Brush for more information.
When Do Golden Retrievers Shed?
Golden retrievers shed "moderately" all year round. This means you will find their short coarse hair, everywhere, all the time. This is normal.
There are two times of the year when golden retriever's shedding increases. This is during the transitional seasons of spring and fall and a heavy shedding that is often referred to a "blowing out their coat."
- Spring: Golden retrievers shed (blows out) their thick winter coat.
- Fall: Golden retrievers shed (blows out) their lighter summer coat to make room for their cold winter coat.
It's kind of a running joke in the golden retriever community that our goldens shed twice a year, six months in the spring and six months in the fall.
Causes Of Increased Shedding
As a general rule of thumb, the hotter your golden retriever's environment is the more they will shed as they need less hair.
If you notice an unusual increase of shedding in your dog outside their normal shedding periods, here are a few potential causes of increased shedding.
In the case of unusual increased shedding, always consult with your vet for the best solution.
Parasites and fleas: Fleas and ticks bury into a dog's skin which can lead to irritation and itchiness. This will also encourage hair to fall out.
Stress: Just as humans can lose hair when they are stressed, so can a dog. This can be triggered by moving to a new home, new environment, or anxiety.
Pregnancy: When a dog is pregnant or lactating, some may lose more hair. This is normal. If it is excessive, consult your vet. Sometimes supplements can be used to combat this issue.
Inadequate Nutrition: Good diet means a healthy dog and healthy coat. If a dog is not meeting their nutritional and age appropriate nutritional needs, they may shed more.
Allergies: The main cause of allergy related shedding is your dog scratching his skin, therefore loosening the hair.
If your dog is shedding because of allergies there will be accompanying signs: loosing patches of fur, thinning hair, hot spots, and even behavioral changes in some cases.
Dehydration: If a dog is dehydrated, they will develop dehydrated skin, which causes skin shrinkage and therefore shedding. Dehydration also reduces the quality of a dog's hair.
Overall health: Fungal or bacterial infections may lead to increased shedding. If your pup is feeling poorly due to external or internal health issues a first sign may be increased shedding.
Excessive dog shedding: when you should visit the vet: (according to petWebMD)
- When there are bald or balding spots.
- When your dog is scratching beyond normal
- Fur has become dry and brittle
- Dull hair that pulls out easily
- Constant foot licking or face rubbing
- Skin irritation with rashes, scabs, or redness
- Open sores of any kind
- Hair loss with other skin issues
- Dog is sensitive to touch, they avoid being touched when loosing fur
Can I shave my golden retriever?
No. Please DO NOT shave your golden retriever. They need their hair to help them keep regulate their body temperature. Shaving them will hinder their ability to maintain their body temperature.
Shaving your dog can also expose them to sunburns and hot spots. If you shave a golden retriever's hair you will bring about hot spots which can be extremely painful and difficult to heal. Not only that, it can also inhibit regrowth of their undercoat for the winter. If your dog can't regrow their undercoat, then they cannot keep themselves warm.
Unless there is a medical reason, there is no good reason to shave your golden retriever's coat.
You can decrease shedding with a good grooming routine. Even using an undercoat rake once a week can significantly decrease shedding.
Golden Retriever Brushing Routine
Daily Dog Brushing Routine
Brush with slicker brush or combination brush to detangle the fur and help remove loose dog hair. Do not go over the same area more than 3 times with a slicker brush, as that can cause brush burn.
Slicker brushes will only maintain the top coat and does nothing for the undercoat.
Weekly Brushing Routine
Use a dematting tool on your dog to help clear out tangles from the undercoat. Also use the undercoat rake to help remove hair from the undercoat and to keep it from matting.
Golden retrievers are prone to matting hair behind the ears, tails, and on the back legs so make sure to pay closer attention to those areas.
Monthly Brushing Routine
Give your dog a bath about once a month (less is more with bathing). Once they are fully dry after their bath, brush them out very well with the undercoat rake and then the slicker brush to finish.
Tips and Tricks to keeping a clean home with golden retriever
It's hard to keep a clean home with a dog that sheds on a regular basis. I would go so far as to say if you own a golden retriever, you may as well embrace living in the hair.
For those that want to minimize the hair around the house these are some things you can do to help keep your home cleaner.
Brushing: Brushing your dog on a regular basis with a brush daily and an undercoat rake weekly can greatly reduce shedding. Brushing your dog outdoors also makes clean up easy.
Pet friendly furniture. Some pet owners found it helpful to change their furniture color to the color of their dog. Others also brought leather or faux leather furniture. It's easier to wipe out the dog hair on these surfaces. This is not the easiest or cheapest solution, but should be considered when you are in the market to buy new furniture for your home.
Not ready to change out all your furniture? Totally understandable. Another solution that golden retriever owners found helpful is to put blankets or throws on their couch, bed, or wherever your dog likes to sleep or lay. Then throw these blankets and throws into the wash once a week.
Pro Tip: if you use a Roomba or other robot vacuum, try getting furniture that sits up high enough for the vacuum to get under. Under chairs, couches, and other places the vacuum can not get will collect dog hair like a magnet.
Having a hard time getting your dog's hair off your furniture or other surfaces? Use a window squeegee to get fur out of surfaces or use the Chom Chom. It has a built in squeegee and it is a remover that works like a lint roller but it is reusable!
Comment below with any questions or tips you have about Golden Retriever Shedding!