Golden Retrievers are large dogs with soft, flowing, butterscotch-colored thick coats. They also have thick undercoats that protect them from the elements. They look especially beautiful after a good brushing.
DIY dog grooming for your Golden Retriever need not be a painful chore. You can use it as a time to pet your pup. If you do, the sight of your grooming tools will excite your dog instead of scaring it away. Even if your dog doesn’t like grooming, it will likely be patient with you and put up with it just to be near you. Get into the habit of giving your dog some love before you engage in any grooming work. This will ease any nervousness you and your dog may feel.
You may think of Golden Retriever grooming as being restricted to the act of combing and brushing, but grooming also involves bathing, shampooing, clipping and trimming hair, nail trimming, and teeth cleaning. You may feel overwhelmed by all of these activities, but with practice, you can perform all these yourself effectively and safely.
When Should I Begin Grooming My Golden Retriever Puppy?
It’s best to begin acquainting your puppy with your grooming rituals by 12 weeks. If you wait until the puppy is 6 months, it may be too fearful of grooming to make it a pleasurable experience.
Well before your puppy is 12 weeks old, train it to accept your touches on its paws, legs, ears, snout, and tail. You may begin this training when it’s days old.
Train your puppy to open its mouth for your inspection. Play “shake hands” with your puppy, so it becomes used to you handling its paws so you may examine its nails. By the time it’s old enough for grooming, your puppy will be used to all this touching.
Show your puppy the grooming tools you’ll be using. Let it sniff and paw them. Do this several times before the first grooming session. Continue doing this each time you groom your Golden Retriever.
Begin the first session by standing your puppy on a table, lightly brushing its coat everywhere, and doing a bit of trimming of its tail, ears, and feet. Build up tolerance slowly by trimming a bit more during each session.
How Often Should I Groom My Golden Retriever?
With the Golden Retriever’s thick coat and undercoat, you’ll be better off if you give the dog a thorough brushing each day. Brush the outer coat back against the grain so you can clear out dead hairs in the undercoat. If your dog sheds heavily, this daily ritual will prove to be especially helpful.
Use an undercoat rake to get at your dog’s dead undercoat hairs. This will help ease shedding.
A Good Grooming Routine for Your Golden Retriever
Begin with the bath. But before you bathe your dog, brush it down thoroughly. You’d be surprised at how much excess hair you can remove. This will save you a lot of work after the bath.
If you have space and money, you can purchase a dog grooming table. If you’re on a budget, use a picnic table.
On summer days, you can hose down your dog with warm water and then rub dog shampoo all over its body until it lathers. In the winter, you can use your shower for cleaning. Rinse the dog off thoroughly. Rinse your dog again to make sure all shampoo has been removed.
Examine your dog for any matted areas or burrs. Snip any off with a small pair of scissors if it looks like it will be too painful to comb out.
Let your dog shake itself. Rub it down with a bath towel. If you can’t dry your dog to your satisfaction with the towel, use a dog hair dryer on the thicker areas of hair. Then, begin brushing your Golden Retriever with a dog brush. For tangles, you’ll want to gently address them with a dog comb. You may also want to use a dog hair conditioner to make those tangles easier to deal with.
If your Golden Retriever’s hair is especially thick, you may want to use a dog hand-held dryer to speed up the drying process.
Check your Golden Retriever’s ears, snout, tail, legs, and paws for excess hair every two weeks. Make sure that the hair on its back lies flat. Hairs should not be sticking up. Use your dog’s hairdryer to blow against the grain. Then brush with the grain. If this doesn’t flatten the hair, trim it back.
Lift each paw in turn and trim them back lightly with a small pair of scissors when you note excess hair growth on the bottom of the feet, between the toes, on top of the paws, behind the legs, and in front and in back of the ears. Allow the hair on the upper part of the back legs to look full. This will give your Golden Retriever’s coat a natural look.
If any hairs look especially long on the ears themselves, trim them back. Examine both sides of your dog’s head to make sure your trimming is making your Golden Retriever look symmetrical.
If you note excess growth on your dog’s chest and neck, trim it back lightly until it lies flat. Leave enough length for a proper Golden Retriever look. A Golden Retriever’s tail should not be chopped down. Trim the tail to remove straggly hair, but allow the remaining hair to taper nicely.
Don’t trim your Golden Retriever’s hair very short. And, never shave your Golden Retriever. Don’t trim the undercoat. Its double coat acts as a water repellent. Your dog needs its two coats to be comfortable. Those coats act as nature’s air conditioner on hot days and a heater on cold days. If you think you haven’t trimmed your dog enough, comb the hair out and see if it lays flat. If it does, you’re done.
Check your dog’s nails. Do they click on the floor? Do they scratch you when you play with it? If so, they’re too long. Long nails can break and cause your dog a painful infection.
Learn how to use dog nail clippers to trim them back. But take care not to cut into the quick. That would really be painful and may even cause the dog to bleed. If you’re worried about using nail clippers, consider buying and using a good set of the best dog nail grinders instead.
The calmest dog may get nervous around clippers and grinders. Buy some dog calming spray or use the best CBD oil for dogs and use it if your dog is overly nervous during nail trimming.
Eyes and Ears
Wipe any dry matter from around the eyes with mineral oil and cotton balls. Your Golden Retriever will look fresh and clean with those areas attended to. Be careful to avoid touching the eyes, though.
Golden Retrievers are prone to ear infections with their soft, floppy ears. If your dog is scratching its ears, check them immediately. Lift the ears and examine them for dirt and redness. If they are infected, take your dog to your veterinarian. If not, take the opportunity to clean them out with cotton balls. Look for ear wax and remove it. Dogs have difficulty removing it themselves.
Like humans, dogs need toothbrushing. If you don’t use the occasional self-teeth cleaning dog treats such as dental chews, you may want to use a dog toothbrush every three days. If you do, clean your dog’s teeth every week.
Ask your veterinarian to examine your Golden Retriever’s teeth. Find out if it needs professional tooth cleaning.
Instead of a Bath
There are times when you are busy or your Golden Retriever is just slightly dirty. This is when you’ll want to give it a dry bath with a good dry shampoo. Work it through the dog’s coat into the skin. Let it sit for 20 minutes. Brush your dog thoroughly. Make sure no powder remains.
Insects can cause painful itching and allergies. Take this opportunity to give your dog protection against fleas and ticks by rubbing in some dry preventative powder.
After Your Golden Retriever Goes Swimming
Your dog is a retriever, and so it will thoroughly enjoy swimming with you in a lake, creek, or ocean . It will also enjoy rolling on the beach. This means you must take extra care when your return home when you groom it.
Spray your dog down thoroughly. Shampoo it thoroughly twice. Rinse it twice. You may also need to use a dog hair conditioner to soften its coat after lots of water play. After drying, you’ll want to check your dog’s coat with extra care for unwanted bits of dirt and plants. Remove anything you find.
Dirt and sand may scratch your dog’s pads. Rub them down with dog balm.
Clean your dog’s ears out with cotton balls. Golden Retrievers tend to get ear infections from swimming.
Dog Grooming Products
You’ll want to invest in the following dog grooming products to make grooming effective and pleasant for you and your Golden Retriever:
Combs, brushes, shampoo, conditioner, dog hair dryer, scissor, paw balm, dry bath powder, flea and tick protection, nail clippers or grinders, cotton balls and mineral oil, toothpaste, toothbrush, and calming spray should be a part of any Golden Retriever’s grooming kit.
Dedicate several bath towels to your dog’s use as well. Check out recommendations from your fellow Golden Retriever owners for the best products for your dog.
What kind of grooming does a Golden Retriever need?
Your Golden Retriever will need more grooming than most dogs, thanks to its soft, thick, luxurious coat. But your dog will be good-natured about this attention. The work will not be onerous for you and your dog. Brushing every day will go a long way towards avoiding most grooming problems.
Do Golden Retrievers need professional grooming?
If you’re inexperienced in trimming a Golden Retriever’s hair you’ll want to visit your dog groomer. But as you learn more about grooming you’ll soon find you’re capable of learning each step of proper trimming to keep your dog beautiful. Making grooming a habit and practicing each technique will turn you into a proficient dog groomer. You’ll not only grow closer to your dog, but you’ll also save some real money by doing this work yourself.
Are Golden Retrievers easy to groom?
Yes. If you begin when your dog is a puppy and get it used to the routine, your mild-mannered Golden Retriever will make grooming an easy and enjoyable chore.
How much does a Golden Retriever need grooming?
Golden Retrievers need brushing weekly, at the very least. If they shed, they should be brushed every day. Shedding seasons generally occur in the spring and fall. Be especially attentive to your brushing during those times.
Unless your dog gets dirty, bathe it every month. Excess hair should be cleaned every week. Nails should be trimmed every six weeks. Teeth should be brushed every few days or every other day.