Golden Retrievers are known for their friendly demeanor, intelligence, and, unfortunately, their tendency to shed. If you’re a Golden Retriever owner, you’re probably all too familiar with finding tufts of golden fur all over your home.
While it’s impossible to stop a Golden Retriever from shedding entirely there are several effective strategies you can employ to significantly reduce the amount of fur your furry friend leaves behind.
To minimize Golden Retriever shedding, brush them daily and use a de-shedding tool bi-weekly, particularly in peak shedding seasons. Opt for a diet rich in Omega fatty acids for a healthier coat. Keep your dog well-hydrated, bathe them 2-3 times annually, and maintain flea and parasite control for optimal results.
In this article, we’ll dive into the world of Golden Retrievers and their shedding habits. We’ll explore why these beloved dogs shed, what you can expect in terms of shedding frequency and volume, and most importantly, how you can manage it.
So, grab your grooming brush, and let’s get started on the journey to a less hairy home!
How to Reduce Golden Retriever Shedding
Golden Retrievers are naturally heavy shedders due to their long thick double coats.
They consistently shed all year round and shedding also becomes extra heavy in the spring and fall months when clumps of their dense undercoat fall out in preparation for the change of season.
This profuse seasonal shedding is common in breeds with a double coat, like the Golden Retriever. In the doggy world, it’s known as “blowing the coat.”
Let’s cover each strategy for reducing shedding in your Golden Retriever in more detail:
1. Get a De-Shedding Tool
The best way to groom your Golden is with a de-shedding tool engineered for a double coat. These tools cater to your Retriever’s thick undercoat and dig out any loose hairs that might otherwise fly all over your home!
They are perfect to use when your doggo is “blowing his coat.” You’ll need to use this tool twice per week during this time.
I use the FURminator undercoat de-shedding tool from Amazon. It especially does an excellent job by removing all the dead and loose hair as the stainless steel edge reaches through your dog’s topcoat without causing damage or cutting the skin.
Note: Clicking the above link(s) will take you to Amazon or an online store where we have an affiliate relationship. If you make a purchase, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.
I’ve tried other de-shedding tools over the years, but I’ve never found one as excellent as the FURminator.
2. Get a Shedding Brush
Your Golden Retriever, like other dogs, will shed all year. You won’t be able to prevent it entirely, but brushing his hair with a slicker brush frequently will keep it from accumulating all over your furniture and flooring.
It doesn’t take all that much work to brush him daily, either. Depending on your doggo, 2-3 times per week may be enough.
There are many good slicker brushes that you can get for your Golden Retriever’s topcoat that will remove pet dander and keep his coat looking smart.
I like the Hertzko Self-Cleaning Slicker Brush from Amazon. It’s also great for removing tangled hair and is easy to use. It’s simple to clean, too, as it has a button that you merely click, which removes all the fur from the brush (like the FURminator).
All you need to do is brush your Golden Retriever’s entire coat a few times, and you will significantly reduce the amount of hair he sheds compared to if you only brush him weekly.
3. Groom and Bathe Your Dog 2-3 Times a Year
As previously mentioned, your Golden Retriever will change his coat twice yearly, once in the fall and once in the spring.
Although you won’t be able to prevent the clumps of fur from eventually falling out, bathing and brushing him at these times will help eliminate more of it in one go.
Rather than allowing his undercoat to come out gradually over time, you can loosen any remaining fur and remove it after bathing.
Never over-bathe, as this strips your Golden Retriever’s natural oils, causing dry skin, which then causes further shedding.
You can also get special de-shedding dog shampoos to release the undercoat during the bath. You can even find Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids products, such as the FURminator deShedding Ultra Premium Dog Shampoo, which helps reduce shedding.
4. Switch to Food that Targets the Coat and Skin
You may have already considered what you feed your Golden Retriever, but did you know that the food you provide him significantly impacts his shedding habits?
Cheap dog food has many ingredients that some dogs have trouble digesting, like corn and grain, along with all those nasty preservatives and chemicals.
Instead, look for dog food with a high-quality protein source as the first ingredient. A protein insufficiency results in a dull and unkempt coat.
If your Golden Retriever is not receiving the correct nutrition, his protein will sustain muscle mass, leaving the coat to suffer.
If you’re interested in more in-depth information about canine nutrition, I have a definitive guide, Best Diet for Golden Retrievers: Nutrition, Types, and More! that you’ll enjoy.
Alternatively, if you’re a home feeder and are looking for some recipes, head over to this post, 5 Top Homemade Dog Food Recipes For Shedding.
Although the best food is more expensive, it will benefit your Golden Retriever by minimizing his daily shedding and ensuring that he lives a long and healthy life.
Your Golden Retriever will have a good, healthy coat if you feed him food that meets his nutritional demands, and you’ll be able to limit the amount of year-round shedding.
5. Keep Your Golden Retriever Hydrated
Allowing your Golden Retriever to drink more water daily can help to reduce the volume of shedding! This is because when dogs are dehydrated, they shed more.
Giving your dog one ounce of water for every pound of body weight will improve his overall health and lessen the amount of hair that ends up all over your house.
You can get a dog water fountain, such as the Petsafe Drinkwell from Amazon, that entices your Retriever to drink and saves you from always freshening up his water. I particularly like this one as it’s a great size, has two tiers, and even comes with carbon filters to remove bad taste and odors from the water.
Pro Tip! Give your Golden Retriever ice cubes in warm weather to keep him hydrated. You can also treat your dog to frozen fruits such as raspberries or strawberries to quench his thirst. These make a healthy alternative to store-bought treats.
6. Stay Up-to-Date With Flea Treatment
Flea treatments won’t stop your Golden Retriever from shedding, but they will prevent him from scratching and gnawing at himself excessively if he has a tick or flea!
The more your Golden relentlessly scratches to release himself from the discomfort of fleas or ticks, the more fur he pulls out. No ticks and fleas mean less scratching and less shedding.
Remember to stay on top of your Golden Retriever’s flea treatment. I do this every three months for my dog, along with deworming treatment.
7. Include Omega Fatty Acids in Your Golden’s Diet
I already explained how you could reduce your Golden Retriever’s shedding by changing his diet and incorporating Omega fatty acids into your daily schedule to reduce the volume of year-round shedding.
You can do this by choosing specific foods with Omega-3 fatty acids. You can also achieve it by providing your Golden Retriever with a daily supplement that contains these nutrients.
Check out Zesty Paws Omega 3 Alaskan Fish Oil Treats from Amazon. They come in bacon or chicken flavors and get thousands of favorable reviews.
If your doggos food choice doesn’t contain enough oils, another alternative is to add a little olive oil to his food.
Olive oil contains omega-3 fatty acids that support the skin and coat. Remember to check with your vet first on how much to give your Retriever.
Tip! Sometimes, I add a little tinned tuna or mackerel in oil to my dog’s food, and I know she won’t be far away if we have salmon for dinner!
Including Omega fatty acids in your dog’s diet will mean far less shedding in the long term, and your Golden Retriever will be healthier at the same time.
Understanding the Reasons Behind Heavy Shedding
Most Goldens shed an enormous amount of hair! You’ll discover clumps of fur in obscure places, such as your kitchen drawers, inside your fridge, and even in your coat pockets!
We need to look at the type of coat he has to understand better why your Golden Retriever sheds so much.
Golden Retrievers shed so much due to their thick double coat. The topcoat is shiny and dense, and they have a good thick undercoat that regulates their temperature.
They constantly shed all year round as the hair goes through its normal growth cycle, and they will “blow their undercoat” twice a year.
Double-coated breeds have two layers of hair. In dog coat genetics, each hair follicle in a dog’s coat will have 1-2 topcoat (guard) hairs and several undercoat hairs.
Puppies are born with a single coat, but from the age of three months, they will begin to acquire their adult coat, which will last until they are roughly one year old.
The domestic dog’s closest living ancestor, the wolf, also has a double coat, which is considered an ancestral characteristic.
However, the undercoat is absent in single-coated breeds due to a mutated gene, and they, therefore, shed less because the undercoat is more inclined to molt with the change of season.
If we look back at the history of the Golden Retriever, they needed their thick, wooly undercoat to protect them from the cold when hunting in the Scottish Highlands and especially in the cold waters when retrieving ducks and other game.
Their guard coat provided them with an extra waterproof layer. Golden Retrievers continue to make great outside working dogs because they can survive various weather conditions.
Does Fur Color Affect Shedding?
You may have heard that the cream Golden Retriever sheds the most or the red variety is the least shedding. So, which is true?
All colors of Golden Retriever shed the same, whether cream, light gold, dark gold, or red. Coat color does not influence the amount of shedding – this is a myth. All Goldens have the same traits, no matter their coat color.
Some owners may have become confused because they believe cream Goldens shed more since they have dark-colored carpets, where the cream fur would be more evident.
Dark-colored hair will appear more on light-colored carpet and flooring, and conversely.
If you are genuinely looking for a Golden Retriever that sheds less, consider a Goldendoodle (Golden Retriever and Poodle mix). The Poodle is a low-shedding breed; therefore, your mix won’t shed as much as a purebred dog.
You might be surprised to learn that the Golden Retriever’s shedding habits are somewhat predictable. In addition to their typical year-round shedding, Goldens shed the most during particular months.
Golden Retriever shedding season occurs twice yearly, in the fall and spring. This is when your dog will change or “blow” his coat, which takes approximately 2-3 weeks.
Therefore, the shedding season occurs during September, October, November, March, April, and May.
When the seasons change, your Golden Retriever will change his coat to accommodate the new climate.
When the temperature warms, he’ll shed his old winter undercoat to make place for a lighter summer coat.
He’ll also shed his lighter undercoat and invest in a thick, insulating coat in preparation for the winter when the weather turns cooler. This helps him to feel at ease throughout the year.
His thick undercoat will begin to fall out in clumps for around two to three weeks each time. During this period, your dog will be shedding pretty heavily as he molts all of his dead undercoat. You won’t be able to avoid noticing it fluttering around all over your home!
Although the time when your Golden Retriever “blows his coat” is the worst for shedding, he will also shed regularly throughout the year. It’s perfectly normal and part of your dog’s hair’s normal growth cycle and molting.
As mentioned previously, this year-round shedding is the same for all Golden Retrievers, no matter their color.
Causes of Unexpected Heavy Shedding
You should be aware that not all shedding in Golden Retrievers is normal, especially now that you have a clear idea of their regular shedding schedule.
Some hair loss patterns suggest health issues that a veterinarian should address. If your Golden begins to shed abnormally, you must figure out why.
Golden Retrievers can experience off-schedule shedding due to various health issues. Factors like an inadequate diet, insufficient hydration, allergies, parasites, and stress can contribute to this irregular shedding.
Less common but significant causes include conditions such as hypothyroidism, Cushing’s disease, underdeveloped hair follicles, hormonal changes during pregnancy, or adverse reactions to certain medications.
Professionals can distinguish between normal shedding and molting caused by health, nutritional, and environmental factors. The following signs can identify peculiar shedding:
- Dry or brittle hair
- Irritation, open sores, blisters
- Bald patches
- Dislike of petting
Let’s take a closer look at the factors that can cause atypical fur loss in dogs:
- Poor diet. A healthy, well-balanced diet provides a constant supply of essential nutrients. Your Golden Retriever’s hair needs these nutrients to stay firmly in the hair follicles. As such, a poor diet with deficient nutrients can cause hair loss.
- Dehydration. When your doggo is dehydrated, blood flow and oxygen delivery to tissues and organs, including the skin, are jeopardized. The decrease in skin suppleness causes the coat to fall out effortlessly.
- Parasites, ticks, lice, and fleas. All of these irritate your dog’s skin, and as a result, he will nibble or scratch. This causes the fur to fall out, and the chewed skin can become infected.
- Underdeveloped hair follicles. This can be inborn, although it isn’t always hereditary. Hair follicles do not develop adequately, resulting in patchy or total hair loss.
- Cushing’s disease. This is caused by a benign tumor in the pituitary gland, which causes an overproduction of the stress hormone cortisol, which subsequently causes hair loss in dogs. Each year, 100,000 dogs are diagnosed with Cushing’s disease, with canines older than six years being at a higher risk.
- Hypothyroidism. Symptoms of hypothyroidism include increased shedding, hair loss, and thinning. Unfortunately, Golden Retrievers are one of the most prone breeds.
- Skin trauma. Skin injuries, such as bacterial and fungal infections, food and other allergies, and some pet medicines, such as steroids, inflammatory disease, and burns, can all cause abnormal shedding. Hair loss can occur temporarily during pregnancy, nursing, or recuperating from an illness.
- Stress and anxiety. Separation anxiety or OCD, for example, can lead your Golden Retriever to chew his hair and skin, leaving patches. This condition is known as acral lick dermatitis. It can also be caused by parasites and other allergic conditions.
Whatever the source of your Retriever’s unnatural shedding, the prevention and remedies are the same as they are for reducing normal heavy shedding, whether it is year-round or seasonal.
Does Shaving a Golden Retriever Help With Shedding?
Shaving your Golden Retriever’s coat will not help with shedding. Never shave a double-coated dog as it will cause irritation, expose him to bacteria and infection, and damage the regrowth.
Shaving also impedes your dog’s natural temperature regulation, exposing him to extreme cold and heat.
The fur in Retriever’s coats is not the same as human hair; it has a distinct function, and the fur follicles do not regenerate properly. Unless there are valid health reasons, you should not shave your Golden Retriever’s fur.
How often should I groom my Golden Retriever to control shedding?
You should groom your Golden Retriever daily to help control shedding. Brush for 10-15 minutes to remove loose fur and prevent it from spreading around your home.
Are there any home remedies or DIY solutions for managing Golden Retriever shedding?
There are some home remedies you can try to manage your Golden’s shedding. You can add salmon oil or coconut oil to their food, both of which are good for their skin and coat.
Let’s Wrap This Up!
One of the cons of Golden Retrievers is that they naturally shed heavily, with increased shedding during spring and fall due to undercoat changes. Factors like poor diet, dehydration, health issues, and parasites can cause irregular shedding.
Contrary to some beliefs, shaving doesn’t reduce shedding. To manage it effectively, use a de-shedding tool for double coats, brush regularly, bathe your Golden 3-4 times a year, switch to a diet rich in Omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat, and keep up with flea and tick treatments.