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I know why you’re here. Bits of dog fur have taken over your home and you’re starting to lose your mind. Welcome to Shedding club, we’ve saved you a seat.
I love Golden Retrievers to death, I couldn’t imagine a world without my dog being at my side, but dealing with tumble-weeds made of fur that travel into every corner of the house has made me question my sanity.
So… I'm here to shed some sanity back into your home with some tips to deal with shedding.
How Much Do Golden Retrievers Shed?
Short Answer. A LOT.
If you’re thinking of getting a Golden Retriever, then expect to be brushing that coat out daily. Along with using an undercoat rake once a week.
During shedding season giant clumps of hair will roll down your living room like tumble weeds. You'll be sweeping or vacuuming once every 2-3 days, and lint rolling your clothes every time you leave the house. And don't even think about wearing black colored clothes. Beyond just regular brushing; Golden Retrievers needs to be regularly groomed (once every 8 to 10 weeks). This can be done at home or through your friendly local groomer.
Just like your own hair, their coats can get long, tangled, and dirty without regular grooming. So Golden's require a little extra attention compared to short haired dogs.
But keep that vacuum cleaner handy - you’ll need it.
Why Dogs Shed
Shedding is a natural process that many animals, including you, lose old and damaged hair. Dogs just have a lot more hair to lose than you.
Typically dogs will shed their coat in spring to prepare for the warmer months, and grow a thick warm coat in fall to prepare for winter. During spring and fall is when you can expect the worst shedding to occur.
When Dogs Shed The Most
Winter vs. Summer
A dog’s coat will naturally adjust based on its surrounding temperatures and exposure to daylight! Meaning, if your dog spends the majority of their time outside, then their coat will be thicker and warmer for the winter, and will shed more in the spring. That means indoor dogs will naturally shed less during spring and fall, but more evenly over the entire year.
Losing their Puppy Coat
Puppies have an extra thick padded fur coat to keep them extra warm during the first 4 – 6 months of their life (ever notice how extra soft and fluffy puppies are?). But they will shed that coat completely around the 6 month mark to make room for their adult coat. So as they naturally shed their puppy coat to make room for their adult coat, you can expect a big increase in shedding.
Neutered or Spayed
Has your dog been recently neutered or spayed? Adult dogs typically experience excessive shedding for several months after being fixed. More so with neutering males. This is due to changes in Testosterone and other hormones that are responsible for keeping hairs follicles thick and shiny.
Bad Diets = Bad Shedding
Diet is a big contributing factor to how your dog sheds. A dog with poor nutrition and little exercise will have dry and itchy skin, damaged hair roots, and increased stress.
Keep your golden well fed and care for and they will display that love with a beautiful healthy coat.
The Best dog food for Large breeds comes down to doing some research, and finding what works best your furry friend based on age, size, and other contributing factors like allergies and sensitivities.
Read the label, avoid big box retail stores that sell generic brands, and shop at pet stores that have special knowledge about the food they sell. A food rich with fatty acids, and healthy proteins will promote a strong healthy coat.
Your dog may be reacting to allergy symptoms which will literally cause your dog to scratch their hair off.
Many dogs suffer from allergic reactions, most often with specific proteins in their dog food. Other symptoms include itchy eyes, ears, paws, armpits, and anus. You may also notice an increase in ear and eye infections.
Dog allergies can develop at any stage in their life, and they could be reacting to many different things. A vet will be able to properly examine and treat your dog for allergies.
Fleas, Ticks, and Parasites
Fleas and Ticks cause your dog to be very itchy and uncomfortable, which leads to excessive scratching and hair loss.
Fleas and Ticks can be treated with flea shampoos or insecticides from your vet or pet store. Pet bedding and anything they lay down on must be go through the laundry. And you may need to do a very thorough cleaning of your home.
Do NOT take a dog with fleas to a dog groomer, as it may spread to other dogs.
Is your Golden stressed out?
Have you moved to a new home? Going through family changes? Is there a lot of noise in your area? Has their routine changed? These are all stressors and can cause emotional turmoil in your golden, even if it’s not immediately apparent.
Dogs will naturally shed more during stressful periods in their lives. Golden’s can be especially sensitive and need a comfortable home and routine in order to live a happy and healthy life.
Licking or Chewing
Is your golden excessively licking or chewing their own fur? Is there noticeable clumps of fur missing from their coat? This could be related to stress, allergies, or skin conditions discussed earlier, and may require a trip to the Vet to investigate. Monitor your golden to see if they have a habit of licking non-stop, which would lead to excessive shedding.
How To Get Control Of Shedding
Unfortunately, you cannot completely stop a Golden (or any dog) from shedding.
You CAN control it however. And taking these few steps make all the difference.
Your #1 defense to grooming and deshedding will be regular brushing. That part may not come as a big surprise, however most owners don't realize that the right tools make all the difference in the world. I highly recommend you get a good Slicker Brush, they're designed to not only detangle and deshed, but also make brushing comfortable without skin irritation.
Brush your golden 3 times a week Minimum. But ideally every day. I recommend a high quality Slicker Brush and Grey Hound comb.
Keeping your golden free of mats will also help out your groomer, which in turn save yous extra money. Win-win!
A word of warning…
Avoid using FURminators or similar “deshedding” tools. While these work wonders for some breeds, it will actually ruin the coat of your golden as it cuts their coat rather then remove loose hair. Just use a pin brush, or slicker brush, along with an undercoat rake.
Golden's need to be groomed regularly because of their long coats. So whenever they get dirty, greasy, or stinky it’s recommended to give them a good bath. General rule of thumb is once every 6 – 8 weeks.
If you're bathing at home, we recommend an oatmeal or coconut based pet shampoo to keep their skin from becoming too dry. And as an added bonus they leave your dog smelling great.
Pro Tip: After their bath towel dry your dog, while still slightly damp gently brush them out. The slicked down hairs will be easier to remove and will leave your dog shed free for up to two weeks afterwards.
A professional groomer can give your dog a deshedding treatment, which means blowing their coat out with a high velocity dryer. This is very effective in getting rid of loose fur tapped in their undercoat, and you’ll see a noticeable reduction in shedding for weeks afterwards.
Can I just Shave my Golden?
No, you cannot shave your Golden Retriever.
Some owners assume that shaving their Golden would be a great way to keep them comfortable in hot months, while reducing shedding. But this puts your dog at a greater health risk.
Golden's are Double-Coated dogs, meaning they have a surface coat (called the guard coat) and thicker coat underneath (undercoat). These two coats work together to protect your Golden from over exposure to heat, cold, UV rays, and excessive moisture.
Removing the undercoat puts a massive strain on the natural protection your Golden was born with, and it will never grow back the same. That's right, shaving your golden will ruin their beautiful coat forever. Simply put, don't do this.
What I recommend is getting a groomers to cut their "feathers" extra short. It keep their undercoat intact but removes enough of the long hair for easy maintenance and brushing later on.
Fur Control in the House
If you’re still struggling to keep your sanity from all the fluff balls your golden is leaving behind: then this is my arsenal of go-to items I keep around the house.
A decent vacuum cleaner is going to be your primary weapon against fur, without one you'll be on the losing side. Thankfully vacuum cleaners are quite inexpensive these days.
Make sure you have one with a detachable hose for those hard to reach places (like behind and underneath furniture).
It's not just fur, but endless amounts of Pet Dander you have to deal with.
Swiffers are great for hard surfaces, and they work a lot better than paper towels. I’ve tried a lot of other things but these always work the best.
I’ve tried the other lint rollers, this one is the best. It's got a sturdy reusable handle and the sheets are sticky enough to get all the hair off my pants. An absolutely essential item whenever leaving the house, especially when wearing black.
Whoa.. This Sounds Like a Lot of Work
It can be, but you get used to it. And in the end it’s worth it. Golden’s are sweet, caring dogs, and if I have to clean up the house a little more often than so be it.
If you keep up with brushing and grooming, then the shedding is much, much more manageable. This is especially true in spring and fall.
Spending some time to brush and groom your Golden not only helps with shedding, but it maintains good health, and allows for a daily bonding ritual with you and your dog. It may seem like a chore at first, but it's a part of my day that I now look forward to.
Share Your Shedding Story with Me
How much does your dog shed? And how do you get control of it? Leave a comment down below and tell me your golden tales!