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How to Reduce Shedding in Golden Retrievers

Golden Retrievers are quite literally the definition of man’s best friend: They are loyal, intelligent, calm, and affectionate with just about everybody around them. Goldens are also excellent family pets because they’re always ready to play, snuggle, or go on day-long adventures.

There’s really no question as to why these dogs are one of America’s favorite breeds

However, Goldens do shed a lot. They shed so much that there’s no way to avoid having dog hair around your home, which is why this breed isn’t ideal for people with allergies.

But even those who don’t mind the hair that comes with this lovable dog might be asking: “How much do Golden Retrievers shed – and how can I control it?”

There is good news – you can minimize the shedding your beloved Golden Retriever does in your home with a few grooming techniques, dietary changes, and other strategies. In fact, you might be surprised to learn how many factors affect your dog’s shedding!

Here’s what you need to know about their unique double coat, how to maintain excessive Golden Retriever shedding, and even how to identify unusual shedding habits.

Why Do Golden Retrievers Shed So Much? 

It’s no secret that Golden Retrievers are notorious shedders. If you have a Golden at home, chances are you find yourself vacuuming often and peeling blonde hairs off your black clothing.

Of course, the companionship your Golden brings you is worth all the shedding in the world – but you might still be wondering why these dogs shed so much.

Golden Retrievers are unique because they have double coats. Most dogs breeds have double coats that shed. Not all double-coated dogs originated in colder climates, including Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, Australian Shepherds, Siberian Huskies, Border Collies, and Newfoundlands.

These double coats consist of a waterproof topcoat and a warm, soft undercoat. Each coat has a purpose:

Impact of cold air on golden retriever coat

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  • Topcoat: The waterproof outer coat is made of medium to long hairs that protect the dog from the elements. The topcoat may have different lengths and shades, but more often than not, you’ll find a yellow-golden coloring on your Golden Retriever’s coat.
  • Undercoat: This coat isn’t visible since it’s practically hidden underneath the longer topcoat, but trust that it’s short, dense, and fluffy. These shorter hairs help regulate body temperature by keeping the body warm in cold weather and cool in hot weather. 

Not only do these two coats work together to keep Goldens protected and comfortable, but they also go through shedding cycles – and this is why Golden Retrievers shed quite a bit.

When Do Golden Retrievers Shed? 

Like all dogs with double coats, Goldens are moderate shedders for most of the year. But they shed much more during what’s called the “shedding season.” Also known as “blowing their coats”, for Golden Retrievers, that’s spring and fall.

They shed more during these two transitional seasons because their bodies are adapting to the changing climate. In fall, their coats thicken up as they get rid of the lighter summer coat. And in spring, their coats shed the winter’s excess fur to stay cool in the hot temperatures.

How to Control and Reduce Golden Retriever Shedding

There’s no way to stop the shedding completely, but there are plenty of Golden Retriever shedding solutions that will help you control and maintain the amount of hair found in and around your home. Here are some things you can try to reduce shedding.

Option #1: Brush Frequently with a Comb or Blade

The key to controlling excessive shedding is frequent brushing. With regular brushing, you can get to the fur before it spreads around your home.

For your Golden, you should use a combination of these brushes at least three to five times a week: 

  • A metal comb for the feathers
  • A slicker brush for the topcoat 
  • An undercoat rake for the undercoat

Not only does regular brushing remove loose fur and prevent excess shedding, but it also helps distribute natural oils. It stimulates the surface of the skin and removes dead cells and dry skin as well – which can lead to a healthier and shinier coat.

Plus, brushing sessions can help you form a closer bond, and your pup will look forward to your one-on-one time together!

Option #2: Visit a Professional Groomer 

When it comes to long-haired dogs like Golden Retrievers, visits to a professional groomer help keep your pet healthy and properly groomed. Professional groomers have experience with double coats, and they know precisely how to ensure that your dog always looks and feels its best.

Your groomer is able to provide a good time frame for recurring appointments to prevent excessive shedding in between. A typical grooming visit entails 

  • Brushing, bathing, and drying
  • Trimming and clipping of loose fur
  • Cleaning of the ears and checking for infections
  • Cutting the nails to a comfortable length 
  • Teeth brushing

Grooming sessions pricing varies depending on the groomer’s experience, the weight of the dog, and the area you are in. Since Golden Retrievers are a medium-large breed, the price might be higher than average.

Option #3: Use High-Quality Food and Nutrients that Target Skin Health

Although you want to assume that all dog food is good dog food, it’s always wise to check the ingredient list. That way, you can buy high-quality food with the proper nutrients.

If you don’t want to change your Golden’s food, you can still introduce helpful nutrients like omega fatty acids, minerals, high quality salmon/krill oil, and vitamins to maintain a healthy coat.

Canine Vitamins, Minerals, and Supplements

  • Zinc: It’s an essential mineral for immune system function and thyroid function, which is vital for Goldens since they are prone to hypothyroidism.
  • Biotin: This vitamin is excellent for maintaining healthy skin, fur, and nails. It also helps with growth, digestion, and muscle formation.
  • Vitamin E: It protects skin cells and prevents inflammation.
  • Omega-3 and 6: These fatty acids are the best supplements for maintaining or improving your Golden’s skin and coat health, and they can even help dogs combat itchy skin diseases.
  • Flaxseed oil: This oil has anti-inflammatory properties that can help ease arthritis, lower blood pressure, improve kidney function, and maintain healthy skin and coat. 
  • Salmon oil: Fish oil helps aid your dog’s heart, skin, and coat health, and it relieves allergies.

You can also add nourishing foods. Just be sure to feed your Golden Retriever the right balance of protein, fat, and carbs.

Nutrient-Rich Foods for Golden Retrievers

  • Honey: Contains vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K, as well as potassium, calcium, magnesium, copper, and antioxidants. You can also feed your puppy small amounts of honey to help strengthen his immune system against common outdoor allergies like pollen.
  • Salmon: This fatty fish is rich in good fats, amino acids, vitamins, and protein. Salmon can also promote joint health and brain health, and it gives your puppy’s immune system a great boost.
  • Chicken: An excellent source of lean protein, omega 6, omega 3, and vitamin B. 
  • Pumpkin: Provides loads of beta-carotene, minerals, and fiber.
  • Sweet potatoes: They contain manganese, potassium, and vitamins A, C, and B6, which are essential for your dog’s skin and coat. 
  • Apples: Excellent source of potassium, vitamin C, and fiber.
  • Blueberries: These berries are rich in antioxidants.
  • Cantaloupe: This tasty melon is packed with nutrients but low in calories, making it a healthy treat.
  • Carrots: Carrots are high in fiber and beta-carotene.
  • Celery: This veggie is a crunchy snack that provides vitamins A, B, and C.
  • Green beans: These veggies are a good source of vitamins A, C, and K, iron, and fiber. 
  • Mangoes: They’re packed with vitamins A, B6, C, and E, as well as potassium and both beta-carotene and alpha-carotene.
  • Peaches: This stone fruit is an excellent source of vitamin A and fiber, and it can help fight infections.
  • Pears: These tasty fruits are rich in copper, vitamins C and K, and fiber.
  • Watermelon: Another good melon for dogs, watermelon is packed with vitamins A, B-6, and C, as well as potassium. It is also 92% water, making it a perfect hydrating treat.

Option #4: Keep Up with Flea and Tick Treatments

Fleas and ticks may be tiny, but they cause huge problems when it comes to your dog’s health. 

Not only do they latch onto your pet’s skin for food, but they also lay thousands of eggs in a short period, which can lead to an infestation. If your dog has a skin allergy, this can become even more problematic. Unfortunately, there’s been a 13% increase in flea allergy dermatitis over the past decade! 

The best defense against these small pests is to keep your dog on a year-round flea and tick preventive medication. In most cases, veterinarians will recommend a monthly medication to help prevent dogs from developing a flea or tick problem. However, every month might not be necessary, depending on where you live.

Flea and tick season map of the United States of America

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Snowy Pines is located in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas, where flea and tick season lasts between February and December. However, other states like Connecticut only experience flea and tick season from April to December. 

To be on the safe side, talk to your Golden’s vet about when to treat your dog. 

“Be sure to ask your veterinarian for advice about the safest treatment for your dog and your home,” says AKC chief veterinary officer Dr. Jerry Klein.

Option #5: Ensure Your Golden Is Properly Hydrated

How much water your dog drinks affects the health of his skin and coat. If Goldens don’t drink enough water, they will begin displaying dull coloring and a dry coat that’s prone to excessive shedding.

Even if you think your pup is drinking enough, it’s still useful to measure how much he drinks every day. 

A 70-pound adult Golden Retriever should be drinking between 35 to 70 ounces of water per day or ¼ to ½ gallon per day. You can measure your Golden’s water intake by using a water dish that has units of measurements displayed on the side or by filling his dish with a measuring cup. 

Learn more about how much water your Golden Retriever should be drinking every day.

Does Shaving Help With Golden Retriever Shedding?

Shaving might seem like the most obvious solution to combating excessive shedding, but there’s a reason Snowy Pines doesn’t recommend this method.

You should never shave your Golden Retriever because doing so can damage his coat. This can ruin the coat’s ability to protect your dog’s skin. Shaving also distorts the coat’s temperature regulating properties.

Remember that Golden Retrievers have a double coat to protect them during harsh conditions. So if you shave the natural shape and texture of a double coat, you’re removing the dog’s protection against the elements, leading to an increased risk of heat strokes, sunburn, and even frostbite.

How to Recognize Unusual Golden Retriever Shedding

While shedding in Goldens is entirely normal, there are signs of unusual shedding you should look out for. They could be symptoms of a more serious underlying issue.

If you notice that your Golden is dealing with any of the following, your pup may be shedding more than normal:

  • Dry or brittle hair
  • Irritated skin or bald patches
  • Disliking being touched or pet

It can be difficult to determine the underlying cause of abnormal shedding, but here are three of the most common:

Problem #1: Unbalanced Diet

Like people, Goldens need high-quality food, plenty of water, and proper nutrition to stay healthy. But for dogs, it’s not unusual for unbalanced dietary problems to cause skin issues, like dry skin and brittle hair. 

Ensuring your pup has a balanced diet with healthy proteins, fats, and carbs is the best way to improve their coat. 

According to VCA Animal Hospitals, a nutritional deficiency can significantly affect a dog’s coat and skin. Doctors recommend introducing omega-3 fatty acids into a Golden’s diet to help curb itchy skin problems that may be diet-related. 

Problem #2: Food Allergies

Regular allergies and food allergies are among Goldens’ top skin-related issues. Although most dog skin problems are due to regular allergies, like pollen, dust, and grass, about 10% are caused by food-related allergies, such as:

  • Beef
  • Dairy
  • Wheat
  • Eggs
  • Chicken
  • Lamb
  • Soy

Moreover, Golden Retrievers are among the breeds that struggle the most with food-related allergies. In many cases, food allergies develop over time. Try different flavors and ingredients frequently so that your puppy’s body doesn’t get too used to the same foods.

Problem #3: Stress and Anxiety

Just as an itchy coat can cause stress and anxiety in dogs, an upset pup can also cause skin and fur problems in return. Your dog may be stressed if you notice these signs:

  • Abnormal or unusual body language, like not wanting to be touched, avoiding eye contact, cowering, growling, or even biting
  • Excessive whining and barking with seemingly no remedy or solution
  • Looking frozen or stiff, as if they are unable to move, which indicates they might be shutting down emotionally
  • Pacing back and forth, which often means your pup can’t settle down because he’s too stressed

Mental health directly affects physical health, so it’s not far off to say that a happy, well-adjusted Golden who feels confident in his home may look healthy, have a shiny coat, and experience normal shedding.

On the other hand, a Golden who’s stressed out, anxious, or afraid may have a dry, shedding coat. It’s helpful to understand your puppy’s temperament and personality so you can better understand what stresses him out.

Problem #4: Fleas, Ticks, and Other Parasites

Parasites like fleas and ticks are any dog owner’s worst nightmare. 

These pests are hard to see at first glance with the naked eye, which is why it’s so essential for Golden owners to ensure their pup receives the proper flea and tick treatment from their vet.

Without the proper protection, these small parasites can cause major skin and coat problems that may lead to skin diseases and excess shedding. 

Although majestic in appearance, a Golden’s coat is a prime hiding spot for fleas and ticks. Owners should be diligent about looking through their Golden’s fur, ears, and legs after spending time in brushy places, like tall grasses or wooded areas.

Problem #5: Hypothyroidism

Hormone problems like hypothyroidism can directly affect the health of a dog’s coat. Unfortunately, Golden Retrievers are among the breeds that are known to experience hypothyroidism.

Hypothyroidism is when the thyroid gland doesn’t make enough thyroxine. Without thyroxine, the body is unable to control how much energy it uses. This condition can also affect the heart, muscles, digestive system, brain, and bone development. 

Symptoms include hair loss, usually along the back, rear legs, and tail. This type of hair loss can be mistaken as shedding, so be diligent about your pup’s vet visits to make sure their shedding isn’t a sign of something else!

Conclusion

Although shedding is expected with just about any pet, excessive shedding can prove to be a challenge — especially when it’s coming from a blonde, long-haired, 70-pound Golden Retriever!

But the good news is that you can manage Golden Retriever shedding. If your Golden is in good physical health, but you’re still seeing clumps of fur around the house, try these simple solutions to help reduce the shedding:

  • Brush frequently
  • Visit a professional groomer 
  • Use high-quality food 
  • Introduce supplements into his diet
  • Keep up with flea and tick medication
  • Offer proper hydration throughout the day

And if you don’t yet have a Golden Retriever and you’re looking to add one to your home, there’s good news. 

Snowy Pines specializes in providing the healthiest, calmest, and happiest Goldens and Labradors in the United States. Learn more about our English Cream Golden Retrievers today!

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About the Author

tom-massey

Tom Massey

Tom Massey has owned and operated Snowy Pines Labradors for over a decade. They have become the leaders in English Labradors in the US. He and his team serve customers all over the US and Europe. They house their "dog family" in a state of the art facility on a large farm in the Ozark Mountains. With an obsession for genetics and temperament they raise and train dogs known across the globe for health and personality. Tom serves the pet industry in many forms campaigning for ethical breeding, training, and pet ownership.

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