My sister and I, as well as millions of people all across the world, adore Golden Retrievers for their gorgeous golden coats – among many other things!
Their coats are usually shiny and soft, and with the right grooming techniques, you can keep them looking luscious.
Even if you are new to grooming and you’re getting your first golden, don’t panic!
They are usually quite easygoing and, when introduced to the routine properly, will enjoy being groomed.
Plus, it is a great way for you and your canine companion to bond.
I have put together a complete guide to grooming your Golden Retriever below, based on my own experiences with these lovable dogs, so read on to find out everything you need to know.
Get The Right Grooming Equipment
When it comes to grooming a Golden Retriever, choosing the right brushes and combs is crucial for maintaining their beautiful coat.
Golden Retrievers are known for their dense, water-repellent double coat, which requires regular grooming to stay healthy and tangle-free.
The Slicker Brush is an essential tool for any Golden Retriever owner.
Its fine, short wires are perfect for removing mats and tangles from the outer coat while being gentle on the skin.
Regular use of a slicker brush helps distribute natural oils throughout the coat, keeping it shiny and healthy.
Another indispensable tool is the Undercoat Rake.
This specialized brush is designed to penetrate the thick undercoat of Golden Retrievers, removing loose fur and reducing shedding.
It’s particularly useful during spring and fall shedding seasons when your Golden is likely to lose more hair.
For daily brushing, a high-quality Pin Brush is ideal. It’s gentle enough for everyday use and effectively removes dirt and loose hair while stimulating the skin.
This type of brush is great for keeping your Golden’s coat smooth and free of debris.
Finally, a Steel Comb can be handy for working through stubborn mats and grooming around the ears and paws. After brushing, it’s a great finishing tool to ensure a smooth and tangle-free coat.
Set A Grooming Schedule
I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to start a grooming schedule when your Golden is young.
Introduce your pup to the concept of grooming as soon as they come home with you. Start with short sessions, using a soft puppy brush, just to get them used to the sensation.
Remember to use plenty of positive words, give your pup lots of fuss, and perhaps a treat. You want them to view a grooming session as a positive experience.
If you adopt an older Golden, don’t worry, you can still follow the steps above to slowly introduce your dog to the routine.
I’d recommend grooming your Golden daily if you can – a quick brush will suffice – or, failing that, at least a few times a week.
Pay attention to the undercoat as well as the fur on top when brushing.
Preparation For A Big Groom
There will be occasions where you need to do a bigger groom.
If you feel confident, you can do this at home, but if not, you can choose a groomer to do it for you.
I started by watching how the groomers handled Bella’s coat before giving it a go myself.
Follow the steps below to prep your Golden Retriever for grooming.
Step 1: Brush The Coat
The first thing you need to do is brush your Golden Retriever’s coat from head to toe.
When brushing the coat, pay extra attention to the areas where the fur is thickest and where you find matted fur.
Step 2: Remove Matted Fur
Golden Retrievers have quite thick fur, and it is not uncommon for their coats to mat if not brushed regularly.
If you brush the fur at least once a week, matted fur won’t be too much of an issue, but it will happen occasionally.
When your Golden Retriever’s matted hair is too tough to brush out, simply cut the matted fur out with scissors. Take your time and be careful during this process to avoid accidentally cutting your pup.
Step 3: Give Your Golden Retriever A Bath
You don’t have to do this step in every grooming session, but you’ll generally need to give your Golden a bath a few times a year.
This, of course, really depends on how dirty your dog gets, but I’m a big advocate of not bathing your dog too often – if you don’t need to – as it can interfere with their natural oils.
There is also a debate as to whether you should bathe them before or after trimming, but go with whatever method works for you and your dog.
When bathing, make sure to use warm water (though not scolding hot) and a high-quality dog shampoo that will make your pup’s fur soft and shiny. Give your dog’s coat another brush after they have been bathed to make trimming a bit easier.
Giving Your Golden Retriever A Trim
Once you have finished prepping, you will then be ready to trim your Golden Retriever’s coat.
This might seem like it’s going to be stressful, but as long as your dog is calm, it should be relatively easy.
Avoid clippers – I’d recommend thinning shears or a sharp pair of scissors for better results.
Follow the steps below to trim your Golden Retriever’s coat.
Step 1: Feet & Legs
To begin, trim the fur around your Golden Retriever’s feet and the bottom of their legs. There is usually a lot of fuzzy growth in these areas, and it needs to be removed when grooming.
Make sure to trim between the toes by brushing the fur and then cutting it away. The fur around the toes should be around 1⁄2 inch (1.3 cm) long.
Step 2: Moving Further Up The Legs
Next, focus more on the legs. It’s advised to use thinning sheers instead of scissors for this step. All you need to do is focus on trimming any fuzzy and unkempt fur on the legs.
Naturally, the fur on the back of your Golden Retriever’s legs will be longer than at the front, so try not to trim the back down too much.
Step 3: Thinning The Undercoat
Golden Retrievers have a double coat, so this means that they have an undercoat that will need attention.
The undercoat on this breed can have a lot of excess hair growth, especially around your dog’s shoulders and chest.
Simply thin the hair down so it lies flat on the chest, and if there is a ridge of hair on the shoulders, trim it down a bit.
Comb the coat out to double-check if it is flat to avoid cutting off too much hair.
Step 4: Ears
For this step, you need to focus on the front and back of the ears. Simply trim the fur on the ears, removing stray or longer hairs. This step helps to keep your dog in top condition.
Step 5: Tail
Finally, make your way to the tail. It is important that you don’t make the hair too short here; you just want to taper it from the base to the tip to make it look more natural.
Other Aspects Of Grooming To Consider
As well as maintaining your Golden’s beautiful coat, there are a few other checks and maintenance items you should build into your grooming routine:
Cleaning A Golden Retriever’s Ears And Eyes
Whenever you groom your Golden Retriever, remember to check their eyes and ears and give them a clean.
You can just use something like cotton balls for this. Be careful not to put them directly into your dog’s eyes.
Trimming your Golden Retriever’s toenails is also important.
You need to make sure that your pup is completely still and relaxed when you do this, or it can cause injury.
Get a good pair of dog nail trimmers, and remember to take your time and look out for the quick.
If your Golden Retriever starts playing up, take a second to calm them back down.
If you’re nervous doing this, take your pooch to an experienced groomer instead.
To keep those pearly whites in the best condition, try to brush your dog’s teeth once a week.
Fleas & Ticks
You should treat your Golden Retriever for fleas roughly once a month – you can use your grooming routine as an opportunity to do this.
Many flea treatments will also tackle ticks, but it’s worth thoroughly checking your dog’s coat each time you brush it for signs of ticks or other pests.
The Final Woof
Golden Retrievers need a lot of regular grooming, but it is a great opportunity to bond with your dog.
I’d recommend grooming your Golden at least a few times a week and perhaps doing a bigger groom once a month.
Remember, if trimming your Golden’s coat isn’t for you, there’s no shame in that – that’s what groomers are for.