Every dog breed requires the odd bath as an integral component of their regular grooming regime.
If you have a Golden Retriever, we’d expect that you bring some patience and a sense of humor, as it can be a trying experience.
With a thick coat, you should bathe your Golden Retriever at least every four to six weeks, though that may depend on several factors.
If this is your first time bathing your retriever, we’ve pulled together a guide to take you through the whole process.
Be warned, though; you may even get as soggy as your dog, so be prepared by wearing old clothes you don’t mind throwing in the wash afterward.
Step-By-Step Bathing Guide
Get The Bathing Area Prepared
Preparation is key to having your Golden Retriever in the bath, as it may prove tricky in the first place.
Your dog may not be entirely cooperative, so make sure a non-slip mat is placed down so they do not slip as they try to run away.
You could use a towel instead, too, to provide easy access once you are ready to start drying them. Have whatever you need to bathe them within easy reach, as your dog may try to escape the bath while you try to find any supplies.
If bathing indoors, use the bathtub or an area large enough to accommodate your Golden Retriever with access to warm water.
Be gentle throughout, and that should come from the soothing tone of your voice as you keep your dog comfortable.
Think about the time of day too, as during summer you should look to bathe them in cooler conditions, early in the morning or late in the evening.
In the winter, keep the room warm and find a fresh, dry towel to use to prevent your dog from getting cold after their bath.
Gather Your Supplies
Just as you would for your own bath, gather your supplies and have them ready before you pour any water.
A lit candle may not be appropriate for your Golden Retriever in the bath, but their dog-specific shampoo and conditioner will be.
Your grooming tools, such as a comb or brush, should be nearby, too. Keep a large enough towel within reach so you can quickly dry your Golden Retriever once out of the bath.
Loosen The Dirt
Before applying the water and shampoo, use a high-velocity hair dryer to loosen the dirt that may lie in your Golden Retriever’s coat.
You may also be covered in a few loose hairs, and you can use a brush or rake to remove any further tangles and more hairs.
Even more of these hairs will come out in the bath, and it’s ideal to get them out early.
Try to get used to regularly brushing your Golden Retriever, as you should aim to ensure a clean coat, stimulated skin, and healthy hair growth.
Make Sure That The Water Is Just Right
Before putting your golden retriever in the bath, check the temperature.
Too hot or too cold, and your Golden Retriever may quickly show their discomfort.
Instead, try to get the water to a lukewarm temperature, which should prove comfortable enough.
Like you would with your own bath, test the water with your hand and adjust the hot and cold taps accordingly until you get it just right.
Wet Your Golden Retriever’s Coat
Start the bathing process by simply wetting your Golden Retriever’s coat. With your dog in the bath, grab the shower head and gently apply water to their coat. Begin with the neck and slowly go down to ensure that their entire coat is covered with water and is completely wet.
You may want to rub some of the water in to make sure that the entire length of their coat is covered.
A Second Bath
More than one bath may be required to get your Golden Retriever squeaky clean and ensure a thorough job.
Consider a second bath due to how energetic your dog may be and how much dirt they may still have in their coat.
That first bath, or pre-bath, will be for more general cleaning to get rid of the more prominent dirt.
The following bath will look to effectively clean the Golden Retriever’s skin, shampoo the hair, and include the application of conditioner to keep that coat well hydrated.
Apply The Shampoo
Whether it’s a first or second bath, you should have a dog-specific shampoo at hand. One that you have used before, which is tailored for your Golden Retriever and their stunning coat.
Any other shampoo may not do as good a job and may be harmful to your dog’s coat and skin.
Squeeze a moderate amount in your cupped hands and, gradually, gently massage the shampoo into their coat.
Rinse (And Maybe Repeat)
As the shampoo covers your Golden Retriever’s coat in a thick lather, it is time to grab hold of the shower head again.
Make sure that the water is still lukewarm and rinse out their coat until no lather remains.
Perform one rinse, and then we would recommend that you perform another just to make sure all the suds are gone.
If any shampoo lather is remaining, it can dry out and irritate your Golden Retriever’s skin, which can prove upsetting.
Apply The Conditioner
For that extra shine, apply a dog-specific conditioner to your Golden Retriever’s coat. Again, this should be tailored to your dog, and you should check over the instructions. Squeeze out another moderate amount, similar to the shampoo, and massage it in.
Pay close attention to any areas of their coat that appear particularly dry and try to ease out any tangled hairs.
Just like the shampoo, you may want to repeat the rinsing after massaging in the conditioner.
Your dog’s coat should feel smooth and luscious, though without any conditioner remaining once it has been properly rinsed.
Once the rinsing is over, try to prevent your Golden Retriever from shaking themselves dry as they may well be tempted.
You may even find that drying your Golden Retriever requires just as big and absorbent a towel as you use yourself normally.
Either keep your dog in the bath or let them leap out onto the non-slip mat you prepared earlier to perform the towel drying.
Gently pat their coat dry and refrain from vigorously rubbing the towel in, as this can damage their fur and result in tangled hairs.
The Blow Dry Process
Quickly grab your blow-dryer and move it across their coat in the direction of the hair itself.
A low and relatively warm setting should be enough to ensure that the drying is done before they leave the bathroom.
The blow-dry process should result in a gorgeous, straight coat, so it is worth doing if you want your Golden Retriever to look their best.
Brushing And Grooming
The final stage of bathing your Golden Retriever may be the most satisfying.
Before their coat fully dries, go through it with a comb and then use the heated dryer to get rid of any lingering dampness. While you may have got rid of some loose hairs with an initial brushing, a second one makes sure.
A luscious and conditioned coat also needs this quick grooming to prevent any matting, which can prove uncomfortable for your dog.
Some soothing words of affection and the odd treat can prove to be the positive reinforcement your Golden Retriever needs to remember that bathing can be fun and rewarding.
The Final Woof
Dogs with luscious coats, such as Golden Retrievers, are pretty good at keeping clean all by themselves, and bathing your Golden Retriever too often can cause more harm than good.
Remember that bathing is simply to keep their coats clean, which may depend on how active your dog is (and what they like to get into when you’re out and about!)
Deciding when to bathe your Golden Retriever can come down to several factors. Consider the time of the year as your dog may be more active spending time outdoors in the mud and dirt during summer and require more cleaning to look and feel their best.
In winter, your dog may spend more time indoors and require fewer baths, as more bathing can remove those natural oils from their coat.
Shedding season can also be a key factor as those loose hairs can be comprehensively removed with a bath.
If you’re ever unsure about how often you should bathe your golden retriever or what you should use for your dog’s coat, speak to a qualified groomer.
We hope our guide above (which has been tried and tested on Dante and Bella) will help you with your first golden retriever bath.
You may also like: A guide to defleaing and worming.