Golden Retrievers are wonderful dogs. Few will argue otherwise! They’re friendly, lively and pretty much the perfect family dog breed. But if you’re allergic to dogs, these dogs can quickly turn into a nightmare. So, do Golden Retrievers shed much?
Golden Retrievers are moderate to heavy shedders – primarily because they have long and fluffy double coats. Twice a year, they’ll excessively shed as their bodies adjusts to a change in season (and in temperature). Expect to spend plenty of time on grooming your Golden Retriever, such as brushing and bathing.
There are many different ways to manage the shedding so that you don’t have to live with fur in nearly all corners of your home. Read on to learn how much Golden Retrievers shed, when the shedding can be a problem, and how to deal with it.
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How Much Do Golden Retrievers Shed?
Unfortunately, most Golden Retrievers shed a lot. In fact, VetStreet ranked them 5th for “dog breeds that shed the most.” There’s really no way to avoid your Golden Retriever’s shedding. You just need to learn how to deal with it.
If you’re currently thinking about getting a Golden Retriever, then you need to know that you are going to be dealing with a lot of loose furs. However, don’t be put off by this.
This “negative” aspect of owning a Golden Retriever is by far outweighed by all of the positive things and opportunities such a dog will bring to your life and home.
Things will be worse during shedding season and you can expect to be vacuuming almost daily while using a lint roller frequently. Compared to short-haired dogs, Golden Retrievers need more attention to their fur. But with a regular routine, you will find it manageable.
But if you’re allergic to dogs, then I’d highly suggest opting for a hypoallergenic dog breed instead. This is because people are allergic to the “dog dandruff” (called dander) that’s expelled into the air during the process of shedding.
2 Reasons Why Do Golden Retrievers Shed A Lot
Shedding is a very natural process for all animals. Even humans shed old or damaged hair. However, it’s just that dogs have much more hair than we do. So, their shedding is obviously going to be much more noticeable (especially if we’re the ones cleaning up).
But why do Golden Retrievers, specifically, shed so much? Unlike most dog breeds, Golden Retrievers have a double coat. This means these dogs have a topcoat and undercoat. Both of which, will shed heavily during different times of the year.
1. Golden Retrievers were bred to shed
They weren’t literally bred to shed. Golden Retrievers were bred to retrieve shot waterfowl game (such as ducks, geese and other large aquatic birds). And because of this job, they were also bred to have double coats that kept them warm and protected.
The double coat serves a purpose for waterfowl retrieving. The undercoat acts as an insulator, keeping a Golden Retriever warm in the harsh temperatures of the sometimes freezing body of water.
Not only is the outer coat water-resistant, but also protects the dog from the all hazardous elements in the water. Without a double coat, a Golden Retriever wouldn’t be as effective at swimming nor waterfowl retrieving.
Some may argue that there are other ways to breed a dog to be protected in the water, such as with the low-shedding Poodle (also a water retriever). However, this was how the Golden Retriever was bred, like it or not.
2. Shedding season affects Golden Retrievers extra hard
Typically, dogs tend to shed heavily during spring and fall. However, dogs with double coats shed the most during shedding season. It’s a completely natural process, so don’t freak out!
When winter season approaches, the weather tends to become much cooler. So, Golden Retrievers shed their summer coats in preparation for their winter coats during the fall. Likewise, as spring approaches, a Golden Retriever will shed its winter coat for a cooler, summer coat.
Expect your Golden Retriever to experience the worst shedding of the year during these times. Despite the excessive shedding during these two periods, they’ll still shed moderately throughout the year.
Excessive Shedding in Golden Retrievers
Sometimes a Golden Retriever may experience excessive shedding. As an owner, this can be a scary thing. It could be be health-related, or it could be perfectly normal.
Although we always suggest consulting with a veterinarian, here are some reasons why they may be shedding a lot more than usual.
Indoor vs. Outdoor Dog
A dog’s coat is clever. It will adjust itself based on the surrounding temperatures and its exposure to daylight.
This means that if your dog spends most of its time outside, its coat will become warmer and thicker for winter with more shedding occurring during springtime.
If a dog is more of an indoor dog, the shedding will be higher throughout the year, as they won’t need to build up their coat to stay warmer or lose their coat to stay cooler.
So if your Golden Retriever is an indoor dog and you plan on moving him or her outside, expect more shedding during seasonal changes.
Losing the Golden Puppy Coat
When dogs, including Golden Retrievers, are puppies, they have a coat that’s extra thick and padded. This is so that they are extra warm for the first 4 to 6 months after birth.
When puppies are around six months old, they will shed this puppy coat and develop their adult coat. You can expect to be dealing with more shedding, therefore, when your dog is around six months old.
So prepare for that and have nothing to worry about. It’s all part of the natural puppy shedding cycle of all dogs.
Spaying and Neutering
If your dog gets spayed or neutered, you might experience excess shedding for a number of months afterwards. This occurs due to changes in hormone levels that control hair follicles.
This doesn’t always happen in dogs that receive these procedures, but it can happen. If excessive shedding persists after half a year, contact your veterinarian.
A Poor Diet Leads to Shedding
Just like humans that have poor nutrition, a dog with a poor diet will suffer physically. He might develop itchy, dry skin or could have damaged hair roots.
If your Golden Retriever is well fed, you will see this reflected in his coat. A poor diet will mean that your Golden Retriever may have more shedding.
Do some research about Golden Retrievers and the best food to feed them. They need a lot of fatty acids and healthy proteins for their coat health.
Keep in mind that a healthy dog coat should be shiny and smooth. On the other hand, an unhealthy dog coat is coarse and brittle.
Dogs With Allergies May Shed
It is not uncommon for a dog to have allergies. If your pet is unfortunate enough to be an allergy sufferer, you might find yourself with excess shed fur.
This is because they will be itchy and scratch at their fur. Visit your local veterinarian to help treat your dog’s allergies. Fortunately, there are plenty of treatments for allergies in dogs.
A Stressed Dog Can Shed Excessively
Is your Golden Retriever stressed? This can also cause excess shedding!
If you feel as if you Golden Retriever is excessively shedding because of stress, try to identify anything in their lives that can be causing this.
Moving homes (change of scenery), family changes, excessive noise, food changes, etc. are all reasons why your Golden Retriever might get stressed.
During stressful periods, your Golden Retriever will shed more fur. They are particularly sensitive when it comes to daily routines. Any change to their predictable routine can upset / stress them enough to shed excessively.
Controlling Your Golden Retriever’s Shedding
Although you cannot control a dog’s shedding, you can develop a good management routine when it comes to grooming. Here are some important things to add to your shed management routine.
Every Golden Retriever will differ. Some may need more brushing, while others need less.
1. Brushing Your Golden Retriever
This is the most important thing you can do to keep on top of your Golden’s shedding. You should invest wisely in a good brush that will detangle and de-shed. A good brush will be comfortable for your dog and will not irritate their delicate skin.
My favorite brush for Golden Retrievers is the Furminator. It’s a great investment and tons of Golden Retriever owners swear by this brush. Just have a look at the forums and see for yourself!
This De-shedding tool was made specifically for double coated dog breeds, such as the Golden Retriever. It’s simple to use and gentle on your dog’s fur and skin. I highly recommend checking it out here (at Amazon).
If you end up going with the Furminator, make sure to get a size Large for long haired dogs. Check out our other recommended dog brushes for Golden Retrievers here!
Ideally, you should brush your Golden Retriever every day. However, this may not be realistic for busy people. At the very least, you’ll want to brush them twice a week. Even more during peak season.
2. Bathing Your Golden Retriever
Because of its long coat, a Golden Retriever needs regular bathing. It’s important to bathe him whenever he is dirty or a little smelly. As a general rule of thumb, you should bath him every six to eight weeks.
For baths at home, choose a shampoo with coconut or oatmeal. This will stop their skin from drying out. Personally, my favorite shampoo (that I use with my dogs) is the Earth Bath Oatmeal & Aloe Shampoo.
It’s 100% bio-degradable and cruelty-free! It’s gentle on the skin and comes with so many wonderful scents you can pick from. My favorite scent is the Vanilla & Almond! Check it out at Amazon here.
Once out of the bath, make sure to dry them off completely. Follow this up by brushing their coats, as it will remove a lot of shed hairs caught in the coat.
Controlling Fur in the Home
There are certain things you might need to help you keep on top of the crazy shed fur in your home. Of course, these are optional, but it can certainly make life much easier for you.
- A decent vacuum cleaner – These days, you can get vacuum cleaners that are specifically designed for pet hair. However, any vacuum should work. Just make sure it has a detachable hose for all of the nooks and crannies.
- Lint rollers – These are a must. Even with daily vacuuming, you will find dog hairs on your clothing. A lint roller is essential for removing shed hairs from your clothing before you leave the house.
Routine, Routine, Routine
Just like maintaining a clean and tidy home, it’s best if you maintain a good routine. Dealing with a massive amount of dog hair is much more difficult!
If you own a Golden Retriever, you have to accept that you are going to need to vacuum a lot more than other people. The rewards are so worth it though!
Keeping up with grooming and brushing makes things really manageable, particularly during the times of the year when shedding occurs more.
Consider your dog brushing time as daily bonding time between you and your dog. This will make it seem less of a chore!
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