Golden Retrievers bring so much joy and love to the world. From their playful behavior, friendly demeanor, and sweet, sappy smiles, they’re the family’s golden child who can do no—
Wait, what’s this? The couch looks like it’s been attacked by a fur monster! Who could possibly be the culprit?
We suspect the golden retriever has something to do with it. Even with their many accolades, golden retrievers may give some pause due to one hairy situation: they shed quite a bit.
However, this case may have a few hidden twists. Let’s grab our detective hats and magnifying glasses because it’s time to take a closer look. There’s a mystery afoot (or a-paw).
Why Do Golden Retrievers Shed So Much?
In our Top 10 Golden Retriever Fun Facts, we talked a little about shedding. And it’s true, golden retrievers shed. But what’s the motive behind it? Perhaps they’re starved for attention. Maybe they’re seeking revenge against the cat.
Or does something deeper motivate these shedding sensibilities—something more evolutionary?
We’ve stumbled into our first clue. Golden retrievers are genetically predisposed to shedding due to their coat type. Goldens have a double coat, meaning they have two layers of fur that serve different purposes.
Take a look at this double coat case file:1
- Undercoat – A golden retriever’s undercoat consists of dense, wooly hairs. This layer maintains a golden’s internal temperature, making them highly adaptable in both cold and warm temperatures.
- Overcoat – The overcoat (or guard hairs) consists of long, waterproof strands. These guard hairs act as a protective barrier for the golden, protecting them from dirt, debris, and allergens. Plus, it’s dangerously fluffy and irresistible.
Yes, this puzzle is all coming together now. In addition to moderate shedding throughout the year, golden retrievers must shed their undercoat when the weather changes. That’s the only way they can adapt to the climate successfully.
How Often Do Golden Retrievers Shed?
We know the motive behind golden retriever shedding, but can we predict when a golden retriever may strike again?
Of course, we can. What kind of dog detectives do you think we are?
Golden retrievers will typically experience the most shedding in the fall and spring. You can expect this increased shedding to last for about three weeks.2
While these seasonal changes typically elicit the most shedding for goldens, other factors can contribute to excessive shedding. Suppose you notice your golden has been having a string of bad hair days. In that case, you may want to consider some of the following suspects:2
- Stress – Whether you’ve just undergone a stressful move, introduced a new family member, or fallen ill recently, it’s in a golden’s nature to care a lot. Heightened feelings of anxiety could cause your dog to lose their hair.
- Allergies – Just because your dog may trigger your allergies doesn’t mean it doesn’t have allergies of its own. Allergies can irritate your dog’s skin and cause their hair to fall out more quickly. Fight back against allergies by consulting with your vet.
- Parasites – Pesky fleas and ticks could hitch a ride on your dog’s back and irritate their skin. Like allergies, skin irritation and itchiness can often result in hair loss. Make sure to take your golden retriever puppy to the vet or invest in cleansing shampoos if you notice them itching more than usual.
- Environment – Generally, pups will shed more in hot climates as they don’t need their trusty undercoat to retain heat. So if you road trip from Canada to Florida, don’t be surprised to find a backseat covered in dog hair.
If you find none of these culprits fit the profile, not to worry. While golden retrievers may experience more shedding in specific time windows, they still shed year-round.
How Do I Manage Shedding?
We have the why and the when. But is it possible to put a stop to this dastardly shedding?
Short answer: no. Shedding is entirely natural and needs to happen to ensure your dog’s health and comfort. However, as a golden retriever owner, we understand how all that dog hair can make you feel a little overwhelmed. You can practice many healthy habits to help lighten the shedding load.
So focus up, cadet. Your shedding management training is about to begin.
Drop and give me 50 brushes! Regular brushing can not only give you a chance to bond with your precious pup but also help remove loose hair before it clings to your detective clothes.
An all-over brush may provide the best results once a day, but if you can’t manage that, three times a week should get the job done.
When you brush your dog, ensure you use the proper tools to produce the best results.
- Undercoat rake – If you want to assist your dog’s undercoat shedding, an undercoat rake can come in handy. With sharp blades (rounded to protect from cutting the skin), these rakes can skim off layers of loose fur. They’re best when used with a gentle hand on damp hair.3
- Bristle brush – Make sure the top coat gets plenty of love, too. A sturdy bristle brush can remove excess debris while lending a smooth, silky finish to your pup’s dapper mane. Plus, with its flexible bristles, you can use it around more sensitive areas.
- Slicker brush – With a slicker brush by your side, you can say goodbye to snarls and tangles. Remove mats with ease with this brush’s grip and dense pins. Plus, this brush can help distribute oils throughout the coat to encourage healthy, shiny fur.
When you take the time to brush your dog regularly, you’re investing in their health – and saving yourself a trip to the groomer.
If you manage to capture a dirty-doggie crook (straight after digging up the garden), you should wash away their crimes with a nice bath.
In fact, bathing your dog on a regular basis can help lessen the effects of shedding. Washing your golden can help reduce excess shedding and promote your dog’s well-being in a myriad of ways.
So turn on the faucet and follow these golden guidelines:
- Don’t overwash your dog; once every two months should be enough
- Encourage skin and hair stimulation with a gentle massage
- Use a gentle shampoo, free from harmful irritants or allergens
- Use a hair strainer to catch clumps of loose hair
Wet-dog smell aside, bathing can keep your pup feeling happy and refreshed. You can feel confident that their excessive shedding will feel less severe with a freshly pampered doggo on your hands (or in your lap).
Aside from general grooming practices, a dog’s health and wellness stem from its diet. You can strengthen their follicles and promote healthy hair by ensuring your golden retriever’s food bowl consists of nutrient-dense goodness. Read our Common Golden Retriever Health Issues and How Big Do Golden Retrievers Get to know more about common health problems and general pet health information.
Golden retrievers need a well-balanced diet consisting of the following:
- Protein – A strong, growing golden needs protein to stay strong. And it helps hair grow, too. Their hair follicles contain protein, meaning a protein deficiency could result in the weakening of hair strands. Plenty of protein means robust, flexible hair that won’t fall out willy-nilly.4
- Healthy fats – To ensure a healthy and super shiny coat, make sure your golden retriever has plenty of Omega-3 and Omega-6 in their diet. These fatty acids promote natural oils in your dog’s coat, thus resulting in a gorgeous luster.5
- Antioxidants – Round out your golden retriever’s diet with immune-boosting ingredients such as vitamin C, vitamin E, and selenium. With a strong immune system, your dog can feel ready for whatever the day has in store.
We’ve got the tip if you’re looking for a lead on excellent dog food. BARK Food carries nutritious dog food for a diverse selection of dog breeds.Shop our expertly formulated golden retriever food and get 25% off with code 25FOOD, plus free shipping!
Investing in Cleaning Supplies
Let’s face it. Shedding is inevitable. But you can always equip yourself with fur-fighting cleaning tools to make even the hairiest days less hectic.
For golden retriever-level shedding, you may want to grab the following:
- A lint roller
- A vacuum
- A seat cover (perfect for couches or car rides)
Sometimes being a dog detective means cleaning up the crime scene. But how can we refuse when the culprit gives us those puppy-dog eyes?
Start Your Sleuthing with BARK Post
Well, it looks like we’ve closed another case. It’s true; golden retrievers definitely shed. However, after some keen detective work, we uncovered the mystery behind the motive and deciphered many ways to fight back against furry fiascos—all in a day’s work.
Solve your next furry mystery with BARK Post.
At BARK Post, we know that proper pet care can feel as elusive as a criminal. That’s why we have hard-boiled doggy detectives to give you the cold-hard truths about your pooch.
From thorough guides to grooming tips, we can supply you with the necessary information for all dog breeds. Whether you’re staking out chihuahuas, boxers, or pit bulls, we’re confident you’ll find all the intel you need.
Show humankind’s best friend how much you care by treating them to delicious BARK Food or subscribing to our monthly BARK Box. With owner-approved products and dog-approved toys, you can get back to solving crimes (or catching squirrels) in no time.
- Pet Guide. What is a Double Coated Dog? https://www.petguide.com/petcare/dog/what-is-a-double-coated-dog/
- Totally Goldens. Do Golden Retrievers Shed? If So, How Much and How Often? https://www.totallygoldens.com/do-golden-retrievers-shed/
- Sit Means Sit. Does Your Dog Need an Undercoat Rake? https://sitmeanssit.com/dog-training-mu/metro-detroit-dog-training/does-your-dog-need-an-undercoat-rake/
- Pet MD. The Power of Protein. https://www.petmd.com/dog/nutrition/the_power_of_protein
- American Kennel Club. Fish Oil for Dogs. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/nutrition/fish-oil-for-dogs/