How Often to Bathe Your Golden Retriever? 5 Tips No One Tells You


Animals in the wild know how to clean themselves very well, and while this is somehow still true with dogs, they do need to take baths every now and then – and Goldens are not an exception.

However, due to their unique coats, bathing a golden retriever is more than just hosing them down. But we need to first answer an important question;

How often do you need to bathe your Golden Retriever? Golden Retrievers should be bathed only every 6-8 weeks or when needed. Bathing them too often could cause serious harm to their double coat. Daily brushing and regular grooming are crucial to keeping their coats clean and healthy.

Some golden retrievers give their pups baths every couple of weeks, but this is just too often for me, especially in winter, when it’s cold and giving your dog a bath can do them more harm than good.

Dogs are often good at keeping themselves clean, so the bath’s main job is to clean their coats.

Now that we have this out of the way, let’s really dig deep into the topic, because I think there’s more to the discussion than just telling you to not over-bathe your golden retriever to not ruin their beautiful coats because you probably already know that.

Instead, let’s do something different – like answer those questions you have right now and don’t want to ask.

Golden Retriever peeking

Bathing a Golden Retriever

Golden retriever taking a shower

Do you need a bathing schedule for your Golden Retriever? You really do not need a bathing schedule for your golden retriever, and even if you have one, you probably won’t stick to it.

Why? Because Goldens are, and I say this with love, messy animals. My Golden retriever will go willingly into a mud puddle – which means I now have to clean my schedule and give them a bath once we get home.

This means I never, not even for a month, was able to stick to the bathing schedule, and believe me I have tried. I have found that keeping things simple is the best solution; just bathe them when they need it.

If you have the golden retriever that doesn’t get themselves suddenly dirty by jumping in the mud, first off congratulations, and secondly, giving them baths every 6 weeks should be more than enough.

Can I bathe my Golden Retriever every day?

You absolutely can not bathe your golden retriever every day. You should not bathe them every week, even. Sometimes a month will even go by without needing to your golden retriever a bath.

Bathing your Dog: Summer vs Winter

Summer BathsWinter Baths
More frequent Less frequent
Use cool water to fight the heatUse warm water to ward off the chills
Can bath the dog anywherePreferable to bathe the dog inside where it’s warmer
Doesn’t require lots of planningMust plan ahead to avoid your dog getting chilly and eliminate the risk of hypothermia

Giving your golden retriever a bath in the winter is more difficult and requires more effort, which is many dog owners just skip winter baths altogether – Not a great idea if you have an active dog, and sometimes not even an option.

When you do bathe your dog in winter, you have to make sure to keep them absolutely dry before they go outside. If they’re still even slightly wet and they get outside, they might get sick.

You Must Shower Your Golden If…

There are situations where you just have to get your dog into the shower as soon as possible. If your dog has any of the following sprayed on them or if they have been playing in or been exposed to any of the following, you must get your dog into the shower as soon as possible;

Chemicals

You know when you have just sprayed your backyard and somehow your dog finds a way to it and plays there for a while? you should take them into the house and give them a bath right away.

These chemicals can be dangerous, and they can cause real harm to your dog. Something could be spilled on your dog, which is another reason you should take your dog for a bath right after the incident.

Salt

If you take your dogs for walks in the snow, or your dog goes out for playing, the salt used to melt snow on the roads will get into their paws and even their coats.

This salt can hurt their paws and their skin, so it should be removed as soon as possible. Once you get home, you should give your dog a bath using lukewarm water.

If you can’t give your dog a bath right away, let’s say because you are out camping or something, then you should definitely clean their paws right away.

Fleas and Ticks

Those little blood-sucking bastards are really annoying when they get to golden retrievers. The thick, heavy coat provides a great environment for them, and they can hide deep where you can’t get to them easily.

Using a good flea shampoo is one of the easiest and best possible ways to get rid of fleas and ticks in your Golden Retriever.

How to bathe your Golden Retriever

Golden retriever covered in soap to illustrate how to bathe a golden retriever

Goldens are energetic dogs, and to have a peaceful time giving them a bath, you need to know what you’re doing.

To spare you the troubles of the first couple of baths with your dog, here is what I’ve gained through experience over the years by giving my dog baths:

  • Always Gather supplies first

Get together everything you will need in the bath in the bathroom first. That’s for two main reasons; the first is that you never want to open the bathroom door and get out while you’re in there to grab something you forgot you will need.

Trust me; your dog will become Bolt and will run out of there in lightning speed.

The second is that you don’t want to make the baths take longer time than needed. You want to make sure your baths are as efficient as possible.

  • Check the water temperature

The water should be lukewarm so it’s not too hot or too cold. If it’s cold outside, your dog must take the bath indoors, but if it’s warm and your dog is well trained, you can give them the bath outside.

Pro Tip
To really test the water temperature, get your hands in it till it reaches your elbow as sometimes the estimation of water temperature using just your palm can be wrong.

Lukewarm water temperature ranges between 100 and 110 F (36.5 to 40.5 C)

  • Start with a shampoo rinse from the neck down

Start by rinsing your dog with the shampoo. You should start from the neck and go down. Lather everything except for the dog’s head and face. Never let shampoo get on their head, so be sure if your dog is too excited and keeps moving around.

  • Rinse really well

The Golden Retriever’s outer coat is waterproof, so you need to do some good rinsing to clean the undercoat as well. It’s important to rinse until all the shampoo is off so that you don’t leave any soap or shampoo on the skin.

Leaving shampoo or soap on the dog’s skin will get them really irritated and may cause issues if left for long.

  • Dry really well

Use clean, dry towels to clean your dog really well. It’s important to clean the undercoat thoroughly. If your dog is okay with it, you can also use a blow-dryer on the cool setting for more efficient drying.

  • Brush after drying

Once the dog is effectively dried, you should brush their hair.

5 Incredibly Useful Tips for a Peaceful Bath

Here are the things I haven’t seen other websites talk much about but that every golden retriever owner should really know about. These will save you a lot of time and energy:

Tire your dog out BEFORE bath time

You want your golden retriever to go into the bath with ZERO energy. No, seriously. Some goldens are too excited by baths and they splash around too much and get shampoo everywhere, including their eyes.

I always take my dog on the longest run I could, give them toys before hand, have someone else play fetch with them, and tire them anyway I can. Only when they are exhausted do I take them to the bath.

Make sure they are as calm as possible

Find out what calms down your dog and do it to make sure they are as calm as possible during the bath. I found out that classical music can really calm down some dogs.

Golden retriever puppies also calm down, you can find out when and how to calm your golden retriever here.

Have someone ready to help at first

At the first few baths, you should have someone else in the house ready to step in and help. The extra hands can do a significant difference. They can help distract the dog while you’re doing the rinsing, calm them down, or even make the bath go more quickly.

This is very useful at the first few times of you giving them a bath to get the dog acquainted to the routine.

Shut the bathroom door

You can’t imagine how crucial this is. After you get your dog in the bathroom, shut the door immediately. I even lock it with a click (some dogs will understand that this means running is futile).

Why? Because if you don’t, and your dog decided to play seek in the middle of the bath, you will end up with your floors and furniture covered in shampoo. There is also a serious risk that you will fall down while chasing them.

So, close the darn door!

Psychologically prepare yourself

Giving your dog a bath is an important part of raising a dog, and you don’t want your dog to hate it because you are stressed every time they take a bath.

Your dog is basically as smart as a child, except that they never really grow up. They will always be puppies no matter how big and strong they get.

They are also incredibly smart, and your dog will become stressed if you become stressed because they keep moving around or keep licking you while you’re trying to get it done.

Be psychologically prepared that it might take longer than expected and might need more effort than expected, and that is OKAY.

What happens with Too Many Baths

Golden retriever in the bath tub waiting for his bath

If you bath your golden retriever more than once a week, it’s already too much, but it probably won’t do much damage if you realize your mistake quickly.

What you shouldn’t do is bath your golden three times a week or more. Bathing your golden retriever too often can do serious damage to the dog’s coat. More than two baths a week can lead to the loss of the natural oils in your dog’s coat, cause the skin to become dry, make the skin irritated, and lead to other skin conditions.

Baths do not have the same ‘refreshing’ effect on dogs as they have on humans. If your dog is too active in the summer, then you may be able to get away with one or two baths a week in the summer to keep them clean, but not in the winter.

During the winter, bathing your dog more than twice a week can make the dog colder and make them sick. Don’t forget that dogs can also get the cold, it’s not the same as in humans but quite similar indeed.

What Happens with Too Few Baths

A golden retriever puppy given a bath in a sink

What is considered “too few baths” for golden retrievers? More than a couple of months without a shower.

If you leave your golden retriever for too long without a proper bath, they will start to stink, shed more hair than normal, have more matted hair in their coats, and they may get the fleas or even an infection.

Pro Tip
Keep track of the baths of your golden retrievers. I always mark the days in the calendar where they were given their last baths and why they were bathed (whether it was urgent or a scheduled bath).

Golden Retriever peeking

Related Questions

How cold is too cold to bathe for giving my Golden Retriever a Bath?

If the temperature is under 44°F, I would recommend skipping bathing your golden retriever if possible. I like to think of it like that; If it’s too cold for you to take a shower in the same conditions they will take, it’s too cold for them to take a bath.

Sources

How Often Should You Wash Your Dog – AKC

Bathing your dog or puppy – The UK Kennel Club

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