The coat of a golden retriever is their most distinguished characteristic, and it’s what gives them the name. Their golden double coats are what gives them their unique look and one of the many things that makes them so special.
But it’s a fluffy double coat, and these are famous for shedding – and a lot of it.
But exactly how bad do golden retrievers shed? Golden Retrievers shed greatly and they shed a lot. They shed all-year-long and the shedding gets really intense before the summer and winter seasons as they change their coats to adapt with the changing weather.
Golden retrievers shed so much that some owners will start wearing light-colored clothes more because the hair doesn’t show as much in them as it shows on darker clothes. That’s how much they shed.
But it’s definitely manageable, and in this article I’m going to discuss actionable steps you can take to control your golden retriever’s shedding to a great degree.
If you don’t want to spend half your day vacuuming dog hair from clothes and furniture, keep reading…
How Bad Do Golden Retrievers Shed Really?
As explained before, Golden Retrievers shed a lot. They shed on two levels; moderately throughout the year – that’s just their normal shedding where you will find a few hairs here and there.
Then there’s the seasonal shedding where your golden will completely change their coat to adapt to the weather – in spring they’ll shed their heavy winter coat to grow a shorter, lighter coat for the summer, and then in the fall they’ll shed this coat and grow the heavy winter coat.
Why Do Golden Retrievers Shed?
Shedding is a natural process in dogs. Their hair grows, gets old, they shed it and then grow new hair. Shedding is a healthy thing for dogs, it keeps their coats healthy and helps them cope with the weather.
Your Golden Retrievers coat is important for their health in many ways;
- It insulates them from the elements – like water
- It regulates their body temperature
- It helps the skin by distributing natural oils
Golden Retrievers have a double coat that consists of a thick undercoat and a fluffy outer coat. They both work together to help golden retrievers adapt to the weather and insulate their body from dirt, debris, water, and other natural elements.
Why Do They Shed All-Year-Long
As hair gets damaged with time, they shed the damaged, old hair and grow new hair. This is what sheddin basically is. During seasonal shedding, hormones will kick in to control how thick the coat will grow.
Why They Shed with the changing seasons
During Spring, your golden will shed their thick and heavy winter coat and replace it with a lighter summer coat, and during fall, they will shed this coat to replace it with the heavy summer coat that has a thicker undercoat that can insulate them from the heavy temperatures.
Can You Stop your Golden’s Shedding?
No, you can’t stop your golden retriever’s shedding, and you shouldn’t try to do so. Your dog’s shedding is a natural process that they need to stay healthy, and trying to prevent it in any way is a terrible idea.
I can already see the comments saying “what about shaving it?” So, yeah, let’s discuss this as well.
Can You Just Shave your Golden?
No, you absolutely, positively, can not shave your golden retriever unless under strict orders from the vet to do so for medical reasons. Shaving your golden retriever can leave them with permanent damage and causes them endless pain.
Why is Shaving Your Golden retriever a Bad Idea:
- Exposes Them to Sunburns
- Exposes Them to Sore and red Spots
- Makes them prone to infections
- Makes them Easy Prey for bugs and insects
- Significantly increases risks for overheating and cold bites
- Increases the risk of skin cancer
- Exposes them to the elements
- Can cause permanent damage to their hair (it may never regrow the same)
So, no you should never shave your golden retriever unless under strict orders from the doctors, and it must be done in the medical facility by the medical professionals and under their supervision.
You should know that Goldens can get cold at night just like other dogs, you can learn more about it in my post on why do labs get cold at night here. I do recommend checking it out as there are 10 valuable tips on how to keep dogs warm outside in there that can be very helpful.
5 Problems that Can Cause Excessive Shedding
There are 5 common problems that can cause excessive shedding in dogs. You should know that while Golden Retrievers shed profusely, they don’t shed excessively.
If you notice your golden retriever shedding more than usual, it’s probably caused by one of these 5 issues:
- Bad Diet
- Skin Conditions
- Fleas and Ticks
Let’s go over each of them real quick;
1. Bad Diet
Your dog’s diet plays a big part in how bad they shed. A dog with poor nutrition will shed much more than a dog that’s on a good, balanced diet.
A bad diet will cause all sorts of health problems for your dog, starting with itchy and dry skin to damaged hair roots to increased stress – all of which will increase your dog’s shedding.
There are some general tips I can give you; a balanced diet contains a variety of foods, you should read the labels, and you should know your dog’s nutritional needs. However, I think it’s far better for you to take the time to learn everything about your golden retriever diet and their recommended foods here.
Golden Retrievers can get stressed for plenty of reasons, and stress can cause excessive shedding quite easily.
What can stress your dog? Here are some examples;
- Loud Noises (Thunder and fireworks for example)
- Moving houses
- Moving cities
- New Routines
Stress can cause your dog to shed so much hair that it seems as if their hair is falling. It’s a good idea to usually keep your dog’s stress level as low as possible. Find out how to lower your dog’s stress and help them live longer here.
Allergies can cause your dog’s shedding to increase directly or indirectly. Directly is simple; your dog’s hair may start falling as an allergic reaction. Directly is when your dog can have itchy skin and start to scratch so much that their hair fall off from the scratching.
Dogs can develop allergies later on in their life just like humans can. Most dog allergies are food-related allergies.
4. Skin Conditions
Some Skin Conditions can cause your dog to lose hair or can cause excessive shedding. If you notice your dog losing clumps of fur or hair from their coat, skin conditions are the most likely reason for this.
Constant licking or chewing non-stop are the tell-tale signs of skin conditions, and if you notice them, you should take your dog to the vet and have them checked.
5. Fleas, Ticks, and parasites
Fleas, ticks, and other parasites can be very damaging to the dog’s skin and hair. They also make the dog itch which means they will scratch those itchy areas and this will damage the hair and skin more, causing more shedding.
Getting rid of fleas, ticks, and other parasites is key to solving your dog’s excessive shedding, and we’ll get to that later in the tips sections, which we’ll get to right now.
17 Steps to Manage Your Golden’s Shedding
Remember, while you can’t stop your golden’s shedding, you can manage it. Managing it means you will be able to keep their coats in top condition while also not having to spend hours cleaning hairs from your furniture and house.
17 Steps to Handle The Shedding
- Feed them plenty of protein and Omega-3s
- Consider Fish Oil Supplements
- Regular Brushing
- Regular Baths
- Rub them down after brushing and baths
- Use high-quality dog shampoos
- Take them swimming
- Make a stress-free environment
- Don’t use anti-shedding sprays or bills – ever
- Use a good lint remover or rubber gloves
- Give them a comfortable bed
- Color Coordinate with your golden
- Vaccinate them
- Regular Vet Checks
- Watch for allergies
- Fight infestations (Fleas and Ticks)
- Vacuum the house often
1. Feed them plenty of protein and Omega-3s
A healthy and balanced diet is your first line of defense against excessive shedding.
The most important thing is that, of course, you want to feed your dog high-quality dog food, but you should also focus on foods with high protein content and foods that are rich in fatty oils such as Omega 3 and Omega 6.
Low quality dog food may be cheaper and easier on the wallet, but it will definitely cause more harm than good to your dog. Food is one area where you don’t want to save money.
2. Consider Fish Oil Supplements
Dogs can usually get their required fatty acids from their foods if they’re on a natural diet, but if they can’t, they will need fish oil supplements. These are the omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids supplements that are important for your dog’s health.
Fish oils supplements that are high in Omega 3 Fatty acids are quite common to boost coat quality, and they can also support their joint, heart, and immune health.
You want to look for high-quality pharmaceutical supplements, my recommendation would be Vetoquinol Triglyceride Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplement Capsules with Fish Oil for Pets. Check it on Amazon here.
3. Regular Brushing
Regular brushing (every other day) will help greatly by removing dead and loose hairs.
Removing these dead and loose hairs frequently straight from their coat will save you the trouble of having to remove them later from your couches and chairs. Regular brushing will also help redistribute their natural oils and makes sure it reaches every part of their coat and skin.
You can check out my recommended brushes here.
4. Regular Baths
Regular baths are important for keeping your dog’s coat in top shape. A bath every few weeks should be fine and of course when needed – such as when they decide that the mud was basically a pool.
The same warning applies here; there is something as too many baths. This can dry their skin and cause excessive shedding, so make sure to keep a reasonable and regular pace.
5. Rub them down after brushing and baths
Believe it or not, but even after you brush your dog or bathe them, there will still be loose hairs that is still stuck to their coat.
That’s mainly the hair that was kind of loose and became really loose with your brushing or the bath, and now it just needs to be taken off your dog’s coat.
What I’ve found really helpful was to rub the dog down with your hands. Rub them down in the same direction of the flow of the coat and you’ll get a lot of extra fur that even the brush didn’t remove them. Now, this fur can end up in the trash instead of on your favorite jeans.
6. Use high-quality dog shampoos
Shampoos is another area where choosing the cheap option is not recommended as it can have a huge impact on your dog’s skin. A poorly made shampoo with cheap ingredients will harm your dog’s skin, causing it to dry and causing excessive shedding among other problems.
7. Take them swimming
As explained before, water is helpful in getting the extra dead hair and fur out of their coat and can even get those that the brushes can’t. It’s similar to giving them a bath, except that this way the dog will do most of the effort instead.
And let’s not forget, these pups absolutely adore the water and will enjoy swimming very much.
8. Make a stress-free environment
Do you know how stress can make your hair fall? It can do the exact same way to our beloved pups. When dogs are stressed, they can shed much more hair than normal.
What can cause stress?
- Loud Noises
- Change in environments
- Life changes
Here are some suggestions to keep their stress levels low:
- Spend more time with them doing regular activities
- Set routines and stick to them
- Give them adequate time to rest and sleep
- Regular exercise
- Spending time playing, running, and walking with them
9. Don’t use anti-shedding sprays or bills – ever
I’ve explained earlier that your dog’s shedding is normal and that you shouldn’t try to do anything to stop it. However, there are some out there that sell “magic pills” and other products that they claim can stop your dog’s shedding.
These products will almost always contain harmful chemicals that you don’t even want within a mile of your pup. They are completely unhealthy and can harm your dog in so many ways that we can’t even begin to mention there.
Just stay away from products that promise to solve your dog’s shedding. As a general rule, if something is too good to be true, it probably ain’t.
10. Use a good lint remover or rubber gloves
A good lint remover or deshedding gloves can be very effective in collecting dog hair and fluff from any surface.
I like to give them a rub down with it every once in a while and see what can I collect. I also use them to clean surfaces, clothes, shoes, and so on.
They are just super useful and if you have any pets in the house, you should keep a good one on hand.
The most effective one I’ve used is the ChomChom Roller Pet Hair Remover, check it below.
For gloves, these are the best deshedding gloves I’ve ever used and they are frankly awesome for the price.
11. Give them a comfortable bed
So, you don’t want your dog’s hair on your bed or couch every day, how bold of you!
Joking, you can actually solve this problem easily by giving them a comfortable bed and getting them used to it.
This may take some experimentation and while some dogs will just love any bed you give to them, others can be picky and their owners may need to do some digging before you can find something they love.
You can check our recommended dog beds here.
12. Color Coordinate with your dog
Even if you’re the best dog parent in the world and do everything to handle your dog’s shedding, you will still find hairs on your clothes. I don’t know how they get there either.
That’s why it’s always a good idea to just color coordinate at least some of your clothes with your dog’s hair. Find clothes that the hair will not show on them so much. This, of course, depends on your dog’s hair color, and you can check the different colors of their fur here.
13. Vaccinate them
Vaccinations can prevent many diseases. For the first time in history, humans have the power to stop diseases before they become a problem, and the fact that some people don’t like to vaccinate themselves or their dogs is just beyond me.
If you don’t want your dog to be vulnerable to dangerous but easily preventable diseases, they need to get their vaccines. By preventing such diseases and strengthening their immune system, you also give their body the chance to dedicate more resources to growing the healthiest coat which is the key to reducing shedding.
14. Regular Vet Checks
Even if your dog in the healthiest condition a dog could be in, a regular check up can be beneficial.
These checkups, even if done just once a year, can help prevent many diseases as they give your vet the chance to catch any illnesses, diseases, or medical issues early.
15. Watch for allergies
Food allergies can cause excessive shedding. If your dog is allergic to certain foods, they can cause more shedding. Your best course of action is to discuss this with your vet and ask them for recommendations.
Please don’t give your dog vitamins without orders from the vet. Giving your dog vitamin supplements without doctor’s instructions can cause serious problems such as vitamin poisoning which can happen due to excess consumption and can cause serious health complications.
16. Fight infestations (Fleas and Ticks)
Needless to say, fleas and ticks are really bad for your dog’s health. They can cause skin irritations, rashes, itchiness, and excessive shedding.
It’s better to prevent them using a medication that your vet can recommend, and you can also fight them using a medicated shampoo such as the Adams Plus Fleas and Tick Shampoo, which I do recommend because I just love how darn effective it is. It’s the only shampoo I’ve used to can actually stop insect growth and prevent them from developing and multiplying as they normally do.
17. Vacuum the house often
At the end of the day, you can’t fight nature. There will be hair around the house, and you need to make your peace with that.
But following the steps mentioned above, you will indeed be able to significantly reduce the amount of hair they shed around the house.
However, I have found that vacuuming the house once or twice a week with a good vacuum cleaner can get rid of all the remaining hair around the house.
I recommend checking out the Bissell Pet Hair Vacuum (Amazon), I have not tried a more effective vacuum cleaner in the last decade, and it just gets the job done better than any others out there.
Can I use Human Shampoo on my Golden Retriever?
No, you should not use human shampoo on your dog. Humans shampoos have a higher Ph balance and will harm your dog and leave them vulnerable to parasites, viruses, and bacteria. It can also cause their skin to feel flaky and dry which will lead to itching, scratching, and abrasions.