There is nothing prettier than a Golden Retriever, with their gleaming coat flowing as they move—that is, as long as the dog is well groomed. Thankfully, Golden Retriever grooming does not have to be an arduous task. With some simple tools and 20-30 minutes a week of brushing, your canine companion can show off their good looks wherever you go.
Golden Retrievers are known as a “wash and wear” breed, meaning they do not have the extensive grooming needs that many other breeds have. But that doesn’t mean you can slack on grooming. By keeping their coat brushed and combed several times a week, with a bath as needed, shedding will be kept under control, and the development of mats and tangles kept at bay.
And regular grooming is not just important for appearance’s sake. A dirty, tangled coat is not only unattractive, but it can be uncomfortable for your dog. Tangles pull on sensitive skin and invite sores and irritations to develop. Even if you know how to groom a Golden Retriever under ideal circumstances, if your pet currently has mats and tangles, it is best to have a professional pet groomer remove them for you, then start fresh with regular home care to prevent any future problems.
Follow our guide on how to groom a Golden Retriever to keep your Golden looking and feeling their best.
Golden Retriever Grooming Supplies
The basic Golden Retriever grooming supplies you need for your pet include:
- a good quality slicker brush
- a steel comb
- a spray to help smooth the coat as you work
When choosing a brush and comb, you should look for a professional quality tool with nicely finished bristles or teeth. If the bristles and teeth are not smooth, they can scrape the skin and damage the hair. You can’t go wrong with a slicker like the Andis Premium Large Firm Pet Slicker Brush, used and enjoyed by many professional groomers. Likewise, this Andis Steel Pet Comb is a professional quality tool that will glide through the coat and give you years of service.
It’s also helpful to have some treats on hand to reward your dog for good behavior. I like to use very small training treats, such as Merrick Power Bites Real Texas Beef chewy dog treats, so I can be generous with rewards.
How to Groom a Golden Retriever
Set Up Your Golden Retriever Grooming Station
Choose a place to work on your pet where you are both comfortable. Some people keep their grooming tools next to where they sit to watch television and brush their dog while watching a favorite show. Others prefer to brush their pet in a bathroom, laundry room or other space that is not carpeted so they can easily clean the floor afterwards.
Start With Spray
Begin by spraying the area you will first be working on with a quality coat spray. This will reduce static and help your brush to glide through the coat. A good spray will help get through tangles and leave a pleasing texture and fragrance to the coat. One good choice is TropiClean Tangle Remover Spray.
Using Your Slicker Brush
I like to work in defined sections—left and right hindquarters, midsection, chest and front legs, head, and tail—to ensure I cover every bit of the dog. For instance, I might spray the left hind leg, and brush everything from the spine down using a slicker brush, focusing on the soft, long hair on the back of the thigh. Spray the area lightly, then use your slicker brush to work in layers, from skin to tip, removing dead coat and small tangles as you go.
A “pat and pull” movement is ideal when using a slicker brush. Pat the brush into the coat, then pull it from the base of the hair outward. Repeat until you have finished that section.
Pay special attention to the very soft fur behind the ears; any area where there is friction, such as under a collar or harness; where the legs join the body; the long feathers on the front legs; the “pantaloons” on the back of the rear legs; and the thick plume of the tail.
Comb It Out
Once you have brushed that entire area, go over it with a comb. The comb’s job is to remove any remaining dead hair, and to show you any thick or tangled areas you missed. If you cannot easily get the comb through a section of hair, go back to that area with your spray and slicker brush, then check again with the comb. When you can easily pull the comb from skin to hair tip, your work there is well done, and it’s time to move to a new section.
The first few times you work this way may be a bit time consuming if your pet’s coat has not been regularly maintained, but once you have everything completely brushed and combed out, a weekly investment of 30 minutes or less should keep your Golden Retriever’s coat in excellent condition.
How to Bathe a Golden Retriever
You can bathe your Golden if their coat smells or feels dirty. Choose a good, basic cleansing pet shampoo, such as TropiClean Luxury 2 in 1 Papaya & Coconut Pet Shampoo and Conditioner. Begin by wetting your dog completely, down to the skin, with lukewarm-to-cool water, and then use a simple kitchen sponge, moistened, to apply the shampoo. Pay special attention to areas where the fur is longer, paw pads and potty areas.
In most cases it is best to give a light rinse, then apply a second round of shampoo, working the product in well. Use water at the temperature you would bathe a baby in and be sure to rinse every bit of shampoo out of the coat.
Once you are done, rinse a second time to be sure it is all removed. Shampoo left in the fur can cause skin irritation and attract dirt.
Now it’s time to absorb as much moisture as you can from your dog’s coat with a bath towel or a microfiber pet towel designed to absorb large amounts of moisture, like Dog Gone Smart Dirty Dog Shammy Towel. Pay special attention to drying the ears to help prevent ear infections. Or clean your dog’s ears using an ear cleaning solution (more on that below).
You can use a hair dryer set to low or cool setting and kept at least 6 inches away from the coat to finish up, or allow your dog to air dry in a warm place. Brush and comb the coat once the dog is dry to finish up and show off your friend’s gleaming, flowing coat.
Golden Retriever Nail Clipping
If you are planning on trimming your pet’s claws, doing it in the tub is a great idea. Many dogs stand still better for this job when they are in the bathtub.
Choose a nail trimmer for larger claws, such as Millers Forge Nail Clipper. If you can see the quick, or the live area inside the nail that features a blood vessel, clip just above that, removing the tip of the nail.
If you can’t see the quick—say, your dog has very dark or black nails—another method is to look at the underside of the claw. Near where the claw begins to curve, towards the tip, the dead section on the underside will be hollow, like a canoe. This hollow area can be safely trimmed. If you trim too close, and a drop of blood appears, simply apply a styptic powder, such as Remedy+Recovery Styptic Powder, to the area to stop the bleeding.
Cleaning a Golden Retriever’s Ears
After the bath is an excellent time to clean your pets’ ears. This will dry up any water that accidently entered the ear canal during the bath, and will leave your pet’s ears smelling fresh, too.
To start, squeeze a few drops of cleaner into the ear. A favorite of mine is Zymox Ear Cleaner for Dogs & Cats. Then gently massage the area under the ear to work the product into the canal. Your dog will probably want to shake their head and body vigorously after this, so be ready with a towel!
Golden Retriever grooming isn’t terribly difficult, you just need to stay on top of it. A little maintenance goes a long way in ensuring your best furry friend not only looks good but feels good.