Is The Furminator Bad For Golden Retrievers? [What You Need To Know!]

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It’s no secret that Golden Retrievers shed a lot, which is why many owners reach for a popular de-shedding tool such as the Furminator.

But, this popular de-shedding tool has a lot of controversy surrounding it!

Some owners swear by it, while some owners including dog groomers claim that it ruins a Golden Retrievers coat.

Who should you believe? Is the Furminator bad for Golden Retrievers?

Find out, as we get to the bottom of this controversial question!

Is The Furminator Bad For Golden Retrievers?

Using the Furminator de-shedding tool on a Golden Retriever is a bad idea. Regular use causes damage to the coat and can potentially irritate your dog’s skin. Its main purpose is to remove the undercoat and any loose hair. However, because of its razor-like teeth, it inadvertently cuts the topcoat with improper use. There are much better alternatives, when it comes to de-shedding your Golden Retriever, such as a slicker brush, or an undercoat rake.

That was the short answer!

Before we dive into the bad aspects of using a Furminator on your Golden Retriever, we’ll first look at what exactly a Furminator is, and how it works.

What Is The Furminator And What Does It Do?

Furminator is a well-known brand that has a range of grooming products for your furry best friend, including brushes, combs, and shampoos.

The most iconic brush in its lineup is the Furminator de-shedding tool. It’s also the most controversial, and the one we are discussing here today.

The Furminator is a rectangular-shaped, rake-type comb, with fine metal teeth that are extremely close together.

This de-shedding tool is designed to remove dead loose fur from your dog’s undercoat.

The undercoat is the dense fluffy hair that your Golden Retriever sheds heavily twice a year and moderately the rest of the year.

The Furminator is not meant to be used as a daily styling brush or a detangler, its only purpose is to remove the undercoat.

Different variations of the Furminator are available to suit small, medium and large dogs, as well as short or long hair.

Check out this short video to see the Furminator in action:

How Do You Use The Furminator? Dos And Don’ts

Furminator clearly states that the de-shedding tool can be used on most animals that shed, including dogs, cats and other pets with an undercoat.

It should not be used on animals with sensitive skin, or non-shedding breeds.

Here are the Dos and Don’ts of how to use it:

Do Use On A Clean & Dry Dog

For best results, the Furminator should only be used on a clean and dry dog.

Furminator actually recommends that your dog be shampooed, conditioned, and fully dried before using the tool.

Don’t Use When Your Dog Is Wet

You should never use it on a wet dog as that will only tug and pull on the hair and skin, harming your dog.

Do Remove Tangles Or Mats Before Using The Furminator

Brush out any tangles or mats in your Golden Retriever’s fur with a regular brush such as a pin brush, before using the Furminator.

Don’t Go Against The Direction Of Hair Growth

Always brush in the direction of hair growth. Going against it will cause tugging and pulling and can hurt your dog.

Do Use Gentle Strokes

It is best to use long gentle strokes without applying too much pressure. Rough or excessive brushing can cause irritation to the skin.

Don’t Overuse It

The Furminator should not be used as a daily brush! Overuse as well as improper use (excessive force) will cause damage to your dog’s coat and skin.

If you wish to use the Furminator, it is best to use it occasionally during your Golden Retriever’s heavy shedding times.

Should The Furminator Be Used On A Golden Retriever?

A happy-looking Golden Retriever with long-flowing hair is sitting on a field of grass.  Only the dog's head and neck is shown for a close-up image.

When it comes to the Furminator de-shedding tool, you either love it or hate it!

Personally, I have never used it! I will let you know what I use on my Golden Retriever a little later in the article.

So in my opinion, given how dangerous this tool appears, and how easily it can be misused, I do not recommend it!

But let’s look at why some owners love it, and why some hate it, and then you can decide for yourself.

The owners who love it rave about how much hair the Furminator removes. I’m sure you’ve seen the pictures and videos as well as the piles of hair next to their dog after using the Furminator.

Furminators do a great job of removing a lot of hair. But, because of the super fine teeth, it requires a lot of brush strokes, and that repeated brushing can irritate your dog’s skin.

Owners and many groomers hate the Furminator and actually advise against using it on your Golden Retriever, simply because it damages the coat by cutting it, making it appear jagged and uneven.

Can you avoid damaging your Golden Retriever’s coat?

Yes, which is why some owners have great success with this tool. But, the majority of owners will misuse the Furminator and accidentally damage their dog’s healthy topcoat.

Plus, there are safer and much better ways of de-shedding your Golden Retriever!

What To Use Instead Of The Furminator (Top Products & Tips)

When it comes to using the Furminator de-shedding tool on a Golden Retriever, I say it’s best to avoid it altogether!

De-shedding tools can do serious damage to your Golden’s beautiful coat, so why risk using one?

Here are some better options to help with your Golden Retriever’s shedding:

Pin Brush

This is the ONLY tool that I use to brush my Golden Retriever Ellie! I love using a pin brush because it is gentle on my dog but effectively removes tangles and loose hair.

A pin brush is a great brush for daily use.

Plus, I find it’s the best brush to use if you have a Golden Retriever that hates being brushed. It kind of acts like a massaging brush, which dogs like.

Make sure to look for one that has steel bristles, as I find the plastic ones don’t remove fur as effectively.

I especially love this Pin Brush found on Amazon.

Slicker Brush

Many owners have great success using a slicker brush. Slicker brushes do a great job of removing loose fur.

I own a slicker brush as well, however, my Golden Retriever does not enjoy the feeling of it, so I don’t use it.

The key is to use gentle strokes and look for one that is self-cleaning, so the fur removes easily from the brush.

This Slicker Brush from Amazon is a favourite among dog owners, plus it has a self-cleaning feature.

Undercoat Rake

Undercoat rakes vary in either one row or two rows of blunt metal prongs that reach deep into the undercoat to remove dead loose fur while leaving the topcoat safely intact.

Rake lengths vary, depending on your dog’s coat type. It is best to choose a shorter-length rake, to avoid the prongs from scratching your dog’s skin.

Undercoat rakes are much safer than the Furminator de-shedding tool, but you still want to use it with caution.

Don’t apply too much pressure, as the prongs can hurt your dog’s skin, and always brush in small sections.

Check out this best-selling undercoat rake on Amazon.

Top Tips For Brushing Your Golden Retriever

Let’s run through some brushing tips that will help you successfully brush your Golden Retriever, and essentially reduce shedding:

1. Ensure Your Golden Likes The Brush

It’s important that your Golden actually likes the brush you’re using.

As I mentioned, my Golden Retriever does not like it when I use a slicker brush, but she enjoys the pin brush.

The brushing experience for both you and your Golden will go a lot smoother when you choose a brush your Golden enjoys.

2. Aim For Daily Brushing Sessions

If you can, try to brush daily. This way brushing won’t take as long as when you only brush once or twice a week.

Plus, you’ll remove a good amount of hair every day. Less hair in your home.

3. Brush Outdoors

Brushing outside allows your Golden to enjoy the fresh air, and there won’t be any mess inside your home.

4. Brush In Sections

When I brush my Golden Retriever Ellie, I start with one section at a time.

Start at the head, and work your way down. Always brushing in the direction of hair growth.

Some owners choose to brush only one section of their dog a day.

This is a good idea if your dog doesn’t like being brushed. It allows you to concentrate on one section at a time.

5. Use This Time To Inspect And Bond With Your Golden

Brushing is a great way to bond with your Golden as well as check for any lumps and bumps that may have suddenly appeared.

During this time you’ll be able to inspect your dog’s skin and coat and look for any changes.

Catching any health issue early will ensure the best for your Golden.

6. Make Brushing A Positive Experience

The first few times I tried brushing my Golden Retriever when she was a puppy, she ran away!

This is likely the reaction you’ll get as well from your Golden.

However, with time, patience, and lots of praise and treats, she quickly loved being brushed and it’s part of our daily routine.

Remember to start off slow, and do short sessions of brushing. Praise and reward your Golden, and soon enough he’ll love being brushed as well.

RELATED ====> Stop Golden Retriever Shedding!

Final Thoughts

The Furminator de-shedding tool is bad to use on a Golden Retriever, as it can actually damage your dog’s coat and cause irritation to the skin when used incorrectly.

Using a pin brush, slicker brush, or an undercoat rake is a much better and safer option and will provide a better brushing experience for your Golden.

There are, however, owners who use the Furminator on their Golden Retrievers and love it.

This isn’t to say that the Furminator can’t be effective on your Golden, because it can when used properly and occasionally!

The important takeaway here is if you plan on using the Furminator on a Golden Retriever, use it with a gentle touch, and very sparingly!

Have you used the Furminator on your Golden Retriever?

Share your thoughts about this popular de-shedding tool in the comments below. I would love to hear from you!

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4 thoughts on “Is The Furminator Bad For Golden Retrievers? [What You Need To Know!]”

  1. Hi Jenny,
    Thank you so much for this article. I have three golden girls and only one enjoys brushing. I use(d) the furminator for the huge shedding times not knowing it could damage their coats. They don’t like it anyway. I’m going to try the pin brush you recommend to see if brushing time is less stressful for us.
    I have always used a slicker brush but I hate what it does to my fingers. Ouch. Girls don’t love it either.
    I enjoy your blog. Hello to Ellie from Mollie, Katie, and Cassie

    • Hi Anne,
      Wow, 3 Golden girls! I’m sure they keep you busy, as well as entertain themselves! I’m a little jealous.

      Do try the pin brush with steel tips, I am sure your girls will find it much better, almost soothing.

      Ellie looks forward to being brushed every day, she loves the pin brush, and it’s great for everyday brushing. I own a couple of the slicker brushes, but I don’t even use them because Ellie doesn’t like the feel of them, and yes they hurt the fingers.

      I always suggest to anyone who has a Golden that hates being brushed, to try a pin brush. It’s a much more pleasant experience.

      I am so glad you enjoy my blog, and I appreciate that you took the time to leave a comment.

      I hope your girls Mollie, Katie and Cassie will enjoy being brushed as much as my Ellie does. Treats certainly help!

      Take care,

  2. Thanks so much for sharing all of your thoughts on the Furminator. Similar to the Golden Retriever, we own a Siberian Husky that has an undercoat that gets blown a few times a year (on top of regular fur shedding). The shedding is manageable until the undercoat starts going. However, I know that no one wants to do something that would harm their dog or its coat, so it’s helpful to know of more gentle options for delicate pups.

    • Hi Aly,

      It can be a trying time when your dog starts blowing their coat.  Any of the other options such as a pin brush, slicker brush and undercoat rake would work well on a Siberian Husky as well.  

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.



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