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Golden Retrievers are one of the most popular dog breeds, they are beautiful, smart, loyal, gentle, often goofy and comical, and oh so loving. Ask any owner of a Golden Retriever what they love about their dog and they will give you a list of things, but ask them what they don’t like about them and they will tell you the amount of shedding they do.
Yes, Golden Retrievers shed, and there is nothing that you can do to completely stop them from shedding, but there are some important tips in this article that will help you get control of all that shedding.
Why Do Golden Retrievers Shed?
Golden Retrievers are known for their long furry coat, in fact, it is a double coat. A double coat consists of a top coat which is a protective layer of long guard hairs, and the undercoat which is soft and fluffy.
The top coat helps keep dirt and debris out, and is water repellent, and protects your dog from harmful UV rays. The undercoat works to keep your dog warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
The undercoat is what sheds heavily twice a year, during Spring and Fall, it is often referred to as “blowing the coat”. During Spring your golden is getting rid of their thick winter coat, to make room for their lighter summer coat. In the Fall, their lighter summer coat sheds and makes room for a thicker winter coat.
Throughout the rest of the year goldens shed moderately. Meaning you will find dog hair everywhere, on your floors, couch, and clothes.
Shedding is completely normal, and natural, dogs lose old or damaged hair through shedding, and it happens daily. It is the same for us humans too, we lose hair daily as well.
When you get a Golden Retriever puppy, their very first shed will be the heaviest. This is because they shed their entire puppy coat around 6 months of age, to make room for their adult coat. I still remember my Ellie’s first shed, it was excessive! I just remember there was a lot of hair everywhere, and it hasn’t been that bad since.
While heavy shedding is completely normal for Golden Retrievers twice a year, there are other factors that can cause an increase in your dog’s shedding.
Factors That Can Cause Your Dog To Shed More Than Normal
The old saying “you are what you eat”, rings true in so many ways, and it is the same for your furry friend. If you are feeding your dog a poor diet, one that is not nutritious or balanced, it will show in his/her skin and fur. Your dog will have dry and itchy skin, damaged hair, and increased stress.
If your dog has allergies, his/her skin will be irritated and itchy. Your dog will itch and all that itching will loosen the hair follicles, and the hair will fall out quick and easy, increasing the shedding.
Allergies can be environmental (grass, pollen), they can be caused by certain foods (chicken, beef, eggs, etc.), or by shampoo, cleaning products, laundry detergents, and even plastic.
Your dog can shed more when he/she is stressed. Causes of stress in your dog could be from moving, death in the family, new baby or puppy in the family, or being home alone for long periods of time.
When a dog is stressed or anxious, they lose more hair. The same way humans lose more hair when they are stressed.
Fleas, Ticks and other Parasites
If your dog has fleas, ticks or other parasites on him, your dog will be irritated and scratch more. All the scratching damages your dog’s skin and will loosen the hair and cause more shedding.
There are certain medications such as corticosteroids, that can cause your dog to shed more than normal. Shedding that occurs due to taking medication is often reversible once the medication is stopped.
Thyroid hormones help to stimulate hair follicles promoting hair growth. If your dog suffers from hypothyroidism (low thyroid levels) then the hair will become thin and brittle and fall out.
Imbalances of hormones like testosterone, estrogen and progesterone can also cause excessive shedding.
If your dog has recently been spayed or neutered, then there will be an increase in shedding. Excessive shedding can occur for several months after your dog has been fixed, and happens more in neutered males, due to the changes in testosterone levels and other hormones responsible for keeping the hair follicles strong and shiny.
Pregnancy and Lactation
Pregnancy and lactation can deplete your dog of calcium and minerals that are needed for a healthy coat, leading to excessive shedding. It is completely normal for a female dog to shed more hair during this time.
10 Tips To Get Control Of The Shedding
1. Feed a Proper Diet
Make sure to give your dog a healthy nutritious diet. Feeding your dog a proper diet will result in a healthier dog and a healthier coat. A healthy diet that includes essential vitamins and nutrients, fatty acids, and digestible protein, will help reduce shedding.
Avoid feeding anything that your dog may be allergic too, and avoid low quality food that is filled with filler and ingredients that you cannot pronounce.
A diet high in protein, and Omega-3’s will help to improve your dog’s overall health and will strengthen your dog’s hair and keep the coat beautiful.
2. Provide Plenty of Fresh Clean Water
Always have fresh clean water available for your dog to drink. Keeping your dog hydrated will help to prevent excessive shedding. Dehydration can cause dry skin in your dog, which can cause itching and irritation, resulting in loosening of the hair, causing your dog to shed more.
3. Brush Regularly
Brush your dog regularly, I highly recommend daily brushing of your Golden Retriever. All you need is 10-15 minutes a day to give your golden a good brushing. This will help stimulate blood flow to the hair follicles and promote a healthy coat.
Brushing outside is also recommended, to avoid excess hair in the house. A good quality Pin Brush is all I use every day on my Golden Retriever, if you want to read about the brushes that I recommend for a Golden Retriever, you can read my article by clicking here.
4. Bathe Your Dog
Bathing your golden will help to loosen and remove the dead hair, and prevent extra shedding. Only use shampoos that are meant for dogs, human shampoos can disturb the pH balance of your dog’s skin. Try to bathe your golden once a month, bathing your dog too often can cause dry skin.
Use a good oatmeal shampoo to help soothe and moisturize your dog’s skin.
5. Get Your Dog Groomed
Have your golden groomed by a professional. A good grooming will go a long way in preventing excessive shedding. Research groomers in your area, to make sure they are familiar with grooming a Golden Retriever. The coat of a golden should be properly trimmed to look neat, it should NEVER be shaved!
I cannot stress the fact enough that you should never shave a golden, find out the reasons why you shouldn’t shave a golden in my article here.
6. Use Natural Products
Only use natural cleaning products and unscented laundry detergents around your house. Certain chemicals and scented products can cause an allergic reaction in your dog, causing itching and irritation which can lead to excessive shedding.
Keep your dog’s bedding clean by using natural and unscented laundry detergents.
7. Keep A Calm Environment
By keeping a calm environment for your dog you will reduce any shedding that can be related to stress. Stress is a major factor in excessive shedding. Recent life changes like moving or changes to the family dynamics can cause stress to your dog.
Maintain a comfortable and relaxed setting, and avoid anything that can make your dog anxious or stressed. Keep your dog on a regular routine by doing things at the same time each day, such as walking, feeding, bathroom breaks, and bedtime.
If you work all day and your dog is home alone, consider hiring a dog walker, or taking your dog to doggie daycare, or provide your dog with plenty of chew toys, or puzzle toys to keep him busy and mentally stimulated throughout the day.
Spend quality time with your dog, playtime and going for walks are great ways to reduce stress not only for your dog but for yourself as well.
8. Control Fleas, Ticks and other Parasites
Keep your dog on a regular flea and tick medication, (consult with your vet), and investigate any scratching that your dog is doing, as it might be a result of fleas or other parasites.
9. Provide Plenty Of Exercise
Giving your dog regular daily exercise will help improve circulation and blood flow to the skin. Oxygen and nutrients that are circulated will help promote strong and healthy hair, reducing shedding.
10. Invest in a Good Vacuum and Household Products
When you own a Golden Retriever you will need a good vacuum. Do a good vacuuming of your home once a week, and touch up any spots where you see hair every couple of days.
You will want to have a few lint rollers on hand as well, stash one in your purse, and in your car.
Owning a Golden Retriever is one of life’s greatest joys, and their shedding should not discourage you from getting this breed, that is unless of course, you have allergies.
By feeding your golden a proper diet, brushing and bathing regularly, controlling allergies, and eliminating stress in your dog’s life, you can get control over the amount of shedding.
When you own a Golden Retriever, you will be showered with love and affection, and soon you will realize that the shedding is really not that bad, and you get used to it. By following the tips mentioned above, your golden will be happier, and your home will have fewer clumps of hair.
What About You
How do you minimize your Golden Retriever’s shedding? Please leave me a comment below, I would love to hear from you.