OC Goldens - Photo of Casper out of Bella & Buddy
Golden Retrievers are a work of art in motion. Whether you’re playing fetch or chasing one another around the yard, his beautifully soft yellow-gold coat flounces along behind him gracefully. It’s the picture of perfection for Golden owners, and something that spurs on photo opportunities, treasured memories, and some of the most delightful moments you’ll ever have with your dog.
Life with a Golden isn’t all perfection, though; these silly and playful dogs have a natural penchant for things like mud puddles, piles of fresh earth for the garden, and fresh-cut grass. All that rolling, jumping and playing can lead to some serious mats and a stained coat.
Whether your beloved Golden considers herself too reserved for activities like puddle play or she’s a dyed-in-the-wool digger, regular grooming can help to prevent and alleviate issues like mats, discolored fur, and skin problems. If you’re still learning how to care for your Golden, get in the know right here with this short, breed-specific guide.
Your Golden does, in fact, require a bath every so often for proper grooming maintenance. Fortunately for you, most Goldens take to the tub quite easily if you start at a young age. Bathing your dog is important because it helps keep them clean, which can help their health. You want to make sure to choose a shampoo that does not irritate their skin.
Bath time should always start with you placing a rubber bath mat on the bottom of the tub before you add the water; this will provide your dog with traction underfoot and will reduce falls and potential injuries (human and dog alike). Next, add warm (but not hot) water. Don’t add bubble bath or any other human products to the water, as these aren’t formulated for your dog and will dry out her skin.
Add just a few inches of water to the tub; never fill it completely, especially for puppies. Use a measuring cup or scoop to wet your pup. A detachable shower head is very handy, too. Gently massage in the soap, taking special care to avoid the ears, eyes, and genitals, and then rinse off by pouring more clean, warm water over the sudsy areas. To clean the face, use a moistened facecloth.
Unless your pup is dirty or happens to get into something that necessitates bathing, a bath once every two months or so is likely plenty.
Brushing your pup shouldn’t be something you only do after a bath; rather, it should be a daily occurrence. Your Golden Retriever has a special double coat that changes throughout its life; in puppyhood, it’s fluffy, whilst in adulthood, the coat matures. This may change your approach when brushing.
So what exactly is a double coat? What this means is that her fur is effectively double-layered. The main goal of brushing is to free up impactions between the undercoat and overcoat. Brushing also removes dead under and overcoat hairs – something that can cause matting and other coat problems if ignored.
You’ll need a few tools in order to brush your pup effectively:
- Porcupine or boar-bristled brush.
- Slicker brush.
- Rake brush.
- Fine-tooth comb.
Start with the porcupine or boar-bristled brush for everyday basic grooming. Run the brush gently but firmly through your dog’s hair, starting at the back of the head and working down to the tail. Avoid the sensitive areas, like the stomach, genitals, ears, and face, as this brush can be irritating on sensitive skin.
Next, use the slicker brush in the same way, brushing with the hair and never against it. Take care to be extra-gentle. The slicker brush will pull out loose undercoat hairs and any hairs that are ready to shed. Don’t be surprised if you pull out several balls of fur if it’s been awhile since your last grooming session!
Use the rake brush to gently brush through the dog’s coat. This will pull out any remaining undercoat hairs, and will also straighten out your dog’s double coat.
If you hit a mat that’s heavily impacted, skip the rake brush and use blunt-edged grooming scissors to snip it out carefully. Only do this if you are fully confident that your pup will remain still; if you’re not sure, stop and see a professional groomer instead. Never shave your Golden at home; this interferes with her double coat and will increase the risk of temperature maintenance issues and sunburn.
Once you’ve worked out any mats, and you’re confident the main areas of your dog’s hair are tangle-free, grab the fine-toothed comb. Use this to brush through more sensitive areas around the ears, face, belly, and tail. Then, give your dog one final all-over combing. You’re done!
Should I Cut My Golden’s Fur?
Because Golden Retrievers have a double coat, you should never cut or shave a Golden’s fur. The outer layer of their double coat helps them regulate their body temperature. This outer layer also helps protect your pup from sun damage and insect bites. If the outer layer of hair is cut or removed, it will make it harder for your dog to stay cool in the warmer months and make them more susceptible to sunburn and insect bites.
Regularly brushing your Golden is all you need to do to help your dog stay cool when the weather starts to heat up, as it allows for better air circulation.
Some dog owners believe that dry kibble and dental sticks are enough to care for a dog’s mouth; nothing could be further from the truth. Taking care of your Golden’s teeth is a crucial care and grooming step that can prevent canine dental caries, mouth abscesses, and expensive dental surgeries down the road. All you’ll need for this step is a bit of patience and two tools – a dog-specific toothbrush and canine toothpaste.
Much as with bathing, starting to brush the teeth early in life will mean that later tooth brushing sessions are much less stressful. You want to brush your dog’s teeth to keep a handle on plaque, gum disease and bad breath. Try to choose a toothpaste that your dog will enjoy, and that they are not allergic to.
Sit in front of your dog and begin by rubbing your finger along his or her gums. If your pup isn’t used to having you look in her mouth, you may find she resists the intrusion; if so, comfort her and keep trying. You may need 10 or 15 sessions of this before she’ll allow you to use the brush – if so, just keep trying.
Once she allows you to use the brush on her teeth, begin at the front and gently massage the teeth with it. Your first goal should be to simply get her used to the feeling; once she’s comfortable, aim to cover the teeth with the brush at a 45-degree angle. Work in a circular motion as you move down either side of the jaw, taking special care to get into all the nooks and crannies at the back of the mouth.
For the ears, use a good, high-quality alcohol-free ear rinse once every few days. Your vet can recommend the best brand for your pet’s needs. Use a cotton pad or ball dipped in a small amount of rinse to gently clean out the exterior ear, then gently swab the interior. Never use Q-Tips or put pressure on the inner ear, as this can result in injuries. Ears can easily get infected, so you need to make sure they stay clean. You want to check your dog’s ears about once a week to make sure they look healthy.
You also want to try to keep your dog’s eyes clear of tear stains. This can be done by using a wash cloth to remove any build up by the eyes. You want to keep this area clean for their health, and because the tear stains can start to smell.
At-Home Dog Grooming Tips
There are many different strategies and tricks to grooming a dog, and they vary based on the breed and the style of coat. However, here are five brief tips for home grooming your dog.
- Coat conditioner – spraying on mink oil or another type of coat conditioner before you brush your dog can help loosen tangles and knots in the coat before you ever take a brush to it.
- Brushing patterns – for both your sake and the dog’s, you should decide on a pattern of brushing and stick to it every time, making sure you get all of the coat brushed out and that you let your dog know what to expect.
- Hair brushing – make sure to brush all of the hair readily available, but never go so far as to scrape or hurt the skin underneath.
- Combing after brushing – clinging tangles and knots still present even after brushing can be removed easily with a comb.
- Practice patience – remember to relax and take your time, especially with a long-haired breed like a Keeshond.
You can do it. Grooming your dog may not be the easiest task, but it might just become the most enjoyable one of your day. Spending time with your fuzzy family member can help promote the bond between you, and it will certainly keep him or her looking sharp and clean. Set aside an appropriate amount of time for this activity and make it enjoyable.
If your dog is new to grooming, then start small by just doing one thing in a short session such as trimming their nails. You can gradually add the next steps over several days. Once grooming is part of your normal routine, use these tricks and tips to give your doggie a makeover that will have them strutting through the dog park.
Inspect as You Brush
Brushing your dog’s coat does more than just smooth out tangles. It gives you a great opportunity to take a good look at your dog’s underlying skin and hair. As you brush, keep an eye out for fleas and ticks that require treatment. Skin conditions, such as a sunburn or dryness, can also be noticed during grooming your dog. If you see anything unusual, then talk to your vet.
Use the Right Hairbrush
Dog coats range from thin short hairs to thick, fluffy coats that require daily brushing. For this reason, you should know that there is no one-size-fits-all hairbrush for dogs. Hair brushing is also usually a two or three step process. For example, you will want to start with a rubber brush on dogs with short smooth coats before moving on to a bristle brush and final polish with a chamois cloth. Slicker brushes are used as the first detangling step on dogs with long coats. Once the tangles are gone, a bristle brush will finish the job.
Stock Up on Cornstarch
This fine powder can serve a variety of purposes during your grooming sessions. Just sprinkle some onto tangles, and gently work it in to loosen knots. Cornstarch also absorbs grease so brushing it through your dog’s hair works like a dry shampoo. This is perfect for days between shampoos or when you are traveling with your pet. You can also use cornstarch to brighten white markings on your dog’s coat so they stand out.
Use Safety Equipment
Playful dogs get excited at bath time, and it’s important to protect them from getting injured. Place a non-skid bath mat in your tub, and remove any items that could cause injury such as your shaving razor. A suction cup tether can also be used to keep active dogs in place during the shampooing and rinsing process. Since many dogs like to run after their bath, make sure a rug is on any areas of the floor that could be slippery.
Build Up to Nail Trimming
Keeping your dog’s nails trimmed is important for their comfort, and it prevents injuries to their toes. If your dog has never had their nails trimmed before, get them used to having their feet handled by massaging their paws for a few minutes each day over a period of two weeks. Once your dog is comfortable, use a pair of canine nail trimmers to snip them at an angle right below where they start to curve. Just be cautious to avoid the vein running through the nails. If it isn’t visible, then try doing small cuts at first.
Using Non-Slip Mats
If you use a tub to wash your pup, you should not underestimate the usefulness of a special non-slip mat. The bottom of the tub could cause your dog to slide around, scaring it. This makes future baths a nightmare, so utilize a special mat so that your hound has a proper footing.
During a grooming session, it is important to keep your dog’s personality in mind. While some dogs will sit forever as long as they are being brushed, others may need short breaks to let their energy out. Once your grooming session is over, lavish them with praise, and plan an outing such as a walk so they can show off their fancy new look.
Reasons to Groom Your Dog Regularly
Dog grooming can help keep your pet happy and feeling good. There are a number of other benefits regular grooming can provide.
Helps Maintain Physical Health
Having a professional wash, brush and trim a dog’s coat can keep him looking and feeling great. A groomer can also identify and remove pests including fleas and ticks. Brushing teeth is another very beneficial grooming service; it helps prevents tooth decay. A dog’s nails should also be trimmed on a regular basis to prevent them from cracking and breaking. A broken nail can be very uncomfortable and even become infected. Many people are also uneasy trimming a pet’s nails and prefer to have a groomer do it. It is advisable to begin mobile dog grooming when your pet is young. This establishes a good maintenance routine. It also gets your pet accustomed to these activities early in life. He may rebel and be harder to control if he is not groomed for the first time until he is older.
More Pleasant to Be Around
A clean, well groomed dog is a pleasure and highly preferable. An unkempt pet can make a house dirty and be unpleasant for friends and family. Regular teeth brushing can assist in mitigating bad breath. A groomer can help to keep nails trimmed which can prevent people and floors from getting scratched, as well as rips in rugs.
Makes Financial Sense
Getting a dog regularly groomed makes financial sense, and can even save money in the long run. In addition to keeping your dog comfortable, a groomer can potentially identify health issues before they become serious. If left undetected, a pet health issue may be much more costly and possibly deadly.
Mobile dog grooming is advantageous for pets and owners. A well-groomed dog is a happier and healthier pet. Owners will appreciate the hygiene benefits of a clean animal and it can be accomplished at a price that does not break the bank.
Grooming your dog doesn’t need to be a stressful experience; with a bit of patience and dedication, it can quickly become something you both look forward to. Crunched for time? Pick up that brush and run it through your dog’s fur when you’re relaxing at home around the television or cuddling up in bed. See a groomer for a thorough, full-scale cleanup every three to six months to get back to a good baseline level, and you’ll find regular maintenance even easier.