How to Get Your Golden Retriever to Shed Less
Having a dog companion is one of the most rewarding things a person can do. Not only do dogs offer friendship and loyalty, but they help us stay active and social. However, there are some drawbacks to living with a furry friend. One of them is shedding. Some dog breeds, like Golden Retrievers, are notorious for shedding a lot, especially at different times of the year. Luckily, though, there are a number of things you can do to get your friend to shed less and to cope with shedding.
Brushing, Bathing, and Grooming
1. Brush your Golden Retriever as much as you can.
Brushing your furry friend will help remove loose fur from your Golden. While this won’t prevent or reduce the amount of shedding, it will definitely help manage the shedding problem. Consider:
- Brush your friend every day.
- Brush your friend at least three times a week, if you can’t do it every day.
- Spend as much time as it takes to brush your dog’s entire body.
- Brush with the grain, rather than against the grain of your dog’s hair.
2. Use a de-shedding tool once a week.
De-shedding tools are special types of brushes that are designed to remove loose hair from your dog’s coat. Using a de-shedding tool will remove hair from your dog’s coat that might not come out during a normal brushing. Consider the following:
- Set aside 15 to 30 minutes to use your de-shedding tool.
- Use the de-shedding tool in the direction of your Golden’s fur. Do not de-shed against the grain.
- There are a number of de-shedding tools on the market. Do a little market research before buying to figure out which is best for you. You might find that premium de-shedding tools like the FURminator are well worth the extra money. You might also find that a little known brand might be just as effective for a substantially lower cost.
- Using a de-shedding tool should not be a substitute for brushing. If you choose to use a de-shedding tool, continue your brushing regimen.
- De-shedding tools are much more abrasive on your dog’s skin, so don’t use them more than one a week.
3. Bathe your dog every few weeks.
Bathing your dog will help remove dead hair and prevent extra shedding. It will also help keep your dog's coat healthy. Dogs with healthy coats shed less. Consider:
- Use warm or lukewarm water.
- Try to bathe your friend every month if you can.
- Bathing your dog too often can result in dry skin.
4. Get a good dog shampoo.
Good quality shampoos are extremely important in hair and skin health. For dogs with healthy hair, you want a shampoo that will clean dirt and grime out, while not drying your dog’s skin. Some dogs might require a prescription shampoo geared towards health and skin problems. But regardless of your dog’s overall health, a quality shampoo is very important in managing shedding and skin health.
- Contact your vet if your dog has a special condition or medical needs.
- Many people recommend a good oatmeal shampoo.
- There are a wide variety of shampoos on the market, so visit your local pet store.
5. Have your Golden Retriever professionally groomed.
As shedding dogs, Golden Retrievers do not need to have their hair cut. However, professional groomers can do a few things that might possibly cut down on the amount of hair your dog sheds in your house. They will:
- Trim the hair around your dog's ears.
- Trim the hair around your dog's pads.
- Trim and groom your dog's tail.
- Remember, as shedding dogs, Golden Retrievers should never be shaved.
Monitoring Health and Wellness
1. Watch for allergies.
Allergies are a major source of pet shedding. Allergy related shedding is often related to your dog’s scratching his irritated skin, which not only damages the skin, but loosens his hair. As a result, pay special attention in the spring and summer, when certain allergens might be irritating your Golden and causing increased shedding. Contact your vet if you think your Golden has an allergy.
2. Be aware of certain medical conditions that might cause your dog to shed more.
There are a wide variety of medical conditions and chronic ailments that will cause your Golden to shed more than normally. As a result, you need to monitor your friend closely to make sure that he does not show any of the signs of chronic or life threatening diseases which have shedding as a symptom.
- If your dog has patches of fur missing inexplicably, contact your vet.
- If your dog’s hair is thinning and not regrowing properly according to seasonal changes (more hair in winter, and shedding in spring and summer), contact your vet.
- Talk to your vet about any other changes with your dog’s skin, hair or general health.
3. Control fleas, ticks, and other parasites on your dog.
Flea, ticks, and other parasites on your dog will irritate him and cause him to scratch himself. This will damage your dog’s skin and as a result cause more shedding. Controlling fleas and parasites on your dog will help reduce the amount of loose hair you’ll have to deal with in your home.
- Keep your dog on a regular anti-flea and tick medication (consult your veterinarian).
- Investigate any scratching your dog might be doing. It could be caused by fleas or other parasites.
- Bathe your dog regularly, and if needed, use a shampoo that repels or kills fleas or ticks (consult your veterinarian).
4. Create a calm and stable environment for your dog.
Dogs tend to shed more when they are stressed out. If you create a calm environment for your friend, your friend will shed less. There are a number of factors that might stress your Golden out. Consider:
- A change in your family structure. This might mean the addition of a family member, like a new baby. It could also mean the death of a loved one.
- A move. If you move, your friend might be unsettled and this could cause him to shed more. In this case, your Golden will probably start to shed less as he gets used to his new surroundings.
- Parties, house guests, or other commotion in the house. Generally anything that is different at your home might stress your friend out. If you’re worried about shedding, try to limit such changes.
Providing Excellent Diet and Nutrition
1. Provide your dog with plenty of clean water.
Making sure your dog has plenty of water and is properly hydrated is key to preventing excess shedding. This is because a dehydrated dog might have dry skin, which will reduce hair quality and result in more shedding. As a result, a dog that has constant access to clean fresh water will often shed less.
2. Feed your Golden Retriever food that meets his nutritional needs.
A good diet will result in a healthier dog and a healthier coat. Some of the essential elements of a healthy diet are: This will help reduce shedding.
- Your food should have necessary vitamins and other nutritional requirements.
- Your food should be rich in digestible protein.
- Your food should have plenty of fatty acids.
- Contact your vet on age-specific food for your Golden Retriever.
3. Give your Golden omega-3 oils to supplement his diet.
Omega-3 oils are essential elements in improving the health and quality of your Golden’s skin and coat. Omega-3 oils, then, will help reduce shedding. Contact your vet for more information.
- The more you brush your dog's hair, the less it will shed. Hair that is brushed off will not shed!
- Keeping your dog's skin in good condition will help the skin become more elastic and help keep the fur in place.
- It's best to not use pills or sprays to keep a dog from shedding. Most of those products are not very healthy.
- Don't overfeed your dog with oily food. Follow your vet's recommendation for a daily feeding schedule appropriate for your dog's age and weight.