Have you recently introduced a cute golden retriever pup/dog to your family? Or are you planning to do so? In either case, there are certain characteristics of the golden retriever that you should know.
Having thorough knowledge about golden retrievers is crucial for many reasons. First of all, it helps you consider all the pros and cons of this particular dog breed and take essential measures accordingly. It also helps you determine whether or not this dog breed will be ideal for you or your family. While there are several things to consider before getting a golden retriever, the most common one is the dog’s shedding. Many dog breeds don’t shed or have low-shedding; unfortunately, the golden retriever is not one of them.
Since shedding is a common characteristic of the golden retriever, it is natural to wonder basic yet essential shedding-related questions; such as, when do golden retrievers shed, what time of the year they shed, how much this popular dog breed sheds, how can you deal with the shedding, etc. To discover answers to these and additional queries, continue reading this article.
When Do Golden Retrievers Shed?
Golden retrievers are double-coated dogs, which means that they have a thick undercoat along with their outer coat. It is widely observed that the overcoat sheds once a year while the undercoat sheds twice a year during spring and fall. However, there are times when both the undercoat and outer coat shed simultaneously.
The golden retriever experiences seasonal shedding. In this shedding cycle, the dog breed loses its winter coat in the springtime. And by summers, it produces shorter and lighter hair which keeps the dog’s body cool during the long, warm summer days. As the fall season arrives, this cycle is reversed. The summer coat sheds to make room for winter fur. By growing thick fur in winter, golden retrievers prepare themselves for the cold season.
Typically, this breed carries a harsh, heavy, and long outer coat with a soft and smooth undercoat. Since the hair on golden retrievers is longer than most dog breeds, it is common to find their fur on your household furniture. As stated above, golden retrievers generally shed in spring and fall. But you can expect them to shed throughout the year. The cycle of shedding is likely to occur in your house or outdoors, depending on where the dog breed spends most of its time.
Why Do Golden Retrievers Shed?
Shedding is a common characteristic experienced by every dog breed. However, it is mind-boggling to see just how much golden retrievers shed every year.
Why is that so?
Hormonal changes are mainly responsible for triggering shedding in golden retrievers. The changes in the daytime impact the hormones of the golden retriever. As the days stretch in spring or summer, the dog breed starts to shed the winter overcoat to accommodate a lighter coat of hair. But as the autumn season kicks in, the summer coat falls off to make way for the thick winter coat.
Another factor that results in the shedding of golden retrievers is their double-coated fur. Their body produces heavy, thick layers of fur, which leads to shedding twice a year.
How to Deal with Shedding in Golden Retrievers
Spotting your dog’s hair everywhere is not a pleasant sight! To say the least, this kind of shedding can be a complete nuisance. Here are some tips and tricks that can help you cope with your golden retriever’s shedding.
1. Brush Your Pet’s Hair Daily
The best way to reduce shedding in a golden retriever is by brushing its hair on a regular basis. Doing so will help eliminate loose fur before it can fall and stick to your house floor, carpet, or furniture. Since golden retrievers have thick, long hair, the best hairbrush for them is a rake.
2. Make Use of a Vacuum Cleaner and Lint Roller
While you can take steps to control your pet’s shedding, there is no magic fix that you can rely on. It’s very likely that you will come across loose fur here and there even if you’ve taken all the preventative measures imaginable. In this regard, a vacuum cleaner and lint roller can come in handy.
It is also a good idea to spread a sheet or blanket on the couch or bed before you allow your dog to play with you or cuddle with you. Later, you can vacuum the sheet/blanket if your pet has left behind any loose fur.
3. Bathe Your Golden Retriever Regularly
Regular bathing is a useful trick that can lower a dog’s shedding to a minimum. You may not know it, but a bath can help eliminate clotted fur easily. It is important to use anti-shedding shampoos and conditioners to control shedding in your golden retriever.
While it is suggested to bathe your dog regularly, it is better to consult your veterinarian first. You will be guided on the type of essential oils to use, the shampoos to use according to your pet’s skin and lifestyle, etc.
4. Put Your Pet on a Higher Moisture Diet
A dry food diet can result in more shedding. Hence, it is important to consider a diet that has a higher moisture content.
Many pet owners give their dogs melons, carrots, and green beans to eat to keep the shedding at bay. Some people feed flaxseed oil to their pet to achieve the same results. However, every dog breed reacts differently to these food items, and hence, you should talk to your vet first before putting your dog on any type of diet.
5. Consider Trimming
It is important to maintain the natural hairstyle of the golden retriever, which is thicker around the neck with thick feathering around the body and long tail. However, golden retrievers tend to grow thick hair around their ears, which causes their fur to tangle. This can cause problems when brushing your dog’s hair, resulting in unnecessary shedding. What’s worse is that the long fur near the ears can cause severe ear infections.
Trim the hair near the ears to give your dog a neat and tidy look.
Is Increased Shedding a Sign of Health Problems?
Should you be worried if your golden retriever is shedding excessively? We’re afraid, yes. While it is normal for a golden retriever to shed all throughout the year, extreme shedding can be an unhealthy sign. The biggest reason for abnormally increased shedding in the golden retriever is allergies.
Dogs are commonly allergic to dust and mold. Products like cigarettes, perfumes, and cleaning products can also trigger allergies in dogs. Some other issues that can lead to an allergic reaction are:
- Your dog’s food
- Harmful parasites (ticks and fleas)
- The shampoos and conditioners that you use to bathe your dog
Allergies can easily irritate your pet’s skin, resulting in increased shedding. The hair follicles tend to become weak and cause the hair to fall out quickly.
How Do You Know If It’s an Allergy?
Sometimes, especially in the case of a novice pet owner, it can be difficult to know whether the shedding is due to an allergy or not. In such a scenario, consider taking the following steps:
1. Talk to Your Vet
An experienced and qualified vet can figure out if the excess shedding is due to an allergy or not. The vet will go over the details of your dog’s diet and environment and review the signs and symptoms to diagnose why your dog is shedding so much.
2. Run Some Allergy Tests
If there is no apparent symptom that explains your golden retriever’s excessive shedding, then the best thing to do is to perform a blood or skin test. Most vets suggest a skin test as it is more reliable.
For a skin test, a portion of your pet’s coat will be shaved. Then some allergens will be injected into the skin. If the dog reacts to any of the injected allergens, it means that the allergy is a reaction of that particular substance.
Although shedding is a major downside of the golden retriever, it is not an issue that can’t be controlled. If you take the right measures at the right time, you can curtail this problem to a great extent.