Grooming a Golden Retriever: A Practical How-To Guide

Grooming your Golden Retriever is an important aspect of their overall health and happiness. A proper grooming routine will help keep their fur shiny, healthy, and free from mats, dirt, and parasites. However, dog grooming can be challenging without the right knowledge and tools.

This guide will help you understand the unique needs and characteristics of a Golden Retriever’s coat, and provide step-by-step instructions on how to groom your pet effectively. From brushing their luscious coat to trimming their nails, we’ll cover all aspects of proper grooming to ensure your furry friend looks and feels their best.

Understanding the Golden Retriever Coat

Goldens are renowned for their luscious coats. Their fur consists of an outer coat and a thick, soft undercoat.

The outer coat is water-resistant and protects them from harsh weather conditions, while the undercoat provides insulation and warmth. Their coat sheds moderately throughout the year, with heavier shedding periods in the spring and fall as they transition between seasons.

It’s crucial to keep their coat well-groomed, not just for aesthetic purposes, but also for their overall health and comfort. Grooming helps prevent matting, skin issues, and infections, and distributes natural oils throughout their coat.

Here are several grooming needs that a Golden Retriever’s coat requires:

  • Regular brushing
  • Bathing when needed
  • Trimming mats and tangles
  • Trimming foot fur regularly

Essential Grooming Tools

Grooming your Golden is made easy when you have the right tools on hand. Here are the essential grooming supplies you’ll need:

Grooming Tool


Pin Brush

Used for removing loose fur and tangles. Ideal for thick and long coats.

Slicker Brush

Soft brush for removing mats or tangles without damaging your dog’s coat.


Used for detangling your Golden Retriever’s fur and for removing loose dog hair.

Nail Clipper

Used for trimming your Golden Retriever’s nails safely and comfortably.

Toothbrush and Toothpaste

Used for maintaining your dog’s oral health by removing plaque and freshening breath.

Ear Cleaner

Used for removing dirt and wax buildup in your Golden Retriever’s ears.


Used when you bathe your dog regularly, keeping their coat clean and smelling fresh.

Investing in these grooming tools ensures that your furry friend will have a comfortable, stress-free grooming experience, and you’ll enjoy a clean, healthy, and happy dog.

Brushing and Detangling

Regular brushing is an essential component of maintaining a Golden Retriever’s coat. It helps to minimize shedding, prevent matting, and distribute natural oils throughout their fur. Brushing should be done at least once a week, but more frequent brushing may be necessary if your Golden Retriever has longer hair or is shedding heavily.

Best Brushing Techniques

Begin by employing a sleek brush to eliminate any loose fur and knots. Use a dematting tool if you encounter thicker mats. Then use an undercoat rake to reach deep into the fur and remove dead hair. Finish by running a bristle brush over your Golden Retriever’s fur to smooth it out and add shine.

When brushing, focus on one section of your Golden Retriever’s coat at a time, parting the hair to reach the skin. Be gentle so that you don’t hurt your pup, but firm enough to remove any tangles. Brush in a slow, methodical manner to avoid causing static and making more tangles.

Recommended Grooming Products

Choosing the right grooming products is essential for maintaining your Golden Retriever’s coat. A good detangling spray will help ease the brushing process, while a high-quality dog shampoo will keep their coat clean, shiny, and smelling fresh.

When using any product, ensure that it is specifically formulated for dogs and safe for use on their skin. Also, avoid using human-grade products, as they may contain ingredients that can irritate your pup’s skin.

Using Detangler

If your Golden Retriever’s fur is particularly prone to tangles, you may want to use a detangler after brushing. Simply spray it onto the fur and work it through with your fingers. This will help to smooth out any remaining tangles and leave their fur looking shiny and healthy.

Remember, regular brushing and detangling will not only keep your Golden Retriever’s coat looking great but also help to prevent skin irritation and other health issues. So, make sure to take the time to properly groom your furry friend on a regular basis!

Bathing and Drying

Golden Retrievers love water, which makes bath time an enjoyable experience for most. To start, choose a high-quality dog shampoo suitable for Golden Retriever’s skin and coat. Ensure you have all the necessary supplies nearby, such as a non-slip mat, towels, and a brush.

Tip: Consider using a handheld shower head or a pitcher to wet your dog gently. Avoid getting water in their ears, nose, or eyes.

To achieve the best results, follow these step-by-step instructions:

  1. Before getting your Golden Retriever into the bathtub, gently brush their coat to remove any loose hair and mats. This helps to reduce the amount of hair that ends up in the drain during the bath.
  2. Fill the bathtub with warm water so that it covers your dog’s paws but doesn’t come up higher than their belly.
  3. Thoroughly wet your dog, and apply the shampoo starting from their neck and chest and moving downwards. Lather your dog’s coat well, avoiding the head area.
  4. Using your fingers or a soft-bristle brush, massage the shampoo into your dog’s coat, paying close attention to the areas behind their ears and under their legs, where dirt and debris are most likely to accumulate.
  5. Rinse the shampoo off thoroughly, ensuring no traces of suds remain.
  6. Using a towel, gently pat your dog dry, taking care not to rub them vigorously, which can ruffle their coat and cause mats.
  7. Use a blow dryer on low heat or a fan to dry your dog’s coat completely. Alternatively, allow your Golden Retriever to air dry naturally.
  8. Once your dog is dry, brush their coat again to remove any remaining tangles.

When drying your Golden Retriever’s coat, it’s essential to know that their undercoat takes longer to dry than the outer coat. Ensure they’re dried entirely to prevent skin irritation and infections.

Nail Trimming

Trimming your Golden Retriever’s nails is an essential aspect of their grooming routine. Long nails can lead to discomfort, pain, and even injury, so it’s vital to keep them appropriately trimmed. Here’s how to safely and effectively trim your dog’s nails:

  1. Choose the right tools: Invest in a pair of high-quality nail clippers designed for dogs. You may also opt for a nail grinder for a more controlled and precise cut.

  2. Prepare your dog: Get your dog used to being handled, especially their paws. Reward them with treats and praise for staying calm during the process.

  3. Locate the quick: The quick is the pink portion of the nail that contains nerves and blood vessels. Avoid cutting into the quick, as it can cause bleeding and be painful for your dog.

  4. Make the cut: Hold your dog’s paw firmly but gently and make a smooth cut at a 45-degree angle. If you accidentally touch the quick, use styptic powder to stop the bleeding.

  5. File the nails: After trimming, use a nail file to smooth any rough edges and prevent snagging.

Regularly trimming your Golden Retriever’s nails will help them stay comfortable, healthy, and happy.  If you’re feeling uncertain about the procedure, it might be a good idea to seek advice from a professional groomer or veterinarian.

Tip: If your dog is afraid of nail clippers or grinders, try desensitizing them by introducing the tool gradually and giving treats and praise for positive behavior.

Cleaning Ears and Eyes

Keeping your Golden Retriever’s ears and eyes clean is an essential part of their grooming routine. Neglecting this area can lead to discomfort, infections, and other health issues. Here are some tips for proper ear and eye care:


To clean your Golden Retriever’s ears, start by inspecting them for any redness, swelling, or discharge. If you notice any of these symptoms, consult with your veterinarian before cleaning. If everything looks healthy, use a cotton ball or pad moistened with a veterinarian-recommended ear cleaner solution. Gently clean the inside of the ear flap and the ear canal’s entrance, being careful not to insert anything deep into the ear. Repeat on the other ear.



Use a vet-recommended cleaner

Use water, alcohol or hydrogen peroxide to clean the ears

Be gentle and patient

Use cotton swabs or other objects that can harm your dog’s ear

Clean the area around the ears regularly

Over-clean or force anything into the ears


Golden Retrievers are prone to eye problems such as cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy. Regular cleaning can help prevent these issues. 

Use a damp cotton ball or pad to gently wipe away any discharge or debris from the corners of your dog’s eyes. Avoid touching the eye surface, as this can cause irritation and corneal ulcers.



Clean regularly with a damp cotton ball or pad

Use harsh substances or chemicals

Check for signs of redness or swelling

Scrub or touch your dog’s eye surface

Consult with your veterinarian if you notice any eye problems

Ignore signs of discomfort or discharge

Remember, proper ear and eye care can identify health issues early and prevent potential discomfort and pain for your pup. With regular cleaning and check-ups, you’ll help ensure your Golden Retriever’s overall health and well-being.

Oral Hygiene

Oral hygiene is an essential component of your Golden Retriever’s overall health. Neglecting your furry friend’s teeth can lead to a variety of health issues, including gum disease and infections.

Brushing Their Teeth

Brushing your Golden Retriever’s teeth is easy and can be done with a dog toothbrush and toothpaste specifically designed for dogs. It’s important to build a regular teeth-brushing routine to prevent dental issues and keep your dog’s breath fresh.

Start by allowing your dog to taste the toothpaste and let them get used to having a toothbrush in their mouth. Once they’re comfortable, begin brushing their teeth gently, using circular motions.

Brush each tooth, including the back molars, and pay attention to the gumline. Aim to brush your dog’s teeth at least once per day, but if that’s not possible, try to do it several times a week.

Choosing Dental Products

When it comes to choosing dental products for your Golden Retriever, there are several options available. Dental chews and bones can help remove plaque and tartar buildup, while water additives can reduce bad breath and eliminate bacteria in your dog’s mouth.

It’s crucial to choose products that are specifically designed for dogs, as human toothpaste and mouthwash can harm your Golden Retriever’s health.

Regular Dental Checkups

Regular dental checkups are essential to maintaining your Golden Retriever’s oral health. A veterinarian can examine your dog’s teeth and gums, determining if they require any additional care or treatment.

During a checkup, the vet can also clean your dog’s teeth and remove any plaque buildup to prevent future dental issues. Aim to schedule dental checkups for your Golden Retriever at least once a year.

Dealing with Shedding

Golden Retrievers are popular pets, but their shedding can sometimes be overwhelming. Here, we’ll discuss tips to manage Golden Retriever shedding.


Proper Brushing Techniques

Regular brushing is paramount in keeping your Golden Retriever’s shedding at bay. It’s advisable to brush your dog at least twice a week using a slicker brush or undercoat rake. 

These tools can remove the loose hair trapped in their double-coated fur, preventing it from falling out all over your house. Always start brushing from the neck to the tail in the direction of their hair growth. 

Consider using a deshedding tool like the Furminator to get rid of loose undercoat hair effectively.

Diet Recommendations

Golden Retrievers require a consistently healthy diet to support their skin and coat health, which can greatly reduce shedding. Any ideal diet should include high-quality proteins and essential fatty acids. Many brands offer dog foods that meet these criteria, so be sure to check the ingredients list before making a purchase.

Minimizing Hair Around Your Home

Preventing hair from spreading around your house is one of the best ways to manage shedding.

Here are some helpful tips:

  • Vacuum high traffic areas at least once a day

  • Brush your dog in an outdoor area or on a washable mat

  • Use machine washable slipcovers on furniture and bedding

  • Consider a powerful air purifier to control pet dander

By implementing these tips, you can keep your home cleaner and free of excess pet hair.

Trimming and Grooming the Golden Retriever's Feet

Golden Retrievers are active dogs who enjoy playing outdoors and exploring new environments. As a result, their foot hair can quickly become overgrown and cause discomfort. Regular trimming and grooming of their feet can prevent dirt buildup and maintain their comfort.

Trimming Foot Hair

Before trimming your Golden Retriever’s foot hair, ensure that you have all the essential tools, including sharp scissors, a grooming brush, and a comb.

Begin by brushing your dog’s feet thoroughly to remove any tangles or debris. Then, using the scissors, trim the long hair around their paw pads, ensuring you don’t cut their skin.

Trim the hair around the toes, making sure it doesn’t touch the ground or rub against their skin.

Cleaning the Paw Pads

Inspect your Golden Retriever’s paw pads regularly to ensure they’re healthy and free of cuts or debris.

Clean the paw pads with lukewarm water and a soft-bristled brush, making sure to remove any dirt or debris.

If you notice any cuts or inflamed areas, clean them with an antiseptic solution and seek veterinary attention if necessary.

Handling Special Grooming Needs for Golden Retrievers

Grooming a Golden Retriever comes with its own set of challenges, and some may require additional attention due to specific conditions.

Here are some grooming tips to overcome such situations:


If your Golden Retriever has allergies, consult with your veterinarian before using any grooming products. Use a hypoallergenic shampoo and conditioner to avoid any further irritation.

Also, increase the frequency of brushing to remove allergens from the coat.


Matting can be frustrating, especially in dense areas such as the ears. Gently use a dematting comb or scissors to remove mats, or take your Golden Retriever to a professional groomer for assistance.

Aging-related issues

As your Golden Retriever ages, they may experience mobility and sensory impairments, making it challenging to groom them. Make sure to keep them comfortable during the grooming process, and take frequent breaks if needed.

Overall, keeping up with the grooming needs of your Golden Retriever will help maintain their physical appearance and emotional well-being. Always consult with a veterinarian or professional groomer if you encounter any issues during the grooming process.


With the right tools and techniques, grooming your Golden Retriever can be a straightforward and enjoyable experience for both you and your furry friend. Remember to be gentle and patient, rewarding good behavior, and taking breaks when needed.

By maintaining a regular grooming routine, you’ll not only keep their coat looking shiny and beautiful, but you’ll also promote their overall health and well-being. Don’t forget to consult with your vet if you have any concerns or questions about your Golden Retriever’s grooming needs.

Thank you for taking the time to read our practical guide. We hope our expert tips and advice have been useful in your Golden Retriever’s grooming journey. Here’s to a happy and healthy pup!

Frequently Asked Questions About Grooming a Golden Retriever

How often should I groom my Golden Retriever?

It’s recommended to groom your Golden Retriever at least once every 4-6 weeks to maintain a healthy coat and overall cleanliness. However, regular brushing should be done on a weekly basis.

What type of brush should I use for my Golden Retriever?

For a Golden Retriever’s dense coat, it’s best to use a slicker brush or a combination brush with both bristles and pins. These types of brushes effectively remove loose fur and detangle any knots or mats.

Can I bathe my Golden Retriever too frequently?

While it’s essential to keep your Golden Retriever clean, excessive bathing can strip their coat of natural oils and lead to dryness or skin irritation. It’s generally recommended to bathe your golden retriever once every 6-8 weeks, or as needed to keep them smelling fresh.

How do I properly trim my Golden Retriever's nails?

Trimming a Golden Retriever’s nails requires caution to avoid cutting into the quick. Use a quality pair of dog nail clippers and trim a small amount of the nail at a time. If you’re unsure, it’s best to consult a professional groomer or veterinarian for guidance.

How can I prevent ear infections in my Golden Retriever?

Regularly cleaning your Golden Retriever’s ears can help prevent infections. Use a veterinarian-recommended ear cleaning solution and gently wipe the visible parts of the ear. Avoid inserting anything deep into the ear canal.

Galen has been connecting quality Golden Retriever breeders with loving families since 2012 and is the founder of My Golden Retriever Puppies. He and his wife have four children and love spending time together, traveling (lived oversees for 4 years), enjoying the outdoors and connecting Golden families.