Updated: May 5th, 2021
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Odds are, you wash your hair several times a week at least. This is necessary to keep it clean and healthy because it is constantly exposed to the elements.
Your Golden Retriever has far more hair than you do, and not only is it always exposed, it is also frequently in contact with the ground and other surfaces.
So, how often should you bathe your Golden to keep it healthy and looking its best?
Do Golden Retrievers Need to be Bathed?
A Golden Retriever is blessed with a warm and durable double coat of fur. This is a common characteristic of water dogs.
The natural oils a Golden secretes help to keep the coat water-repellant and dirt resistant. Regular brushing will keep the oils well spread, and help prevent matting and tangling.
Nevertheless, your Golden will require bathing from time to time. How often will depend on certain lifestyle and environmental factors including:
- Frequency of swimming excursions
- Amount of time spent outdoors
- Rural vs. urban environment
- Local parasite issues
Environmental and Lifestyle Factors to Consider
Although your dog is built for the life aquatic and is capable of flinging away the majority of water accumulated after a dip with a good shake, frequent swimming may lead to a dirty coat and an unpleasant smell.
This is especially true if your Golden has a penchant for algae-filled ponds and other less-than-pristine bodies of water.
Naturally, a dog that spends a lot of time indoors is going to pick up less dirt and debris than one that is regularly outdoors. And whether or not those outdoor romps are in the country or in the city can also make a big difference to how quickly a Retriever gets dirty.
If you are aware of a parasite problem in your area (check local websites or ask your vet), it is important to be on high alert, and more frequent baths and grooming may be in order.
How Often Is Often Enough?
The answer to the question is: there is no definitively right or wrong answer. It is very important to not wash your dog too often. This can be just as detrimental as not washing often enough.
Too frequent bathing may strip away the natural oils I mentioned earlier. Losing this protective coating can leave your Golden with a dull coat, which is disappointingly unattractive.
More importantly, it will leave the skin unprotected and prone to dandruff and infections. It’s recommended that you use a very mild shampoo, but even the mildest soaps can have a negative impact on the skin if overused.
On the other hand, not bathing often enough can cause obvious problems. Though Goldens tend not to emit strong odors like many other breeds do (yes, Goldens are superior!), they may still develop a bit of a funk if left unwashed for too long.
What Should My Bathing Schedule Be?
Plan on giving your Retriever a bath about once every six weeks. Depending on circumstances (like those listed above) you may need to hit the suds once each month.
However, some dogs, especially older, less active ones, can get by with scrub downs as infrequently as every 8 weeks, or possibly longer. By
Depending on circumstances (like those listed above) you may need to hit the suds once each month. However, some dogs, especially older, less active ones, can get by with scrub downs as infrequently as every 8 weeks, or possibly longer. By
By maintaining good grooming, especially brushing, between baths, you’ll become familiar with your dog’s hair and skin condition and be able to tell if your schedule needs to be adjusted.
No matter your schedule, you should bathe as soon as possible in the event of an unexpected occurrence. For example, if your Golden takes a shine to a mud puddle, you’ll want to address matters before the mud has a chance to get caked on. Serious mud can sometimes require a haircut; much better to take a free bath than to pay a groomer.
Rolling around on a dead animal is one of a dog owner’s least favorite behaviors to witness, especially for the squeamish. A bath may be in order after this activity to ensure your dog hasn’t picked up any parasites.
And speaking of parasites, if your dog has been in contact with another dog that is found to have an infestation, even a mild one, a good, thorough bath is highly recommended. Better to rinse any eggs, larvae or parasites down the drain than to let them establish a home on your Golden.
There are two schools of thought on bathing a Golden Retriever: it’s either a hilarious event that’s lots of good, clean fun; or it’s a nightmare chore to be done as infrequently as possible.
Whatever side you land on, it is important to neither overdo it, nor neglect it unduly. A clean Retriever is a happy Retriever, and a happy Retriever makes a happy owner.