How To Groom Golden Retriever (Step-by-Step Guide)

Updated September 22, 2022
How To Groom Golden Retriever (Step-by-Step Guide)

Every responsible owner should know how to groom a golden retriever to maintain the health and beauty of gorgeous golden fur.

Golden retriever grooming is time-consuming and must be regular. Fortunately, it isn’t as difficult as it seems.

Like all dogs, golden retrievers need regular baths, ear cleaning, claw trimming, and dental care to prevent medical condition development.

Golden retrievers are high-maintenance when it comes to brushing because they have a double coat that tangles easily. Brushing is essential during seasonal shedding periods.

The good news is that golden retrievers don’t need haircuts like some breeds, so you can learn to groom your dog at home. It takes a bit of practice and dedication but will save you time and money in the long term.

The Tools

Golden retriever grooming tools include a brush, de-shedding tool, thinning shears, blunt-end scissors, blow dryer, toothbrush, and nail clipper. Additionally, you will need cleaning supplies – ear cleaning solution, shampoo, and toothpaste.

As a bonus, consider getting a rubber mat for the bathtub to prevent your dog’s paws from sliding. The styptic powder will help stop blood if you accidentally cut your dog’s claw to the quick.

The best brush for golden retrievers is a slicker brush because it effectively brushes away dander, loose fur, and dirt from the overcoat and undercoat. However, don’t apply too much pressure to avoid causing discomfort to your dog.

An undercoat rake is helpful when your dog is in the seasonal shedding phase. It removes dead fur from the undercoat, preventing matting and tangling.

As for a blow dryer, you can use a regular one or get one designed for dogs. Always choose dog shampoo free from chemicals.


Brushing is the most important step in golden retriever grooming. Ideally, you should brush your golden every day during seasonal shedding, but if you’re very busy, you can do it every other day.

Brushing eliminates tangles and mats, removes loose fur, and prepares the coat for further grooming. Regular brushing is your chance to spot parasites hiding in the hair.

If you need to detangle tresses, use some water or a pet-safe leave-in conditioner. In other cases, you can brush the fur dry.

Never use oils and other greasy products for mats – the best way to get rid of mats in a dog’s fur is to cut them off with blunt-end scissors.

Start brushing with the body, moving on to the legs and tail. Then, brush the chest, and don’t forget about the face. You can find a smaller brush for your dog’s ears.

Always brush your dog before feather trimming or bathing. You should also brush your dog after applying the shampoo, rinsing it, and blow drying.


How often to bathe a golden retriever depends on your dog’s lifestyle and shedding intensity. Some dogs need to be washed every three weeks, whereas others will suffice with a bath once in six weeks.

Always start by brushing your dog to eliminate tangles and mats. If you wet matted fur, the mat will be difficult to remove, and you can accidentally harm your pet.

Then, gather your tools – everything should be within a hand’s reach because your dog can escape while you go get the shampoo or towels.

Get the water ready beforehand. It should be lukewarm, neither too hot nor too cold. Let your dog soak for some minutes before you apply the shampoo.

Start applying the shampoo from the back, moving on to the legs and tail. When applying shampoo to the neck, close your dog’s ears with your hands to prevent water from getting inside.

Brush your dog again after applying shampoo and let it do its magic for some minutes. Then, rinse thoroughly because shampoo residue can cause skin problems. Close your dog’s ears and eyes when rinsing.

Brush your dog again, blot its coat with towels, and blow-dry it on the lowest heat setting. Never use hot air because it can damage your dog’s fur.

Don’t leave your dog to air dry because it can cause a mess in the house and develop skin conditions.

Feather Trimming

Golden retrievers don’t need haircuts and should never be shaved because it can permanently damage their undercoat and intervene in the body’s thermoregulation.

However, feather trimming will make a golden retriever’s coat neater and minimize tangling. Feather trimming isn’t obligatory but beneficial for any golden.

Although golden retriever feather trimming may seem intimidating initially, it’s pretty straightforward, and you can learn to do it at home.

Golden retriever feathers grow on the back of the legs, tail, chest, and ears – they are lighter and longer than the rest of the coat. Adult goldens have noticeable feathering, whereas puppies don’t yet need trimming.

Start by brushing your dog’s coat, ensuring there are no tangles and mats. Then, take thinning shears and start with the paws unless you find golden retriever “Grinch feet” cute.

Shortening the fur on the paws will keep them cleaner. Then, work your way up to the legs and proceed to the tail.

Move on to the chest and end with the ears. Professionals can do a great job with regular scissors, but thinning shears don’t cut all the fur on the blade and give a more natural look.

Your dog might need some time to get used to the process, so reward it every time for good behavior and take frequent stops.

Claw Trimming

Golden retriever grooming involves more than coat care. You also need to cut your dog’s claws every several weeks to reduce damage to your floors and furniture and prevent the development of joint issues.

You can cut your golden retriever’s nails with clippers or a grinder. The latter option is better for beginners because filing down the nail takes time, so you’re at a lower risk of cutting the claw’s quick. However, it also requires patience.

Pick a moment when your dog is relaxed, after a long walk or a good meal. If your dog isn’t used to the process, it will likely be wiggly and impatient. Reward your dog after every successfully trimmed paw.

Golden retriever claws are made from keratinized dead cells and the quick, which contains blood vessels and nerves. You should only cut the keratinized layer. Cutting the quick is very painful for dogs.

Because golden retriever claws are black, spotting the quick isn’t as easy. Trim the nails in small increments and watch for darker pigmentation in the center of the nail. If you accidentally cut the quick, use styptic powder to stop bleeding.

Dental Care

Many owners underestimate the importance of golden retriever dental care. You should brush your dog’s teeth to prevent dental disease and keep its breath fresh.

Some owners brush their dog teeth daily, but you can do it once a week if you’re tight on time. Don’t just shove the toothbrush in your dog’s mouth if you’ve never done it before.

Take things slowly, gradually introducing your dog to the tools. Begin by showing your dog the toothbrush without the toothpaste. Then, put it in your dog’s mouth for a second.

Over time, you will be able to keep the brush in your dog’s mouth without any issue. Stop if your dog shows discomfort and reward it for patience. Getting your pet used to teeth brushing might take time, but you’ll get there eventually.

You can use a dog brush with a long handle or a finger brush. Always use dog-safe toothpaste. Dental sticks don’t replace brushing but are great for maintaining your dog’s dental health.

Additionally, you can use dental wipes, rinsing solutions, gels, sprays, and other dental care products to improve the result. Some goldens will benefit from a prescription diet.

Ear Cleaning

Golden retrievers are prone to ear infections because of their anatomy and love for swimming. Drop ear flaps prevent water from escaping the ear canal, creating a moist environment beneficial for bacteria growth.

Only clean your dog’s ears with a veterinarian-approved cleaning solution following the manufacturer’s instructions. Don’t use homemade solutions or regular water because you can worsen the situation.

Fill your dog’s ear canal with the cleaning solution to the top, then massage the liquid into the ear’s base and let your dog shake its head to clean its ears.

How Often to Groom a Golden Retriever?

How often to groom a golden retriever depends on many factors. On average, goldens must be bathed every four weeks and brushed daily.

Trim your dog’s feathers once a month. However, some goldens need more frequent feather trimming because of the fast fur growth.

Clean your dog’s ears every month or after every swimming session. Most goldens need to have their nails clipped every three to four weeks and teeth brushed at least thrice a week.

Home VS Professional Grooming

Golden retriever grooming is relatively simple, albeit time-consuming, so you can learn to perform all manipulations at home.

However, if you aren’t confident in your skills or don’t have time, you can opt for professional feather trimming, bathing, ear cleaning, and claw clipping.

Your dog will still need daily teeth brushing and hair detangling, so expect to spend at least 30 minutes every evening or morning.

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