How to Bathe a Golden Retriever

How often do you wash your hair? Odds are that you wash them at least twice or thrice in a week. This is important to keep your hair healthy and clean because they are exposed to dirt and other elements.

Your beloved Golden Retriever has a lot more hair than you do and they are not just always exposed, but also frequently come in contact with grass, dirt, and other surfaces. So, it is obvious that your Golden Retriever needs a bath to keep it looking at its best. However, the bathing schedule of dogs is different from humans.

In this post, we will tell you how often and how to bathe a Golden Retriever.

How Often Should You Bathe Your Golden Retriever?

How often you bathe your Golden Retriever will depend on certain environmental and lifestyle factors including local parasite issues, urban vs. rural environment, and amount of time your dog spends outdoors.

Lifestyle and Environmental Factors to Consider

If you often take your Golden Retriever for swimming, you will have to give it baths more frequently than usual. This is because frequent swimming leads to an unpleasant smell and dirty coat.

If your Golden Retriever spends most of their time indoors, it will pick up less debris and dirt. So, you won’t have to give it a bath more frequently. But, if you are regularly taking your pooch out for exercise and it is getting dirty from playing in the dirt or grass, you will have to clean it more often.

If your area has a parasite problem, it is important to stay on high alert. You may have to give your Golden Retriever a bath more frequently. You should ask your vet if something more has to be done to keep your dog safe from parasites.

Don’t Wash Your Golden Retriever Too Often

If you wash your Golden Retriever too often, you might strip away the essential natural oils. Losing the protective coating may leave your Golden Retriever with a dull coat – your pooch will then look unattractive.

More importantly, bathing too often can leave your pooch’s skin unprotected, increasing the chance of infections and dandruff. We recommend using a mild shampoo for cleaning your dog, but even the mildest shampoos can have a detrimental impact on your pooch’s skin if overused.

On the flip side, not bathing often enough will cause obvious problems. Although Golden Retrievers don’t emit strong odors, they can still develop a bit of smell if you don’t wash them for too long.

Bathing Schedule

In an ideal scenario, you should plan to give your Golden Retriever a bath once every six weeks. However, depending on specific circumstances – like those discussed above – you may have to give it a bath once every month.

By maintaining proper grooming like brushing between baths, you will become familiar with the skin condition and hair of your dog and be able to adjust your schedule as required.

Unscheduled Baths

If an unexpected event occurs, you should give a bath to your pooch as soon as possible. For example, if you take your Golden Retriever out for exercise and it goes into a mud puddle, you should give it a bath before the mud gets stuck to the coat and becomes harder to remove.

Serious mud may require a haircut, so it is important to address the matter before the mud ruins your Golden Retriever’s beautiful coat.

If your Golden Retriever rolls around on some dead animal, you must give it a bath to ensure that your pooch doesn’t pick up any parasite. Speaking of parasites, your pooch may come in contact with another canine that has an infestation.

When that happens, you should give your Golden Retriever a bath as soon as possible to ensure that the parasites don’t establish their home on your pooch.

Prep Work

Prep work includes nail trimming, ear cleaning, proper dental hygiene and trimming the pads. It is important to keep your pooch healthy and looking at its best. Ideally, you should do the prep work before every grooming and bathing session.

Proper nail care is extremely important. Long nails are unsightly and can cause health problems including joint issues and sore toes. They can also cause scratches on your legs and carpets. Use a high-quality dog nail trimmer to cut the nails of your dog.

Good dental hygiene is also important for your Golden Retriever’s health. Take your pooch to a vet to confirm if you are maintaining proper dental hygiene and grooming your dog properly.

Where to Wash Your Golden Retriever

Owners of small breeds of dogs have an advantage over you – they can plop their pooch in a laundry tub or sink. But, since Golden Retrievers aren’t small, you can’t just fit them in the sink.

Instead, you’ll have to get in the shower with your pooch and clean it using a detachable nozzle. Another option is to use a portable doggy tub. Some tubs are heavy, but others are collapsible so you can easily take them outside. There are also pet supply and grooming stores rent out towels and dog tubs.

Some people use a garden hose for cleaning their dog. You could occasionally use the same to clean your dog, especially if your pooch is really filthy. But don’t make this a habit as dogs don’t like having a powerful hose shot right at them.

How to Bathe Your Golden Retriever

Once you are prepared to bathe your Golden Retriever, here is what to do:

Brush Your Golden Retriever

Before a bath, brush your Golden Retriever. Matted hair can hold water, leaving your pooch with irritated skin. If you don’t know how to brush your Golden Retriever, ask a professional groomer. Also, put a cotton ball in the ears of your pooch to keep water out and prevent irritation and ear infections.

Use Lukewarm Water

The skin of Golden Retrievers is a lot different from ours. Hot water can easily burn it causing pain to your pooch. Make sure that the bath water isn’t hotter than what you would use for a baby. If you aren’t sure about how hot the water should be, take advice from a vet or groomer.

Talk to Your Golden Retriever in a Calm Voice

Your Golden Retriever will eventually learn that you are not torturing them. But, when your pooch is new to bathing, talk to it in a reassuring and calm voice to ensure that it doesn’t overreact to the water being poured on it.

Use a Dog Shampoo

Use a high-quality dog shampoo for cleaning your dog. Lather and massage the shampoo all over your pooch’s body. Make sure that the soap doesn’t get in its eyes.

Rinse Well

If soap is left in your Golden Retriever’s skin, it can cause irritation. So rinse thoroughly to ensure that all the soap washes away.


Hot air that comes from a conventional human blow-dryer is too hot for your pooch’s skin. So, you can either use a blow-dryer that is designed for dogs or air-dry.

Reward Your Golden Retriever

Follow up with praise, play or petting. A damp dog likes venting their frustration over bathing by playing tug-of-war with a towel.

When to Hire Professionals

If you don’t like the idea of wrestling your pooch into a bathtub to wash it or if your dog doesn’t tolerate being lathered, consider taking them to professional groomers. They will bathe your Golden Retriever and also clip its nail, and dry it off. Most are reasonably priced.

Best Shampoos to Use for Bathing a Golden Retriever

Take a look at some shampoos that you can use for cleaning your Golden Retriever.

Earthbath All Natural Shampoo

Earthbath All Natural Shampoo is one of the most popular pet shampoos currently available in the market. It is a good option for you if you want to wash your beloved Golden Retriever with natural products rather than chemicals that can be rough on your pets’ skin.

One of the best things about the Earthbath shampoo is that it is available in a variety of types and scents. Earthbath offers products for very specific needs like sensitive skin, itchy and dry skin and hot spots. There is even a tearless Earthbath shampoo that you can use if you own a Golden Retriever puppy. Earthbath has also made a shampoo that can brighten dull coats and we recommend it for Golden Retriever parents.

There are a variety of highly-recommend products made by Earthbath. Some of them include:

  • Shed control shampoo
  • Clear advantage
  • Eucalyptus and Peppermint
  • Oatmeal and Aloe
  • Orange peel oil
  • Wild Cherry
  • Tea Tree Oil and Aloe Vera

Earthbath also makes a line of waterless shampoos, conditioners, spritzes, wipes and other products that you can use for grooming your Golden Retriever. Moreover, there are additional items that you can use for your canine’s feeling friends.


  • No harsh chemicals
  • Good for the environment
  • Variety of products are available to fit your Golden Retriever’s individual needs
  • Brightening shampoo available


  • Rare cases of dogs experiencing having allergic reactions to the Earthbath shampoos

Cloud Star Buddy Wash Original Lavender and Mint Dog Shampoo and Conditioner

This is one of the best 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner available in the market. It is perfect for long-haired coats of your gorgeous Golden Retriever.  This a natural, soap-free formula so you can use this shampoo to wash your canine as often as you want to without causing harm and irritation. Instead of soap, the Buddy Wash Original Lavender and Mint Dog Shampoo and Conditioner uses natural extracts like sage and green tea to provide cleaning power. The smell busting power of Buddy Wash shampoo and conditioner comes from the wheat protein included in it. However, when it comes to odor elimination, it doesn’t compete well with soaps.

Lathering is something that many natural Golden Retriever shampoos struggle with. But, the non-soap based shampoo-conditioner is great in terms of lathering. The lavender and coconut oil have been added into the product to help your Golden Retriever relax. This is great if you have a pooch that hates to bathe.

The added tea tree oil and aloe vera in the Buddy Wash Original Lavender and Mint Dog Shampoo and Conditioner work wonderfully to protect any skin that is a bit sore and red and helps ensure that your pooch is as healthy and comfortable as possible. There are only a few products that can compete with this shampoo at this price point.


  • Benefits of both shampoo and conditioner in a single product
  • Great brand
  • Coconut oil and lavender infusions
  • Great natural deodorizer
  • Great for long-haired dogs
  • Aloe vera and tea tree oil in the product soothes skin
  • Great value for money


  • Poor odor elimination

Our Final Thoughts

If you want to keep your Golden Retriever clean and healthy, bathe it as required. Generally, you don’t want to give a bath to your pooch too often as they would lose their natural oils and their coat would look dull.

Once every six weeks would be good enough. However, under special circumstances – like the ones we have mentioned – you might break this schedule.

Follow our guidance to bathe your Golden Retriever properly. Remember to brush your pooch before the bath to remove knots or matting.

Otherwise, they’ll get wet and become harder to remove.  Use lukewarm water to ensure that your dog doesn’t get burn and talk to it while you are giving it a bath. After the session is over, reward your Golden Retriever for being a good boy through play, praise or petting.

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