In general, golden retrievers only require a minimal amount of grooming in order to stay healthy and looking good. A routine for shampooing and brushing your dog and maintaining their nails is just as crucial as regular exercise and a balanced diet.
It is important to get started grooming early when they are still puppies to develop a stable routine. In fact, many breeders clip their puppies’ nails until they are adopted so they are used to this type of care and maintenance.
Often, breeders will use a fine-toothed comb on their puppies every day to keep the dirt off their coats. In addition, they also regularly check the puppies’ teeth and mouths to ensure proper development.
The puppies’ ears are also checked for cleanliness on a regular basis. These are all preliminary steps that reputable breeders take to make grooming easier for new parents, ensuring the care will continue as the puppy grows with his or her new family.
Time To Brush & Bond
Just like most other dogs, golden retrievers love to be brushed; even more, they love the time they get to spend with you as you do it. Grooming your golden is about more than just removing dead hair and eliminating tangles.
Brushing your retriever thoroughly will stimulate the oil glands in their skin, reducing dander and keeping their coat nice and shiny. In addition, brushing massages the muscles, which is especially important for older retrievers who may not be getting as much exercise.
Grooming your golden retriever on a regular basis will also give you an opportunity to check for any bumps or lumps on the dog’s skin and other potential health indicators. Any problems you find during regular grooming can be taken care of quickly before they worsen in to a serious condition.
Grooming regularly also gives you a chance to check your dog’s ears, eyes, nails and teeth. You will also stir up any fleas, ticks, mites or lice that may be hiding beneath your dog’s coat.
Golden retrievers with long coats will need to be brushed daily, while retrievers with shorter coats, such as the English golden retriever, will only need a good brushing once a week.
Shampooing Your Golden Retriever
Knowing how to bathe your golden retriever properly is important to keep your dog and your home always looking good. Begin by misting your dog’s coat entirely with a conditioning spray to prevent static and minimize follicle stretching.
Once the coat is saturated, lay the dog on their side and brush with a pin brush, starting at the bottom of the hind leg and working your way up gently. Then, repeat the process on the other side.
Next, use a grooming rake to remove any soft undercoat, brushing in the direction of hair growth. Brush your golden retriever completely, including all the short areas as well. Be careful not to over brush, which will result in bald spots in the dog’s coat.
Now, you need to apply a good ear cleaner to your dog’s ear canal, which will help move the dirt upward to the opening as well as help to keep the ear dry. Start at the dog’s nose and apply water in the direction of hair growth. When the dog is thoroughly wet, you are ready to apply the shampoo.
The shampoo that you choose depends on your dog’s coat. If your golden retriever has excessive undercoat, you will need a conditioning shampoo. For especially dirty dogs, you need a shampoo designed to release the dirt from the follicles. For dogs with a greasy tail base or ears, you need a shampoo specially made for an oil coat.
Brush or massage the shampoo into the dog’s coat thoroughly. Then, rinse and repeat. Finally, rinse your dog completely with warm water and towel dry. Once your dog is dry, finish up the grooming session by brushing gently in the direction of hair growth until hair no longer comes off with the brush.
The Finishing Touch – Nails
The hallmark of grooming is the appearance of their paws. If your golden retriever gets plenty of exercise running and playing on cement surfaces, there is little need for clipping. However, older dogs, less active dogs and dogs that are not exposed to as much concrete require regular nail maintenance.
It is important to clip your dog’s nails carefully without leaving any jagged edges or crushing the nail. Therefore, special clippers designed for trimming dog nails should be used.
You should only cut off the very end of the nail, which is the hook like section where the nail turns down. The pink area at the center of the nail is called the quick and it should be avoided when cutting. Clip a small amount from the nails and then return daily or every few days, cutting a little more each time until the nail is at a proper length, then maintain.
It only takes a few minutes out of your day to ensure your golden retriever gets the care that he or she needs. The bond that you build during regular grooming sessions will last forever.
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