The Golden has a long beautiful coat. Though underneath all of that fur is more fur. The Golden is double-coated with a wooly, fluffy undercoat. The top layer of hairs is referred to as guard hairs and helps to protect the undercoat underneath and hold most of the pigment that makes up a dog's coloring.
You might think it is a brilliant idea to shave or trim a Golden. But that couldn't be further from the truth. Never shave a Golden unless it is a last resort. Shaving exposes the Golden's skin to harmful UV rays, and as this breed already had cancer concerns, it does nothing more than increase the chance that the dog will develop skin cancer. Shaving hair can also permanently damage the dog's coat, make hair growth uneven, and promote matting. It also does nothing to keep the dog cool. It actually can make them hotter in the summer months as the undercoat not only insults from cold but heat!
Golden's frequently shed as well as blowing their undercoats twice a year when the season's change. They will need to be brushed weekly, but it is a daily commitment when they start to shed out their undercoats.
Here are the brushes you will need to tackle all of that luscious golden hair.
A slicker brush.
A de-shedding rake or a Furmintaor.
If you go the Furminator route, make sure you pay particular attention to which brush you get. They do come in different models depending on coat length. Using the incorrect size can damage the top layer of guard hairs.
For your once of week brushing, you can rely on the slicker brush. Just run it over the dog's coat against and with the hair growth. Going against the hair is an essential step as it lifts the guard hairs so you can more easily access the undercoat and remove any loose hairs. It isn't uncomfortable for the dog as long as you make sure to brush it back in place when you are done. Golden's may also benefit from using a little bit of liquid spray like a detangler for dogs. Just spray a small amount over the section you are working on and then brush away.
During shedding season, you will want to pull out your de-shedding rake of Furminator and use the same method as you would with your slicker brush. Just make sure not to press too hard as these brushes are metal, and you can easily irritate the dog's skin if you are too heavy-handed.
A small pair of trimmers will also be beneficial to keep on hand as Golden's tend to grow "slippers" on their feet that can easily mat. So, trimming down the hair between their toes can help make them more comfortable and reduce the amount of dirt they may track into the house. Their feet are the only spot where any trimming should ever happen.
What does bathtime for a golden entail?
Bathing can be a chore, especially since this breed has an affinity for water, and they can find themselves going to explore puddles and some rather grimy standing water, leading to more frequent baths with this breed. But if your Golden isn't exploring suspicious bodies of water, occasional bathing is all that is needed.
Bathing is also excellent while they are shedding seasonally as it helps to loosen any hairs that are ready to come out. So, a good brushing followed by a bath and then more brushing can really help out in that department. Post-bath brushing should only be done when the dog's fur is dry, and should always be done after a bath. This ensures no water is trapped under the fur, which can lead to matting and hotspots.
For a Golden, a high-quality natural shampoo is the way to go. Unless the individual has skin allergies, in which case a Hypoallergic shampoo is necessary. Never use human shampoo on a dog. It is not chemically formulated for a dog's coat and can actually damage the fur and cause skin irritation.
As Golden's have floppy ears, ear cleaning will need to be a part of the regular grooming routine for this breed. You will need a dog ear cleaning solution and some cotton balls. Damp the cotton ball with the solution and then wipe down the inside of the ear. But, only do what you can see as pushing into their ear can damage their inner ear. This is also why you want to avoid using Q-tips. It is also important to keep their ears dry, as leaving moisture there can lead to bacteria growth and infection. So, after a swim or a bath, just take a wet cotton ball and use it to pat the inside of the ear dry.