Do Golden Retrievers Smell? And What To Do About It…

by Kern Campbell

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Do Golden Retrievers Smell? And What To Do About It...

I can’t think of anyone that likes a smelly dog, definitely not me.  Some dogs smell more than others. You may be asking, what about golden retrievers? Do they smell?

This past weekend I decided to dig into this at time smelly but common topic. Check it out!

Do golden retrievers smell?  And what to do about it…

Yes, golden retrievers can smell bad if they go long periods without a bath. Golden Retriever odors are usually caused by dirt, bacteria, or other secretions, including bodily oils. These oils and double fur type help protect them from the elements outdoors but require bathing to reduce the “doggy smell”.

While these dogs are lovely and adorable, they often emit a dog odor that can be surprising to new pet parents.  Golden retrievers typically suffer from these secretions in their bodies’ dark or moist areas.  These can include skin folds, mouths, ears, and under their tails. 

Part of the reason golden retrievers smell bad because they have very dense and thick water-resistant hair.  For golden retrievers that smell, keeping their skin clean and healthy can hold bacteria and secretions that cause smelliness at bay. 

Unhealthy skin can cause an increase in bodily secretions and bacteria.  Golden retrievers smell because they are prone to infections, particularly ear and skin infections

If infections are left untreated, yeast or otherwise the smell can worsen, not to mention that it can cause more severe health issues if left untreated.  Whether present on the skin or elsewhere, this bacteria or yeast can cause golden retrievers to itch, which increases the smell.

Golden retrievers smell quite often despite being such a wonderful dog.   Despite this smelliness, it is not uncommon for dogs to smell at one time or another.   Certain dog breeds tend to smell more than others, and the golden retriever is one of them.

The reason dogs of any breed smell is usually because of oils, dirt, bacteria, or other secretions on their body.   These secretions generally affect their bodies’ dark or moist areas, including their tail, in their mouth and ears, and their skin folds. 

Golden retrievers also smell because they have very dense, thick, and water-resistant hair that tends to hold and keep bacteria, dirt, and secretions close to them.

What can be done to combat a golden retriever’s smell?

A few things can be done to combat a golden retriever’s smell.

Golden retrievers can be bathed and groomed regularly to promote a healthy body, skin, and less smelliness.

By grooming and bathing golden retrievers regularly, it promotes their overall health, which naturally reduces their smell.  This should be done as part of a ritual or routine schedule, which can help them learn to accept this form of care as some dogs don’t like grooming and bathing.

The earlier in life these hygiene treatments are started, the easier it is for golden retrievers who smell to accept this as a regular part of their lives.  Puppyhood is a good time to start with gentle but quick sessions of brushing and short baths just for fun and to prevent golden retrievers smell.

Golden retrievers should be brushed daily to remove excess hair that they often shed and keep their coat of hair clean.  Golden retrievers have a coat of hair this is thick and dense, and water-resistant, which can promote the accumulation of bacteria trapped in the body.

When this brushing is combined with regular bathing, it can reduce the smell of a golden retriever.

Bathing should be done about once a month.  This depends on the dog, but when golden retrievers smell bad or brushing doesn’t help, they can be bathed more often with caution and a watchful eye on their skin while they are being brushed regularly.

Do Golden Retrievers Smell? And What To Do About It...

As a general guide, golden retrievers can be bathed as often as once a week or as little as once every six weeks.  Each golden retriever will have different requirements in this area depending on their lifestyle and their overall health.

It is essential to keep a close eye on golden retrievers bathed more often than once per month, as frequent bathing is linked to increased skin dryness and irritation.  This can compound the issue when golden retrievers smell.

With a healthy diet, daily brushing, and frequent bathing, a golden retriever can suffer fewer bouts of smelliness.

What are some other causes for golden retrievers to smell?

Golden retrievers can smell because of their diet.  An unhealthy diet can have many adverse effects on any dog’s health and well-being.  Diets that are poor or don’t offer enough daily food can cause poor skin and hair health.

This can cause the golden retriever’s body to excrete more oil or other bodily secretions, which in turn can cause them to smell bad.

The same can be said for a stressful life, lack of sleep, and other health conditions or age.

A stressful life or lack of sleep, which is stressful to the golden retriever’s body, can cause their body to secrete more and smell bad.

If a golden retriever is older or has existing health issues, they may smell bad more than usual because their body isn’t as healthy as it should be.

A healthy lifestyle that includes regular grooming, adequate sleep, a nutritious and ample daily diet, and minimal stress can pave the way for a less than a smelly dog.

Golden retrievers will always smell due to their hair coat, but managing their lifestyle can make things more bearable.  Every dog has that doggie smell from time to time, some more than others.

Another option for golden retrievers that smell is to have their hair trimmed.  A professional groomer could do this trimming, or it is even possible for pet parents to do the job themselves.

Trimming a golden retriever’s hair can be done about every six weeks, but it is essential to pay attention to their double coat of hair if this trim is done at home.  They should also never be shaved for this reason.

Some people think that shaving a golden retriever will keep them healthy, cool, and less smelly.  This, however, is not the case. Shaving or trimming their hair very excessively can compromise their health because they have a double coat of hair.

Golden retrievers, like other dogs that are equipped for the outdoors, have a double coat that protects them from the weather and outdoor elements.  Shaving their coat of hair or trimming it severely to reduce that smell or for another reason can put them at an increased risk for skin cancer.

What about a golden retriever that smells by the tail area?

For golden retrievers that smell by their tail area, brushing, bathing, and keeping this area clean is also essential to prevent a smell but keep them healthy.

All dogs, including golden retrievers, have anal sacs or glands that can sometimes be expressed or emptied.  The way to tell if this is the problem is if the golden retriever that smells has an odor coming from their back end that smells like fish.

This fish smell can usually signal that they need their anal sacs or glands expressed or emptied and addressed by their veterinarian.  A quick phone call and an appointment can have this issue dealt with quickly, and the fish smell is gone.

Larger dogs like the golden retriever don’t often smell because of this issue, but it can happen.  Some dogs, notably smaller breed dogs, can sometimes need this done on a more regular basis.

How do I prevent infections or other problems for my golden retriever?

The best way to prevent infections or other problems for your golden retriever is to regularly bathe and groom.  Offer your golden retriever a healthy diet, enough exercise, and control of stress, and their body should be healthy.

Bacteria and yeast are typically found on a golden retriever’s body, just like humans have on our bodies.  These bacteria and yeast are easily controlled with proper hygiene, and infections are minimized.  Regular grooming and brushing, bathing a golden retriever when needed, and inspecting their fur when they are being groomed can help reduce bacteria and yeast from becoming a significant problem.

Any repeated or ongoing infections that happen to a golden retriever can also sign other issues that stem from other health issues.  It is also possible that golden retrievers that suffer from that fish smell at their back end can have infections if this area and smell is left unchecked.  These infections and issues should always be discussed with and treated by a veterinarian.

Closing Thoughts

While every dog smells, golden retrievers certainly can smell more than other dogs.

Thankfully some specific tips and tricks can reduce the smell that golden retrievers give off.  This will not altogether remove their odor, but it might make things more bearable at times.

If nothing else, these tips and tricks may be the diversion that pet parents need to forget about that odor.  At the end of the day, golden retrievers are far too adorable and gentle for anyone to let their smell get in the way of all that love!

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