Let’s face it: dogs are itchy. You should always expect some amount of scratching from your dog, especially Golden Retrievers. But how much is too much?
Why Is My Golden Retriever Scratching So Much?
There can be a variety of reasons why your Golden Retriever is scratching so much. Some reasons for their scratching can include hot spots, allergies, fleas or parasites, and poor grooming habits.
Most of these issues are easily treatable with lifestyle modifications, but in some instances, veterinary care is needed.
None of these issues are life-threatening but if they are not properly treated can cause long-term chronic issues for your Golden Retriever.
Golden Retrievers are a dog breed that’s susceptible to a variety of skin issues. Hot spots are a top cause for excessive scratching, and your Golden Retriever suffers more than other dogs due to their insulated fur coat.
Since Golden Retrievers have a thick double fur coat that’s water resistant due to their breed background, their bodies hold a lot of heat. When Golden Retrievers get wet, this fur can also hold in lots of moisture which can make them uncomfortable.
Hot spots are the swollen, red areas of skin that erupt when this moisture and heat stays close to the body. Since it’s not easily removed Golden Retrievers can easily suffer hot spots and scratch more.
If these hot spots are left untreated, or unrecognized, the area can become inflamed and sore.
In severe cases, they can fill with pus, ooze, and even become infected. When this happens, it’s imperative they see the veterinarian.
To treat less severe cases bathing your Golden Retriever with a gentle shampoo that’s not irritating can be helpful. During bathing, it’s important to use delicate scrubbing to prevent unnecessary pain for your Golden Retriever.
After they are properly bathed, you will want to remove as much water as possible as moisture is a cause of Hot Spots.
Using an absorbent towel and drying as much water as possible or using a hair dryer can do the trick.
If they are outdoors in the rain, in a pool, at the beach or get wet any other way dry your Golden Retriever as quickly and thoroughly as possible to prevent Hot Spots in the first place.
Both food and environmental allergens are known to cause skin irritation which causes scratching. Atopic Dermatitis is a common health problem in Golden Retrievers, as are food allergies but other allergies are also noted.
When allergies happen, they can have the above-listed Hot Spots as well as skin lesions that may or not be painful and red.
This will cause your Golden Retriever to scratch excessively but if undiagnosed, it can further exasperate health problems leading to chronic eczema and severe infection.
It can be hard to detect allergies, parents won’t see the skin through their double fur coat. Food allergies might present themselves as digestive issues like vomiting, diarrhea, and refusal to eat if severe.
To reduce scratching, the allergies that can be treated should be treated.
All allergies should be managed or treated with lifestyle modifications including removal of certain foods for your Golden Retrievers’ health.
Good bathing and grooming habits can reduce exposure to outdoor or environmental allergens, and changes to diet can reduce exposure to food allergies. Lifestyle changes will have the most impact on their itching in this case. Dogs can be allergic to various environmental allergens just like humans.
Their symptoms won’t necessarily be the same as ours but their skin can definitely be affected.
Scratching is a common theme, but a Golden Retriever might bite and nip to provide relief.
Fleas and Parasites
Parasites like fleas and ticks can cause a variety of health issues for your Golden Retriever. It’s not possible to keep your Golden Retriever inside the house all the time, not that you should do that. That being said, inspecting your dog regularly for issues can be a starting point for prevention or diagnosis.
These issues can go unnoticed and scratching can be the first evidence of a problem. Seeing their veterinarian if these issues is suspected is important.
Bug repellent and other medications can prevent them from happening but must come from their veterinarian.
Over the counter products found in stores are often not as affective for prevention or treatment. Your Golden Retriever loves the outdoors and their susceptibility to these problems is common therefore veterinary care will ensure their good health.
There are other signs of these issues like loss of appetite and drinking lots of water besides the scratching. They might also lick their fur a lot or seem otherwise physically irritated like they are uncomfortable most of the time.
Poor Grooming Habits
Golden Retrievers have a double fur coat that’s designed for outdoor life. Their fur is water resistant, thick, and long which means they can attract all sorts of outdoor debris and filth.
Aside from that their fur holds heat, moisture due to being insulating and protective to the body.
While their fur is designed to protect the body it does require a bit more care than some other dog breeds. Parents will need to keep up on regular grooming and bathing for their Golden Retrievers health and to reduce scratching.
Parents will also need to inspect their Golden Retriever regularly for issues like outdoor debris matting in their fur. Good grooming habits will be vital for their health and wellness and to prevent other severe issues and scratching.
Daily inspection of their fur, regular grooming and bathing and increasing their grooming and bathing when needed may seem like a lot of work but it promotes good health and wellness.
Shaving is not recommended to make grooming easier or prevent scratching issues as it can cause other issues.
Golden Retrievers double fur coat is designed to keep their skin and body healthy.
All dogs scratch sometimes, it’s a normal body process when the skin is irritated. Golden Retrievers have some issues that increase their susceptibility to scratching.
Diligence and good veterinary care can reduce the chance that they suffer in the first place. Good grooming habits should always be a part of a healthy lifestyle for your Golden Retriever.