6 Must-Have Grooming Products for Your Golden Retriever

Key Points

  • Golden retriever grooming keeps your dog's coat looking great and tangle-free.

  • Always check the ingredients in dog shampoo, dog toothpaste, and ear cleaning solution for harsh chemicals or allergens.

  • Keep your grooming essentials handy to ensure you and your dog have the best grooming experience possible.

Beware the dogs with golden locks of fur who steal hearts everywhere they go.

Sadly, the golden retriever doesn't wake up every day with their luscious locks perfectly in place. They need a little help ensuring their fur is ready for the red carpet at any given moment.

Golden retriever grooming doesn't have to be an event, however. You can ensure that coat maintenance isn't a hassle with the right grooming essentials. Learn more about some of the top tools to meet your dog's grooming needs.

The Right Undercoat Rake

Golden retrievers have two coats, so you need a brush that gets down to the bottom layer and doesn't just brush the top layer of fur. All your dog's tangles with double coats come from the undercoat shedding. That is where an undercoat rake comes to help. This brush gets down into the coat, removing the mats, tangles, and debris that would be otherwise hidden. This brush also reduces the shedding you see floating around your house.

Using an undercoat rake and a slicker brush lets you stay on top of your dog's coat maintenance. A slicker brush will not get into the double coat, so you need both brushes for grooming.

There are plenty of different styles of undercoat rakes. Which one is right for you?

Grooming a Golden Retriever

Teeth or Pins

Before you grab the first brush you see, look at what material makes up the teeth of the comb. The material determines if the brush is a good one or not. The cheaper brushes don't hold up over time. These models break while grooming, risking leaving bits of metal in your dog's coat. Opt for a brush with teeth or pins made of stainless steel. Yes, they do cost more upfront, but they last longer.

The amount of teeth on a comb does matter. You want a brush that has more than 10 teeth or pins. It seems like too many, but the amount means you won't miss any tangles. The spacing on the brush also matters. Too far apart, and you risk missing tangles or not untangling them fully.


This brush goes right up against your dog's skin. You need a safe rake to handle your pet's needs without being irritating and unsafe. Any undercoat rake you pick up should have rounded teeth. Before use, look at each tooth or pin on the rake to ensure there are no sharp edges.

The undercoat rake is not a beginner brush. Before you start using one, talk to a groomer about how to use it safely. Using too heavy a hand risks pulling or cutting your dog's skin.

Understanding Dog Shampoo

A good shampoo is essential to your golden retriever grooming routine. If there's one thing these dogs love more than you, it's finding dirt and rolling in it. Finding the right dog shampoo can feel like a challenge — unless dirt is your thing. The list of available options is enough to make your head spin.

Don’t worry: Finding the right one for you comes down to four categories. A good shampoo keeps your dog's coat in top condition during baths. Between baths, a dry shampoo is always an option, too.

Washing Golden Retriever

Calming Dog Ad

Natural Ingredients

Always reach for a dog shampoo that avoids harsh chemicals like parabens and phosphates. These ingredients irritate your dog's skin, damage its coat, and cause more harm than good in the long run. Look at the ingredients, and if you see them, put the bottle back on the shelf.


Hypoallergenic dog shampoos do not contain ingredients likely to trigger allergic reactions. Golden retrievers tend to be prone to allergies, making finding shampoo difficult. A naturally formulated shampoo is what vets and the AKC recommend for goldens because of their allergy sensitivities. Scents for these shampoos are weak but the tradeoff of no allergic reactions is worth it.


Dry skin is a leading cause of scratching and excess shedding. Look for a shampoo that keeps your dog's skin adequately hydrated. Oatmeal, aloe vera, and almond oil keep your dog's skin hydrated naturally. Always ensure that your dog is not allergic to these ingredients by doing a small patch test.

Golden Retriever on the beach

pH Balance

Dogs have a different skin ph than you. Most dogs balance between 6.5 and 7.5, while human skin hovers around 5.5. A good shampoo should stay in the range of your dog's skin. If the pH level is too high, you risk drying your dog's skin out, creating a new problem. The balance is essential, especially for dogs who love getting dirty. Bathing more frequently with a harsher pH would dry your dog's skin out, but if you keep it at the same level as your dog's skin, you don't risk anything.

Nail Clippers or Grinders

Trimming your dog's nails is essential for managing your dog's comfort and mobility. There are two ways to maintain your dog's nails. Depending on your dog, one may work better than another. The two options are nail clippers that cut your dog's nails and nail grinders that file your dog's nails down.

A nail clipper is great if you are quick and have a good tool. They are cheaper than grinders and quieter. However, clippers are the number one way dogs' nails break and become sharp. Many issues with nail clippers occur when the tool is no longer sharp enough to cut the nail efficiently. There is no good way to resharpen your clippers, meaning you must get a new pair.

Trimming Golden Retriever nails

A nail grinder is better for dogs with darker nails and that are patient. The issue is that although you have more control over the nail's length, the machine is louder. Grinders also get hot; if they get too hot, they stop working. They are slower, making you less likely to cut the quick.

Ear Cleaning Solution

Goldens have floppy ears, the perfect place for bacteria, yeast, and other nasties to thrive. Dogs with floppy ears are prone to more ear infections, so cleaning your dog's ears is necessary.

There are a few ways you can get your dog's ears clean. Liquid drops that go into the ear and wipes. Liquid gets into all the nooks and crannies of your dog's ear. Wiggly or squeamish pups make this process messier. Most liquid ear cleaning solutions dry quickly, so no extra moisture builds up in the ear.

Golden Retriever in the grass

Wipes don't get as deep into the ear as liquids do. They are less messy for those wiggling pups and are usually faster. You can remove wax build-up with wipes as well. The wipes are disposable, making them less eco-friendly, but if your dog refuses to sit still, it is the better option.

Dog Toothbrush and Toothpaste

The last of the grooming essentials is the dog toothbrush and toothpaste. Truthfully, you can't go wrong with the type of toothbrush you use for your dog, as long as it is made for the dog's mouth. Many beginners find the finger toothbrush the easiest to use as it lets you know you are getting each tooth.

Do not use human toothpaste for your dog. It would be best if you use dog toothpaste, as it contains safe ingredients for your pet to swallow. Human toothpaste is toxic to dogs.

Brushing dog teeth

Meeting Grooming Needs

Remember to take the grooming process slowly, especially if your dog is new to the grooming world. While grooming is necessary, don't make it a fight between you and your dog.

Getting proper coat maintenance is easy once you have all the tools.

Subscribe to our BreedExpert newsletter for more about all your favorite breeds!

Was this article helpful?