Do Golden Retrievers Smell? – Pet's Satisfaction


Do Golden Retrievers Smell?

Golden Retriever Smiling Open-mouthed

As an owner of a Golden Retriever, you might have noticed that there sometimes can be an unpleasant smell to your furry darling. Just like any other dog, Golden Retrievers can smell, in case he's not cared for sufficiently or correctly. However, given their large amount of fur, it's not hard to be experiencing a smelly Golden Retriever, but there are solutions to this.

Do Golden Retrievers smell? As Golden Retrievers count to the double coated dogs, they tend to be more laborious in terms of general care, especially for the fur. Therefore, they are more susceptible to having a bad smell.

In this article, you'll learn what to keep an eye out for when examining your Golden Retriever's smell and its possible reasons, and how to get rid of it.

Why Do Golden Retrievers Smell?

As Golden Retrievers have a thick, water-resistant coat, they tend to smell quickly. But knowing this, there are several more causes for this unpleasant characteristic.

The following are essential factors to be aware of when trying to figure out why your Golden darling smells and how to counter it with appropriate treatment.

Your Golden Retriever's Fur Is Dirty

The first, most obvious, and most likely reason for the smell of your dog is his coat being dirty. The Golden Retriever's undercoat is water-resistant due to its thickness and the oils within. Initially, these dogs were bred for the sole purpose of attending watersport games in Scotland. There, the Golden Retriever has gotten its fitting name, too.

But as practical as it may be under the conditions of watersports, the coat's density turns out to be a nasty challenge in terms of keeping it clean and preventing it from smelling. The sheer amount of fur and oil makes it difficult to keep your Golden Retriever from smelling, as you may have noticed.

Fortunately, this problem is well tackleable by keeping some strict but simple rulesets for washing your dog and his beddings. Having these set up is fundamental if your Golden Retriever likes to play in the dirt and other possibly unclean places.

On top of that, a Golden Retriever's coat needs to be groomed frequently - much more often than other breeds. Fortunately, dogs usually love to be groomed, and it will also strengthen the bond between you and your furry darling, so this is a no-brainer.

Happy Golden Retriever Lying on Ground

Unhygienic Skin

There are places on your Golden Retriever's skin that are prone to accumulating dirt. Usually, these places are creases or other moist spots such as the ears. It's a necessity to wash your Golden thoroughly but carefully and ensure that the water gets deep enough to cleanse your dog's creases.

Paradoxically, washing your dog often might lead to the opposite effect and worsen the smell. Frequent bathing will dry out your dog's skin and provocate an increased secretion of oils to counter this dryness. This will result in a greasiness, which is the perfect breeding ground for fungus and bacteria. To get rid of your dog's smell, you should thus never bathe him more often than once every two weeks.

Furthermore, dirt on your Golden Retriever's skin will itch and hence make your dog scratch it, which will then lead to an increased flow of blood into those itchy areas and a rise in body temperature. Together, these factors will cause your dog to smell even worse, once dirty.

If your dog is not bathed regularly, built-up bacteria will escalate into an unpleasant smell. In the worst case, this can cause bacterial infections, so making washing your Golden Retriever a routinized habit is crucial. 

Insufficient Oral Hygiene

Another big reason for your Golden Retriever's smell could be the fact that his mouth is dirty. If left untreated, this issue may turn into an actual health problem and could worsen your dog's quality of life dramatically. Gum disease is usually easily spotable.

Regularly brushing your dog's teeth is a must and if you're unsure about how to handle this procedure, visit your trusted veterinarian.

Bad Diet

"You are what you eat." This phrase is probably one of the best-known in the world, and your Golden Retriever is no exception to this. If you feed your dog low-quality dry food or fodder with a low percentage of raw meat, this may result in a smelly breath and frequent flatulences.

It might also be the case that your dog is allergic to specific ingredients inside his food. Allergies can lead to your Golden Retriever's skin producing more oils, which promotes bacterial and fungal growth. Other signs of an allergy could be an overproduction of dandruff or red, itchy spots.

In addition to reducing the smell of your Golden Retriever, by feeding your dog food of high-quality, you'll also increase his quality of life and life expectancy.

Bacterial & Yeast Infections

If your dog's skin is dirty and overwhelmed by bacteria over a long time, it may very well lead to bacterial infections and smell. Golden Retrievers are known for developing the so-called hot spots. These are infected skin areas that usually are itchy, red, moist, and painful. The itchiness will contribute to your dog's  scratching and therefore worsening the problem and creating a vicious circle.

To notice hot spots, you have to watch out for moist and matted areas of your Golden Retriever's coat. On top of that, possible allergies to foods or the environment, and fleas are other feasible factors. The mental health of your Golden is a further contributing element to the development of hot spots. If - for example - your dog is stressed or bored, it may very well be more likely for him to suffer from hot spots.

Does it smell fishy in the vicinity of your dog? An infection of the anal glands or the tail is another viable reason for your Golden Retriever's bad smell. Once infected, they emit a fishy stench and need to be treated by a veterinarian.

Ear infections are also a potential cause for your Golden Retriever's smell. These are caused by either bacteria, yeast, or even both. If your dog is suffering from a yeast infection inside his ears, you'll recognize it by brown buildups of a flaky and moist consistency. Experts try to raise awareness about this topic, since ear infections may be a sign of hypothyroidism.

Other common areas for yeast infection are the armpits and the groin of your Golden Retriever. If infected, the skin in the corresponding area will be oily, of a brown color, and itchy. Excessive scratching is an additional symptom of an infection in your dog.

If you suspect the source of the smell to be medical, you should consult with your trusted veterinarian.

Adult Golden Retriever Staring Into Camera

How To Reduce Your Golden Retriever's Smell

Next to all the different kinds of sources of your dog's smell, you also need to know how to get rid of it. There are several methods you can try depending on the cause for the smell of your Golden Retriever, which I will show in the following.

Bathe Your Golden Retriever

Regularly washing your Golden is crucial in keeping his coat free of bad smell. The frequency of the baths depends on how active your dog is and how magnetic he feels towards puddles and dirt. If you have just recently washed your Golden Retriever, take special care when outside to avoid washing your dog too often.

Bathing your dog will remove loose hair from his coat and further prevent smells from aggravating. This effect will make later grooming a lot easier, too.

Overdoing bathing will dry out the skin of your dog and lead to increased secretion of oils to counteract the dryness. Dry skin usually is itchy, and it will provocate your dog to scratch it, which will cause only more itching. Unfortunately, this can then very likely cause wounds, which are easily infected and begin smelling. In such a case, you have to consult with your veterinarian to avoid the problem growing bigger.

Therefore, you should never bathe your dog too much. Ideally, you do it only once a month, but with a very active Golden Retriever, you can do it as often as once every two weeks. However, never let your dog unwashed for more than six weeks. Also, don't forget that a wet Golden Retriever might smell at first as long as he isn't dry.

In addition to this, you should consider washing your Golden Retriever's beddings and other pillows he might sleep on. The most effective way to eliminate the bad smell is to wash it with hot water and baking soda or vinegar. Avoiding the use of softeners will help you prevent allergic reactions from your dog.

Groom Your Golden's Coat

Brushing your dog's fur frequently will help get rid of loose hair inside his coat and further assist you in keeping your furry darling free of smelly odors. Another substantial part of this is to maintain a dry coat as often as possible, as wetness is a common cause of smelly Golden Retriever fur. Every time you have bathed your dog, you should then dry him as soon as possible and follow up with some brushing of the coat.

Furthermore, grooming the fur will regulate your dog's oil production of the skin and fight off potential infections in the long run by preventing the bacteria from multiplying.

You should brush your Golden Retriever's fur around 3-7 times a week. For the procedure itself, using a slicker brush is advised.

Dental Care

An additional fundamental aspect to counteracting the smell of your Golden Retriever is to brush his teeth regularly. As we all know, an enormous impact on a dog's smell has his breath. But not only the odor is critically affected, but the health is also.

Therefore, you should - ideally - brush your dog's teeth every day. The earlier you begin forming this habit in your Golden Retriever's life, the easier it will be to start and to maintain it later on.

Don't use a toothbrush for humans, but instead a specially designed one for dogs or one that was made for children. In the beginning, put something like peanut butter or anything similar your dog likes onto the toothbrush, so he enjoys having the brush inside his mouth. After having a few brushing sessions completed, you can transition to toothpaste for dogs.

After every brushing, you should reward your Golden Retriever with a positive activity such as petting or playing to reinforce the habit.

Be sure to check up on your dog's dental health before trying to establish a brushing routine with the help of a veterinarian and let the doctor help you decide on the best solution. On top of that, visiting that vet once a year for professional cleaning of your Golden's teeth will further prevent any dangerous tartar buildup and gum diseases.

Keeping the oral cavity of your dog clean will help him stay healthy and free of smell.

Change of Diet

Sometimes it's something you've recently added to your Golden Retriever's diet that's causing the smell. But, also if you're already grooming your dog diligently and have ruled out any possible medical issues, you should try out a change of diet.

Not only could this increase your dog's life expectancy and general quality of life, but it might also be the missing link in curbing the smell of your Golden. Next to the foods which your dog might be allergic to and that vary from case to case, some generally cause flatulence.

Therefore, you should avoid feeding your dog the following:

  • Milk and dairy products
  • Spicy foods and food additives
  • High amounts of soybeans, peas, or beans
  • High quantities of fibers, like oat bran, psyllium, or lactulose
  • Spoiled food

Sudden changes in your dog's diet can also cause flatulence, so keep that in mind when transitioning to a healthier diet.

If you are mindful of your Golden Retriever's nutrition and avoid these foods, you greatly diminish the chance for a smell to occur.

Get Veterinary Advice

Last but not least, you should always consult with a veterinarian if your Golden Retriever smells, despite grooming him sufficiently.

The vet will help you out with your stinky problem cautiously and safely, and the issue will soon be a thing of the past if you follow the veterinary instructions. Be sure to bring as much information as possible to the appointment so you can be helped effectively from the beginning.

The doctor could want to know when the smell started or under which circumstances it happens. 

Visiting a vet will very likely clear any confusion and avoid possible mistreatment, so go and get clarity. After all, your dog's health is most important.

Golden Retriever Lying on Back Paws Up


As you can see, there are a handful of root causes that might make your Golden Retriever smell, but if you have established a grooming routine and maintain a healthy diet, there should be no bad odor if your dog isn't ill.

However, if your canine stinks nevertheless, you should quickly make an appointment with a veterinarian to treat any potential medical issues.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published