Why do golden retrievers smell?

Golden Retrievers are more than just a pretty face and a wagging tail. These lovable creatures are known for their cheerful personalities, intelligence, and loyalty. But there’s one thing that often catches people off guard – their smell. Yes, Golden Retrievers have a distinct odor that can be overwhelming at times.

So why do Golden Retrievers smell? Is it something in their genes or is it related to their lifestyle? This question has puzzled dog owners and experts alike for years.

But fear not. In this blog post, we’re going to explore the world of why Golden Retrievers smell. We’ll dive into the factors that contribute to the odor such as their coat, diet, health, and hygiene. And don’t worry – we’ll also discuss how you can reduce the smell in your furry friend.

If you’re considering adopting a Golden Retriever or already have one as a family pet, this blog post is essential reading. Don’t let the smell catch you off guard – learn all about it so you can appreciate your furry friend even more.

So buckle up and get ready to uncover the truth behind why Golden Retrievers smell. By the end of this post, you’ll be an expert on everything related to Golden Retriever odor.

What Causes Golden Retrievers to Smell?

Golden Retrievers are known for their friendly nature, but they can also be known for their strong odor. As a pet owner, it’s important to understand the main factors that cause this smell so you can keep your furry friend smelling fresh and clean.

Natural Oils in the Skin

While these lovable pups are known for their friendly personalities and adorable looks, their pungent scent can be a bit overpowering. But don’t fret, fellow dog lovers. The answer could be found in understanding the crucial role of natural oils in their skin.

Golden retrievers, like all dogs, have natural oils in their skin that play a vital role in maintaining their overall health. These oils moisturize the skin and protect it from irritants such as dirt and bacteria. However, when these oils accumulate on the fur of the dog, they can create an unpleasant odor.

One contributing factor to the smell is their double-layered coat. This combination involves a soft and dense undercoat paired with a longer and coarser topcoat. This environment is ideal for bacteria and other microorganisms to flourish and produce a stale or musty scent.

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Another reason for the odor is poor hygiene. Regular bathing and grooming are essential to minimize the accumulation of dirt and oils on their skin and fur. It’s worth noting that over-bathing can strip away the natural oils that protect their skin, leading to further irritation.

So, what can you do to keep your furry friend smelling fresh? Regular grooming is key. Brush your golden retriever’s coat frequently to distribute their natural oils evenly throughout their fur, preventing excessive buildup. Additionally, bathing them every six weeks or so with a mild dog shampoo will help remove any dirt or bacteria causing the smell.

Ear Infections

Golden retrievers are undoubtedly one of the most lovable and friendly dog breeds, but they are also prone to ear infections. Their signature floppy ears and long hair may look endearing, but they can trap moisture, wax, and dirt in the ear canal, creating a breeding ground for bacteria and yeast. This can lead to inflammation, itching, and a stinky discharge that can make your furry friend’s odor unbearable.

To prevent ear infections from wreaking havoc on your golden retriever’s ears, it is imperative to clean them regularly. Your veterinarian can recommend a gentle ear cleaning solution that you can use to wipe out any debris with a cotton ball or soft cloth, taking care not to insert anything into the ear canal. Doing so can cause damage and further infection.

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Regularly checking your furry friend’s ears for signs of infection is also important. If you notice redness, swelling, discharge, foul odor, or excessive scratching or shaking of the head, it is time to consult with your veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Aside from keeping your dog’s ears clean and monitoring them for signs of infection, maintaining a healthy diet and grooming routine can also help prevent ear infections. A well-balanced diet can strengthen your furry friend’s immune system and reduce the likelihood of infections. Regular grooming can keep your dog’s fur clean and free from dirt and debris that can contribute to ear infections.


While we all adore our pups’ natural scent, a strong or unpleasant odor could signal underlying health issues, and diet is a major factor.

Just like humans, dogs require a balanced and nutritious diet to maintain optimal health. For Golden Retrievers, their sensitive stomachs require extra attention. Feeding them low-quality commercial dog food or table scraps can lead to digestive problems and a foul odor. These types of food often contain artificial preservatives, flavorings, and fillers that can cause gastrointestinal issues and wreak havoc on their system.

However, you can help reduce any unpleasant smells by feeding your Golden Retriever high-quality dog food that contains natural ingredients. Dogs are carnivores, so look for dog food that lists high-quality animal protein as the first ingredient. Avoid foods that list “meat by-products” or “animal digest” as these vague terms can include low-quality sources of protein.

It’s also worth noting that some dogs may be allergic or intolerant to certain ingredients, such as soy or wheat. These allergies can cause skin irritation and lead to an unpleasant odor. If you suspect your Golden Retriever has a food allergy, consider switching to a limited-ingredient diet or seeking advice from a veterinarian for personalized recommendations.

How to Reduce Golden Retriever Odor

You may also be aware of their unique odor that can sometimes be overwhelming. But don’t worry – we’ve got five subtopics that will help you reduce the odor and keep your pup smelling fresh.

Regular Grooming and Bathing

Golden retrievers are beloved pets with their friendly personalities and gorgeous, fluffy coats. However, with great fur comes great responsibility – regular grooming and bathing are crucial to keeping your golden retriever’s hygiene up to par and preventing any unpleasant odors.

One of the unique features of a golden retriever’s coat is that they have a double coat. This means that they have an outer coat of longer hairs and an inner coat of shorter hairs. While this double coat helps protect their skin from dirt and debris, it also means that they shed a lot. Without proper grooming, this can lead to a buildup of dead hair and skin cells that produce an unpleasant odor. That’s why regular grooming is vital to keep your furry friend looking and smelling fresh.

So, what does regular grooming entail? At a minimum, you should brush your golden retriever’s coat at least once a week. This will help remove any dead hair or debris trapped in the coat. Trimming any excess fur every few months will not only keep your pup looking neat but also reduce the chances of matting or tangling.

When it comes to bathing, golden retrievers should be bathed every four to six weeks using a high-quality shampoo designed for dogs. It’s essential to avoid using human shampoos or harsh chemicals as this can irritate your pup’s skin. Using lukewarm water and rinsing thoroughly afterward is also important.

Apart from their fur, you must pay attention to your golden retriever’s ears and teeth. Golden retrievers have adorable floppy ears that can trap moisture and bacteria, leading to ear infections. Cleaning your pup’s ears regularly with a veterinarian-approved solution will help prevent these infections and reduce odor.

Lastly, dental hygiene is critical in preventing bad breath and keeping your golden retriever healthy. Brushing their teeth daily with a veterinarian-approved toothpaste will help remove plaque and tartar buildup, which can cause bad breath and lead to more severe health problems.

Regular Vet Checkups and Treatments

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But don’t worry, because with regular vet checkups and treatments, you can prevent bad smells in your beloved pooch.

One of the most significant causes of bad odor in golden retrievers is poor dental hygiene. Dental problems such as gum disease, plaque buildup, and tooth decay can cause a foul smell in your dog’s mouth. To avoid this, it’s crucial to take your golden retriever for regular dental checkups and cleanings. Your veterinarian will ensure that your dog’s teeth and gums stay healthy and free from any funky smells.

Another culprit of bad odors in golden retrievers is ear infections. Golden retrievers have floppy ears that trap moisture and wax, making them more prone to these infections. The result? A strong, unpleasant odor that can become unbearable if left untreated. Your vet can recommend a gentle ear cleaner to keep your dog’s ears fresh and clean, preventing infections from taking hold.

Regular grooming is also vital to maintain good hygiene and prevent bad smells in golden retrievers. Regular baths help remove dirt, oils, and other debris that can accumulate on your dog’s skin and coat. But be careful not to over-bathe your golden retriever, as this can strip their coat of essential oils, leading to dry skin and other skin problems.

Proper Diet and Nutrition

Fortunately, there’s a simple and effective way to reduce odor in golden retrievers: through proper diet and nutrition.

Your dog’s diet plays an essential role in their overall health and coat quality. Feeding them low-quality or cheap dog food can result in digestive issues, leading to bad breath and smelly gas. Instead, choose high-quality dog food that contains all the necessary nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that your golden retriever needs. A healthy diet can help keep their coat healthy and reduce odor.

The type of food you feed your dog also matters. Wet or canned foods have higher moisture content, which can contribute to bad breath and smelly stools. Switching to dry kibble can help keep your dog’s teeth clean and reduce plaque buildup, which can also cause bad breath. Plus, dry food is more convenient to store and serve.

In addition to a healthy diet, make sure that your golden retriever is getting enough water. Dehydration can lead to dry mouth and bad breath, causing more odor. Provide them with access to clean water at all times, especially during hot summer months when they need it most.

Tips for Dealing with Golden Retriever Smell

Golden Retrievers are beloved for their friendly, playful personalities and their beautiful, golden coat. However, like any other dog breed, they can have a distinctive odor that some owners find overwhelming. Fortunately, with a few simple tips and tricks, you can manage the smell of your Golden Retriever and enjoy their company without any unpleasant odors.

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Regular Grooming

Regular grooming is essential to manage the smell of your Golden Retriever. Brushing their coat daily can help remove any loose fur and reduce shedding. Bathing them once every 4-6 weeks or as needed with a mild dog shampoo is also important for maintaining their coat’s cleanliness and reducing odor. However, be careful not to over-bathe your dog, as this can strip their skin of natural oils and cause dryness.

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Clean Ears

Golden Retrievers are prone to ear infections due to the structure of their ear canal. Keeping their ears clean and dry can prevent any infections that may contribute to the smell. Use a gentle ear cleaner recommended by your veterinarian to wipe the inside of their ears gently.

High-Quality Diet

Your Golden Retriever’s diet plays a significant role in managing their body odor. Feeding them high-quality dog food that contains natural ingredients and avoids fillers or artificial preservatives can help reduce body odor. Avoid giving them table scraps or human food as it can upset their stomach and cause digestive issues.

Dental Hygiene

Dental hygiene is another crucial aspect of managing your Golden Retriever’s smell. Brushing their teeth daily can remove plaque and bacteria that cause bad breath.

Clean Environment

Maintaining a clean environment is essential in keeping your Golden Retriever smelling fresh. Regularly washing their bedding, toys, and any other items they come into contact with can help eliminate any odors they may have picked up.

Pros and Cons of Owning a Golden Retriever

These delightful dogs have stolen the hearts of many with their loyal and friendly nature. However, as with any breed, there are both pros and cons to owning a Golden Retriever.

Firstly, let’s explore the benefits of having a Golden Retriever. These dogs are incredibly affectionate and love spending time cuddling with their owners. Their gentle nature also makes them great with children, making them the perfect addition to your family. With their high intelligence levels, they are easily trained and make for an obedient companion. Additionally, if you enjoy outdoor activities, these active dogs are always up for some fun and adventure.

On the other hand, there are some drawbacks to consider before bringing a Golden Retriever into your home. One of the most significant disadvantages is that they shed a lot of hair which can be problematic for people with allergies. As active dogs, Golden Retrievers require plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy. Furthermore, they have a higher likelihood of developing health issues such as hip dysplasia and cancer, which can be costly to treat. Lastly, grooming is a must for these dogs to keep their coat healthy and mat-free.


To wrap things up, Golden Retrievers are a cherished breed that come with a unique odor. While this smell may catch you off guard, it’s important to know that there are several factors that contribute to it such as genetics, hygiene, diet, and health issues like ear infections. Regular grooming and bathing can help manage the odor, as well as feeding your furry friend a high-quality diet with natural ingredients.

Despite their distinct scent, owning a Golden Retriever has numerous benefits. They’re known for their friendly personalities and make excellent family pets due to their gentle nature and love for children. Their intelligence also makes them easy to train and obedient companions who enjoy outdoor activities.

However, it’s worth considering some drawbacks before bringing one of these furry friends into your home. They shed a lot of hair which can be problematic for people with allergies. Additionally, they require plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy.

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