Why does my golden retriever smell?

Are you tired of holding your breath every time you cuddle with your golden retriever? Do you find yourself wondering why the smell lingers long after they’ve left the room? Well, fret not, because we have the answers to your questions.

First things first, let’s establish that dogs are not naturally odorless creatures. However, some breeds tend to be smellier than others, and unfortunately, our beloved golden retrievers fall into this category. But fear not, as there are several reasons why your furry friend may have a stronger scent than other pups. Factors such as diet, grooming habits and underlying health conditions can all contribute to their aroma.

It’s important to understand that a dog’s scent is an integral part of their communication with other dogs. As social animals, they use their sense of smell to understand and interact with their environment. So while it may be overwhelming for us humans at times, it’s essential for them.

In this blog post, we’ll delve deeper into the reasons behind your golden retriever’s potent aroma. We’ll explore everything from dietary choices to potential health issues that could be contributing to their smell. And don’t worry – we won’t leave you hanging. We’ll also provide some tips on how to manage your pup’s odor so that you can enjoy snuggles without any unpleasant smells lingering around afterward. So sit back and get ready to help your furry friend smell fresh and clean.

Reasons Why Golden Retrievers May Have a Strong Odor

You may have also noticed that their distinct odor can sometimes be overwhelming. Don’t worry, there are several reasons why Golden Retrievers may have a strong odor, and we’re here to help you understand why.

Thick Double Coat

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One of the primary reasons for a strong odor in Golden Retrievers is their thick double coat. While this coat protects them in harsh weather conditions, it can also trap dirt and moisture, leading to a musty smell. Regular grooming, brushing, and bathing can help remove any build-up of dirt and debris in the coat, reducing the smell.

Water-Loving Dogs

Golden Retrievers are known for their love of water activities. However, this can also lead to skin and ear infections that cause a pungent smell that can be tough to eliminate. Ensure that your furry friend is dried thoroughly after swimming and keep an eye out for any signs of infection.


Your Golden Retriever’s diet can also play a role in their body odor. Feeding your dog low-quality food or food with high levels of preservatives can lead to bad breath and body odor. Opt for high-quality food and monitor their portion sizes to avoid digestive issues that cause gas and an unpleasant smell.

Lack of Grooming

If your Golden Retriever is not groomed regularly, their coat can become matted and trap dirt and debris, leading to a strong odor. Make sure to brush their coat regularly and take them to a professional groomer if necessary.

Anal Gland Problems

Anal glands are located on either side of a dog’s anus and secrete a foul-smelling liquid when they are expressed. If these glands become impacted or infected, they can cause a strong odor. Keep an eye out for any signs of discomfort or excessive licking, which may indicate an issue with their anal glands.

In conclusion, there are many reasons why Golden Retrievers may have a strong odor. Regular grooming, proper dental hygiene, a healthy diet, and monitoring their water activities can help reduce the smell and keep your furry friend smelling fresh and clean. By identifying the underlying cause of your Golden Retriever’s strong odor, you can take steps to address the issue and ensure that your dog is happy and healthy.

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a. Skin and Coat

One of the main culprits for this unpleasant smell is the skin and coat itself.

Golden retrievers have thick, luscious coats that require regular grooming to maintain their health and odor-free condition. Bacteria and yeast buildup on their skin can also contribute to the uninviting aroma. This can happen when their coat isn’t adequately brushed or groomed, leading to matting or tangling. These knots can trap moisture close to the skin, creating a breeding ground for bacteria and yeast that give off an unpleasant scent.

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A golden retriever’s diet can also influence their coat’s odor. A low-quality or inappropriate diet affects their overall health and skin condition, leading to a less-than-pleasant aroma emanating from their coat.

Furthermore, environmental factors such as swimming or rolling in dirt can introduce bacteria and other substances into a golden retriever’s fur, leaving behind unpleasant odors.

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To prevent or address these issues, it’s crucial to regularly groom your golden retriever’s coat by brushing it at least once a week and bathing them every 6-8 weeks. Feeding them a high-quality diet will also help keep their skin and coat healthy and odor-free. It’s also essential to avoid potentially dirty environments that can cause unwanted smells.

b. Diet

A high-fat or high-protein diet can cause golden retrievers to produce more oils and sweat, leading to stronger body odor. Additionally, certain ingredients like grains or carbohydrates can cause a yeasty or musty smell.

To combat this issue, it’s essential to provide your golden retriever with a balanced and healthy diet. Look for high-quality dog food specifically formulated for their breed and age, containing lean proteins like chicken or fish, as well as whole grains and vegetables.

But what if you’re already feeding them a healthy diet? Don’t worry – there are still ways to reduce their body odor. Adding apple cider vinegar to their food can help balance their pH levels and reduce odors. Probiotic supplements promote healthy gut bacteria and reduce body odor as well.

c. Health Conditions

While proper diet and grooming are crucial for keeping your pup smelling fresh, certain health conditions can lead to a less than pleasant aroma.

Ear infections are one of the most common culprits, causing inflammation and infection that leads to a foul odor emanating from the ears. If you notice excessive scratching or head shaking from your Golden Retriever, it’s essential to visit the vet immediately.

Skin allergies are another significant contributor to bad odor in Golden Retrievers. With various causes such as food, fleas, and environmental allergens like pollen or dust, it’s important to work with your vet to determine the root cause of allergies and develop a suitable treatment plan to address the itching, redness, and unpleasant smell.

Dental problems like plaque buildup, gum disease, or tooth decay can also cause bad breath and an overall unpleasant odor. Regular dental cleanings and good oral hygiene can help prevent these issues from arising in the first place.

d. Natural Scent

Well, it all boils down to their skin and fur oils, along with the bacteria that live on their skin. While this odor is common in all dogs, it can be more noticeable in Golden Retrievers due to their thick coat and active lifestyle.

These dogs love to run and play, which can cause them to sweat and produce more oils on their skin. Moreover, dirt and debris can get trapped in their fur, resulting in an overall smell. Nonetheless, regular grooming can help reduce this natural scent.

Another contributing factor is their diet. While a balanced diet is necessary for good health, certain foods can produce a stronger odor than others. Foods high in protein or fat may cause a stronger smell than those that are high in carbohydrates. Additionally, some types of food can cause digestive issues that lead to gas or other unpleasant odors.

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How to Minimize Golden Retriever’s Odor

Don’t let this issue ruin your time with your furry friend. With proper care and attention, you can minimize your Golden Retriever’s odor and keep them smelling fresh and clean. Here are five sub-sections that explain how to do just that.

The Importance of Grooming

Golden Retrievers have an oily coat that can trap dirt and debris, leading to a musty smell. Regular grooming is essential to keep their coat healthy and clean. Brushing their coat weekly removes any loose hair and dirt, while bathing them every 4-6 weeks with a mild dog shampoo eliminates any unpleasant smells. Grooming not only helps minimize odor but also strengthens the bond between you and your furry friend.

Oral Hygiene

Bad breath can contribute to your Golden Retriever’s overall odor. Poor oral hygiene can cause dental problems like gum disease and tooth decay, leading to bad breath. Brushing their teeth regularly with dog-specific toothbrushes and toothpaste helps keep their teeth clean and healthy and eliminates any unpleasant breath. Plus, it’s an excellent way to bond with your pet while keeping them healthy.

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Clean Environment

Your Golden Retriever’s environment can accumulate bacteria that cause bad smells. Regularly cleaning their bedding, toys, and food bowls prevents bacteria from accumulating, causing bad smells. Additionally, vacuuming your home frequently gets rid of any hair or dander that may contribute to the dog’s odor. So, make sure to maintain a clean environment for you and your furry friend.

Keeping Your Golden Retriever Dry

Moisture can contribute to a musty smell in your Golden Retriever’s coat. After bathing or swimming, make sure to towel dry your dog thoroughly. Using a blow dryer on a low setting to ensure their coat is completely dry minimizes any unpleasant smells. This will not only minimize odor but also prevent your dog from getting sick.

Healthy Diet

Your Golden Retriever’s diet can also play a vital role in their odor. Feeding them high-quality dog food that contains natural ingredients and avoiding table scraps can prevent digestive issues that can cause unpleasant odors. Additionally, adding supplements like omega-3 fatty acids and probiotics to their diet can promote healthy skin and coat and reduce any odors associated with gas or stool.

Grooming and Bathing Regularly

Golden Retrievers are a beloved breed known for their loyalty and friendly nature. However, with great joy comes great responsibility, and regular grooming and bathing are vital for keeping your furry friend smelling fresh and clean.

Neglecting to groom and bathe your Golden Retriever regularly can lead to unpleasant odors emanating from their thick double coat. This coat traps dirt, dust, and other debris that can accumulate over time, leading to the growth of harmful bacteria and fungi. But fear not. Keeping your dog clean and odor-free is easy with some simple grooming techniques.

To start, regularly brushing your Golden Retriever’s coat is crucial. It removes loose hair, dirt, and debris that can accumulate in their fur, preventing the growth of bacteria that causes bad odor. Bathing your furry friend every four to six weeks is also essential for maintaining good hygiene, keeping their coat clean and free from bacteria and fungi that contribute to foul smells.

When it comes to shampooing your Golden Retriever, make sure to use high-quality dog shampoo specially formulated for their breed. Avoid using human shampoos or low-quality dog shampoos that can strip their coat of natural oils, leading to dry skin and dandruff. After shampooing, rinse your furry friend thoroughly to remove any leftover residue that can cause skin irritation or bad smells.

Quality Food Selection

While proper grooming is essential, it’s important to recognize that diet can also play a significant role in your dog’s overall health and smell.

The food your dog eats can directly affect their digestive system and lead to bad smells. Low-quality dog food often contains fillers, artificial preservatives, and other additives that can cause digestive issues and contribute to unpleasant body odor. Moreover, some dogs may have sensitivities or allergies to certain ingredients commonly found in commercial dog food, making it crucial to choose the right food for your pet.

To combat this issue, it’s essential to opt for high-quality dog food made with natural, whole-food ingredients. Look for brands that use real meat as the first ingredient and avoid those containing by-products or artificial ingredients. Not only will this ensure your furry friend receives the necessary nutrients for optimal health, but it will also help minimize any potential body odor issues.

It’s important to take into account your individual golden retriever’s needs when selecting a food. Some dogs may require a grain-free diet or specific protein source due to allergies or sensitivities. By paying attention to your pet’s unique requirements, you can provide them with the best possible nutrition and reduce any unpleasant odors.

Allergy or Health Condition Treatment

It’s crucial to take your dog to the vet for proper diagnosis and treatment as soon as you notice any bad smells, as this can help eliminate the odor and improve their overall health and well-being.

If you’re wondering what could be causing that lingering stench, it could be due to a health condition or allergy. Common culprits include ear infections, dental disease, skin infections, and anal gland problems. For instance, ear infections are especially common in dogs with floppy ears like golden retrievers. If left untreated, they can lead to more severe issues.

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Dental disease is another common cause of bad breath and odor in dogs. Regular dental check-ups can prevent tartar buildup and gum disease that cause foul odors. Skin allergies and bacterial or fungal infections are also prevalent in golden retrievers, leading to itching, hair loss, and strong smells. With proper diagnosis and treatment from a vet, you can tackle these issues effectively.

Anal gland problems are yet another cause of bad odors in dogs. These small sacs located on either side of the anus secrete a foul-smelling substance during defecation. Impacted or infected glands result in a very strong odor.

The treatment for these health conditions may vary from medication to special diets, and sometimes surgery. It’s important to follow your vet’s recommendations for treatment and follow-up care to ensure that your golden retriever’s health improves and the unpleasant odor is eliminated.

In addition to veterinary care, feeding your golden retriever high-quality dog food made with natural ingredients can combat this issue and provide optimal nutrients for good health. Remember that your furry friend is what they eat, so investing in a healthy diet goes a long way in promoting excellent health and reducing unpleasant odors.

Tips for Keeping Your Dog Smelling Fresh and Clean

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Fret not, as there are several tips and tricks that can help keep your furry friend smelling fresh and clean. Let’s dive into the top 5 things you can do to maintain your golden retriever’s hygiene and overall health.

Regular grooming

One of the most important tips for keeping your golden retriever smelling fresh and clean is to groom them regularly. This includes brushing their coat, trimming their nails, cleaning their ears, and brushing their teeth. Not only does this help eliminate bad odors, but it also prevents any dirt or debris from getting trapped in their fur.

Bathe them regularly

Another effective way to keep your golden retriever smelling fresh is to bathe them regularly. However, it is important to note that over-bathing can strip their skin of natural oils, leading to dryness and irritation. Therefore, it is recommended to bathe your dog once every 4-6 weeks using a mild shampoo specifically designed for dogs.

Use dry shampoo

In between baths, you can use a dry shampoo to keep your golden retriever smelling fresh and clean. Dry shampoo can help absorb any excess oils and dirt from your dog’s coat, leaving them smelling fresh and clean. Just make sure to choose a dry shampoo that is safe for dogs and avoid using human products as they can be harmful.

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Keep their bedding clean

Your golden retriever’s bedding can be a source of bad odors if not cleaned regularly. Make sure to wash their bedding once a week using a mild detergent and hot water. This will help remove any dirt or bacteria that may be causing bad smells.

Watch their diet

What your dog eats can also affect how they smell. Make sure to feed your golden retriever a high-quality diet that is rich in protein and does not contain any fillers or artificial additives. Additionally, make sure to provide them with plenty of fresh water to help flush out any toxins from their body.


In conclusion, there are several reasons why your golden retriever may have an odor.

It could be due to their diet, lack of grooming, or a medical issue. It’s important to address the underlying cause of the smell and take steps to improve your dog’s hygiene and health.

If you’re unsure about the cause of the odor or if it persists despite your efforts, consult with your veterinarian for further advice and treatment options.

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