Proper and regular grooming is one thing that senior Golden Retrievers cannot do without. Besides helping them look their best, making it a point to keep your aging dog's hair clean and nails trimmed—just to name a few essential grooming priorities—can also promote and maintain overall health.
If you're looking to take your senior Golden Retriever grooming know-how up a notch, then this article is definitely for you. Make sure you follow along to get in on some useful and practical tips that will really help your aging pooch look his best.
A Quick Overview of the Grooming Needs of Senior Golden Retrievers
Unlike what a lot of people mistakenly believe, regular grooming is not just something that you should give Golden retrievers when they are still at a young age. It should remain a mainstay in your dog's schedule even if he's already in his senior years.
A first-time dog owner may have the notion that a much older Goldie won't require as much grooming compared to a Golden Retriever puppy. But the thing is this isn't the case. Regardless of the age of your pooch, Golden owners should still give the same amount of care and attention, not to mention frequency, when it comes to grooming a senior member of the breed.
Apart from having a clean and smooth outer coat, there are a lot of other benefits that your aging Golden Retriever will get when it comes to regular grooming. How about we check them out in the next part of our discussion?
Senior Golden Retriever Grooming Benefits You Should Take Note Of
We'd just like to emphasize that grooming your Golden Retriever is not simply about aesthetics. It also has to do with your canine best friend's overall health and wellness. While this may sound surprising, you're actually helping extend your pet's lifespan when you do it regularly.
Sure it may not look like it at first, but maintaining the cleanliness and condition of your much older Golden Retriever's coat on a regular basis brings a lot of good things. Here are just some of the benefits that your aging dog will get when it comes to proper grooming:
Promotes a healthy double coat
If your senior pet is anything like most Golden Retrievers, chances are he's got a double coat. Regularly working your dog's fur with a bristle brush not only helps release natural oils that protect against hair dryness, split ends, and loose fur. It also acts as a barrier against bacteria that can set off bad odors. Having grooming tools like a rake brush or a pin brush will get the job done.
Moreover, your Golden Retriever's soft fur and fuzzy undercoat won't also be easily prone to excessive hair fall that can possibly lead to bald patches sooner or later. An abundance of natural oils in your pet's hair significantly provides protection from the very tip all the way to the root of his hair follicles. A healthy coat also ensures that cool air is able to properly circulate and keep overheating at bay.
Keeps your aging dog's skin in great condition
Interestingly, grooming your Golden Retriever's hair helps get rid of dead skin cells, which can become potential breeding grounds and food sources for bacteria, external parasites, and certain types of fungi if not dealt with the right way. These unwanted visitors can cause skin health issues like redness, inflammation, and hot spots.
It is crucial to remember that being thorough is a must when choosing tools to groom your Golden Retriever with. For example, go for a slicker brush or undercoat rake that doesn't cause itchiness or irritate the skin underneath. Having healthy skin also helps keep a dog cool, especially during the warmer months.
Prevents your older dog's fur from tangling and matting
Coat or fur matting and tangling are no doubt the two most prominent issues when it comes to Golden Retrievers. These problems are also notable in other double-coated breeds like the Siberian Husky, Chow Chow, Pomeranian, Miniature Schnauzer, Border Collie, and Shih Tzu.
When you groom a Golden Retriever on a regular basis, loose hair won't tend to clump and harden, which are the biggest causes of matting and tangling. These issues can be easily avoided by simply having a daily brushing of your dog's double coat.
Curbs excessive shedding
Many dogs can be prone to lose hair that can set off excessive shedding and your senior Golden Retriever is also a potential target. However, making it a point to gently brush your dog's coat every day helps do away with loose fur.
We'd just like to stress that while doing this does not totally prevent shedding, it significantly reduces the amount of hair that your aging dog will leave behind on your carpet, floor, and pieces of furniture, among others.
Keeps bad odor in check
Regardless if your aging Golden Retriever only stays indoors or perhaps spends part of his days in the backyard or garden, it is inevitable that his fur or coat will have an accumulation of sweat, dirt, and gunk, not to mention foreign objects, that can trigger bad odor sooner or later.
Having proper grooming in your regular schedule ensures that these things won't make your dog stinky before you know it. Your dog's skin won't also be at risk of irritation and itching in the process. Additionally, a senior Golden Retriever's ears will not be prone to infections and parasites while we're at it.
Staves off issues with your aging dog's teeth
Proper dental care plays a very important role in your aging dog's quality of life. Your Golden retriever's teeth won't be easily at risk of plaque buildup and cavities with regular brushing. Gum disease and bad breath are not going to be a problem, too.
Helps you spot health problems early on
When you groom a Golden Retriever, especially an aging one, you are technically doing an ocular inspection of his entire body in the process. This is the biggest reason why grooming has to be proper, thorough, and regular.
From the tips of his ears to the spaces in between your Golden Retriever's feet and toes, you can easily check for any nicks, swellings, inflammations, and similar issues. You can also spot any signs of coat tangling and matting, particularly in inconspicuous areas like the underside of the belly and between the inner thighs.
Moreover, you can quickly observe any stains on the teeth of your senior Golden Retriever as well as bleeding and swelling of the gums. Having a heads up of any potential health problem, you can immediately reach out to a pet homeopathy expert or a veterinarian to nip the whole thing in the bud.
Increases emotional attachment
Did you know that regular and proper grooming helps boost the emotional bond between you and your aging Golden Retriever? Apart from making your senior pooch feel clean and comfortable, you are basically having a bonding session with him albeit in a different form.
See, grooming involves a lot of physical contact like touching, hugging, and even cuddling. While you may be doing this to be as meticulous as possible during washing, bathing, brushing the teeth and gums, or removing gunk out of his ears, your older Golden Retriever will always feel that you are bonding with him.
In short, making proper grooming a regular activity helps make you closer to your dog! Now we've got that part covered, let's go over the risks and dangers of not giving your aging Golden Retriever the grooming that he really deserves...
The Downsides of Not Regularly Grooming Your Senior Golden Retriever's Coat
As we've stressed earlier, a much older dog has to have proper grooming in his regular schedule since it can have significant effects on his overall health and wellness. It is crucial to take note that it is not just the physical appearance of your Golden Retriever that will be affected.
For this part of our discussion, we will have a rundown of the problems that your aging dog will encounter if there is a lack of grooming in his regular routine. Mind you, some of these negative effects can lead to very serious consequences if not properly taken care of.
Problems with your dog's coat and skin will get in the picture.
The most prominent sign that an older dog is not regularly groomed is an unkempt coat. Apart from having mats and tangles, his fur and hair will also tend to have a buildup of sweat, dirt, gunk, and even foreign objects that can lead to bad odor. A stinky and dirty dog is very enticing to external parasites like ticks, lice, fleas, and mites.
On the other hand, your aging dog will also be vulnerable to skin infections that tend to get in the picture unexpectedly. These can include scabs or crusts, flaking or scaling as well as bumps and lumps that seem to have appeared out of nowhere. Issues like these can result in dry skin to even more serious problems like yeast and bacterial infection sooner or later.
Your dog's ears will be prone to infection and parasites.
If your dog is anything like most Golden Retrievers, it is highly likely that he's got floppy ears. If these are not properly and regularly cleaned, your pooch will be eventually vulnerable to ear infections and even parasitic infestation, specifically ear mites.
And just to make things even worse, your aging dog's ears can be also prone to partial or total hearing loss if this problem is not immediately dealt with the right way. It is also highly recommended that you have a reliable and natural go-to ear care product to stave off infection and parasites. No matter what you do, never ignore an ear infection no matter how minor you think it is!
Your dog's teeth and gums will be vulnerable to disease.
Not making it a habit to clean your dog's mouth on a regular basis can lead to the accumulation of food debris in and between his teeth and gums. Some can end up on the underside of your pet's tongue, too. This can lead to the formation of plaque if these bits and pieces of food are not removed.
Plaque is a sticky and filmy substance that can contain lots of bacteria. These bacteria are usually the culprits of tooth decay and gum health issues like periodontal disease. Besides the possibility of subjecting your aging Golden Retriever to bouts of chronic pain, he may also be at risk of bone loss and erosion of the gums.
It is important to take note that while plaque in senior Golden Retrievers can be removed by regular brushing and cleaning, you may already need professional teeth cleaning services in extreme (as in neglected) cases.
His posture and gait will be significantly affected.
An aging Golden Retriever with long nails is highly prone to problems like breaking, splitting, and chipping. These can be very painful and will negatively affect the way your dog walks and moves sooner or later. A dog with long, unkempt nails can also be potentially prone to spinal issues due to the changes in his posture.
According to the American Kennel Club, the lack of regular nail trimming can also result in unwanted pressure on your dog's feet and paw pads, making the simple act of stepping and treading really painful. Additionally, longer nails also have longer quicks, which makes trimming them to the proper size a challenge.
He won't be able to properly regulate his body temperature.
Depending on the situation, tangles and mats in your aging dog's coat can make it really difficult for him to stay ideally cool or warm. This will make him more vulnerable to health problems like heat stroke, hyperthermia (overheating), or its opposite, hypothermia (the accelerated loss of body heat).
Regular and proper grooming helps ensure that warm air and cold air can appropriately flow through your much older Golden Retriever's coat. It is very important to keep in mind that heat stroke, hyperthermia, and hypothermia can have fatal consequences.
Top Grooming Tips for Aging Golden Retrievers
Believe it or not, providing your senior Golden Retriever with ideal grooming isn't that tricky to pull off. We've put together a simple and practical guide that you can use to not just keep your dog looking and feeling fabulous, but also promote his overall health and wellness:
#1. The safety and comfort of your senior Golden Retriever is a must.
Before you even start with the whole grooming process, it is important to make sure you have the right tools and essentials to get the job done. These include getting your hands on the appropriate slicker brush, nail clippers, and toothbrush as well as a high-quality dog shampoo and coat conditioner, among others.
Failing to do this can have negative effects on your dog. Sure your aging Golden Retriever's nails are trimmed, but they aren't done correctly. While your dog's teeth may be cleaned on a regular basis, you may be missing some key spots because you are using the wrong toothbrush. Your efforts will just end up becoming counterproductive.
#2. Regular brushing is essential for a beautiful coat.
One of the most prominent features of a Golden Retriever is his double coat. It requires a daily brushing to stay clean and fresh. Doing so not only removes any dirt and gunk that may have adhered to the same, but also keeps the formation of mats and tangles in check.
A daily brushing of at least five (5) to ten (10) minutes a day should do the trick. Remember to keep it as gentle as possible while maintaining thoroughness. Having a sharp pair of hair trimmers is also an advantage to do away with the onset of tangling and matting.
#3. Bathing is important (but should not be done frequently).
Make it a point to bathe your aging dog every four (4) to six (6) weeks—or unless it is really necessary like after he rolled in a puddle of mud. Make sure you use warm water for bathing since it helps loosen and relax hair fibers easily. Doing so will also be much more comfortable for your dog compared to cold water. You must also a dog-specific soap and shampoo for this application.
Be very systematic when you give your dog a bath. Don't forget to get in between his toes and hard-to-reach places like the belly and inner thighs. Remove tear stains and gunk that may have accumulated in his nose. You can use moist cotton balls to clean his ears. A Golden Retriever's tail also needs attention, too!
#4. Proper nail care is crucial.
Your dog has to get his nails trimmed properly and regularly. Make it a point to only use the appropriate nail clippers since the wrong ones can either lead to injuring the quick or cutting his nails at the wrong angle. Nail clipping should be done as gently and slowly as possible to avoid any untoward incidents.
Moreover, it is also important to make nail trimming a regular in your grooming checklist since your senior dog's nails can grow really fast. It will take just about two (2) to three (3) weeks for a dog's nails to become long again. Keeping your much older Golden Retriever's nails neatly trimmed also helps prevent painful breaking, splitting, chipping, and tearing.
#5. Dental hygiene should be a priority.
Dental care is a must for your aging dog. It is highly recommended that you brush and clean your pet's teeth, gums, and tongue at least twice daily. You should get your hands on an appropriate toothbrush and a dog-specific toothpaste to maximize the benefits.
In case you have a busy schedule, it is already sufficient to do this once every day while using dental sticks. However, it is important to only use dental sticks that suitably fit your dog's mouth so they can really work their magic.
#6. Give your aging dog's ears TLC.
A senior dog is highly prone to ear infections. Make sure you clean his ears regularly using a moist clean piece of cloth or cotton balls. Have your pet lay flat on his side so that you can thoroughly examine and get rid of any dirt and gunk that may have ended inside or around his ears.
It is also important to check for any signs of parasites like ear mites while you're at it. Getting your hands on a reliable natural ear-cleaning solution is also a must to stave off any problems right before they start.
#7. Don't hesitate to reach out to a professional groomer.
It is possible that your aging Golden Retriever will have issues that you won't be able to deal with like serious coat matting and tangles. During these situations, it's highly recommended to get in touch with a professional groomer to get the job done.
HOMEOPATH & CO-FOUNDER OF ZUMALKA
Suzie Cyrenne is a certified Homeopath with over ten years of experience creating natural products for cats and dogs. She co-founded eCommerce brand, Zumalka in 2013 with her husband Matt and is on a mission to help thousands of animals naturally improve their quality of life and shares her experience on their popular YouTube show. Hence, she created a line of high-performance natural pet supplements to target the root cause of common health issues.
Suzie was influenced by her mother-in-law, who practiced homeopathy and made natural remedies from home. After being on prescriptions for many years for a skin issue without resolution, she wanted to try something new. Her problems were cleared up within a few months of dedication to a better diet supplemented by homeopathic remedies. That's when she knew that homeopathy worked! During this process, she wondered why there weren't better options for pets and soon created a popular line of natural remedies that have helped thousands of pets across the USA.
When she’s not traveling or reading the next personal development book, you can find Suzie snowboarding, working out, or enjoying a daily hike.
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