There's a long list of things Golden owners love about their dogs. But shedding isn't one of them. As you know, your breed's distinctive fuzzy hair somehow finds its way onto every surface in your home, from couches to carpets to clothes.
Why do Goldens shed so much? The culprit is the breed's thick double coat made up of a plush undercoat and a furry layer on top. It's that warm and fuzzy undercoat that causes the most mess. While a Golden Retriever sheds lightly throughout the year, as with every double-coated dog, he sheds his undercoat in large quantities twice a year.
How to keep shedding under control
Here's the good news: Some basic grooming and coat maintenance can help control shedding and reduce the amount of Golden Retriever fur that ends up on your carpeting and floating around your house.
Brush, brush, brush: A daily brushing works best because it helps to get rid of all of your dog's loose hair. If you can't brush him every day, aim for at least two good brushings per week.
Give him a bath: Bathing your dog regularly with a rich oatmeal shampoo will help to keep his coat healthy, without leaving his skin dry. A healthy coat is less likely to have a lot of loose hair to shed.
Feed him a high quality diet: A diet that is rich in fatty acids and digestible proteins will keep your dog's coat strong and healthy, and will help decrease excessive shedding.
Vacuum your home daily: In order to keep your home hair free, vacuum on a daily basis. This is the best way to get hair out of your carpet and out from under your couch.
Cover your furniture: To keep your couches hair free, cover them with washable couch covers.
If the degree of shedding your Golden Retriever experiences appears abnormal, or if he has signs of serious skin problems, consult your veterinarian. Medical conditions such as thyroid disease or skin allergies can cause excessive shedding. Otherwise, to keep the fur from flying, just practice good grooming and feed your Golden Retriever a nutrient-rich diet.
As your dog ages, you’ll likely notice changes in your best pal’s energy levels, routine and even muzzle. Older pets may require adjustments to help them get around, exercise and live their best life as a senior. One important aspect of caring for a dog entering their golden years is diet.
When it comes to diet, every dog has unique, individual needs, regardless of age. So, there's no one easy answer to the question of soft food versus hard food. Both types of food can provide your dog with the nutrition they need — as long as you feed your dog a high-quality dog food that’s nutritionally balanced and complete.
Signs Your Senior Dog May Benefit from Wet Food
If your dog has very specific health concerns, such as aging joints or weight issues, consult with your vet for more information about what type of food best addresses your dog's needs. That being said, there are a few reasons why you may consider switching your senior dog to soft food.
As your dog gets older, their teeth may become more sensitive, which can make chewing kibble more difficult and even uncomfortable. Switching to a soft food can help to alleviate your pet’s oral discomfort when eating.
However, if your dog is experiencing serious pain at mealtime from a condition like tooth decay or gingivitis, switching to soft food won't remedy the problem. Make sure you talk to your vet about oral care and dental treatment.
Digestion begins in the mouth with saliva, so if your dog has a tendency to scarf down meals, they may not be adequately chewing the food or adding enough saliva to it. Soft food can aid with digestion because it's more easily chewed.
It’s no surprise that wet food has a higher moisture content when compared to dry kibble. If your senior pup is prone to urinary-tract issues or simply needs a little help staying hydrated, canned dog food may be a good choice.
Aging dogs tend to have a slower metabolic rate compared to their younger years, which puts them at a higher risk of becoming overweight or obese. Many nutritionally balanced wet dog foods offer high protein content with fewer carbs than dry food, which can benefit older dogs with slower metabolism. Always talk to your vet if you have concerns about your pup’s weight.
While wet food may be less than appetizing to humans, the opposite is true for dogs! If your aging best friend has started turning their snout up to dry food, wet food tends to be more appealing to picky eaters. Mixing wet food and kibble offers your pup a variety of flavors and textures; try adding wet food as a topper on dry food for a real treat!
Whether you choose dry food, soft food or a mix of both, ask your vet before making any transition. And when it's time to switch your dog's food, remember to do it slowly — even if it's the same brand and flavor — to help prevent stomach upset and allow your dog time to adjust.