do golden retrievers stink

Do Golden Retrievers Stink? Here’s The Smelly Truth!

Do Golden Retrievers stink? All dog breeds will develop a foul smell at some point. It can either be a temporary odor or something that points to a grooming or health problem. Goldies are large and double-coated dogs, so you shouldn’t expect them to smell like roses all the time. Still, there are some steps you can take to ensure that your doggo won’t become a stinky mess.

Do Golden Retrievers stink?

In general, all dogs smell. It just depends on their activities and how you groom them.

Every Golden Retriever owner is familiar with the ‘wet dog’ smell this breed can develop. This isn’t surprising because Goldies have long fur, and they have a love affair with water. Mixed with dirt, a Golden Retriever is guaranteed to smell bad.

The following reasons will also increase your Goldie’s possibility of smelling bad:

1. Rolling on the dirt

do golden retrievers stink

Golden Retrievers are active dogs who love the outdoors. They will soak on mud, roll on freshly mowed grass, and chew on just about anything. This behavior exposes them to dirt, which will make them stinky at the end of the day.

Aside from that, Goldies love bodies of water. They will jump and swim on it, even if it’s full of dirt and germs. So if you’re letting your Golden Retriever roam outdoors unsupervised, don’t be surprised if it goes home smelling like a stinkbug.

2. Poor coat grooming

Another possible reason why Golden Retrievers stink is poor grooming. This breed has long fur and a double coat. Their fur can trap moisture even if it feels dry on the surface. And when this moisture is left for long, it will allow bacteria and fungi to thrive. The result is a smelly dog.

Aside from that, Golden Retrievers has ‘feathers’. This hair is longer than the rest that gives this breed a fluffy appearance. It’s found on the dog’s back, tail, and legs. If not trimmed regularly, these feathers can graze on the ground, gathering dirt.

3. Unexpressed anal glands

do golden retrievers stink

I know how gross it is to express a dog’s anal glands. But if you fail to do so, your Golden Retriever will start to stink. The glands will also become compacted, and the fur around them will start to mat. Over time, the unexpressed anal glands can develop an infection that will produce a stronger scent.

The problem here is that expressing a Golden Retriever’s anal glands is a messy process. If you don’t have the guts for it, I suggest bringing your dog to a groomer instead.

4. Natural secretions

Like humans, Golden Retrievers also secrete various substances. They sweat on areas not covered with fur, including the paw pads and their nose.

Also, female dogs in heat will have vaginal discharge, which will stink if not cleaned right away. Meanwhile, male Goldies will produce smegma on their genitals. It’s usually normal and requires regular cleaning to prevent infection and a bad smell.

5. Skin infections

do golden retrievers stink

Golden Retrievers usually stink when they are experiencing skin infections.

One of the conditions they are vulnerable to is pyoderma. With this skin problem, the dog suffers from scales, pustules, hair loss, itchiness, and a foul smell. It’s usually due to a bacterial infection, and the dog will require antibiotic medication to treat the condition. Take note that ‘pyoderma’ literally translates to ‘pus on the skin’.

Another skin condition that will cause a foul smell is canine atopic dermatitis. Golden Retrievers with this condition will have inflamed skin, lesions, and severe itching. As your Goldie scratches the affected area, it sustains wounds where the infection will occur. In the long run, this will produce a stinky odor.

Aside from that, flea and tick infestation can also cause smelly infections on your Goldie’s skin. The bites will become a pathway for bacteria and viruses that will wreak havoc on your dog’s health.

There are many other skin problems that will increase the risk of your Golden Retriever developing an unpleasant odor. This is why grooming and inspecting your dog’s coat is a crucial step.

6. Ear infections

If your Golden Retriever’s skin is clear, you must check its ears for infection. This breed loves wading in the water, which gives microbes the ideal environment to proliferate. It’s one of the most common health problems of Golden Retrievers, but it can be prevented with proper cleaning.

Aside from that, Goldies have flappy ears, so their ears can hide a lot of dirt. Also, it traps moisture, which is the perfect recipe for infection.

For Golden Retrievers with no ear infections, cleaning once every 2 weeks is the rule of thumb. However, if your pooch has an infection, you may need to apply a medicated ear solution up to 3 times a week or more.

7. Dental problems

do golden retrievers stink

Any dog breed will suffer from bad breath if its owners fail to observe proper dental hygiene. Golden Retrievers put a lot of things in their mouth (they are retrievers, after all), which makes them prone to oral problems.

Over time, plaque buildup will occur, which will progress into periodontal disease if not treated right away. It will also cause bad breath, similar to rotting garbage.

Take note that dental problems among Golden Retrievers won’t go away on their own. It will just get worse the longer you leave it untreated. So while the plaque is still mild, it’s best to bring the dog to the vet for dental cleaning. This is an added expense but worth it for your pet’s health.

8. Poor diet

Lastly, a poor diet will make your Golden Retriever gassy. Their smelly farts will give them a stinky smell.

Aside from that, substandard dog food products will make your Goldie’s coat dull and prone to infections. While not the direct cause, a poor diet can definitely make your dog stinky, not to mention failing to provide your dog’s much-needed nourishment.

How to keep your Golden Retriever smelling good

Golden Retrievers don’t have to be a stinky breed. To keep your Goldie fresh and clean, here are some of the steps you can take:

1. Practice regular grooming

Grooming a Golden Retriever is a serious business due to its size and coat type. This is why you should schedule grooming sessions, so you can focus on what needs to be done.

Make sure that you wash their coat properly by massaging the suds using your fingers. Aside from that, you should use a dog shampoo that neutralizes bad odors and kills bacteria. For my Goldies, I always swear by oatmeal formulas.

Aside from bathing, you should also express the dog’s anal glands, clean its paws, and wipe its face. Tooth brushing is also necessary using a dog toothpaste formula.

2. Wash your dog’s bedding and toys

Your Golden Retriever’s bed and toys and harbor lots of dander and drool. Make sure that you wash all of it once a week. You can also use a vinegar solution pre-wash to neutralize any stinky odors.

And while you’re waiting for the washing machine to finish its job, you should vacuum-clean your dog’s sleeping area. 

3. Trim your Golden Retriever’s fur

As mentioned earlier, Golden Retriever has a double coat and feathers. It’s important to trim your Goldie’s feathers every 45 days to prevent them from touching the ground. This can be done together with a full coat trim to tidy up the dog’s look.

Many Golden Retriever owners can do the trim at home. But if you don’t trust your skills, it’s best to pay a groomer to do this for you.

4. Keep your Goldie dry

Keeping a Golden Retriever dry all the time is the best way to prevent them from developing a foul smell. The lack of moisture will block the proliferation of fungi and bacteria on the dog’s coat. Also, dirt and dust won’t stick as much.

Drying a Golden Retriever isn’t an easy task since they are large and their coats are thick. I recommend getting a powerful dog dryer to cut the grooming time. Compared to human hairdryers, those made for dogs have more power, airflow, and various attachments to speed up drying.

If your Golden Retriever swam on a lake or beach, make sure you give it a good rinse before drying. You wouldn’t want to dry the muck and dirt on your dog’s coat. Even if it’s not wet, the microbes will still be there, emitting a foul odor.

5. Supervise its outdoor activities

It will also help to supervise your Golden Retriever’s outdoor activities. If you don’t want them jumping on bodies of water or soaking in mud, keep them leashed at all times. This will save you from emergency baths and a stinky mess in your home or car.

Also, always bring a large bottle of clean water whenever you’re taking your dog near bodies of water. This way, you can rinse him off before the dirt gets soaked on the undercoat.

6. Switch to a healthier diet

To reduce your Goldie’s flatulence, you should feed him with high-quality dog food. Avoid food products with too much corn or soy, which increases the formation of gas in the digestive system. Also, you can use a slow-feeding bowl if your Golden Retriever tends to eat very fast.

If your Golden Retriever has food allergies, you can consult the vet or a pet nutritionist for the proper diet.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do Golden Retrievers smell worse than other dogs?

A: Golden Retrievers don’t necessarily smell worse than other dogs. It depends on how your groom the dog and how dirty it gets. Technically, a neglected dog will smell worse than other canines in the room, regardless of its breed.

Q: Do Golden Retrievers make your house smell?

A: A Golden Retriever will only make your house smell if you don’t groom it properly. Also, you have to double your efforts in cleaning your house since Goldies are intense shedders. Leaving the dander and loose fur lying around will surely cause a bad smell.

Q: Why does my Golden Retriever smell bad after a bath?

A: If your Golden Retriever smells bad after a bath, it’s possible that you didn’t dry it properly. The moisture left on its coat can harbor bacteria, yeast, and dirt that will result in a foul odor. This is why every Golden Retriever needs a dog dryer they can rely on.

Q: Why does my Golden Retriever smell like she is rotting?

A: A rotting smell isn’t normal and can indicate that your Golden Retriever has health problems. It can be diabetes, kidney disease, dental problems, or lung disease. In this case, you should bring your dog to the vet’s clinic for proper examination and diagnosis.

Q: Why does my senior Golden Retriever smell so bad?

A: Senior Golden Retrievers don’t move as much as they did when they were young. This means they can’t shake the dirt off their bodies. Also, they are prone to metabolic diseases that can cause bad breath. Proper diagnosis and early intervention are important to curb these problems.

Final words

Do Golden Retrievers stink? In general, Goldens aren’t smelly dogs, but they require intensive grooming to prevent the dreaded bad smell. Just like any dog, they can get dirty and messy, which can cause a slew of foul odors. The important thing is you groom your dog regularly and properly. When in doubt, you can always consult the vet or trust the expertise of a professional groomer.

About Tom Thorpe

Tom Thorpe has overtime interacted with different species of dogs mostly through breeding and training; according to him, man’s best friend is yet to find solace in the company of man, as they are continuously mistreated. He, therefore, runs a rescue center that provides shelter to stray dogs, and has been advocating for the rights of animals; the Golden Retriever dogs are among his favorites, the reason he came up with the extensive excerpts to help educate the society on the right treatment and care of the respective breed. Tom spends most of his time running his dog shelter; he is a husband and proud father of two boys and loves to go fishing during his free time.

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