golden retriever itching skin
golden retriever itching skin

Golden Retriever Itching Skin: Causes and Treatment

Golden Retrievers have long been loved for their loyal and friendly nature, yet recently owners have noticed problems with golden retriever itching skin. Though these dog breeds have a gorgeous fur coats, this can come with some uncomfortable side effects as they can be prone to skin irritations and allergies.

Thankfully, there are steps that we will discuss in this blog post that can be taken to help your golden retriever get relief and prevent further itching. Knowing the causes of this problem and the treatments available will ensure your dog remains healthy and comfortable.

What Causes Golden Retriever Skin Issues?

golden retriever itching skin

The first step in tackling this problem is determining what may be causing your golden retriever itching skin. Many potential problems can result in itching, and some of the most common ones among golden retrievers include:

✽Food Allergies 

Food allergies are quite common in Golden Retrievers, with the most common allergens in some food ingredients. While the incidence of Golden Retriever itching skin attributable to food allergies varies, research suggests it could be as high as 10-15% of all cases. Symptoms may range from mild wheezing to severe allergic reactions affecting the whole body; regardless of severity, you must be aware of these potential issues to find an appropriate treatment plan for your Golden Retriever.

Here’s a look at the most common allergens for dogs and what you can do to avoid them.


A beef allergy is one of the dogs’ most common food allergies, with symptoms including itchy skin, stomach upset, diarrhea, and vomiting. It’s important to note that beef is used in many dog foods, so if your pup shows signs of an allergic reaction after eating certain foods, check for beef as an ingredient. 


Lamb allergies are also quite common among pups. The primary symptom of a lamb allergy includes itchy skin from constant scratching or licking. In addition, some dogs may experience digestive issues such as vomiting and diarrhea when they eat food containing lamb. 

Fish Allergy 

The most common symptom is itchy skin; other signs may include difficulty breathing or chronic ear infections due to secondary bacterial or yeast infections caused by excessive scratching. Golden Retrievers with fish allergies often experience more severe reactions than others because fish proteins are more potent than those from land animals like beef or chicken. 

Pork Allergy 

Pork products can sometimes trigger allergic reactions in dogs. The most prominent symptom of pork allergies is itchy skin followed by digestive upset such as nausea or vomiting. If your pup has a pork allergy, it’s important to avoid feeding any food containing pork products, such as bacon or ham.  


An intolerance often causes dairy allergies to lactose found in milk. Symptoms of a dairy allergy may include diarrhea, vomiting, excessive gas, or skin reactions such as itching or rash. If you suspect dairy may be causing your dog’s allergies, switching to non-dairy dog food or supplementing its diet with a lactose-free product is best. 

Chicken Products

Chicken allergies may cause similar symptoms as dairy allergies; however, they may also manifest as ear infections or respiratory issues such as coughing or sneezing. If your pup has been exhibiting any of these symptoms after eating chicken products, switching to a different protein source might be time. 


Wheat can also cause skin irritation in some dogs; however, the most common symptom is digestive upset such as diarrhea or vomiting. It could be why switching food isn’t helping your pup’s digestion issues. 


Soy allergies often present themselves in skin reactions like redness or itching. A soy-based food could contribute to these reactions, so if this is the case for your pup, try switching out his food for one that does not contain soy proteins. 


Corn is another common allergen that often causes digestive issues like gas and bloating in dogs with sensitivities. If your pup has been having trouble digesting his meals, then it’s worth considering if corn contributes to the problem.

Signs and symptoms may vary from dog to dog, so if you think your Golden Retriever may have an allergy, it’s essential to consult your veterinarian for diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

✽Atopic Dermatitis (Environmental Allergies)

Since these dog breeds have short coat, it does not provide ample protection against environmental irritants. Thus it can result in canine atopic dermatitis. It is an environmental allergy typically caused by allergens like pollen and dust mites. This type of allergy manifests as constant itching and scratching, dry skin and fur, skin redness, flaking or oozing from the skin, and more severe reactions affecting the eyes or nose.

Early diagnosis of canine atopic dermatitis is essential to limit discomfort and permanent damage to the Golden Retriever’s coat and skin. Here are possible environmental allergens to look out for in your Golden Retriever:

Plants or Fungus 

Being outdoors is one of the joys of owning a golden retriever. However, certain plants or fungi can cause an allergic reaction in some dogs. Allergic reactions to pollen from plants such as ragweed and grasses are usually seasonal but can still irritate your puppy’s skin during certain times of the year.

Additionally, some types of fungus in the soil can also cause an allergic reaction if your pet is exposed to them. In order to ensure the safety of your pup while outdoors, make sure they stick to areas with asphalt or concrete rather than grassy fields where they may come into contact with any potential allergens. 

Cleaning and Hygiene Products 

It might surprise you that common household cleaning products can produce an allergic reaction in a golden retriever. It includes laundry detergent, fabric softener sheets, dish soap, bleach, air fresheners, and other scented chemical cleaners used around the house.

Therefore, using unscented and hypoallergenic products when cleaning your home is essential. Thus, never use bleach near pets as it has been linked to animal respiratory issues.  

Tobacco Smoke  

Smoking around pets is not only dangerous for their overall health; it can also trigger allergies due to the chemicals found in cigarettes and cigars. Secondhand smoke is just as harmful to pets as it is for humans, so opt for vaping instead if you must smoke around them, or better yet—quit altogether.       

Scent-Heavy Human Products  

Fragrance-based lotions, perfumes, and deodorants have been known to cause skin allergies in humans, but they can affect our furry friends too. Be sure not to check the labels on these items before purchasing if you plan on using them around your puppy. Since many contain ingredients like alcohol which could further irritate their skin if exposed.

If you have difficulty finding safe products for you and your puppy, try natural alternatives such as essential oils that have been proven effective without causing any negative side effects on animals. 


Unfortunately, despite their reputation for being low-maintenance dog breeds, Golden Retrievers can suffer from skin problems that cause them to itch incessantly.

In some cases, the cause of this itching can be parasites. Parasites such as fleas, lice, and mites fasten onto your Golden Retriever’s skin and fur to feed on their blood, resulting in intense itching as your dog tries to remove the discomfort.

It is essential to routinely check your Golden Retriever for any signs of parasites and treat them immediately. It can prevent further skin issues due to the itching caused by these pests. Additionally, some of these parasites can be transmitted to humans, so it’s important to act quickly if you detect their presence in your puppy.

✽Hot Spots

Your Golden Retriever can suffer from a common skin condition in which they feel an intense, itchy sensation that can lead to hair loss and scabbing. This condition is known as ‘Hot Spots.’ And results from the dog’s undercoat constantly trapping dampness and debris close to its skin. It Leads to a vicious cycle of itchiness.

As Golden Retrievers tend to be active, they may not realize they are causing further harm when they scratch themselves due to the intense itching feeling. It is why keeping their coat brushed and groomed regularly is essential.

✽Bacterial Infections (Pyoderma)

Bacterial infections, also known as pyoderma, are a condition that is characterized by itching, redness, and irritation. Golden Retrievers may develop pyoderma due to allergies, autoimmune disorders, or other underlying conditions.

This condition causes skin inflammation in dogs and can lead to severe itching. If your Golden Retriever shows signs of itchy skin, it is important to take him to the vet for an examination.

✽Fungal Infections

Golden Retrievers are prone to skin itching and discomfort, with fungal infections at the top of the list as a common cause. Fungal infections can create intense scratching and flare-ups, including redness, scabbing, and scaling in Golden Retriever’s skin. If left untreated, these fungal infections can spread quickly to more areas of the dog’s body. Resulting in further discomfort and potentially leading to more serious health complications.

It is recommended that Golden Retrievers receive professional treatment, including medications or shampoos as prescribed by their veterinarian, to adequately treat any potential fungal infection on the dog’s skin.

✽Foreign Bodies

Foreign bodies such as grass awns, foxtails, or thistles getting stuck in their fur can burrow the dog’s skin and cause intense irritation. It results in excessive scratching or biting, which could result in infection or secondary damage to the skin. Typically, these foreign bodies range from fleas and ticks to mites and even fly larvae. 

It is essential to regularly examine your Golden Retriever’s fur and skin to detect any foreign bodies that may have gotten stuck in the coat. If detected, it is important to take your pup to a veterinarian as soon as possible for proper removal and treatment.

✽Dietary Changes 

While diet does not always play a part in causing skin itching and discomfort, it is crucial to ensure your Golden Retriever is given proper nutrition for their breed. Common symptoms that occur due to poor nutrition include excessive shedding, dry skin, dandruff, and hair loss.

If you suspect your Golden Retriever’s diet contributes to their itching and discomfort, consult your veterinarian for advice and dietary suggestions.

These are just a few common skin issues Golden Retrievers can experience, which may cause itching and discomfort.

Reducing Golden Retriever Itching Skin

golden retriever itching skin

Now that you know some of the most common causes of Golden Retriever itching and skin discomfort, it is vital to take precautions to minimize the chances of your pup developing any of these conditions.

#1 – Feed High-quality Food & Avoid Fillers

Providing your pup with the best possible nutrition is one of the essential steps in managing their itching skin. Feeding high-quality dog food with no fillers will ensure that your puppy gets the nutrients they need to stay healthy and itch-free. If your puppy has food sensitivities, try switching to a hypoallergenic diet for dogs with sensitive stomachs. 

#2 – Supplement Skin & Coat Care

Adding supplements and essential fatty acids to your pup’s diet can also help reduce their itching skin. Omega-3 fatty acids are known for their anti-inflammatory properties and can help soothe itchy skin while promoting healthy fur growth. Look for foods high in omega 3’s or supplement with fish oil capsules. Probiotics can also be beneficial for reducing inflammation caused by allergies and boosting overall gut health, which helps build a strong immune system. 

#3 – Bathe Regularly With Gentle Shampoo

Overbathing or using shampoos that contain harsh chemicals can strip away natural oils from the skin, leaving it dry and irritated, which causes more itching. Choose an all-natural, gentle shampoo made specifically for pets that contains moisturizing ingredients like aloe vera, oatmeal, or coconut oil to help soothe itchy skin while keeping it clean and hydrated. Ensure you rinse thoroughly after bathing, as shampoo residue left on the coat will cause further irritation to sensitive skin types. 

#4 – Use Allergy Medications As Needed

If your pup’s itching is severe enough that nothing else seems to work, talk to your vet about using an allergy medication such as Benadryl or Apoquel. These medications should only be used as directed by your vet. They should not be given without first consulting them. Certain medications may interact negatively with other medications your pet may already be taking or may not be suitable for certain breeds of dogs, such as golden retrievers, due to their size or age. 

#5- Reduce Allergens In The Home

Reducing allergens in the home is another critical step in reducing your pup’s itching skin. It may include washing their blankets and bedding regularly, vacuuming often, and using air purifiers or special filters for allergies. Switch to all-natural cleaning products and air fresheners, which can irritate sensitive skin.

#6-Use an Anti-itch Spray or Lotion

Several commercially available anti-itch products can help soothe your dog’s skin. Ask your veterinarian for their recommendation on which product would be best for your dog.

#7- Make Sure Your Dog Is Well-Hydrated

Dry skin is a common cause of itching, so ensuring your dog stays hydrated is important. Offer fresh, clean water at all times, and consider adding a little bit of coconut oil to their food to help keep their skin moisturized from the inside out.

#8- Try Natural Remedies

Several natural ingredients, including aloe vera, chamomile, and oatmeal, have anti-itch properties that may help soothe your dog’s skin. You can find many of these ingredients in over-the-counter products or make them yourself at home with simple recipes found online. 


Immunotherapy has now become more accessible to pet owners. This therapy involves introducing allergens – substances known to cause an allergic reaction – into the Golden Retriever’s body in incremental doses. Helping their immune system build resistance over time.

Immunotherapy is specifically designed to help them tolerate the allergens that are causing discomfort and itching, ultimately eliminating the need for extended medication use and providing long-term relief. You can ask your veterinarian about immunotherapy as a possible way to help manage allergies.

#10- Cyclosporine

Golden Retrievers and other breeds with sensitive skin can benefit from using cyclosporine for treating/managing skin allergies. This commonly prescribed medication decreases the body’s response to allergens causing itching, flaking, and other discomforts. Veterinarians may treat the condition with cyclosporine to improve the animal’s comfort and halt further inflammation. 

The medication often comes as a topical cream or oral capsule, which can then be absorbed into the bloodstream and distributed through circulation. Ultimately, cyclosporine helps to reduce Golden Retriever itching skin associated with allergies for long-term relief.

These are just a few steps to reduce your Golden Retriever’s itching skin. Ultimately, if your pup’s itching persists after trying these approaches, you should consult a veterinarian for further advice and treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are Golden Retrievers most allergic to? 

Golden Retrievers can suffer from allergies just like any other breed of dog or even humans! Many allergens come from airborne particles such as pollen, dust mites, plants, and mold spores. Food-based allergens can be environmental (pesticides on fruits and vegetables) and dietary (ingredients in pet food).

The most common allergens affecting golden retrievers are wheat, dairy products, beef, chicken, and corn. If your golden retriever is prone to allergies. It’s important to identify their sensitivity and avoid those ingredients in their diet. 

Are Golden Retrievers prone to skin issues? 

Yes — this breed is known for having skin issues. Due to its dense coat, making it more susceptible to parasites such as fleas and ticks. It’s essential to regularly inspect your golden retriever’s fur for any signs of irritation or parasites. And then take them to the vet if necessary. Additionally, regular bathing with a mild shampoo will help keep their fur clean and healthy. 

Is it okay to bathe a Golden Retriever once a week? 

Bathing your golden retriever once a week is generally considered safe. If you use the right shampoo for dogs with skin sensitivities. However, you should still limit bathing sessions so as not to strip away essential oils from their fur. Which could lead to skin irritation or dryness. Also, keep in mind that too much bathing can cause your dog’s coat color to fade over time. It is due to frequent exposure to water-soluble dyes in shampoos.  

Can you bathe your Golden Retriever with cold water? 

No — it’s best practice to use lukewarm or warm water when bathing your dog. As cold water can cause shock or discomfort. You should also ensure that you rinse all soap residue completely before toweling dry. Otherwise, its fur may become overly dry, leading to itching or irritation.  

Should you stop your dog from scratching itself? 

Scratching is normal behavior for dogs, but if it starts becoming excessive. There could be an underlying medical issue causing discomfort, such as an allergy or infection. If this happens, you should take your dog to the vet immediately. So that they can determine what might be causing the itching and treat it accordingly. 

Final Words 

Golden Retriever Itching skin is a common problem in these breeds. But it can be managed with the proper treatment and preventative care. Following these steps and consulting your veterinarian can ensure your pup stays comfortable and healthy. Don’t hesitate to talk to a vet if your dog’s itching skin persists or causes other symptoms. Thanks for reading!

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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