Why Do Golden Retrievers Smell?

Pet Care


June 13, 2020

There are a lot of questions new dog owners have. One of the most common questions asked about the Golden retriever is, “Does the Golden retriever smell?”

The short answer is, of course, the Golden retriever can get a bit stinky, just like any other dog breed that has a thick coat of oils on their fur. There will be times when your pal might get a bit odiferous. The good news is that as a pet owner, you can reduce the smell of your Golden retriever by making sure they’re clean. Cleanliness is not only close to godliness, but it’s pretty close to good-smelling dogginess.

The Golden retrievers were originally bred for hunting. Their thick coat is there for a reason: to be water-resistant. The oils in this breed’s skin help them swim for long periods without suffering skin damage. If not bathed properly and at consistent times, bacteria builds up inside the Golden’s coat and can cause an unpleasant smell. This doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with your dog. It just means it’s time for a proper bath. 

Reasons Why a Golden Retriever Might Smell

Needing a bath is only one reason your Golden retriever may be stinky. Here are some other possible reasons for odor: 

  • Ear infections    
    The Golden retriever breed is prone to ear infections. You will be able to tell if your pal has one if you see a warm, red patch or dirt in the ear. Both yeast and bacteria cause dog ear infections and emit a foul smell. These need to be treated with medication. If this repeats itself or becomes a chronic condition, your dog could have an allergy or an under-active thyroid gland.       
  • A skin infection called pyoderma      
    This infection is common in dogs that swim in pools or have allergies. If your Golden has pyoderma, you will notice a pus-filled swelling on the skin and, in some cases, some hair loss. This condition causes doggy odor and needs to be treated with two to six weeks of oral antibiotics.      
  • Your dog is itchy
    The most common areas that are very itchy on a Golden are the armpits and groin. If your dog’s skin looks greasy or has a darker color in these areas, it is safe to assume they have a yeast infection.     
  • Enlarged anal glands     
    If your Golden smells when he lifts his tail, you will want to visit your vet. These glands sometimes become infected.                                                               
  • Food allergies    
    Your Golden’s diet can also cause them to get a bit smelly. If your dog has food allergies, their skin will produce more oils and dandruff, causing itchiness and odor.  

Bathing Your Golden Retriever

When to bath your Golden retriever depends on how active they are. Bathing your dog on a more regular basis is a must if they’re an outside dog or they’re extremely active. The average rule of thumb on bathing this breed is every two weeks, although bathing a Golden once a week is not uncommon. Bathing should never exceed six weeks, even if your dog is older or less active.

Choose one area for bathing the Golden retriever and stick with it. Consistency is important to providing good pet care, and anywhere there is water will be a good place for the dog’s bath. A bathtub is a great place for bathing a Golden, as long as you don’t mind sharing your tub with your dog.

Before bathing your furry companion, take a few minutes to blow off their coat with a hairdryer. This loosens dirt from the skin and gets rid of any loose doggy hair. You can also use an undercoat rake or slicker brush to get rid of excess, loose fur.

The type of shampoo and conditioner to use is also important. You will want to choose a shampoo that won’t dry out your dog’s skin. You will also want to rinse off all of it thoroughly. For Golden retrievers, the best shampoo contains vitamin E and oatmeal. Once their bath is done, use the hairdryer to blow-dry them completely in the direction their fur grows. This helps your dog keep a shiny, straight coat.  

Top 10 Tips to Get Rid of a Golden Retriever’s Odor

While a lot of pet owners are opting for home remedies versus a trip to the vet, the first thing is to identify where your dog’s odor originates. It could be their ears, their breath, or even their tail-end if he is gassy. These all are health-related and need the experience of a vet. But if your dog has a dirty coat or has just run into something pungent in your back yard, say a skunk, you can fix this smelly problem without a trip to the doggy doc. 

  • Find the source of the smell and scrub that spot extra well using an oatmeal shampoo.     
  • If your Golden stays a bit stinky, try testing out a new brand of shampoo and conditioner. Using the same products on your adult Golden as you did when he was a puppy may not be working. Make sure you choose a product that is good for double coats and suitable for use every two weeks.      
  • Brush your Golden’s teeth. Dogs get gum and tooth disease, just like humans. So if your dog’s breath smells like a fart, it is a sure sign their teeth need brushing. A good rule of thumb is to brush their teeth at least three times a week to start. Once your Golden is used to this ritual, you can brush their teeth daily. It will soon become a routine they look forward to.        
  • Brush your dog’s coat more. A Golden retriever should be brushed down every two days to remove loose hair and dirt from their fur. If you are a new pet owner, there are easy-to-follow, step-by-step guidelines on grooming your furry friend.       
  • Change your Golden’s diet. Since “what goes in must come out” is a true saying, your dog’s diet is an important thing to consider if they’re a bit smelly. The cheapest foods are not always the best choice for a Golden retriever because of all the grains and fillers. Grains and cheap fillers cause skin irritation. This can lead to itching, which in turn can lead to odor-causing infections. A poor diet choice can also lead to gassiness. Another thing to avoid is table scraps. Feeding your pooch leftovers is a bad idea and can cause problems for their digestive system.    
  • Clean your dog’s ears. Use flushable wipes to clean out the inside of your Golden’s ears. If you don’t have any wipes, use cotton balls saturated with warm water to remove any dirt inside the ears.   
  • Don’t forget to wash your dog’s bedding. Make sure your dog lives and sleeps in a clean environment. Bedding is easy to overlook, but dogs constantly pick up things on their paws and drag them into their beds. Washing a dog’s bedding in hot water and vinegar or baking soda can successfully neutralize odors.                                                                            
  • Air out your house. Fresh air greatly helps to clean up a smelly area. In summer, it will cool down your dog and help with doggy odors.      
  • Make your pet an outside dog. This tip is for those who cannot bear the thought of a smelly pet or can’t deal with the causes of pet odors. Be sure to make a little retreat for your Goldie with a comfy dog house and room to roam safely.      
  • Last but not least, if all else fails, install an air deodorizer that is built for extinguishing odors from smelly shoes, cooking, and pets.  


There are many reasons why a Golden retriever may smell from time to time. Identifying where the odor comes from is is your first step to helping your best friend smell better. Whichever method you choose to eliminate doggy odors from your home, make sure to give it enough time to know if the changes you’ve introduced are working. Getting rid of eau de dog will make your pet happy and get your home smelling great again, so it’s definitely a win-win.