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Do Golden Retrievers Smell?

Do Golden Retrievers Smell?

A Golden Retriever’s smart, playful, and gentle nature makes them a joy and pleasure to have around in any household. But, just like with any other dog breed, they can be susceptible to developing a bad odor that lingers when dirt and bacteria build up in their coat.

Fortunately, getting rid of bad dog smells is usually as simple as keeping up with regular hygiene routines. But sometimes, a foul smell may be more complicated to resolve, meaning that your Golden Retriever may need to pay a visit to the vet.

In this article, we discuss what may cause a Golden Retriever to smell and what can be done to prevent potential odor issues.

Do Golden Retrievers Have a Distinct Odor?

Yes, your Golden Retriever will most likely have a distinct “doggy” odor. A lot of the reason for this has to do with genetics and hygiene.

Golden Retrievers naturally produce skin oils that help keep their coat healthy and shiny. The oils also help to protect the skin from environmental irritants and keep it moisturized. However, when Golden Retrievers start producing an excessive amount of these oils, they can start to smell bad.

These natural oils usually collect in moist areas and skin folds. Moist areas include their tail, mouth, and ears. Skin folds include areas such as their long floppy ears. Besides the smell, moisture collection can also cause a yeast infection.

Another reason that causes them to smell bad is because of their double coats. A double coat is made up of two layers: an inner layer of soft, downy hair, called the undercoat, and an outer layer of longer, coarser hair, called the topcoat.

Because a double coat is so dense, it is typical that bad smells get trapped and kept close to them. This is why dirt, debris, and dead hair that collects in their coat needs to be brushed out regularly.

Grooming and Maintaining a Golden Retriever’s Coat

By now, you know that Golden Retrievers smell bad because of the oils, dirt, and bacteria that get stuck in their coat. Therefore, an easy fix to the bad smell is regular grooming and bathing. This will also help keep their skin and hair healthy and clean.

You can groom your Golden Retriever by brushing its coat with a slicker brush or a metal comb to work through any tangles or mats in the coat. Start at the head and work your way down the body, taking care to be gentle around sensitive areas like the ears and legs.

To bathe your Golden Retriever, fill a tub or sink with warm water and wet your dog’s coat. Use a dog-specific shampoo and work it through the coat, being careful to avoid the eyes and ears. Rinse the coat thoroughly and then dry your dog with a towel or a blow dryer on a low heat setting.

Your Golden Retriever may dread grooming and bathing sessions. Some Golden Retrievers hate anything to do with hygiene. That’s why it’s important to make it a positive experience. This can be done by rewarding your Golden Retriever with some treats or playtime after grooming and bathing.

Bacterial and Yeast Infections in Golden Retrievers

Golden Retrievers are usually protected against skin infections thanks to their double coat. Their coat gives them some natural protection against irritations. Even so, they are prone to certain types of infections, such as yeast and bacterial infections.

An ear infection is very common in Golden Retrievers. Ear infections happen when a lot of moisture collects in the ear canal, an environment that is conducive to infection. You’ll know if your Golden Retriever has an ear yeast infection if they are itching and scratching at the ears and if they flinch or yelp when their ears are touched.

You can prevent ear yeast infections in Golden Retrievers by regularly cleaning their ears and keeping them dry. If you know or suspect that your Golden Retriever already has an ear yeast infection, make sure to have them examined by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Although ear infections are the most common in Golden Retrievers, this is not the only place infections can occur. Just like other dogs, Golden Retrievers can get something known as “moist dermatitis” which develops in spots on their head, neck, legs, and hips. Moist dermatitis can often cause a musty odor if not treated.

Anal Glands and Unpleasant Odors

Golden Retrievers smell bad when they develop issues with their anal glands. The anal glands, also known as anal sacs, are two small glands located on either side of the anus. The glands produce a smelly, oily substance used for marking territory and communication among dogs.

Anal gland issues can secrete a strong and fishy odor. You’ll know if your Golden Retriever has anal gland issues if they are scooting, licking their rear end a lot, having discomfort while walking or sitting, and if there is redness and swelling around the anus.

If your Golden Retriever experiences this, call your veterinarian. Your vet can help with expressing, or in other words, emptying, the glands. This will help resolve the odor and take your dog out of its discomfort.

Do Golden Retrievers Smell if there’s an Underlying Health Issue?

Yes, there are a few medical conditions that may make Golden Retrievers smell bad.

If this is the case, you should be able to notice other symptoms relating to the condition besides the smell. Other symptoms could give you a better indication of whether your dog needs medical attention or not.

Kidney disease, liver disease, and other internal issues can produce a distinctive odor in Golden Retrievers, just as in other dogs. Additionally, certain medical conditions such as diabetes, Cushing’s disease, or certain types of cancer can also cause an odor.

Dental issues can also cause an unpleasant dog odor. Dogs smell when they have tartar buildup above and below their gums. This causes nasty bacteria to grow and can cause medical issues such as gingivitis, periodontal disease, abscesses, and lost teeth.

If your Golden Retriever has a medical condition that is causing them to smell bad, it will need medical treatment from a trained veterinarian. Medications and other therapies can help resolve the underlying problems along with the bad smell.

What More Can Be Done to Combat a Golden Retriever’s Smell?

You can manage your Golden Retriever’s smell by keeping a clean living space. When your dog’s living area is clean and fresh, it’s less likely for bad smells to develop and spread. This can include washing your dog’s bedding and toys regularly and cleaning their crate or kennel.

You could also use odor-reducing products. There are a variety of products available such as odor-neutralizing sprays, shampoos, and deodorizing products specifically designed for use on dogs. Using these on your Golden Retriever’s coat and in their living area could help a lot with unpleasant odors.

Your Golden Retriever’s diet can be another contributing factor as to why they smell bad. Feeding your dog high-quality, balanced dog food can help improve the health of their skin and coat, which can reduce odor. Some dogs may also benefit from supplements such as omega-3 fatty acids, which can help improve the condition of their skin and coat.

Also, pay attention to whether or not your Golden Retriever may have food allergies. When your dog is allergic to its food, this can cause excessive oil secretion, leading to a musty odor. Some symptoms of food allergies in dogs include skin itching, diarrhea, and vomiting after eating food.


How often should Golden Retrievers be bathed?

Golden Retrievers should be bathed at least once every 6-8 weeks. However, this depends on several factors, such as their activity level, environment, and skin condition.

Do Golden Retrievers smell bad compared to other dog breeds?

Golden Retrievers do not have a particularly strong odor compared to some other dog breeds. Like all dogs, they do have a natural “dog smell,” but this is not something that they’re notoriously known for.

Why does my Golden Retriever smell like fish?

Golden Retrievers usually smell like fish when there is an overgrowth of bacteria in the dog’s coat. This condition is called seborrhea. It is caused by a variety of things including diet, genetics, or certain medical conditions.

Why does my Golden Retriever’s breath smell bad?

Golden Retrievers can have bad breath when there is plaque and tartar buildup on their teeth and along their gum line. More serious causes include gum disease, such as gingivitis. In both cases, Golden Retrievers need to have a dental checkup at the vet and have their teeth professionally cleaned if necessary.

Final Thoughts

To conclude, your Golden Retriever may have a bad smell for a few reasons. Skin infections will cause a bad odor because of a build-up of bacteria. An ear infection is also very common when it comes to bacterial infections, and could be another reason why your dog smells. Blocked anal glands, underlying health issues, unhygienic living areas, and poor diet could also be to blame.

Be sure to visit our homepage to find out more about Golden Retrievers and other dog breeds.