Common Golden Retriever Skin Issues (and How to Alleviate Them!)
Category_Dog Knowledge

Golden Retriever Allergies & Skin Allergy Guide

by Wes Chang

Are you worried about your golden retriever's skin?

We all want to make sure we look after our puppy pals, so seeing them in any distress can be very upsetting. Golden retrievers are susceptible to certain skin conditions, but if you know what to look out for, you can keep these at bay.

Read on for our complete guide to common golden retriever skin issues. And advice on how to reduce the symptoms.

Common Environmental Allergies For Golden Retrievers

Golden retrievers, and most other breeds, can suffer from skin allergies and allergen agents. What makes it difficult to spot in golden retrievers though, is their thick coat. It can actually hide any skin reactions they have.

Atopic dermatitis is a genetic condition that can affect some golden retrievers. It causes them to develop inflammation and reactions to things like:

  • Grasses
  • Tree pollen
  • Dust

To spot an allergic reaction in golden retrievers, there are some symptoms to look out for. Keep an eye out for:

  • Hot spots
  • Lesions
  • Scratching
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If left, this can result in infections or eczema forming. So, if you spot anything like the above, it's important you speak to your vet. You want to try to narrow down what's caused the issues and start treatment.

The first thing you can do to treat skin allergies is to bath your golden retriever on a regular basis. Every 4 or so weeks should be good for most golden's.

This will help relieve the itchiness. Be careful not to bathe them too often or you'll strip the skin of essential oils and dry out the skin further. If after a monthly bath your golden retriever is still itchy, talk with your vet.

When your golden retriever goes out, wipe them down with a damp cloth after. This will remove any allergens (or as much as possible) from their coat and skin.

golden retriever at the beach

That thick coat is beautiful - but is also vulnerable to skin irriations

Food Allergies For Golden Retrievers

Another common issues for golden retrievers is food allergies. The cause of most food allergies in any type of dog usually is animal protein. This includes chicken or beef. But some many also get allergies to things like milk, eggs and corn.

A recent study revealed that animal-based ingredients (beef, dairy, chicken, lamb, egg, pork, fish, and rabbit) were responsible for over 3 times the amount of food allergy cases in dogs than plant-based ingredients.

Beyond causing skin issues, food allergies can also cause other problems such as upset stomach and other gastrointestinal issues.

If you think your dog is having an allergic reaction but can't pinpoint the cause, it's likely their food. Food allergies can develop at any stage. It's not something your golden retriever had to have been born with. So even if you haven't changed their food, don't rule it out.

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Hot Spots From Skin Allergies

Due to their thick, water-resistant undercoat, golden retrievers store a lot of heat. If wet, it can also keep a very moist, humid environment next to their skin. A lot of golden retriever parents will see their dogs scratching and grooming a lot.

Hot spots are a very common issue for golden retrievers. These are patches of skin that get inflamed and swollen. They will cause itching, and can be painful. Sometimes, they may even fill with puss or liquid.

For severe cases, immediate veterinarian attention. But, in most milder cases, you can treat it at home. You need to wash the area using an oatmeal-based shampoo. But be gentle and careful, as this may be sore for your dog.

Once washed and rinsed, make sure you blow dry them after. After swimming or being out in the rain, make sure you dry them off. Don't let your golden retriever's undercoat stay damp for too long.

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Parasites & Skin Issues

Parasites can cause problems for any dog, but for a breed already susceptible, it can be even worse. Fleas are one of the most common things behind golden retriever skin issues.

Much like allergies, they will cause your dog to itch a lot. But a telltale sign is brown dust or brown shapes moving across your dog's skin. They can infest your home too, spreading to other pets and living in soft furnishings.

Unlike fleas, ticks are a little harder to spot. Sometimes, you may notice large scabs which you may notice. If untreated, ticks can cause diseases such as:

  • Rocky mountain spotted fever
  • Canine lyme disease
  • Canine ehrlichiosis

Most of these will show up as a loss of appetite, fever and excessive drinking. In some cases, your golden retriever may show extreme pain or even organ failure. Benadryl for dogs can be beneficial for helping with minor temporary allergy symptoms.

The best thing to do to prevent this is give your dog tick repellent. And make sure you check their skin and fur as part of your regular grooming sessions.

The best treatment for fleas and ticks is prevention. Depending on what type you use, flea and tick prevention medication can kill existing critters. They also stop them from taking hold in the first place. There is a wide range available to suit any dog and their needs.

The easiest are topical treatments. You apply these on the skin and it will spread into the system through translocation. This is where the solution accumulates in the oil glands. This then flows out to coat your dog's fur over a period of 30 days.

Before you start any new flea and tick prevention medication, always consult your vet. And get your products from them. Not only can you assure quality, your vet will also keep you on schedule. Most will send you reminders when your dog's next treatment is due.

Golden Retriever Skin Issues Made Easy

So there you have it! Now that you know these common golden retriever skin issues, you know what to look out for.

Thick undercoats make golden retrievers very vulnerable to skin issues. Especially if they remain wet. Trapped moisture and a natural disposition for skin issues can be a disaster. The key is to be vigilant and make sure you're checking your dog on a regular basis.

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