Best 8 Shampoos and Grooming Items for Golden Retrievers

When it comes to our golden retrievers, we only want the best them, including their shampoo and grooming items. Because of their thick coats, golden retrievers take a lot of grooming to stay as beautiful as possible.

What are the top three best shampoos for golden retrievers?

  1. Oatmeal and Aloe Earthbath All Natural Pet Shampoo
  2. Earth Bath All Natural Coat Brightening Pet Shampoo
  3. PET CARE Sciences 5-in-1 Dog Shampoo

Golden retrievers are beautiful dogs that require some special care. It isn’t hard, but it can take some time. We’ll even look into some time-saving options so you both can spend less time hunched over the bathtub and more time outside playing together.

The Best Shampoos for Golden Retrievers

There are some special points you want to look for in your golden retriever’s shampoo. Here’s a quick overview of those before we get into the shampoos.

  • You want shampoo specifically for longhaired dogs. First off, make sure it’s for dogs, not your daily shampoo. And secondly, they should be options for longhaired dogs versus shorthaired dogs.
  • Look for something intended for thick coats. Golden retrievers have a thick, double coat, which can require special shampoo to cut through.
  • Don’t forget to keep it soft! Their outer coat can get a rough feeling, which is perfect for when they’re out in the wild, but not for the family dog who likes to cuddle. Look for something that will moisturize but not make it too heavy.
  • Avoid artificial colors and fragrances. This is directly linked with skin issues, cancer, and organ damage. The one exception is…
  • You may want a brightening shampoo. If your dog frequently stains himself, you may want to invest in a brightening shampoo. You should still avoid fragrances and look for more natural brightening options. Read down to find our suggestion.
  • Consider your dog’s special needs. Many golden retrievers suffer from allergies, dry skin, and dandruff. If your dog has any of these, make sure to consider them when purchasing his shampoo!

Ingredients to Look for In Your Golden Retriever’s Shampoo

There are a few ingredients proven to help your dog’s coat and skin stay soft and taken care of. Different combinations of these are found in each of the shampoos listed. If you want to look into any of them further, each has at least one link to an article further exploring it.

  • Just as oatmeal is good for our skin, it’s good for your pet’s skin. It helps soothe itchiness and calms down any skin irritation, even any normally caused by a bath. You must have oatmeal in your dog’s shampoo if he suffers allergies or dry skin.

To explore the science behind it, read this article by Ruff Ideas, which is written by experienced vets.

You may be wondering, “what if my dog eats the shampoo?” This is a great dog parent question for everything, of course, so here’s an article from petMD, which is vet authored, listing the benefits of dogs eating oatmeal.

  • Aloe Vera. Everyone has heard that aloe vera is great for your skin, but did you know it’s good for your dog’s too? Aloe vera works as an anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory, leaving skin feeling soothed and nourished.

Aloe vera plants themselves are poisonous, however, so don’t leave any kind of straight aloe vera gel or an aloe vera leaf where your dog can eat it. However, a small amount won’t hurt them. Read this article by the Seattle Times with a licensed vet on the toxicity of aloe vera.

For more information on the benefits of aloe vera on your pets, go to Dogs First’s article on it.

  • Lavender and other essential oils. Be careful here, as some are toxic to dogs, but included in pet shampoos. Some essential oils are safe for dogs when applied topically, but shouldn’t be ingested. And with others, it depends on the amount.

Essential oils and our pets can get confusing and dangerous. You want to make sure you go to a good source when reading about them, or else you’ll get bad advice.

 To read all about essential oils and their possible uses for dogs, read up on them through the North American Essential Oil and Aromatherapy Experts’ website. This is a reliable source to keep up-to-date on the newest in essential oils and your pet’s research.

Now, we’ll move into the top three shampoos for golden retrievers. These are the best for your typical golden retriever, even ones with mild skin and coat conditions.

Top 3 Overall Best Shampoos for Golden Retrievers

If your dog has special needs you already know of, there’s a section under here just for you. If your goldie is pretty typical or even has a couple of special things, one of these should work for you and your golden retriever.

  1. Oatmeal and Aloe Earthbath All Natural Pet Shampoo

This shampoo is listed as the best of them all because it will work wonderfully on 9 out of 10 golden retrievers, if not more. It’s a great place to start if you aren’t sure what specifics your golden retriever may need, or if you have a lot of animals who need bathing.

This is one of the internet’s favorite pet shampoos for anything and everything, including your golden retriever especially. It’s all-natural, pH-balanced, and soap-free, which should keep your dog from having any kind of bad reaction.

It contains oatmeal and aloe vera, which we’ve already discovered are great for your pet’s skin. This is a typical combination suggested by vets to keep your pet’s coat from being dry and itchy. The shampoo is, however, lightly scented, which may cause flare-ups for extremely sensitive skin.


  • Contains oatmeal and aloe vera
  • All-natural, pH-balanced, soap-free
  • Can be used on different animals as well
  • Has a very light fragrance, which can cause skin irritation for extremely sensitive dogs, but is food-grade extracts
  1. Earth Bath All Natural Coat Brightening Pet Shampoo

 Now, if you need serious coat whitening, that’s down in the specialty section. However, if your golden retriever just likes an occasional roll in the mud or has sensitive skin, this should work just fine for you. If it doesn’t, check out Makondo Pet’s Dog Whitening Shampoo in the section below.

This one uses lavender, which is also proven to help heal skin irritants and have a calming aroma. It works with natural minerals, called optical brighteners, to brighten your pup’s coat.

If you have a very dark golden retriever and want to keep him that way, you may want to keep looking. This one isn’t a heavy-duty coat brightener, but it may fade your deep gold retriever.


  • Contains natural lighteners
  • Has lavender, to calm skin and provide a calming aroma
  • It’s all-natural, like all their shampoos
  • Can be used on other animals as well, but beware the lightening effect if you don’t want it
  1. PET CARE Sciences 5-in-1 Dog Shampoo

If you don’t have time to spend hours shampooing, conditioning, and possibly moisturizing or deodorizing your golden retriever, go for this simple option.

The five different steps combined into it, according to PET CARE Sciences’ Amazon listing for it are:

  • “Washing.” As a shampoo, of course, it accomplishes this!
  • “Deodorizing.” Again, this should come in a shampoo.
  • “Anti-knots formula with natural oils.” This is an intense conditioner for your dog’s coat to prevent knotting and…
  • “Hydration of the scalp.” This is the second effect of the intense conditioner they use and will help your dog’s dry skin.
  • “Keeping the hair stunning.” This is the promise of a soft, silky coat for you to run your hands over.

These hit pretty much everything a pet parent is looking for in a shampoo and conditioner. However, some pet parents find their dog’s coat does better with separate shampoo and conditioners.

This option is also no sulfate, parabens, phosphate, MEA, or DEA.  If you think it may work for you, give it a try!


  • All-natural ingredients, free from palm oil, manufactured in the United States
  • Offers the hydration of a conditioner without the added step of it
  • Makes it easier to keep your dog’s coat condition
  • Works to clean and deodorize your dog, which is important if he took a roll in something outside

Best Specialty Golden Retriever Shampoos

If your golden retriever has special needs, be it a skin condition or a love for mud, we’ve collected some special shampoos for you. These range from:

  • Brightening shampoo
  • Shampoo for sensitive skin
  • Shampoo for dandruff
  • Moisturizing shampoo for dry skin
  • Heavy-duty shampoo

Read through to see if you find any that may suit your dog better than the top three shampoos for golden retrievers.

The Best Brightening Shampoo for Golden Retrievers

Makondo Pet’s Dog Whitening Shampoo

Brightening shampoos can be a necessity to have a clean looking dog, especially with light goldies. However, brightening shampoos can contain chemicals responsible for skin irritations, burns, and dry skin and coat. This one is natural, promising a completely safe bath.

It uses a unique combination of all-natural ingredients, including lemon, tea tree oil, and aloe vera, to brighten the coat versus traditional, bleach-like ingredients. These also leave a nice, natural fragrance.

It has no dye in it, so you don’t need to worry about harmful additives like that. Makonda has been considered one of the most qualified health care companies, so you can trust them to take care of your fur baby.

The Best Shampoo for Your Golden Retriever with Sensitive Skin

Pro Pet Works All Natural Oatmeal Dog Shampoo + Conditioner

 Many dogs suffer from sensitive skin. This can be caused by dry skin, allergies, or any number of other things. If your dog’s skin seems to become extra itchy or break out in a rash from other shampoos, give this one a try.

 If your goldie’s skin just can’t seem to handle anything, try this shampoo and conditioner combo. It’s vet-recommended, hypoallergenic, and soap-free. Nothing in this shampoo and conditioner should cause your golden retriever’s sensitive skin to flare up and cause him distress.

This one contains oatmeal and aloe, like the Oatmeal and Aloe Earthbath All Natural Pet Shampoo, but also has added vitamin E for their skin and coat. It has:

  • No sulfates
  • No alcohol
  • No added color
  • No harsh chemicals
  • No added fragrance

 This is all because it’s another all-natural shampoo, meaning it should be safe for any skin sensitivities your golden retriever may have. As we already discussed, oatmeal works to calm and soothe sensitive or irritated skin. Aloe vera is great at healing damaged skin as well and works with vitamin E to restore and protect their skin against further damage or irritation.

This one also contained vitamins A and D, for their overall coat health. It also has almond oil in it for a light, natural fragrance as well as an extra moisturizer.


  • All-natural, without sulfates, alcohol, added color or fragrance, or harsh chemicals.
  • It contains oatmeal, vitamins A, D, and E, and aloe vera.
  • Hypo-allergenic, vet-recommended
  • Soap and detergent free, but deodorizes your dog well
  • Makes their coat soft and shiny

The Best Shampoo for Your Golden Retriever with Dandruff

Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Antiparasitic and Antiseborrheic Medicated Shampoo for Dogs

This shampoo is specifically designed for hard to get rid of dandruff. It contains coal tar, salicylic acid, and micronized sulfur to help deal with dandruff caused by issues other than simply dry skin or poor diet. It’s formulated and tested extensively by vets, so you know it’s safe to use on your goldie.

However, because it is medicated, it’s recommended you don’t use it before 12 weeks of age, as the medication levels in it are too high for a puppy’s sensitive skin and the pH balance is for dogs older than 12 weeks. It’s also solely for dogs and horses, unlike many others on this list.

It’s still paraben, dye, and soap-free. There’s no added fragrance, and though it does have a smell once you open it, it’s from the ingredients used to formulate the shampoo. It’s recommended you use it 2-3 times a week until conditions begin to improve. After that, you can cut back on how often you use it.


  • Vet tested and formulated for your dog’s medical needs
  • Paraben, dye, soap, and added fragrance-free
  • Medicated to quickly deal with dandruff not caused by simple dry skin
  • Created to deal with dermatitis, mange, seborrhea, parasitic, and bacterial infections and dandruff caused by these conditions
  • Offers hydration and moisturizing even after treatment to help your dog deal with his itchy skin

When you can’t rid of your dog’s dandruff, you may need to switch from all-natural shampoos to a medicated one. For more information on doggie dandruff, read below.

Why Does My Golden Retriever Have Dandruff?

We usually think of dandruff as a human issue, but dogs commonly suffer from it too. It’s messy, itchy, and irritating for you and your dog. It’s commonly just caused by dry skin or allergies, which may be quickly taken care of by a moisturizing shampoo like the one below this.

When it comes to dandruff, if you can’t get rid of it by a moisturizing shampoo, you’ll probably have to break away from the all-natural shampoos and go for something medicated. This is because not all dandruff is caused by simple allergies or dry skin. It can also be caused by:

  • Seborrhea
  • Cheyletiella Mites
  • Bacterial and Fungal Skin Infections of many kinds

If you’re interested in more about doggie dandruff, check out this article by Petful, written by vets themselves.

The Best Moisturizing Shampoo for Your Golden Retriever with Dry Skin

Natural Oatmeal Dog-Shampoo and Conditioner

 If your golden retriever seems to have dry, damaged skin, you need something with some serious hydrating moisturizers to heal him up. Dry skin can lead to itching, dandruff, and general distress for your goldie. If you’ve tried the Oatmeal and Aloe Earthbath All Natural Pet Shampoo and your golden retriever is still experiencing dry skin, try this.

This shampoo and conditioner is medicated to help treat some of the causes of dry skin but is also vegan and organic, made with quality ingredients. It has the double-decker of hydration and healing, aloe and oatmeal, for your dog’s needs. It also has coconut and jojoba oils to help with moisturizing.

This shampoo uses a unique combination of essential oils to help hydrate and treat your dog’s coat. It also includes shea butter and rosemary, known moisturizers for your dog’s coat. All of this combined also deodorizes your dog’s coat, leaving him smelling clean and fresh.


  • Medicated for dealing with some medical causes of dry skin
  • Vegan and cruelty-free as well as organically all natural
  • Has no added fragrances, but ingredients used leaves a pleasant, light scent
  • Uses oatmeal, aloe, shea butter, and rosemary to moisturize your skin, as well as many other oils
  • Uses essential oils to help treat your dog’s skin and coat

The Best Heavy-Duty Shampoo for Your Golden Retriever

Veterinary Formula Solutions Triple Strength Dirty Dog Concentrated Shampoo

Your golden retriever, who you love dearly, loves mud. And dirt, grass, and everything stinky. You need something that will knock out not just his stains, like a brightening shampoo will, but also the stench he’s managed to collect on himself.

This triple-strength shampoo is vet tested and recommended. When your golden retriever comes in coated in mud, you can use the same amount you’d use with regular shampoo and have more than triple the cleaning power.

If your dog hasn’t coated himself in mud and nastiness, you can use significantly less to deal with just regular bath time than you would with other shampoos. However, don’t use this one on your goldie with sensitive skin, as it can cause skin irritations to pop up.

It even offers a DirtRepell formula, which promises to keep dirt off your pup’s coat even after a bath. This makes it easier next time you have to clean him up.


  • Triple strength cleaning power takes care of all your heavy-duty needs
  • Vet tested and recommended
  • pH balanced to not strip the coat of natural oils
  • Deodorizes very effectively for when they smell bad
  • Promise to help repel dirt even after a bath

Tips on How to Bathe Your Golden Retriever

Now that you have the perfect shampoo for your golden retriever’s needs, you have to actually get him into the tub to be bathed. Here are a few tips to make the bath time fun and relaxing for you both.

  • Gather your bathing set before you bring your golden retriever in to be bathed. Make sure and do this first so you aren’t caught with a wet pup and shampoo in the other room.

Your bathing set for your golden retriever means his shampoo, lots of towels, a scrubby brush, a shower or outside faucet, and you dressed in some old clothes you can get wet. Make sure you’re prepared in case he tries to make a run from it from the tub!

  • Brush your golden retriever’s hair before you bathe him. This is another thing that’s important to do before you bathe him. It’ll be easier to detangle any snags or knots if he’s dry rather than when he’s wet and slippery.
  • Protect his eyes during bath time. This doesn’t mean an eye mask, though it would be adorable. But when you’re lathering him up, be careful of his eyes. Avoid getting any soap or water in them.
  • Praise him through the experience. If you have a puppy, this is key for you. Praising a dog through the experience of getting a bath can make them more likely to enjoy them, or at least tolerate them.
  • Reward him afterward. He was probably confused, scared, and cold through his bath, so make sure and reward him for his troubles. His favorite treats or a special dinner are both great ways to do so.

What Else Do I Need for Grooming My Golden Retriever?

You may be wondering what else you may need to keep your golden retriever looking his best. We’ve compiled a list for just that, starting with what he’ll need in the bath and following through his entire grooming checklist.

  1. A slicker brush like this one from Hertzko. This one is loved by reviewers and their pets, but there are a lot more just like it.

 Why? A slicker brush gets the top coat’s mats and tangles worked out while the rake gets the undercoat’s tangles. You should use this one first, as it works through the first layer of hair, leaving it easier for the rake to get to the bottom without snagging.

How often? You should use the slicker brush at least two to three times a week. This is should be more or the same as much as you use your undercoat rake. You shouldn’t be using your undercoat rake before or without your slicker brush.

  1. An undercoat rake like this one by Pat Your Pet. This one both removes mats of hair and rakes their undercoat, but you can find simpler ones that just rake.

Why? Golden retrievers, like other longhaired dogs, have both what we call an outer coat and a thicker undercoat. Without the proper brush, you won’t be able to get down to the undercoat, which can become matted and dirty, causing skin irritation and smell.

How often? It’s recommended to be done between every 2-4 days, depending on your dog and your life. Life gets busy, and it gets forgotten occasionally. However, you have to do it at least twice a week on average for your goldie to have a nice undercoat.

  1. Nail clippers for your golden retriever like this pair.


A nail grinder for your golden retriever like this one.

Why? Whether you use nail clippers or a grinder, you should keep your golden retriever’s claws in check with some way to shorten them. If you don’t, you risk your dog’s nails growing too long and hurting him.

For certain dogs, you may not have to worry about their claws growing too long. It all depends on the individual dog and people and location. If you have any concerns about trimming your dog’s nails, consult your vet.

How often? Every 1-2 months is a good estimate, or when you notice their nails clicking against the floor noticeably. Because it isn’t super frequent, you can take them to the groomers for this service for a small fee.

  1. A clipper set to keep him trimmed up, like this set.

Why? This one isn’t necessary if you take your dog to the groomer unless you want to keep him touched up. If you are going to keep him trimmed up regularly, you want to invest in a good set.

How often? Because it’s optional, how often you use the clipper set is completely up to you. Whenever you see him starting to look a little shaggy, pull them out.

  1. Bathtub scrubby brush like this one. This one comes with a unique “fur catcher” that sits under the bristles, and after you’re done grooming, you can push all the fur you’ve collected in the bristles right off and into the trash can.

 This is another one that’s optional. You may choose to not use a scrubby brush on your golden retriever and that’s fine!

Why? This helps you get into all the layers of their fur. Just as a massaging brush can be great to get down to your scalp, this can help you clean their skin under their coat.

How often? Only as often as you bathe your dog, which can range from four to two times a month, or even more, if your dog is stinky, or less if he suffers dry skin or a bathing phobia.

Best 8 Shampoos and Grooming Items for Golden Retrievers

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