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Why Is My Golden Retriever Scratching So Much?

If you are like most pet owners, your golden retriever is not just a dog but a part of the family.

When your pet is not feeling the best, it makes you worry and feel unhappy.

It is critical that you care for your golden retriever and pay special attention to its specific needs.

They are highly susceptible to concerns such as skin conditions.

If you know what to pay attention to, you may be able to prevent your furry friend from going crazy with scratching.

Reasons Why Golden Retrievers Scratch So Much

Food Allergies

A common issue for golden retrievers is allergies to food.

A typical cause of food allergies is caused by animal protein, such as beef or chicken.

Golden retrievers may also be allergic to foods such as corn, milk, and eggs.

Animal-based ingredients are thought to be responsible for about three times more food allergies than plant-based ingredients.

These foods include rabbit, pork, lamb, fish, chicken, dairy, egg, and beef.

While food allergies cause skin problems, they may also cause gastrointestinal and stomach issues.

A food allergy for dogs can develop at any time.

If you are struggling to determine what is causing their allergy problems, it could be the food. 

Environmental Allergies

Many breeds of dogs, including golden retrievers, suffer as a result of allergens.

Goldens have thick coats, which makes it difficult to spot the items that irritate your dog.

It is common for their thick coat to hide skin reactions they may be having.

Golden retrievers suffer from atomic dermatitis.

This is a genetic condition that impacts some of these dogs.

It can cause inflammation.

Grass, dust, and tree pollen may be the cause of this condition.

When your dog has these problems, they may scratch have lesions or hot spots. 

If this condition is left untreated, it can cause eczema and infection.

When you see any of these issues, you should visit your vet to have a conversation about your concerns. 

golden retriever in forest

Hot Spots

Golden retrievers store a large amount of heat beneath their undercoat.

Their undercoat is water-resistant and thick, which is ideal for protecting them.

However, it does have its drawbacks.

When it gets wet, it keeps their undercoat humid and moist, which is not a great environment for their skin.

When this occurs, you may see your golden retriever may scratch and groom a lot more than usual.

Hot spots are common for goldens.

When they get hot spots, patches of skin can be swollen and inflamed.

Hot spots may cause your dog to itch and have painful spots.

They may even fill with liquid or pus. 


Parasites can be a real problem for dogs, in general.

Golden retrievers are susceptible to skin conditions which make them even more likely to fall victim to parasites.

One of the most common parasites that cause problems for golden retrievers is fleas.

If your pet has parasites, it will itch a lot.

In addition, you can typically see brown shapes or dust moving across your dog’s skin.

These are fleas.

If they are on your pet, they may be in your home, on your furniture, and impact other pets in the home. 

Ticks are much harder to spot on your pet.

One of the symptoms may be large scabs on your pet’s skin.

If these conditions go without treatment, they can cause disease.

These diseases may include canine Lyme disease, rocky mountain spotted fever, or canine ehrlichiosis.

Symptoms of these problems include excessive drinking, appetite, and fever.

Your pet may also have organ failure or extreme pain. 

What To Do For A Scratching Golden Retriever

golden retriever being petted

When your pet has skin allergies, one of the first things you should do is give your golden a bath every four weeks.

It can calm down the itchiness your pet feels.

However, you want to ensure that you do not bathe your pet too often.

It can strip the essential oils from your pet’s skin which may cause its skin to dry out.

If giving baths to your golden does not help, you should talk to your vet.

After you let your pet out, you should wipe your pet down with a damp cloth.

This helps to remove some of the allergens from the skin and coat. 

If your pet has hot spots, you can treat it at home if it is a mild case.

If your pet has more severe hot spots, you should contact your vet right away.

At home, you can give your pet a gentle bath with oatmeal shampoo.

Keep in mind these hot spots may be sore, which is why you want to be careful.

After you rinse off all of the shampoo, you want to blow them dry.

Anytime your pet is out in the rain or swimming, you should dry them off.

The undercoat of your golden retriever should not stay damp for too long. 

When it comes to parasites, the best thing you can do is use a tick repellent for your dog.

You want to ensure your dog has grooming sessions on a regular basis.

In addition, you should check the fur and skin of your pet after they are outside.

Tick and flea prevention medication works well to kill parasites.

This can stop parasites from grabbing onto their coat in the first place. 

Topical treatments are the easiest and most effective to use.

You can apply these treatments to the skin of your pet.

It then spreads throughout your pet’s system.

This treatment builds up in the oil glands and flows out to your dog’s coat over 30 days.

It is critical to talk to your vet before you start a new medical protocol. 

Final Word

There are a number of irritants that may cause your pet to start itching.

They have a thick undercoat that makes their skin vulnerable to issues.

This becomes a larger problem when they get and stay wet.

The moisture gets trapped and causes skin issues.

If you pay attention constantly and check your dog, you may be able to prevent more extensive skin problems.

You want to ensure that you are talking to your vet about any problems that your pet may have. 

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National Canine Research Association of America