Why Does My Golden Retriever Have Dry Skin and 7 Ways to Treat It

There are many things that make golden retrievers special such as their big brown eyes that you can’t resist, their playful and fun nature, and their beautiful golden fur.

Even though it takes a lot of effort to keep that golden fur healthy and shiny and to avoid any shedding, but it’s all worth it.

I am doing everything that I can to keep them healthy but lately, I have noticed that their skin looks really dry, so I looked it up, and here’s the short answer;

Why does my golden retriever have dry skin? Golden Retrievers’ skin is prone to dryness and they make it worse by scratching, licking, and biting. Dry skin could also be an indication of a bigger issue such as infections, allergies, cancer, autoimmune disorders, or parasites. If you notice that your dog has dry skin, take them to the vet.

Dry skin can be a very serious issue. To learn more about the symptoms and what could cause dry skin, keep on reading.

5 Possible Causes Your Golden Retriever Have Dry Skin 

Photo of golden retriever looking into distance to illustrate why does my golden retriever have dry skin

Here are some possible causes for your golden retriever’s skin dryness

  1. Allergies
  2. Metabolic diseases
  3. Parasites
  4. Cancer
  5. infections


Dogs can have an allergic reaction just like us, and not just towards foods. They can have seasonal allergies, environmental allergies, and food allergies.

So the allergic reaction could be from grass, dust, fleas, pollen, grain, animal dander, and feathers.

The flea allergy is an allergic reaction towards the flea saliva, it’s really common for dogs to have a skin disorder because of that.

You can avoid this from happening by making sure that your home is flees-free and groom your dog daily to keep them clean from fleas, also, you can ask your vet for shampoo or any treatment for these allergies. The last treatment will be allergy shots.

The allergic reaction symptoms can be

  • Dry skin
  • Red eyes
  • Itching
  • redness
  • Sneezing
  • Runny and stuffy nose

Also, dry skin could be a symptom of inflammation. Golden retrievers with sensitive skin are more prone to dry skin and allergies, and you can learn more about your golden retriever’s sensitive skin here.

Metabolic diseases

There are two Metabolic diseases that are associated with dry skin, one; hypothyroidism, and two: Cushing’s diseases. In these diseases, there are some common symptoms such as:

  • Dry skin
  • Brittle hair
  • Skin infections
  • Scaling
  • Weight gain
  • Hair loss
  • Reduced ability to tolerate the cold
  • Reduced activity.

Any systemic disorders should be taken seriously so if some of these symptoms appear on your dog take them to the vet. 


The reason for dry skin could be parasites as canine scabies, cheyletiellosis, Demodex mite, and lice. 

They will leave your dog with dry and flaky skin, a little heads up, one of these parasites looks like dandruff if you notice that the dandruff is walking, take them to the vet.


Goldens are very prone to Cancers, and cancer is easily the no.1 cause of death in Goldens. One of the many symptoms of cancer is dry skin, so how to tell if it’s something so serious such as cancer? Besides the dry skin, some other symptoms will appear for example:

  • Abnormal odors
  • Lumps underneath the dog’s skin
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Change in the appetite.

If you noticed any of these signs, take them to the vet because if indeed it was cancer it’s better if you catch it early.


Any infection or bacteria can be the reason behind any skin disorder, infections can be the beginning of a much bigger problem such as ringworms which are transmissible to humans.

 In this case, too, you will need to go to the vet, to diagnose any infection by taking skin scrapes. 

7 Effective Ways to Treat Your Golden’s Dry Skin

Here are 7 effective ways to treat your golden retriever’s dry skin :

  1. The vet
  2. Hydration
  3. High-quality diet
  4. Bath
  5. Daily Grooming
  6. Control the symptoms 
  7. Limit Their Exposure

The vet

Getting them checked sooner rather than later will always be a good idea.

Your dog can’t tell you what’s hurting them or what they are going through, you might see that they have dry skin but you don’t really know if something else is going on with them, only your vet can do that with a physical examination.

Honestly, the sooner you take them to the vet the better.

However, the first thing you can do is search for any swelling, redness, itching, or fleas.

If you find any of them besides the dry skin it’s the right time to take them to the vet.


Sometimes the dry skin can appear because of a shortage of water, and the perfect solution is to keep them hydrated all the time. I keep my dogs hydrated with the help of a pet fountain like this one on Amazon.

You can know if this is the reason by a simple move, pull the back of their neck if you can’t pull it easily and their coat is stuck to their neck then they need to be hydrated. 

High-quality diet

If they are allergic to some foods, avoid leaving that food around them. Also, it could be that their diet doesn’t offer enough nutrition so the side effects will be dry skin, dandruff, weight loss, and hair loss.

There are some ingredients you should avoid feeding them to your dogs such as corn, soy, wheat, and dairy. You can get the full list of foods goldens shouldn’t eat here.


Bathing your dog regularly will prevent most causes from happening such as parasites, infection, some allergies, for example, dust, grain, lice, and fleas.

You should bathe them once every three months but it’s not uncommon to wash them once a week. You can learn everything about bathing your golden retriever here.

A good shampoo will be necessary if you are going to wash them once a week. You can check my recommended shampoos here. If you’re looking for a quick recommendation instead, I have been using the Adams Plus Shampoo and it’s been fantastic so far. Check it out here on Amazon.

Daily grooming

You probably know that after every bath you should groom your dog and it’s a good start but you should keep it up and stay consistent with it.

Start with grooming after every time you wash them and up till grooming them every day to prevent any parasites, fleas, lice, and infection.

Control the symptoms

If the dog is allergic or suffering from an infection, other symptoms such as itching, biting, or licking can cause dry skin.

So, to prevent this from happening you can limit their scratching and licking by using the old trick of spraying them with 50/50 Apple Cider Vinegar Water Spray on the itchy area to soothe it.

Limit their exposure

If your dog is allergic to something like the grass, dust, grains, or feathers, then you should try your best to limit your exposure to them.

The vet can run some tests to figure out what they are allergic to.

Related Questions 

How do you treat ichthyosis in golden retrievers?

To treat ichthyosis you will need anti-seborrheic shampoos and ask your vet for a good moisturizing rinse. It’s an intense treatment because of the severe, incurable nature, and chronic skin so the treatment must be recommended by their vet.

What is ichthyosis in golden retrievers? 

It is an autosomal recessive genetic mutation, it affects the skin and prevents the outer layer from forming in the right way which leads to thickened, flaked, and darkened skin, the disease is mostly detected when they are still puppies and symptoms take more than one year to develop.


Hey there, I'm Matt, the author behind Retrievershub.com. With a deep love for dogs and a dedication to strengthening the bond between owners and their retrievers, I've created a hub of resources for enthusiasts like you. Through engaging articles, training guides, and product reviews, I aim to provide practical advice that makes a real difference in your life as a dog owner. Whether you're a seasoned pro or new to the world of retrievers, my approachable and informative writing style ensures that you'll find valuable insights. Join me on this incredible journey of discovering what makes retrievers tick, unlocking their potential, and creating an unbreakable bond with your furry companion. Let's embark on an adventure of dog ownership together. Thank you for visiting Retrievershub.com and being part of our vibrant community.

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