Why Is My Golden Retriever Scratching So Much?

By John Martin - October 18, 2022

Golden Retriever scratching

Golden Retrievers are adorable, which is why seeing them disturbed and persistently scratching parts of their bodies can be a bit worrisome. While it might not be an issue on a rare basis, there are times when it becomes too much, resulting in you needing to take some action.

There are many potential causes behind this kind of scratching that you can go through here, along with how you can reduce it.

Why Is My Golden Retriever Scratching So Much?

If your Golden Retriever is scratching more than usual and on a near-constant basis, this might be a cause for concern. Here are some reasons that can help you figure out what is causing this kind of excessive scratching.


Your Golden Retriever might have some skin or food allergies that might be leading to itchiness, swelling and redness on certain parts of the body, which can help explain the excessive itchiness.

Golden Retrievers are particularly vulnerable to atopic dermatitis, so if something triggers this, it can be quite uncomfortable for your dog.

Hot Spots

Hot spots usually develop on certain parts of your dog’s body, resulting in concentrated spots that are red, swollen and itchy for your dog. This condition is called acute moist dermatitis and often gets triggered in the summer months, which can help explain why your Golden Retriever is scratching so much.

External Elements

Some external elements like pollen or insects can affect your dog’s fur and skin, resulting in itchiness.

At other times, the problem might be the shampoo or soap (or any other dog product) that you might be applying to your dog’s coat. These might contain some chemicals that could result in itchiness and scratching.


Bacteria or fungi might accumulate on certain parts of your dog’s body, resulting in redness and itchiness. To find relief, your dog might keep scratching the infected part, making the issue worse.

Sometimes, wounds or cuts might also lead to bacterial growth.

Also Read: How Much Do Golden Retrievers Shed?

Unsuitable Food

Some foods that your dog might be used to eating might simply be unsuitable for your Golden Retriever, resulting in allergic reactions and other bodily responses that might lead to itchiness and excessive scratching.

Keeping track of your dog’s behavior after eating certain foods can help you avoid this.


A common reason for dogs scratching too much is the accumulation of fleas or lice in the dog’s coat or on the skin. These can spread from other dogs or animals or even from other humans (and can also spread to others).

These can cause pain and discomfort for your dog, so make sure you visit the vet and buy some flea or lice medication to minimize the issue.


Your Golden Retriever might develop dry skin, which can lead to itchiness. This can be due to various reasons, such as the weather, poor diet, chemical-loaded products, infections or dehydration, causing your pet to keep scratching various parts of the body excessively.


Dogs, including Golden Retrievers, can develop stress and anxiety due to trauma, injuries, poor environment or separation anxiety, among other reasons. A psychosomatic reaction to this can be to scratch parts of their bodies compulsively, so make sure you deal with the root of the anxiety here.

Stuck Matter

There are many pollutants or irritants in the atmosphere that might lead to stuck dust, dirt or debris. These might particularly get stuck to the coat or skin if your dog has been outdoors.

If left uncleaned, these can lead to infections, causing your dog to feel itchy and uncomfortable.

Also Read: Are Golden Retrievers Good Apartment Dogs?

Ways to Reduce Your Golden Retriever from Scratching

Now that you can determine the cause, here are some ways you can use to reduce this kind of scratching.

Observe Your Dog

Pay careful attention to how your dog is behaving. Excessive scratching can often be accompanied by other signs too, such as lethargy, fatigue, depression, stomach issues as well as red patches on the skin.

These can help you pinpoint the cause better.

Improve Diet

It can help to change up the diet that you are providing to your Golden Retriever. If certain foods are unsuitable for your dog, replace them with alternatives and improve the fatty acid content you are providing.

Minimize External Irritants

If there are external irritants such as pollen or dust that might be causing damage and discomfort to your Golden Retriever’s skin, try minimizing them from the environment to reduce the scratching.

You can sanitize your house or use sprays for this.

Provide Cooling

Since some forms of itchiness and scratching are due to the high levels of heat and excessive humidity, you can keep the cooler or air conditioner on during particularly hot days of the summer to help cool your Golden Retriever down.

Keep them hydrated too.

Use Safe Products

If the shampoos, soaps or other such products are causing the problem, research some safer and chemical-free options that can suit your dog better. Ask your vet or a professional if you are confused about what to use.

Clean Your Dog’s Surroundings

Apart from your house, thoroughly clean any other parts that your dog might access frequently. This can include your Golden Retriever’s bed, blankets, food and water bowls, crate or kennel and your car.

Keep the Coat Clean and Dry

Every time your dog returns from the outdoors, clean the coat and fur up a bit with some rinsing and thorough drying so that you can get rid of contaminants and debris.

Bathe and groom your dog regularly too.

Consult the Vet

If nothing else works, you should consult the vet to seek diagnosis and treatment. You should also visit the vet immediately if you suspect a health issue.

Also Read: How Fast Does A Golden Retriever’s Hair Grow?

Parting Words

Your Golden Retriever might be scratching so much due to reasons like allergies, hot spots, stuck matter, anxiety, dryness, fleas, unsuitable food, infections or other external products or elements.

By improving your dog’s diet, minimizing irritants, cooling them down, using dog-friendly products and keeping your dog clean, you can reduce the extent of scratching. Consult the vet if nothing works.