Breeding Your Dog

Golden Retriever Heat Cycle and Heat Signs

golden retriever heat cycle

Summary:The signs of a Golden Retriever heat cycle are discussed in this article which will review the 4 stages of a Golden’s heat cycle. It also discusses the signs you should be watching for to tell if your Retriever is in heat.

What are the Signs of a Golden Retriever Heat Cycle?

Usually a Golden Retriever (commonly called “a Golden”) will go into her first heat when she is approximately 10 to 15 month old. There can always be exceptions to the norm for example if a young Golden is around other dogs which are in heat she may come into heat earlier. Most Golden Retrievers will have a very regular cycle once they start their heat cycles. Some will begin their heat cycles at seven or eight months old; while others may wait until they are 10 or 11 months old. The good news is that most Golden Retrievers will be regular after they start their cycles. For so many reasons it is important to make note of the dates when she starts her heat cycles.

One of the problems that female Golden Retriever owners may have to deal with is preventing unwanted puppies. If you have an intact male (Sire), along with your female (Dam or Bitch) which has not been spayed you could find a surprise of puppies if you are not careful. Owners have the main responsibility to prevent unwanted pregnancy. However, the majority of the effort will be on the part of the bitch’s owners.

You must be aware of you Golden’s cycle in order to prevent or prepare for pregnancy. It is imperative that you know when your Golden Retriever can become pregnant.
Golden Retrievers will typically have two heats per year. However, each Golden Retriever is can be different. Each Golden Retriever may differ in length of the heat, discharge amount, messiness, and personality changes. Watch your Golden carefully and learn the specific signs of her cycle. A Golden Retriever, should NOT be bred until she is in her third heat.

Before ever breeding a Golden she should be vet checked and definitely up-to-date on all of her shots. Choosing to breed is a huge and can be costly endeavor. Choosing the proper mate needs to be done carefully, focusing on improving the Golden Retriever breed. Make certain to see proof that the sire has been vet checked and is up-to- date on all of his shots. You don’t want to accidentally have him bring in unwanted diseases or parasites.

Four Stages of the Golden Retriever Heat Cycle

  1. Proestrus Stage
  2. Estrus Stage
  3. Diestrus Stage
  4. Anestrus Stage

Your female Golden Retriever is not fertile during the first days of the proestrus stage. However, do keep in mind that male sperm can live for several days inside of the female. It is so very important to watch her closely. You may want to consider buying some appropriately sized dog diapers or dog pants to protect her from mating with unwanted suitors. Diapers are NOT a guarantee that your dog won’t get pregnant but they can be a deterrent. Unwanted pregnancies can compromise your Golden Retrievers health and the genetics of the puppies.

Dog Diapers for Golden Retrievers to Prevent Pregnancy

There are several types of dog diapers and pants available for larger dogs such as the Golden Retriever. Using dog diapers may help in the preventing of staining carpet and furniture during her heat cycle. Dog Diapers may help protect your Golden from unwanted pregnancies as well. Dog diapers also can mean a lot less cleanup for you.

There are several different types of dog diapers to choose from. There are the disposable diapers and the reusable dog diapers. Each kind has benefits of its own. Some pet owners prefer to use disposable just for their convenience. Some pet owners prefer the reusable dog diapers that can be washed and reused. Reusable dog diapers come in assorted fabrics, colors and patterns. Pet Parents makes a washable dog diaper available at Amazon that comes in a 3 pack. It has 3 different sizes (small, medium, and large). This product works very well for the intended purpose and is even listed as ‘Useful for female dogs in heat.’

Washable Dog Diapers for Golden Retrievers (Large 3 pack) from Amazon

If you prefer a disposable dog diaper for controlling your Golden Retriever heat cycle, then try the Simple Solution Disposable Diapers for Dogs. These disposable dog diapers come in 5 sizes from x-small to x-large.

Simple Solution Disposable Diapers for the Golden Retriever Heat Cycle – Large, Pack of 12

Other products that are well worth considering are dog wipes, that deodorize and clean. Our favorite is the Nature’s Miracle Deodorizing Spring Water Wipes for Golden Retrievers There are products to use in the yard that may help deodorize the yard.

4 Stages of the Golden Retriever Heat Cycle Explained

It is important to know when your Golden is coming into heat and going out of heat.
Some of the signs are clear and there are some subtle clues. Pay attention to your own female and learn her behavior. This will help in understanding what’s going on when she ‘does’ come into heat.

Proestrus Stage for a Golden Retriever

This stage of the female heat cycle can last from 4-20 days. The average is usually 7-10 days. There are 4 common signs for a Golden Retriever in heat during this stage:

  1. Swollen Vulva: This is one of the better ways to spot the start of a Golden Retrievers heat cycle. Her vulva may become 3-4 times its regular size. You will notice the swelling is a significant difference over the normal appearance of her vulva. Her teats may also swell slightly, but this is can be hard to spot.
  2. Discharge: Your female Golden Retriever may begin spending a lot of time licking to clean herself. Golden Retrievers are usually good at keeping themselves clean. If in doubt about the discharge color take a tissue and wipe her vulva. If you notice red discharge, and her vulva is swollen, that is a pretty good indicator that she is definitely coming into heat. It is important to check for this, because timing is everything when it comes to a pregnancy. The first day you notice the bloody discharge is “DAY 1”. It is best to mark it down some place like on your calendar.
  3. Male Dogs: A female Golden Retriever in heat will produce a substance called pheromones. It is this substance that attracts all male dogs. This third sign of a Golden in heat is not found on your dog, but it is in the presence of other dogs. You may notice that the neighbor’s dogs frequenting your house. Due to their incredible sense of smell, they can smell your Golden Retrievers heat cycle even a mile or more away.
  4. Behavior: During this time the female Golden will not show interest in mating. She may become somewhat clingier to her owners and she may become much more excitable. If a male should attempt to breed her she will most likely show agitation and growl or she may sit down or run away. She may even snap at him.

Estrus Stage for a Golden Retriever

The Estrus Stage of the Golden’s Heat Cycle typically lasts from about 5-14 days. During this time she is fertile (her actual heat). During this stage, the discharge usually changes from red to more of a straw color. In many Goldens, it will still stay somewhat pink, but you will notice a definite change in color from the beginning of the proestrus stage. The change usually will occur around days 8-9. This is the time your female will also be willing to accept a sire during this stage. She will move her tail to the side signaling that she is ready for action. She might whimper and want to be outside more. Your Golden is following her instinct to breed. This is the most important time to keep a close eye on her.

Golden Retrievers can be tricky and even if she is in a kennel, she can still end up pregnant. Male dogs have been known to impregnate a bitch through the holes in a chain link fence – so be very cautious where you keep her. Otherwise, you are going to be ordering DNA testing kits to determine the authenticity of your purebred puppies. Don’t forget that Golden Retrievers can get very creative during this stage. To determine the Golden Retriever’s due date, use the Golden Retriever Pregnancy Calendar Calculator.

If you notice strange males in your yard, keep your female away from them. Bring your dog inside and wait for the males to leave. When male dogs are anxious to breed, they can be much more likely to bite. Do not take your Golden Retriever to the pet store or the dog park because you can inadvertently cause problems that you do not want. It is best to just keep her secluded at your home.

Diestrus Stage for Golden Retrievers

The Diestrus Stage of the Golden Retriver’s heat cycle most generally begins around day 24. This stage can last from 60 to 90 days. Your female is no longer fertile at this point. Her discharge will change from straw colored to red and then will completely stop. However, she still has a scent which will still attract unwanted attention. It is best to wait until she has completely stopped bleeding before taking her into public places.

Anestrus Stage for Golden Retrievers

The Anestrus Stage is the fourth and final stage of the Golden Retriever heat cycle when your Golden’s body returns to normalcy. This last stage can last from 60-90 days, when it is over, the entire heat cycle will start all over again.

Summary: Golden Retriever Heat Cycle

Remember to pay attention to your Golden Retriever. Begin to understand what her heat signs and behavior signify. Knowing where she is at all times during her fertile times will help you prevent an unwanted Sire from mating with your Golden.

Make certain to have her vet checked and be sure that you are willing to go through all the work necessary to raise Golden Retriever puppies responsibly BEFORE breeding her. If you do have a male and have no interest in using him as a stud dog, it is best to have him neutered.

Golden Retrievers do not go through menopause the way people do. As Golden Retrievers grow older they become less fertile. It is possible for your older Golden to get pregnant; however, it is very hard on them and their well-being.