Golden Retrievers are one of the friendliest and most loveable dog breeds that you can get for yourself and your family. You will love your friendly and happy dog, and you might be tempted to breed more Golden Retrievers for your family to love. Even if you do not have immediate plans to breed your female Golden Retriever, you might be wondering how to deal with her heat cycles.
Golden Retrievers start going into heat when they reach 6 months of age. Most female Golden Retrievers will have their first heat at about 10 to 14 months of age. This can be a bit of a shock for owners who were not prepared for what the heat cycle process is like in dogs that are not fixed.
If you want to learn some more about when Golden Retrievers go into heat, you need to read on!
What Does it Mean for Your Golden Retriever to Go into Heat?
The heat cycles that your unfixed female Golden Retriever experience indicate that she has reached sexual maturity and can have puppies. It is not necessarily a good idea to breed a young female Golden Retriever right after the first time she experiences a heat cycle. Younger dogs are more likely to have trouble giving birth, and they might also become confused about what to do with the puppies once they are born.
Breeders usually wait for a few heat cycles to elapse or until the dog seems to have reached physical maturity before they start attempting to breed it. Golden Retriever females can have large litters of puppies, so just because your dog is showing signs of heat, it does not mean that she is ready to be a mother.
Heat cycles are how Golden Retriever’s bodies prepare to become pregnant. Breeders know what the signs of heat are, and the time the breeding process is correct to make the most of the right portion of the heat cycle.
How to Know When Your Golden Retriever is In Heat
There are some signs that you can use to determine if your Golden Retriever is in heat. These symptoms might be milder in some dogs than others, and they might be less noticeable during a dog’s first few heat cycles. These are the common symptoms that you can use to determine if your Golden Retriever is in the heat:
- Frequent urination
- Nesting behaviors
- Personality changes
- Swollen vulva
- Bleeding or discharge from the vulva
- Abnormal mounting behavior
- Personality changes
Some dogs might have an entirely different attitude when they are in heat. This can mean that they act nervous, or they might be more aggressive than usual. Some female dogs will also run away and not listen to their owners as usual when they are in heat. Dogs might also be very messy and leave bloody spots all over the house.
Most people will have to put a diaper on their female Golden Retriever to be able to manage the mess while she is in heat. If this is not an option, she might need to go outside until she is done with her cycle. It is recommended that the dog gets baths as needed to deal with the matting of the coat and irritation of the skin related to the discharge that is a part of the heat cycle process.
When Your Golden Retriever Goes into Heat the First Time
Dogs that have gone into heat for the first time might actually be quite stressed by the experience. This can be magnified if there are fixed male dogs in the home or other female dogs that are also cycling. Dogs can become quite territorial and upset during their first heat cycle, and you might need to keep your female Golden Retriever away from other pets in the house during this process.
Golden Retriever heat cycles can ease somewhat as the dog ages, and you might not have to separate your Golden Retriever from the other pets in your home as she ages. You might also opt to fix your female Golden Retriever if you decide not to breed her after all. This can make everyone’s life much easier overall and spare your dog a lot of anxiety and worry during each Heat cycle.
If you are planning to breed your Golden Retriever, you will need to track the details of the timing of her first heat cycle for your future knowledge. You will need to be able to time the breeding process carefully, and the more that you know about your dog’s unique heat cycles, the more likely you will be to be able to get her bred successfully.
How Long Does a Golden Retriever Stay in Heat?
Golden Retriever heat cycles can last anywhere from two to four weeks. This is why you will need to track your dog’s unique heat cycles so that you know when she is most likely to get pregnant. The best way to tell if the heat cycle is over is to look for cessation of the symptoms of heat.
Not every Golden Retriever will want to be bred during the entire heat cycle, so knowing the average timeframe of your dog’s heat cycle can make a big difference in your attempts to breed her. You will want to aim for the time after the first 5 or so days of heat. Some dogs will be willing to be bred for the entire two to four weeks, but that does not mean that the process will work when her heat is in the wrong stage.
Stages of The Golden Retriever Heat Cycle
The stages of the heat cycle are important to know. You will need to be aware of which part of the heat cycle is the best for optimal breeding results. You will also probably want to know what to look for so that you can plan for the end of the cycle and your dog’s return to normal behavior.
This is the first part of the heat cycle. It lasts for about 9 days. This is the stage where a swollen vulva is common and bloody discharge is common as well. Owners will want doggy diapers for this part of the heat cycle if their dog needs to live inside. This can also be a good barrier to preventing accidental breeding by other male dogs that are not the dogs you want your dog to have puppies with.
The proestrus stage can be the time when your dog will show personality changes, fear, or agitation. Dogs that get aggressive during their heat cycle will be likely to show this behavior during this stage of the process.
The estrus stage is the part of the heat cycle that is ideal for breeding. At this stage, your dog can get pregnant. The estrus part of the heat cycle will usually last from 10-12 days. To recognize this stage, you need to look for a watery, clear discharge from your dog’s vulva. She might also have begun to act like her old self again and be less upset and worried.
Estrus can be a difficult period to predict without tracking a few different heat cycles of your dog. When you know for sure when this phase is taking place, you will be much more likely to breed your dog successfully.
This stage is usually obvious because your dog will not be interested in male dogs and will seem like she is out of the heat for the most part. She might have less discharge, but some dogs still need a doggy diaper for this part of the heat cycle.
This stage lasts for about 2 months, and it is the timeframe where progesterone levels are climbing. This period is not ideal for breeding attempts, and your dog will not get pregnant if you try to breed her during this period. As mentioned before, while some dogs will still be receptive to males at this time, this does not mean that they will get pregnant if bred.
The Anestrus stage is the longest phase of the heat cycle. This stage goes on for 3 to 4 months. Estrogen and progesterone levels balance out during this period. This is also the recovery process that happens in between litters of puppies. This is the stage that separates heat cycles to prevent dogs from having puppies too close together.
The Anestrus stage is when your dog will stop displaying signs of heat or symptoms of agitation or behavior changes. There are usually two heat cycles per year in healthy female Golden Retrievers. This entire process will happen from start to finish each time.
Female Golden Retriever and Sexual Maturity Age
Most female Golden Retrievers are considered to be at optimal breeding age from about two years of age to six years of age. Your dog will be more likely to experience complications with her health if she is bred at a younger age, and she might be too small to safely carry a large litter until she is two years of age as well.
When dogs get too old, there are additional complications related to infection and rupture of the uterus. You will want to stop breeding your Golden Retriever female at about eight years of age. Breeding older dogs is very risky for both the dog and the puppies.
Dog Heat Cycle Calendar
Some owners benefit from having a dog heat cycle chart on hand while they are tracking their dog’s first heat cycles. This helps to remind you about the timing of symptoms so you can track them. You will need to make notes about each stage so that you can recognize the stages of your dog’s cycles in the future when you are ready to breed her.
There are simple charts that are sold online, or you can simply make your own chart based on the timing of average dog heat cycles. You can adjust your calendar for your own personal dog over time as you get used to their normal heat process and have been tracking it.
Overall, these are the days that you should expect each stage of the heat cycle to last:
- Proestrus – 4-20 days
- Estrus – 5-14 days
- Diestrus – 60-90 days
- Anestrus- 60-150 days
Managing Your Golden Retriever’s Heat Cycle
Caring for a dog that is in heat and tracking her cycle can be a lot of work. You will want to be sure that you have a place where your dog can stay, that she is safe and that she cannot run away. This will prevent your dog from following her instincts and running off while she is determined to get pregnant. You will also need to offer your dog some space from other pets in the house if she is acting anguished or aggressive.
Make sure to have doggy diapers on hand to manage messes and keep your dog bathed and clean within reason. She might not be interested in eating during the early stages of her cycle, but you should try to make sure that she has access to food in case she feels well enough to eat. Do not limit exercise but do not force your dog to exert if she seems distressed.
Managing a heat cycle is mostly about helping your dog to be comfortable while she is experiencing this hormonal process. You and your dog will figure out the best method to work through the stages of her heat cycle, and after a couple of cycles, you will be an expert. Most dogs are actually more dependent on their owners during this process, and you might need to make sure that your dog has access to a crate or a dog run while you are away from home or at work.
Some owners will take their dog’s back to the breeder that they got them from during heat cycles so that they can be kept in ideal conditions to manage the phases of the process. You might also be able to board your dog with an experienced dog care facility to help manage the mess and the worry that this process can cause for you and your dog. If your dog wants to run away, make sure that you do not allow them to get away from you while on a leash and that you do not take them to public places until their heat cycle has abated somewhat.
Never be afraid of getting help from your vet if you feel that you need it. You might be worried that you cannot keep your dog comfortable during her heat cycles, and you might have decided that keeping your female dog intact is not going to work for you or for her. These are all considerations that your vet can help with, and you can make a plan of care for your dog with their guidance. While you might decide to spay your dog based on your experience with her early heat cycles, you might also want to stick this process out until she has had a litter or two of puppies for you. Your vet can help you to figure out the best management plan for both you and your dog.
Preventing Your golden retriever from Going into Heat
The only way to prevent his process from taking place is to spay your Golden Retriever. Fixing your dog so that it cannot reproduce can be done with a simple surgery that your vet can do. In this process, the uterus and ovaries are removed.
Golden Retrievers who are spayed will be able to avoid the stress and physical changes related to the heat cycle process. This can save you from dealing with the mess of the heat cycle and the chance that your dog will find another dog to have puppies with, even if you are trying to prevent this from happening. For pet owners, spaying their female dog is almost always the right choice to make.
What Age Does Your Golden Retriever Stop Going into Heat?
Dogs do not experience a cessation of heat cycles as humans do. Dogs that are elderly might become sickly and experience a significantly reduced set of symptoms during their heat cycles. There is a greater risk related to pregnancy as well as heat cycles in older dogs. This is why most vets will advise that you should spay female dogs that are not going to be used as breeding animals.
Dogs who do not have puppies during their lifetime are more prone to tumors on the nipples, the uterus, and the ovaries. Golden Retrievers are also more likely to get infections and secondary complications related to heat cycles as they age. Uterine infections can be really serious in older dogs and can lead to death. You will want to consult your vet if you think that your older dog needs to be spayed. Your vet can advise you about the proper process and preparation that needs to be followed to spay an elderly female dog.
What Age is Appropriate to Spay Your Golden Retriever?
Gold Retrievers can be spayed when they are 6 months of age or older. There might be reasons that you will want to wait a bit longer to have your dog fixed, but overall, spaying is much easier on dogs that have not reached full maturity.
If you have bred your dog and have decided that you are now done with this process, you can spay her once her puppies are weaned, and she is back to full health. Your vet can advise about the process of spaying an older dog. The process might be somewhat different for dogs that have had multiple litters of puppies as well.
Do Golden Retrievers Get Infections After Their Heat Cycle?
Some older dogs will be quite prone to infection after their heat cycle. Golden Retriever dogs of all ages can be more likely to get uterine infections due to their long hair. Mats and other issues related to the discharge from the heat cycle can also impact the health of the skin.
Infections of the uterus and vulva can even happen when dogs are successfully bred. Make sure that you take your dog to the vet right away if you see signs of a uterine infection. Most dogs will show increased discharge that is yellow or green in color. There might be a foul smell associated with the discharge as well as evident pain that your dog is experiencing.
Dogs that have a fever, are listless, or are just lying around might be suffering from a uterine or vulvar infection. You should take these symptoms very seriously as they can be life-threatening.
Diagnosis of uterine infection is usually quite simple. The symptoms of infection are usually quite clear, and when paired with a fever, they are easy to recognize. Your vet might take some blood and some samples of the discharge from the vulva. If your dog has become pregnant, there might be a more conservative medication regimen that is followed after the health of the puppies is verified.
Some dogs will not remain pregnant if they get an infection in the uterus right after their heat cycle. This can be a very difficult health issue to treat in a dog that is pregnant.
In dogs that are not pregnant, antibiotics will be prescribed. This is usually all that is needed to treat the infection successfully. However, in some cases, the infection will continue to reside within the uterus despite treatment. In these cases, your dog will need to be spayed in order to save its life. Your vet can advise you about the various treatment options related to this infection.
For dogs that are pregnant, antibiotics can be prescribed, and there might be some additional therapies that are given to try and protect the puppies from harm. The chance that your dog will be able to deliver healthy puppies with a uterine infection is quite low. In most cases, your vet will advise you to have your dog spayed to prevent the further spread of the infection.
Caring for a dog that is not spayed can be a lot more effort than caring for one that has been fixed. You will need to have a space for your dog that is in heat to feel safe, and you will need to plan to track her heat cycles if you are going to breed her. You should also plan to have your dog spayed as she ages so that she does not get a uterine infection.
Puppies are a lot of fun to experience, and you might be planning to breed your Golden Retriever to be able to get a few litters of them. Just make sure that you are ready for her two heat cycles each year and prepared to keep her comfortable and happy while she is going through this process.
Golden Retriever Resources and Tips
- Golden Retrievers are Smart, Savvy, and Adorable
- Are Golden Retrievers Hypoallergenic?
- Are Golden Retrievers Aggressive? Here’s The Truth
- How Fast Can A Golden Retriever Run?
- Why Does Your Golden Retriever Sleep So Much?
- How Much to Feed Your Golden Retriever Puppy
- What Are the Development Stages of a Golden Retrievers Coat?
- Do Golden Retrievers Shed A Lot? And What to Do
- Types of Golden Retrievers: Decoding Their Colors and Patterns
- How Long Do Golden Retrievers Live?
- Full Breakdown Cost to Buy and Raise A Golden Retriever
- Golden Retriever Common Health Issues: Symptoms, Treatments, and Prevention
- How Much Exercise Golden Retrievers Actually Need (Puppies, Adults, Seniors)
- Do Golden Retrievers Shed A Lot? And What to Do
- At What Age Does A Golden Retriever’s Teeth Develop and Grow?
- What Does it Mean for Your Golden Retriever to Go into Heat?
- How to Know When Your Golden Retriever is In Heat
- When Your Golden Retriever Goes into Heat the First Time
- How Long Does a Golden Retriever Stay in Heat?
- Stages of The Golden Retriever Heat Cycle
- Female Golden Retriever and Sexual Maturity Age
- Dog Heat Cycle Calendar
- Managing Your Golden Retriever’s Heat Cycle
- Preventing Your golden retriever from Going into Heat
- What Age Does Your Golden Retriever Stop Going into Heat?
- What Age is Appropriate to Spay Your Golden Retriever?
- Do Golden Retrievers Get Infections After Their Heat Cycle?
- Final Thoughts
- Golden Retriever Resources and Tips