Golden Retriever Heat Cycle
Dog Care Tips · Dog Health

Golden Retriever Heat Cycle – By A Vet

Last Updated/Info Checked on October 16, 2023 by Scott

Do you think your Golden Retriever is in heat?

A Golden Retriever’s heat cycle after puberty is just as normal as the cycles of other breeds. When it starts happening, it’s natural for them to exhibit certain signs that show their readiness to be pregnant. 

Scientifically called the estrous cycle, you’ll see your dog get overly friendly with other dogs, seek out a mate, and do other things. It begins around 9 to 12 months and restarts every 6 months.

That’s when you realize that your pooch has matured enough to nurse babies. 

Owners have asked me about their dog’s frequency of heat cycle, stages, discharge, signs, how to take care of it during the cycle if they could walk it or not, and so on. 

Let’s answer all those concerns one by one. 

How often does a Golden Retriever go into heat?

They go into heat about 2 times per year. That is, you’ll see your dog go through the estrous cycle’s signs and symptoms every six months. 

But that’s not a hard and fast rule. 

With age, the gap between individual cycles increases. So, an old dog will experience the cycle much later after the first one per year as compared to a young dog. 

The frequency of occurrence for the estrous cycle varies from dog to dog and breed to breed. 

For example, the Golden Retriever heat cycle may occur twice a year. I’ve even seen some Goldies get ready to conceive thrice per year. 

That’s perfectly normal, although, more than twice may cause a little concern for the owners.  

Even the first estrus or heat cycle makes them nervous because it’s irregular for most dogs, let alone Goldies.  

How long is a Golden Retriever heat cycle?

golden retriever heat cycle frequency

How long does a golden retriever stay in heat? Well, the heat cycle generally lasts for about 2 weeks, during which you’ll see the dog go more often to pee and discharge reddish liquid from its vagina. 

However, it could extend to 3 or even 4 weeks, depending on a number of reasons.

Yes, I don’t want you to rule out any abnormalities. According to Intechopen, they could arise from imperfect follicular or luteal phases.

There’s an anestrous cycle when the dog doesn’t get a heat cycle after 6 months. That’s not a blueprint of any problem with the bitch but vets tend to investigate what’s wrong with the dog. They may do it after 10 months. 

Then, there’s the silent heat called subestrus. This anomaly occurs when there’s no discharge but the ovaries are working fine. 

Sometimes male dogs also exhibit this heat because of genetic anomalies. They retain ovarian functions, although there’s no way for them to get pregnant or show external signs. 

As long as the bitch is concerned, it could get pregnant at any moment during the heat cycle. For that, of course, coitus has to happen or in simpler words: Mating. 

Usually, the dog is most fertile when the discharge is watery. That means you’ll see a more prominent liquid oozing out of the vagina. 

If coitus happens at this stage, you may as well get ready to welcome your dog’s litter. 

But the sperm from the male could stay alive inside for about a week just to make pregnancy a surefire thing. 

How long do Golden Retrievers bleed during the heat?

Bleeding is more of an individual thing for a dog. Generally speaking, though, on average a Golden Retriever bleeds for the first half of her heat cycle – that’s about 7 to 10 days. 

The color of the discharge may change from day to day or after a few days as the cycle progresses. 

You may first see a little blood, then watery liquid, and then again small amounts tanning your sofas. 

The fact also remains, though, that you may not see any blood around your house. 

Some dogs groom themselves to the point of licking everything from every portion of their bodies. 

What are the signs of a Golden Retriever going into heat?

Bloody discharge is a surefire sign that your dog has gone into an estrous cycle. 

Whether Golden Retriever’s first heat or not, there are other signs, too, that collectively make up the shift of behavior from being aloof (in the case of Huskies) to insanely lovey-dovey.

So, is your Golden Retriever in heat? Here’s what to expect.

is your golden retriever in heat

1. They Get Closer to Other Dogs

That’s when you have to make sure that she mates with the right dog. A Goldie going through an estrous cycle will seek out mates like we seek out fast food chains. 

Even a Chihuahua would seem like a desirable choice, only if it could drive points home. 

2. Nervousness 

What’s a bitch got to do with nervousness? Everything. It’s one of the most important aspects of her life, she doesn’t want to screw it up. 

Also, the idea of humping a new dog (even a stranger) should be enough. 

3. Sidelines Her Tail

Well it’s natural for a female dog to get the tail out of the way for a successful coitus. 

4. Viginal Discharge 

As I said above, you’ll see your Golden Retriever bitch discharge reddish liquid first, which will get watery afterward, and then turn pigeon blood red. 

She may even start marking your kitchen counter, sofas, couches, and spouse with her pee. 

How do you take care of a Golden Retriever in heat?

Taking care of a Golden Retriever that’s going through her estrous cycle is not hard at all. 

1. Be careful about undue attraction 

I didn’t want to call it undue but that’ll be the case when you wouldn’t want her to get pregnant. 

She will get attracted to other dogs. You may even see stranger dogs patrolling your house or trying to get cozy with her when you take her for walks. 

Any undue attraction will lead to meeting and then mating. Ask yourself do you want it?

2. Ease her anxieties

I’m not sure what goes on in her mind but a bitch ready to be pregnant may think poorly of the whole process. 

She may not be ready or all of the pressure of going through it may put her in an uncomfortable zone. 

No matter what’s making her lose her mind in her heat cycle, you should be there for her. 

  • Take her for walks more often
  • Let her play 
  • Invest in toys 
  • Spend time with her, petting her belly to ease any painful symptom
  • Give her lots of nonjudgemental love

3. Confine her to a place 

Dealing with vaginal discharge could be a little too much. 

It was her fur before but now, you’ll also have to deal with reddish stains. 

It’s better to confine her to a place. A crate may help in this regard. 

However, make sure that the dog isn’t experiencing any separation-related anxieties when confined. 

One of the signs of that is lip licking.

If that happens, you may have to buy diapers. I prefer these over crating because the dog is free to move around the house without experiencing any undue pressure from you. 

4. Watch out for changes in her diet 

You may see physical changes in the dog during or after the first heat cycle. Your Goldie may become hungrier or it may shun eating. 

You have to take care of her diet because that’s going to help her go through all the nutrient depletion, courtesy of that discharge. 

Visit your vet to know about any supplement requirements for the dog. 

They may suggest iron supplements. 

Follow the below guides if you want to know what fruits and vegetables can Goldies eat.

Related: Fruits that golden retrievers eat.

Related: List of vegetables can golden retrievers eat.

How long do Golden Retrievers stay pregnant?

Golden Retrievers may stay pregnant for about 2 months. To be exact, the gestation period is 63 days. 

However, it may vary, depending on the number of matings she has done during her cycle. 

One way to go is to note down when she humped with one dog and then with another. This way, you’ll know when Goldie will give birth to her litter.  

Can I walk my dog when she is in heat?

Yes, you should walk your dog when she is in heat. In fact, you should do it more often. 

Walking helps her cope with anxieties related to the heat cycle. 

So, don’t look at her discharges or mood swings and walk her! However, as you read, she’ll be the center of attention outside. Dogs will dig her. 

They may try to get closer and start the tradition. 

You have to be careful about it, that’s all I’m saying. 

How many babies can a Golden Retriever have?

How many babies can a Golden Retriever have

Usually, a Golden Retriever gives birth to four puppies. But it could go all the way up to 12! 

Do not get nervous or concerned if you see that many pups coming into this world. 

However, you may visit your vet if the pups are sluggish, unhealthy, or not responding well.

What is the best age to spay Golden Retrievers? What Age Do They Go Into Heat?

Vets recommend that you spay your dog before the age of 6 or 7 months. That’s true for Golden Retrievers as well. 

At the same time, however, many maintain that delaying this is beneficial for the dog. 

It may increase its lifespan. 

Therefore, your vet may suggest that you spay your Goldie after the first heat cycle. 

But during that, you’ll have to take due care to not let the dog mingle with males if you don’t want her to get pregnant. 

Spaying is done by surgically removing the bitch’s internal reproductive organs or cutting off the fallopian tubes to discourage the release of an egg. 

This process is called an ovariohysterectomy. 

You may be worried about the possible complications arising as a result, and that’s totally fine. 

Weigh out your options before going for this operation. But also remember that you may have to do it in the future. 

Here’s a video showing the journey of a Golden Retriever through her heat cycle:

Golden Retriever Heat Cycle – Conclusion 

Golden Retrievers may go through an estrous cycle twice a year or once, depending on the age of the dog. During the cycle, she’ll show signs that include vaginal discharge and other behavioral changes. 

She may mate with other dogs. If you don’t want her to get pregnant, you’ll have to spay her well before her first cycle. 

In case you want small Goldies around the house, then let her mate and take care of her during the process.

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