When Do Golden Retrievers Go Into Heat?

When Do Golden Retrievers Go Into Heat_

An important event in a female Golden Retriever’s life is their heat cycle. Knowing when your Golden Retriever goes into heat can help an owner be prepared for what will happen during the cycle.

In the article below, we will discuss when you can expect your Golden Retriever to be in heat and what to expect physically and behaviorally.

When Should I Expect My Golden Retriever To Go Into Heat?

Golden Retrievers tend to start their first cycle of heat around the age of 10-14 months old. You can expect her to be in heat about every six months and last about 2-3 weeks. Be sure to track when the first cycle began because the timing should be regular for the second cycle.

As an owner, knowing what to expect physically and behaviorally from your Golden Retriever during this time will help you be prepared for what is going to happen.

How Do I Know My Golden Retriever Is In Heat?

When Should I Expect My Golden Retriever To Go Into Heat

Your Golden Retriever will go through some physical and behavioral changes during her heat cycle. Knowing what to expect is only going to make things easier for you and your dog.

Here are some common signs that your Golden Retriever is in heat:

  • Swollen vulva
  • Bleeding or discharge
  • Licking genitals
  • Frequent urination
  • Abnormal mounting behavior
  • Nesting behavior
  • Personality changes

Swollen Vulva

One of the first physical changes you will notice is a swollen vulva. This usually happens 2-3 days before vaginal discharge. You will notice the vulva begin to swell and engorge during this time and it is not painful for your dog.

Bleeding Or Discharge

Bleeding and discharge are normal occurrences during your Golden Retriever’s heat cycle. This part of the cycle could last between 2-3 weeks. You may want to buy some doggie diapers to keep areas clean in your house.

The discharge can be bloody, brown, clear, or yellow-colored.

Licking Genitals

You may notice your dog licking her genitals more frequently. This could be a sign of keeping herself clean or she may be experiencing sensitivity to increased blood flow.

Frequent Urination

When dogs mark their territory with urine, they are communicating with other dogs. Female dogs urinate frequently during their heat cycle because they may be telling other dogs that they are going into heat. Be sure the frequent urination is happening because of her heat cycle. It can also be a sign of urinary tract infection.

Abnormal Mounting Behavior

This behavior can be difficult to determine if it caused from the heat cycle because female dogs engage in mounting behaviors even when not in heat. This behavior will occur more often and in different situations than usual when she is in heat.

Nesting Behavior

You may notice your Golden Retriever engaging in some nesting behaviors during her cycle. You may see her preparing a burrow for her pups. She might carry toys or other important items to the nest and sleep with them.

Personality Changes

You may notice some personality changes in your Golden Retriever because of hormonal changes taking place. She might become clingy to you and more playful. She may also become more irritated or nervous at times. This is the time some aggressive behaviors may show up toward other female dogs, so be sure to put an end to it quickly if she starts to initiate fights with them.

Timeline Of The Heat Cycle

Timeline Of The Heat Cycle

Below you will find the stages of the canine heat cycle. This will help you in knowing what to expect during each stage of the heat cycle.

Proetrus Stage

This is the beginning of your Golden Retriever’s heat cycle and lasts about 9 days. In this stage her vulva will become very swollen and she will have a bloody discharge from her vagina. Something you can do to protect your house during this stage is to buy doggie diapers. These diapers also work as protection from male dogs wanting to mount on her.

This is also when you will see the most behavioral changes such as being clingy, or aggressive to other female dogs.

Estrus Stage

This is the stage associated with chemical changes in your Golden Retriever. She can get pregnant during this time period and it usually lasts from about 10-12 days. Her discharge will change to a watery, clear color.

Diestrus Stage

In this stage your Golden Retriever is not receptive to males and cannot get pregnant. Her estrogen levels remain low as progesterone levels climb. The progesterone levels will peak one month after the estrus stage then decline. This stage will last about 2 months and vaginal discharge begins to lessen at this point.

Anestrus Stage

This is the longest stage of the heat cycle. This stage can last between 3 or 4 months. Estrogen levels return to normal for your Golden Retriever. This is the space of time for recovery after delivering a litter of puppies. When this stage ends, the proetrus cycle will repeat for a total of two heat cycles per year.

Caring For A Golden Retriever In Heat

Caring For A Golden Retriever In Heat

While your Golden Retriever is in heat, it is a good idea to take extra care of her. You will want to make sure she is comfortable, happy, and safe during this time.

Avoid Taking Her To Public Places

Avoiding public places during this time will be beneficial to you and your dog. Taking her to places such as the dog park or the pet store may lead to attention from male dogs that you don’t want. Be sure to keep your dog home during those couple of weeks while she is going through heat.

Exercise And Rest

During this time, some dogs like to be more active while others just want to lay around. Become familiar with your dog’s preferred behaviors during her heat cycle and let her be comfortable.

Doggie Diapers

Doggie diapers are a great way to ease your mind of any messes that may be made during your dog’s heat cycle. These diapers will help in keeping your carpet, bedding, and other areas of your house clean. These doggie diapers come in a choice of washable or disposable .

Talk With Your Vet

Talking with your vet is always recommended when you have concerns or questions about your dog going into heat. They will be able to provide advice specific to your dog to help ease your mind about what to expect.


Knowing what will happen during your Golden Retriever’s heat cycle will ease your mind and help your dog’s overall health and happiness. There are some physical and behavioral changes to be aware of during this time. Do not be alarmed of these changes, they are very natural. Remember, if you have any questions or concerns to always consult your veterinarian.

If you are interested in having your Golden Retriever spayed, check out our article on spaying and neutering.  

Corey Rawlins

Corey Rawlins has loved Golden Retrievers since he was a boy. His current Golden Retriever, Brady, was his inspiration to create Golden Retriever Society. He and his wife have three children who are always keeping Brady entertained. They love spending time together, traveling, and meeting other dog families.

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