Skip to Content

When Do Golden Retrievers Go Into Heat? 11 Signs + 4 Stages

When Do Golden Retrievers Go Into Heat

As a fur parent, you wanna be present in every stage of your Goldie’s life.

And going into heat is such a big milestone for your pup.

But when does it exactly happen?

And are there signs you should look out for?

To find the answers…

Keep reading to discover:

  • 11 signs that your Goldie is in heat.
  • When do Golden Retrievers go into heat.
  • 9 tips on how to take care of in-heat Goldies.
  • And much, much, more…

When do Golden Retrievers go into heat?

Golden Retrievers go into their first heat when they’re 10-14 months old. While the giant breeds will start their heat cycle at 18-24 months. Their heat can also be triggered earlier than normal if they’re around female dogs that are already in heat.

How long are Golden Retrievers in heat?

Golden Retrievers are in heat for 2-4 weeks. But the duration of their heat can be shorter or longer than this. 

A dog in heat undergoes the estrous cycle. Which is different for every pooch. 

And one way of knowing that your pup is done with their heat is when their vulva stops swelling. 

Also, some Goldies may not be receptive during the first few days of their heat cycle. 

According to AKC, your pooch’s most fertile days start on the 9th or 10th day of their heat. 

And it lasts for about five days. 

Although this might be the case, your pup can still get pregnant until the end of their heat cycle. 

11 signs that your Golden Retriever is in heat

#1: Swollen privates

The first and common sign that your pooch is in heat is a swollen vulva.

Normally, it happens a day or two before your pup starts bleeding.

Vulva swelling is caused by the increased amounts of estrogen in your Goldies. 

Estrogen is the hormone that controls the sexual development of your pup. 

And when it’s too high, your dog’s privates get 3-4 times bigger. 

Although their vulva might look inflamed, it doesn’t cause your pooch any pain.

#2: Vaginal discharge

Their heat cycle can cause your Goldie to release fluid from their private areas.

And the amount of discharge can be different per pooch. It won’t also be the same every heat cycle. 

Furthermore, their discharge can have traces of blood. 

It’s because the lining of their uterus is being shed off.

But don’t worry, this is normal and will clear up over time. 

#3: Tail tucking

Tail Tucking Is A Sign That Your Golden Retriever Is In Heat

This only happens during the early stage of heat

They tuck their tails between their legs because they’re not yet ready to be mated with any male doggos. 

But since they’re already fertile, dogs from miles away can smell their heat. 

And eventually, male pups will gather and try to mount them.

As a result, Goldies would tuck their tails to cover their genitals and mask their scent.

However, this behavior doesn’t last long. 

As their heat goes on, your pooch will be more receptive to male Fidos. 

During this time, they’d stop tail-tucking and will try to spread their scent more.

#4: Abnormal mounting behavior

Mounting is a common behavior for doggos. 

But you should watch out if your Goldie is mounting more than usual. 

Because this is another sign that they’re in heat.  

In fact, ASPCA says that mounting and humping behavior is common for pups having their cycle. 

They do this during their “courtship” with male Fidos. 

Your Goldie can also mount a fellow female pooch during this time, especially when both of them are in heat.

Sometimes they’d even mount your leg. 

To be sure that your Golden Retriever is indeed “in season”, look for other signs.

#5: Licking genitals

There are a lot of reasons why your pooch licks their private areas. 

One of them is when they’re in heat. 

Some Goldies would constantly lick their genitalia to clean up their vaginal discharge.

They may also do this because their privates are more sensitive than usual. 

This can be attributed to the increased blood flow in that area. 

#6: Nesting behavior

Your Goldie is nesting when they try to move their beddings to new locations. 

They’d also dig or burrow in this new place. 

Furthermore, they’d shred some blankets or covers in this spot. 

This behavior is caused by your pup’s heat. 

When they nest, they’re actually trying to build a comfortable place for puppies. 

Aside from beddings, your pooch can also move toys or other objects into the nest. 

What’s more, they’ll also sleep in it. And will only leave the nest after their heat has passed. 

#7: Flocking of male dogs

Flocking Of Male Dogs

Fidos have very good noses. They can smell scents humans can’t. 

And that includes pheromones. It’s a chemical substance released by your pups.

Now, when your Goldie is in heat, they release a lot of these pheromones

The scent of pheromones can be too strong that male doggos can smell it even from a distance. 

As a result, male pooches will gather around your pup. 

First, they’ll flock because the smell is irresistible to them. 

Second, the pheromones let them know that your pooch is ready for breeding.

When they have the chance, they’ll try to mate with your Goldie. 

So if you don’t want to get your pooch mated or pregnant, keep an eye on them. 

Because male pups can be so creative in finding ways to mate your pup.

Reading tip: 7 Ways To Stop A Male Dog From Smelling A Female In Heat

#8: Change in behavior 

You may observe changes in your Goldie when they’re in their season. 

First, they can get clingier than usual. They’d want more attention and affection from you. 

Or it can go the other way and your pooch gets more aggressive. 

This can result in your pup starting fights with other female dogs.

Aside from those mentioned above, your Goldie can also lose their appetite when they’re in heat. 

Plus, they’ll also pace and whine in frustration. 

#9: Frequent urination

When your Goldie’s in heat they like to pee small amounts on different objects. 

And it can happen inside the house or when you’re on a walk. 

Experts say that the reason behind this is the pheromones and hormones found in your pup’s urine during heat. 

But there’s more…

A study finds that male doggos can detect the reproductive status of pups in heat just through their pee.

That’s why your female pooch would pee on things. Doing so signals other doggos that she’s available to mate. 

Unfortunately, this behavior can be more taxing for you than for your pooch. 

Since they urinate on objects, this means more clean-up time. 

Here’s a helpful tip, move important things away from your Goldie to avoid it from getting peed on. 

Keep it this way until their heat’s done. 

#10: Flagging

Flagging happens when pooches in heat raise their bottoms towards male dogs. 

They’ll also move their tails to one side or grab them with their mouth. 

Your Goldie does this to disperse their pheromones in the air and attract male Fidos. 

Basically, it’s their own way of “flirting”.

And so far, this method has been very effective. 

If you want to see what a flagging pooch looks like, here’s a video:

#11: Receptiveness to male dogs

Since your pooch is in heat, they’ll eventually feel the urge to mate. 

During their most fertile periods in the heat cycle, they’d be more frantic to find a male dog that can breed them. 

By then, your Goldie will enter the “standing heat” period.

This is called so because your pup will stand still and wait for the male doggos to mate them.

Also, your pooch will try to go out on their own and seek out a male pup. 

To prevent this from happening, make sure to always lock the doors and windows of your home. 

Or you can also wear a leash around your Goldie.

4 stages of your Golden Retriever’s heat cycle

#1: Proestrus

This is the first stage of your Goldie’s heat cycle. 

It’s also known as the “getting ready” period.

Because your pooch’s body is preparing them for pregnancy. 

As a result, your pup’s estrogen levels will increase and they’ll give off stronger pheromones. 

At this point, male dogs will get so attracted to your Goldie and will want to breed them. 

However, she’s still not receptive to any possible mates. 

In fact, they’d usually become aggressive to male pups that approach them during this period. 

Aside from that, your pooch will also display some or all of these signs:

  • Tail tucking.
  • Swollen vulva.
  • Bloody vaginal discharge. 
  • Increased attention from male dogs.

So how long does this stage last?

According to FETCH, proestrus lasts for 7-10 days. 

And during this time it’s important to get your Goldie away from any male dogs.

Some fur parents also suggest letting your pooch wear dog diapers when outside. 

Read Next: 17 Tips On What To Do When Your Dog Is In Heat (& Bleeding)

#2: Estrus

Your Goldie is at the peak of her fertility during this stage. 

That’s why it’s also known as the “mating period”.

Because her body is already prepared and open for mating. 

To be precise, your Goldie’s ovaries will now start releasing eggs. This process is called ovulation.

And if your pooch gets mated when they’re ovulating, there’s a high chance of pregnancy. 

Bear in mind that this period will only last for 5-10 days.

What’s more, your pooch will desperately look for a male pup to mate with.

So keep an eye on your Goldie at this stage. 

Dog Mounting

They may try to sneak out of the house when you’re not looking. 

Also, these are the common signs. These will help you confirm if your pup is already at the second stage of their heat cycle:

  • Flagging.
  • Moodiness.
  • Receptiveness to male dogs.
  • Abnormal mounting behavior.
  • Clear to pinkish vaginal discharge.

#3: Diestrus

At stage 3, your Goldie’s no longer fertile. And they’ll lose their desire to mate. 

However, they still carry a scent and have vaginal discharge. 

So it’s recommended that you keep them inside during this period. 

It’s because they can get aggressive when they come in contact with other doggos.

Normally for Golden Retrievers, diestrus starts on the 24th day of heat. 

It’ll then lasts for 60-90 days. 

During this time, you’ll observe that their vulva will begin to shrink and the discharge will lessen. 

If your Goldie managed to get pregnant, their diestrus stage will last until they give birth. 

#4: Anestrus

The anestrus stage is also called the “downtime period”.

During this last stage, all signs of heat will disappear. 

And your Goldie’s body will return to normal. 

Aside from that, this is also the longest stage of the heat cycle. 

For Golden Retrievers, it usually lasts for 60-150 days. 

This stage is also the recovery period for pooches who just gave birth. 

After stage 4, the cycle will start all over again.

How to care for a Golden Retriever in heat? 9 tips

#1: Prepare a dog diaper

Golden Retrievers in heat will experience vaginal discharge and frequent peeing. 

This can result in a messy and uncomfortable situation for your pooch. 

To fix this problem, get your Goldie some dog diapers.

Here are some highly-rated products you can try:

Moreover, you have the option to use a disposable or reusable dog diaper. 

And both have their own advantages and disadvantages:

Type of dog diaperProsCons
Disposable– Convenient.
– Travel-friendly.
– Cheaper (retail price).
– Easy to rip.
– Bad for the environment.
– Contains harmful chemicals.
Reusable– Durable.
– Chemical-free.
– Economically better.
– Environment-friendly.
– Inconvenient.
– Costly retail price.
– Needs to be washed regularly.

#2: Clean-up and hygiene

Good hygiene is always important for raising Golden Retrievers.

But this is especially true when your fur baby’s in heat. 

Bear in mind that your pooch’s heat causes vulva swelling and vaginal discharge. 

And if their private areas aren’t properly cleaned, they can develop an infection.

Furthermore, you should make sure that your home is also clean. 

This way, your Goldie can avoid contacting germs from a dirty floor. 

#3: Pay attention to your Goldie

Behavioral changes can be observed with pooches in heat. 

This includes your Goldie changing or losing her appetite. 

As a result, they might need to take in vitamins or nutrients during their cycle.

If you notice these changes, then you can respond accordingly.

Moreover, paying attention to your pup also means giving them physical affection.

In particular, some pups would be clingier when they’re in heat. 

And it would be good to give them more cuddles during this time. 

On the contrary, if your female pooch wants space, give them that as well. 

Just make sure to always be attentive to your Goldie’s wants and needs.

Editor’s Pick: Top 25 Most Affectionate Dog Breeds That Love To Cuddle

#4: Rest and exercise

Dog Exercise

Keep an eye on your pooch’s energy level when she’s in heat. 

You see, they can get too restless and frustrated during this period. 

Exercise is a great way for your Goldie to loosen up and shake off that pent-up energy. 

Aside from that, don’t forget to give her enough rest as well. 

Because not all pups have the same level of activity during their heat.

Some are more active when in heat, while others are the total opposite.

So observe what works for your pooch.

And adjust her exercise time and resting time accordingly. 

#5: Avoid public places

When a Goldie’s in heat, she’s a target of many adoring male Fidos. 

And as I said, they can scent her from miles away. 

With that, it’s better to keep them out of public places. So, dog parks or pet stores are off-limits until her cycle subsides. 

This way, you limit their contact with male doggos. 

Instead, you can take your pooch to a less crowded place. 

#6: Don’t let Goldie go outside off-leash or alone

Even when it’s just out in the backyard, don’t let your pooch out of your sight. 

Because male doggos will find a way to get to your Goldie in heat. 

Letting her play or walk off-leash isn’t a great idea as well. 

But my Goldie’s well trained….

Well, pooches in heat can do crazy things due to their hormones. 

For example, they can roam around or get lost trying to find a mate.

So no matter how obedient your female pup is, it’s still unsafe to take her outside without a leash. 

#7: GPS tracker and microchip

According to FETCH, only 15 to 20% of lost doggos are returned to their owners.

And female pups are more likely to break out of your home or yard to try and find a mate. 

Hence, they can be in danger of being lost.

But having their microchip and ID tags can make it easier to find them. 

Moreover, it’s important to make sure that the tags have your updated contact information.

Aside from that, fur parents also suggest getting a GPS tracker for your Golden Retriever in heat. 

It’s a quicker way to find your run-away pooch. 

#8: Don’t scold or shout

Expect it to be messy when your female pup’s in heat.

So if you see them peeing or leaking their fluids on the floor, don’t scold them. 

This will just give your pooch added stress. 

Just clean up their mess and make them wear a dog diaper instead.

Also, give them distractions instead of scolding them for doing an unwanted behavior.  

For example, give them a chew toy to play with when you see them humping or mounting. 

Reading Tip: 7 Safe Ways To Stop Dogs From Peeing On Your Wall (How-To)

#9: Give them blankets

Nesting is a common behavior for Goldies in heat. 

So help them build their nest by giving them some blankets. 

This can also provide comfort for your pooch. 

Aside from that, this is also very helpful in soaking up the fluids that come out of their private areas. 

BONUS: Talk to your vet

Always consult your vet if you have other questions or concerns about your Goldie’s heat.

This is particularly important if it’s your pup’s first heat.

By talking to your vet, you can get tips on how to handle your pooch. 

It’s also recommended to ask your vet’s advice before spaying your Goldie. 

Recent studies found that spaying Golden Retrievers make them at risk for obesity. 
Furthermore, spaying them when they’re not yet 6-12 months old can cause orthopedic injury.