Golden Retriever Heat Cycle Explained (With Heat Cycle Chart)

Has your Golden Retriever been behaving differently? Has she displayed symptoms such as personality change, clingy behavior, and swollen vulva? Do not fret because these symptoms are completely normal. They indicate that your Golden Retriever is in heat.

new born golden retriever puppies

This phase is a normal part of your Golden Retrievers life cycle. If you are looking to have puppies, you should buckle up because I will discuss just how vital the Golden Retriever heat cycle is when trying to breed Golden Retriever puppies.

The heat cycle can be a confusing phase for you and your Golden Retriever. She will behave differently, and you will consequently have to change your behavior too. I will also be discussing how you should care for your Golden Retriever when she is in heat. So without any due, let’s get into this.

When Does A Golden Retriever Go In Heat?

Most female Golden Retrievers initially experience going into heat at the ripe age of 10-14 months. This can differ, depending on how large your Golden Retriever is; the heat cycle is continuous for the Golden Retriever’s lifetime unless they are pregnant or spayed. The heat cycles commonly occur every 9-10 months. 

Signs That Your Golden Retriever Is In Heat?

When Golden Retrievers are in heat, they experience quite a few physical and psychological symptoms. Your Golden Retriever will communicate that they are in heat. All you have to do is to watch out for these symptoms: 

Swollen Vulva

Your Golden Retriever’s vulva will be swollen during the estrous cycle. Although the vulva looks inflamed, it is not painful for your Golden Retriever. The swelling Golden Retriever’s vulva will occur about two to three days before she begins to experience vaginal discharge.

You may also notice that your Golden Retriever will lick her genitalia while her vulva is swollen. This is normal, and it is no indication that your dog is experiencing any pain.

Personality Change

Your Golden Retriever will undergo a personality change when she is in heat. Your female Golden Retriever may display some signs of depression such as a significant loss of appetite, an insatiable hunger, decreased activity level, or even increased activity level.

She may crave more affection than usual, or she may even crave less. It is pretty normal for your dog to isolate themselves and become grumpy when she is in heat. 

Vaginal Discharge

If your Golden Retriever starts to release fluids from her genitalia, do not worry because that is entirely normal when she is in heat. This is one of the most obvious signs that will indicate that your Golden Retriever is in heat.

The amount of discharge that your dog experiences will differ from other dogs and differ during different heat cycles. The vagina discharge is usually bloody and clears up over time. When the vaginal discharge ceases, that is a sign that your dog will not be in heat for much longer.


This is another obvious indication of your Golden Retriever being in heat. She will mount other dogs, whether they are male or female. Your Golden Retriever may even mount your leg. This is a normal consequence of the hormones that your Golden Retriever is experiencing.

Although your Golden Retriever may mount other dogs for reasons other than being in heat, if this is not normal behavior for your dog, then she is in heat. For greater clarity, you should check for other symptoms too.

Nesting Behavior

Nesting behavior is when your Golden Retriever moves her bed or covers to new locations, digs, or burrows, shreds bedding, or even shreds blankets to place in a new location. Your Golden Retriever aims to create a comfortable location for her puppies. 

Your Golden Retriever will move toys and other items to this nest and sleep with them. You may find yourself unable to get her away from this nest. 

Periodic Urination

Another symptom of your dog is in heat is increased urination. The increased urination is closely related to vaginal discharge. Your Golden Retriever will also use the urine to signal other dogs, letting them know that your Golden Retriever is in heat. 

Unfortunately, this increased urination means that your Golden Retriever will have to be taken on bathroom breaks more often. However, on the bright side, this will only last a short while.


Your Golden Retriever may display nervous symptoms when she is in heat. This nervousness can also cause then to be aggressive when she is in heat.

There are different ways that your Golden Retriever can express her nervousness when she is in heat. When your Golden Retriever displays aggression when she is in heat, you should watch out for aggression triggers. After identifying what makes your dog aggressive, you should try to shield them from those triggers for the duration of her heat cycle.

Male Dogs Are Coming Around Them.

When your dog is in heat, she will radiate pheromones that will attract other dogs. At this point, male dogs will be able to smell your Golden Retriever from quite some distance away. When they smell her, they will find her and mate with her if given a chance.

This is why you need to keep watch over your Golden Retriever when she is catching some air outside. Male dogs can be pretty creative when they know that your Golden Retriever is in heat. 

Clingy Behavior 

Your Golden Retriever will become clingier when she is in heat. They may desire more affection and attention from you during this period. I suggest that, if you can, spend more time with your Golden Retriever, she will surely appreciate this.

However, not all Golden Retrievers become clingy when they are in heat. Watch your dog and see what she wants; if she is constantly isolating herself, you should give her some space. Her moods are pretty volatile at this point, and the last thing you want to do is take proper care of her. 

How Long Does A Golden Retriever Stay In Heat?

The duration for which every dog stays in heat differs. However, Golden Retrievers stay in heat for about 2-4 weeks. This is only a guideline, and the only way to know how long your Golden Retriever will stay in heat is by observing her.

The 4 Stages Of Golden Retriever Heat Cycle Explained

4 Stages Of Golden Retriever Heat Cycle

There are four stages of the Golden Retriever heat cycle. Your Golden Retriever will experience different symptoms in each cycle.

Now let’s get to know more about the four stages of the Golden Retriever Heat Cycle. 

Stage 1: Proestrus

This is the first stage of the Golden Retriever heat cycle, and it marks the start of it. Your Golden Retriever will typically undergo quite a few physical and behavioral changes in the proestrus stage. This usually lasts for nine days, but it can last for a minimum of a day and a maximum of 27 days.

Your Golden Retriever will experience some biological alterations that will prepare her for mating. One of these biological alterations is the increased level of estrogen in her system. This is the stage in which your Golden Retriever’s vulva will swell.

She may also start tucking her tail between her legs as she walks or sleeps with it between her legs. This is an effort to prevent unwanted mounting. Your Golden Retriever will also display aggression towards male dogs during this stage.

Stage 2: Estrus

This is the stage in which your Golden Retriever will be more open-minded towards male dogs’ approaches because she is at the peak of her fertility. Mating typically occurs during the Estrus stage. Her reproductive system will be more active, and her ovaries will release ova, preparing her to breed, and in this stage, she moves her tail aside, willing to mate.

This stage can last between five to fourteen days. The duration of this stage is solely dependent on your dog. The color of her vaginal discharge will lighten during this stage. You should not allow your Golden Retriever to be outside without your supervision during this stage, even though she will want to be.

Stage 3: Diestrus

At this stage, your Golden Retriever will no longer be fertile. This stage’s duration is about 24 days after the commencement of her heat cycle and can last between 60-90 days. If your Golden Retriever is pregnant, this stage will last until your Golden Retriever gives birth.

Your Golden Retriever’s vulva will deflate, and your Golden Retriever will no longer be eager to interact with male dogs. The bloody vaginal discharge will also slow down during the Diestrus stage. 

Stage 4: Anestrus 

This is the last and longest stage of your Golden Retriever’s heat cycle. This stage can last for about 60 to 150 days. The duration is dependent on your Golden Retriever’s size. During this stage, your Golden Retriever will not display any sexual or hormonal symptoms. 

This is the time span for recovery for your Golden after delivering a litter of puppies. Once ‘Stage 4: Anestrus’ is over, the heat cycle will start over again.

How To Prevent Your Golden Retriever From Going Into Heat?

The best way to go about preventing Your Golden Retriever from going into heat is by spaying her. Spaying is a surgery in which your Golden Retriever’s ovaries and the uterus is removed. This surgery is called an ovariohysterectomy.

Beautiful Golden Retriever

This will sterilize your Golden Retriever. There is another procedure in which only the ovaries are removed. It is recommended that you wait until your Golden Retriever reaches the age of 6 months before you spay her.

If you are spaying your dog with the hope of their behavior changing, then you may have to look for an alternative. Spaying is not a definite method to alter your Golden Retriever’s behavior. 

Spaying has its advantages and disadvantages, so make sure that before you spay your Golden Retriever, you are well aware of the pros and cons of spaying.

Golden Retriever Heat Cycle Chart

At the age of 10 to 14 months, female Golden Retriever faces their first heat cycle, and on average, they often go in the heat every six months, that is 2 times a year. When Golden Retriever undergoes the heat cycle, there are 4 stages that she experiences – Proestrus, Estrus, Diestrus, and Anestrus. The time duration for each of these stages differs from each other.

Below, I’ve attached a Golden Retriever Heat Cycle Chart, which depicts the 4 stages of the Heat Cycle with time duration.

golden retriever heat cycle chart

The time spans given in this infographics are only average values, which can vary largely among individuals!

How To Take Proper Care When Your Golden Retriever Is In Heat?

golden retriever 1

When your Golden Retriever is in heat, it is easy for you to be overwhelmed and be unsure about how you should take care of her. Here are a few pointers:

Be Prepared With A Doggie Diaper And Pads

Your Golden Retriever will experience some vaginal discharge when she is in heat. For the sake of containing the mess and allowing your dog to be comfortable, you should get some doggie diapers and pads for her.

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In the case that the doggie diapers or pads are too large for your dog, you can get a bodysuit or suspenders for her. The goal here is to ensure that your Golden Retriever is comfortable. If you opt for the bodysuit, ensure that your Golden Retriever has breathing space or the material is not suffocating.

Pay Extra Attention

Your dog may become clingier and require more attention. If you can, give her extra attention and affection. Spend more time with your Golden Retriever. Trust me; the heating cycle is also an awkward time for her.

Your Golden Retriever may also undergo appetite changes and may require different vitamins or nutrients when they are in heat. Paying attention will ensure that you notice these changes and respond accordingly.

Clean Up And Good Hygiene

Hygiene is always important. Bad hygiene opens the door for many health issues. This is especially true when your Golden Retriever is in heat. She will experience vaginal discharge and can experience an infection if she is not appropriately cleaned.

To ensure that she is clean, use a spray bottle that has been filled with water. Spray her genitalia and wipe her. Ensure that the cloth that you use is clean to prevent any infections.

Rest And Exercise According To Your Golden’s Needs

Your Golden Retriever’s level of activity may increase or decrease. I suggest that you watch over your dog during this period. Take note of her level of activity and adjust to what she wants. 

Although physical exercise is essential for your dog, ensure that she gets enough rest. All dogs are different, and they will adjust to being in heat differently.  

Consult A Vet

During the heat cycle, your Golden Retriever will become susceptible to Pyometra. Pyometra is an infection that is caused by the hormonal changes that your Golden Retriever is experiencing. It occurs when the lining of the uterus remains thick even after the non-occurrence of pregnancy.

The uterus lining may become even thicker, and cysts may form. The cysts will release fluids that encourage the growth of bacteria. The bacteria will lead to an infection and ultimately result in Pyometra, which is a life-threatening condition.

You must consult your veterinarian and take your Golden Retriever for regular check-ups. Your Golden Retriever may experience other health issues that you may overlook.

Ensure That Your Golden Retriever Is Never Alone Outside

Male dogs will do anything to get to your Golden Retriever when they know that she is in heat. To prevent any unwanted pregnancies, keep watch over your Golden Retriever and go outside with her. 


At What Age Can A Golden Retriever Dog be Bred?

Twenty-four months is an ideal age to mate your Golden Retriever. You should not breed a Golden Retriever during their first heat cycle. Professionals recommend that you consider breeding once your dog has undergone her second or third heat cycle.

How Long Are Golden Retrievers Pregnant? Golden Retrievers Gestation Period

Golden Retrievers are typically pregnant for about 63 days. 

When Will My Golden Retriever’s Heat Cycle Start?

Golden Retrievers experience their first heat cycle at the age of 10 to 14 months old.


You need to understand her and know that this is a normal part of a dog’s life. You should take your Golden Retriever to a veterinarian for regular check-ups when she is in heat to ensure that she is in good health. Your veterinarian will also notify you if you need to change up her diet.

Your Golden Retriever will experience quite a few physical and behavioral changes while she is in heat. This process is a possibility just as off-putting for her as it is for you. Be patient with her.


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