You own a Golden Retriever and are planning on investing in having puppies in the near future, but have no prior experience with dog pregnancy or knowledge on how to proceed. Fear not. A good area to start would be familiarizing yourself with the Golden Retriever heat cycle and information regarding Golden Retriever heat cycle duration. Read on to educate yourself about the estrous cycles of Golden Retrievers.
What are the signs of a Golden Retriever going into heat?
The following physical and psychological signs are what you can expect from your Golden Retriever in heat.
One of the most defining physical characteristics of a Golden Retriever in heat (also called the “estrous cycle”) is a swollen vulva. During a Golden Retriever’s first heat cycle, you may expect her vulva to swell and engorge 2 – 3 days before your Golden Retriever experiences vaginal discharge. When it happens, it is typically not painful for your dog.
It is also normal for Golden Retrievers to start excessively licking their genitalia during this time.
It is normal for discharge or fluid to release from your Golden Retriever during her estrous cycle. Usually, this will happen during the first two stages of the Golden Retriever heat cycle duration (which lasts about 2 – 3 weeks). Depending on the severity and how long your Golden Retriever is in heat for, you may need to buy doggie diapers to keep your areas clean and free of female Golden Retriever discharge.
Fluid discharge can be bloody, brown, clear or yellow-colored.
You should expect your Golden Retriever to exhibit “mounting” behavior. She may start mounting against objects or your leg and may seem receptive and not hostile towards male dogs who try to mount her.
Also associated with vaginal discharge and frequent genital licking, Golden Retrievers may start urinating more frequently than usual during their estrous cycle. You can expect more trips to the bathroom from your dog for 1 – 2 weeks when it goes into heat.
While this is normal, you may want to have your Golden Retriever checked at your vet to make sure this isn’t a symptom of something more serious.
Clingy and excitable behavior
It should also be noted that Golden Retrievers can exhibit signs of clinginess or over-excitedness when in heat. They may become nervous or easily agitated during this time period.
When do Golden Retrievers go into heat?
A Golden Retriever’s first heat cycle can start early; sometimes as young as 6 months old. It can also occur late; when they are 1 ½ to 2 years old, depending on the size of your dog. But usually, once every 6 months is the frequency you can expect when do Golden Retrievers go into heat.
Large dogs tend to sexually mature and experience estrous cycles later in their life than small or medium-sized dogs.
The Golden Retriever estrous cycle
The following section gives an overview of the phases in a Golden Retriever’s heat cycle and what they mean.
- Proestrus phase
This phase is most associated with significant behavioral and physical changes. The proestrus phase usually lasts 9 days on average, but last as short as 1 day and go for as long as 27 days.
During this time, your Golden Retriever will undergo biological changes to prepare for mating and will experience high levels of estrogen in its system. Her vulva will become very swollen during this time but may still show signs of aggression towards male dogs who will try to mount her. Your Golden Retriever may place its tail between its legs during this time.
- Estrus phase
This is the second phase in your Golden Retriever heat cycle and is associated with more chemical changes in its reproductive system. This phase lasts between 4 to 24 days, but on average lasts 9 days.
The most significant change that happens during this time is a softening of your Golden Retriever’s vulva and its willingness and readiness to mate. Your dog may move its tail aside if mounted by a male dog.
- Diestrus/Metestrus phase
The third phase of the heat cycle is defined as the stage where your Golden Retriever no longer has any interest in mating. This period usually lasts for about 2 months.
It is at this point do your dog’s biological and hormonal levels begin to return to normal. Vaginal discharge starts to slow and lessen at this point.
- Anestrus phase
This is the longest stage of the Golden Retriever heat cycle and typically lasts for 3 – 4 months.
This counts as your Golden Retriever’s “down time” in between heat cycles where her biological and hormonal facilities return to their regular baseline stage. After the anestrus phase ends, it will start anew with the proestrus cycle and repeat for a total of two heat cycles a year.
How can I ensure successful mating for my Golden Retriever?
Take note of the following section for some helpful info with regards to a successful mating period for your Golden Retriever.
Keep a heat cycle calendar
The more organized and up-to-date your Golden Retriever estrous cycle calendar will be, the greater your dog’s chances are in becoming pregnant. Take note of when you start seeing changes in your Golden Retriever’s behavior or genitalia. In about 2 weeks, your Golden Retriever will be in an optimal time period to mate.
Be mindful of your dog’s discharge
The best indicator of when your Golden Retriever’s ovulation phase (also the time period when your dog is most fertile) happens is the consistency of your dog’s vaginal fluid. As a rule of thumb, it is best to have your Golden Retriever mate with a male dog when the discharge is runny or watery. This is the time period where she will have the best chances of getting pregnant.