It is a myth that the canine heat cycle is every 6 months! Some smaller dogs may go that often, but Golden Retrievers do not.
Generally, your female Golden Retriever will be between 10 to 14 months old before she has her first heat.
Only one of my 5 females had her first canine heat cycle younger than 10 months, and I believe that was because a couple of my other females were in season, and therefore, threw her into an earlier-than-normal sequence.
After the female’s first initial cycle, the next season will vary depending upon the individual dog.
One of my Goldens’ comes in season every 7&1/2 months. But the other 4 females have a range of 9-10 months between their individual cycles.
If you keep track, you will notice that they will settle into a fairly predictable pattern.
When a Golden Retriever is in season, there is not as big of a mess as one would expect. They do a great job of keeping themselves cleaned.
There will be some blood and therefore, it is best if she can be kept on an easy to clean floor; but the mess will be (thankfully) less than anticipated!
Canine heat cycles last for 3 weeks.
The first week is when you will notice blood. As the season continues, the bloody discharge will become lighter and lighter in color, until it becomes totally clear.
It is usually during the 2nd week that the timing is correct for breeding, if you do choose to breed her.
Her vulva will swell before her cycle starts, and will gradually shrink down to normal size when it is over.
She may not eat as much as usual, and her personality may change slightly. One of my females acts as if she is depressed during this time.
Usually your Golden will become more affectionate and clingy with her human family. She may become more playful with other dogs before her cycle starts; but then be grumpy with another canine when she is in actual heat.
Do not be surprised if your female mounts other females, and allows them to mount her.
This happens quite often, and this behavior will stop once the canine heat cycle is completed.
I have never had any of my females fight with another of my females. However, sometimes during a dog‘s estrus, this does happen between females and is something you will want to watch for.
Make sure you keep them separated if this happens even once. Female dog fights are extremely vicious, and they do seem to hold grudges for a very long time!
Sometimes the female may have to urinate more than usual. Do not scold her if she has an accident in your house, it is not a behavior problem, but is directly related to her hormones.
She just needs to be let out more often during this time.
One of my females’ urine also has a much stronger odor when she is in season. There is nothing wrong with her, this is just how her body reacts.
If your Golden does have an accident, the last thing you want is for your other dogs to think they can do it also! White vinegar works great in taking out all odors from the carpet.
White vinegar has never hurt or changed any of my carpet’s color, but just to be safe, try it in an unnoticeable area.
If you do not want her bred, make sure that you keep her away from all males for the full three weeks after you see the first signs of blood.
As an extra precaution, I mark on my calendar when I first see blood. This way I am assured of when it is safe to allow her around other males.
A word of advice and warning; when it comes to a female dog in season, every male dog in the neighborhood will start appearing at your door!
When you let her outside for the bathroom, go with her.
Trust me on this!
Even a fenced in yard is not enough to ward off a determined dog.
During the canine heat cycle, it is best to not take your Golden Retriever on walks. This will only serve to draw attention to all other dogs that she is indeed in season.
Play with her in the house, and catch her up on her exercise when she is safely past her season.