A delicate topic, but one you are going to need to be aware of with your female Goldendoodle (if you are not planning to have her spayed) is estrus or ‘heat’ – the time that a female dog is receptive to mating and can get pregnant. This is essential knowledge whether you are planning on breeding her or not.
You will need to know at what age your pup will hit sexual maturity, how many ‘seasons’ she is going to have a year, how long they last, and what to do when she is going through it. Luckily, we have covered all that and a lot more in this article.
When Do Goldendoodles Go into Heat?
As with most other dogs, a female Goldendoodle will usually have her first ‘season’ around the age of six months. However, smaller dogs tend to reach puberty slightly ahead of larger ones, so a mini Goldie will likely get there before a standard one.
The only way to prevent your dog from going into heat is to have her spayed. This is the best course of action if you are not planning on breeding her. Most vets recommend having this done just before your pup’s first heat cycle.
During the procedure, the ovaries and uterus are removed entirely, and the dog never has a season at all. Spaying has numerous health and behavior benefits and absolutely guarantees that your dog will never fall accidentally pregnant.
How Long Does a Goldendoodle Season Last?
While cycles vary between dogs, generally speaking, a female Goldendoodle will go into heat twice a year (once every six months).
Smaller dogs tend to go into heat a bit more often – as much as once every four months. Particularly large ones may only have one season a year.
Estrus lasts for around two to three weeks but can go on for as long as a month. During this time, your dog will actively seek out male dogs.
Goldendoodle Heat Cycle (Stages & Timelines)
There are four specific stages of the heat cycle. Each of these is linked to fluctuating hormone levels as well as physical and behavioral changes.
The specific symptoms and the time spent in each stage will vary from dog to dog, but your female Goldie will experience each of them in this order.
In this first stage, you may start to see some early signs of your dog going into heat. Your dog’s vulva may become enlarged, and you may begin to notice blood-tinged discharge. Male dogs will be attracted to your pup. However, she will not be receptive at this point. Proestrus usually lasts around nine days – although it can go on for up to 27.
This is the stage that is generally referred to as ‘being in heat.’ It can last anywhere from four to 24 days, with the average being around nine. This is when your dog is fertile and receptive to males. The vulva is still enlarged but softens a little, and blood discharge gradually decreases. In this stage, estrogen levels drop, and progesterone levels start to increase, preparing your pooch’s body for a potential pregnancy.
In diestrus, the fertile part of the heat cycle ends, and your dog will stop being receptive to males. Estrogen levels are now low, while progesterone is high. Regardless of whether your pup is pregnant or not, this stage lasts around 60 days. Then either her puppies will be born, or she will shift to the final stage.
Otherwise known as ‘the resting stage,’ anestrus is the between time when your dog’s body and behavior return to normal. This stage lasts for approximately four months giving the uterus time to prepare for the next possible pregnancy. The vulva is no longer swollen, and there is no discharge during this time.
At What Age Can a Goldendoodle Get Pregnant?
In theory, your Goldie can get pregnant right from her very first heat. However, experts at the American Kennel Club recommend waiting at least three heats (until your dog is around 18-24 months). This is considered best practice among breeders.
The reason for this delay is that there can be significant problems (both physical and behavioral) when a young female reproduces too early. For instance, they are more likely to neglect or even reject their puppies.
Signs That Your Goldendoodle Might Be in Heat
Alongside changes to her genitalia and some discharge, there are a few other signs that your female Goldendoodle might be in heat. These include:
Drastic hormone changes will likely impact your dog’s mood during the more active part of their season. They will often be more agitated or nervous. This could manifest itself through clinginess, grumpiness, or even aggression. This can happen even if your pup has never shown any sign of aggression before.
Chances are this aggression will be directed towards overly eager suiters during the pro and diestrus stages. It could also be targeted at other female dogs during the actual heat stage. For this reason, it’s best to keep your pup away from other dogs at these times.
Changes in Appetite
You may also find your dog is not quite as interested in her food as normal. This could be another early sign that your dog is about to go into heat. However, it’s not guaranteed. Your pup could just as easily go the other way, eating everything in sight or have no significant changes in appetite at all.
If you do find your pet is not eating, you could try tempting her with some delectable morsels or treats that you know she loves. Kibble toppers are a great option, or you could temporarily try mixing a little wet food in with the dry.
Marking & Roaming
During the main stage of her heat cycle, your doggo will be looking to find a mate. So, you may find your otherwise happy homebody is itching to get out and about. This is a dangerous time as if your Goldie does manage to get away and comes into contact with an unneutered male…well, you know the rest….
You may also find that your in-heat or coming-up-to-in-heat dog starts to pee more frequently and demonstrate marking behaviors. There will be specific hormones and pheromones in the urine during your dog’s estrus cycle. Male dogs can smell this from long distances, and they will be attracted to it.
Changes in Behavior
Tail position changes could also signal an upcoming season. Your dog may either hold it close to their body to guard the vulva or move it to one side and lift the rump area, depending on which stage they are in.
You may also notice your pup licking their genital area more frequently to keep it free from discharge. Such cleaning behaviors may also mask your dog’s cycle status, so keep a careful eye out.
Behaviorally, your pup may seem uncomfortable and fidgety. She may cry or whine frequently or otherwise seem confused and in distress. Try, if you can, to spend a little more time with her, indulge her a bit, provide special treats or toys and plenty of cuddles to help her feel better.
How Can I Help My Dog When She is in Heat?
As well as a little extra love and attention, a dog in heat will benefit from more regular, short walks to help keep her calm. Just be aware that male dogs will be attracted to her at this time and could get very aggressive with one another. Play it safe by taking your pup to places with fewer other dogs around and always ALWAYS keep her on a leash.
Make sure you also have a space for your pooch in the home where she can be calm and feel safe. If she can’t seem to relax, you might utilize one of the many calming products on the market – sprays, drops, essential oils, pheromones, etc.
To keep the house clean, you can use doggy diapers or lay out some old towels for your Goldie to sleep on. Alternatively, you might choose to restrict her to specific (easier to clean) areas of the house. Just not an overly small space as this isn’t fair for the dog.
Frequently Asked Questions About Goldendoodle Heat Cycles
How do I know if my Goldendoodle is in heat?
Every dog is different, and so it’s not always easy to tell if your Goldie is in heat or not. There are a few common signs, such as changes in behavior, appetite, swollen genitals, and bloody discharge. You just can’t rely on noticing any of these. If you suspect your pup is in heat, make sure to keep her well away from unneutered males.
How long do Goldendoodles bleed when they are in heat?
The bleeding portion of the heat cycle is actually very brief indeed. It will only happen for around seven to ten days during the first two stages of the process. You may not, in fact, see any bleeding at all as your dog is motivated to keep their genital area very clean at this time. However, you may notice this increase in licking behavior.
Dog ownership comes with an array of responsibilities that many newbie owners are often unprepared for. Dealing with a female’s heat cycle is not usually one of them as it’s common in this day and age to get canines fixed before their first season. However, if you have decided against this option for whatever reason, you are going to need to understand how your Goldendoodle’s estrus cycle works. Hopefully, the information included in this article proves useful for helping you to do just that.