You’ve recently brought home a beautiful bundle of fluff and personality, but now you’re a little worried about her future and what kinds of changes she’ll experience as she grows older.
In particular, you may be wondering: when do goldendoodles go into heat?
A female dog’s estrus cycle is also known as her heat cycle. It is the period of time where she is most fertile and receptive to mating.
Her heat cycles will usually begin at about six months of age and continue to happen every four to six months for the rest of her life.
During her heat cycle, your female goldendoodle will experience certain symptoms that can be rather distressing to new owners of younger female dogs and the dogs themselves.
Knowing as much as possible about your dog’s heat cycle will help you care for her during these times.
Read on to find out more about the estrus cycle, when and how it happens in goldendoodles, what symptoms to look out for, and some advice on caring for your golden girl during this time.
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What Is A Heat Cycle In Dogs?
All female mammals go through an estrus cycle where the body is primed by hormones to release an egg (or eggs) in preparation for mating with a male and producing offspring. Goldendoodles are no different.
The estrus cycle also alerts the female dog that it is time to mate. As a result, she will instinctively crave attention from male dogs and try to be around them as much as possible.
She will also let off signals and smells that let the male dogs know she is fertile and receptive to mating.
When Do Female Goldendoodles Go Into Heat?
Just like female humans, female dogs start their estrus cycles once they reach puberty!
On average, most dogs reach puberty when they are around six months old.
For the standard goldendoodle, this is true. However, the smaller the dog breed is, the earlier they tend to reach puberty and sexual maturity.
This means miniature and toy goldendoodles can start their first heat cycles as early as four months old, so it’s important for you to be aware of which size variation of the poodle and golden retriever mix you have.
In our experience with purebred Golden Retrievers they tended to get their first heat cycle somewhere between 6 and 12 months of age.
Our current Golden Retriever Labrador Retriever cross had her first heat cycle at 9 months old.
I know, we’re talking goldendoodles here, but I just wanted to give you and idea based on our Golden experiences.
How Often Will My Goldendoodle Be In Heat?
In general, goldendoodle females go into heat roughly every six months.
If they are a toy or miniature goldendoodle, then they will go into heat every three or four months. The smaller the dog, the more frequent the heat cycles.
A single heat cycle lasts between two and four weeks. It is important to track these ‘periods’ to know how long they are lasting and watch out for any irregularities.
Did you know: giant breeds of dogs like great Danes and Bernese mountain dogs reach puberty later in life at around 12 months and may only have one estrus cycle a year!
Signs Your Female Goldendoodle Is In Heat
There are several physical symptoms and behavioral signs you can look out for to determine when your female goldendoodle is in heat.
Physical symptoms of estrus include:
- A swollen vulva, which may not be apparent if your doodle has a long coat.
- Bloody discharge from the vulva. The discharge will be redder the earlier on in the heat cycle it is and will be lighter pink to clear as the heat cycle comes to a close.
- Frequent licking of the genital area to clear up the discharge and relieve discomfort caused by the swelling of her vulva.
- Increased thirst and urination in order to spread her hormone- and pheromone-laced urine as far as possible to attract a male.
Behavioral signs of estrus include:
- Urinating in a marking manner. Many dogs will urinate in the house or on items they normally wouldn’t in order to spread their scent.
- Raising her bottom into the air (especially if male dogs are around) to indicate she is ready to be mounted.
- Becoming slightly irritable towards other pets or people during her heat cycle, especially if there are no male dogs present.
- If male dogs are present, your female goldendoodle may put her bottom in front of them and move her tail to the side, indicating she is receptive to being mounted.
As time goes on, you will come to recognize these symptoms and signs for what they are and be able to provide your goldendoodle with extra care to make her cycle as comfortable as possible.
Caring For Your Goldendoodle While She’s In Heat
If you are not intending to breed your goldendoodle during her heat cycle, then it would be ideal to keep her away from all males.
If she can smell or see male dogs near her, she will become distressed if she cannot have access to them.
Your female goldendoodle may also have a lot of nervous energy while she is in her heat cycle.
To help her expel this energy, take her on more frequent walks or increase her normal exercise regime by an additional 20 minutes a day.
This care tip is more for you as an owner than for your dog. If your goldendoodle is experiencing heavy discharge, then you could use doggie diapers on her to prevent the mess from getting on furniture.
Alternatively, you could provide her with a bed lined with old towels or puppy training pads.
FAQs About Goldendoodles Going Into Heat…
How do I prevent my goldendoodle from going into heat?
The only way to prevent or stop your female goldendoodle from going into heat is to spay her.
When female dogs are spayed, they get a complete ovariohysterectomy, which removes the ovaries and the uterus.
Should I spay my female goldendoodle before her first estrus or allow the first to pass and then spay her?
Your goldendoodle’s first estrus cycle or heat cycle may happen when she is very young.
It may be better to wait until her second or third cycle to pass before you spay her.
Dogs can become pregnant from very early on, so if you are planning on spaying her, don’t allow her to be around male dogs when she is in heat until she is spayed.
Here’s a good study on when to spay or neuter your dog based on breed.
Goldendoodles are not represented but here are the recommendations for Golden Retrievers and Poodles:
|BREED||MALE (NEUTER)||FEMALE (SPAY)|
|Golden Retrievers||Beyond 11 Months||Leave Intact|
|Poodle (Miniature)||Beyond 11 Months||Choice|
|Poodle (Standard)||Beyond 23 Months||Choice|
The term “choice” means there was no increased risk for any age.
However, that is a discussion you would need to have with your dog’s vet, as each dog is unique and has different needs.
I am planning to breed my goldendoodle. Can I breed her in her first estrus?
Your goldendoodle’s first heat cycle may be at a very young age where pregnancy would be very difficult on her body.
Expert breeders recommend waiting until your dog’s third estrus cycle has passed before breeding her.
This allows her body to develop into adulthood and reduces the chances of physical and behavioral complications arising from a pregnancy.
If I don’t plan on breeding my goldendoodle, should I still spay her?
If you don’t want an unexpected litter, then spaying your female goldendoodle is the best way to go. However, spaying dogs is not just about contraception.
If a female dog doesn’t go through a heat cycle, she is less likely to mate with other dogs, and the risk of spreading of STIs is reduced.
Additionally, if she doesn’t have ovaries or a uterus, your dog cannot suffer from ovarian or uterine cancer, which are common types of cancer in female dogs.
Removing the uterus and ovaries also reduces a female dog’s risk of mammary (breast) cancer considerably.
If you are not planning on breeding your goldendoodle, it might be a good idea to get her spayed at the appropriate age.
Female standard goldendoodles usually enter their first heat cycle when they are six months old.
However, miniature and toy goldendoodles can enter their first heat cycle (also known as an estrus cycle) when they are only three or four months old.
Overall, goldendoodles experience the same signs and symptoms of an estrus cycle as other dog breeds.
Here is a quick recap of what symptoms your dog may experience during a typical heat cycle:
- A bloody discharge
- Swelling of the vulva
- Frequent licking of the vulva
- Frequent urination
- Urination in a marking pattern
- Presenting her bottom to male dogs
- Flagging her tail to the side in front of male dogs
- Searching for male dogs
- Irritability with other pets or humans in the household
To care for your goldendoodle while she is in her heat cycle, ensure she has plenty of water to drink to make up for the liquid she’s losing to her frequent urination.
She will also need additional exercise to help her burn off her nervous energy.
If you are not planning on breeding your goldendoodle, then you may want to seriously consider getting her spayed for the health benefits and to reduce the chance of an unexpected litter of puppies showing up on your living room floor.
Have you bred or do you plan to breed your goldendoodle?
If so, tell us about your experiences in the comment section below.