False Pregnancy In Dogs - Phantom Pregnancy - Pseudocyesis
False pregnancy is a normal phenomenon. It may have evolved to enable other bitches within a pack to feed young pups when their other mother was absent. Every bitch has a false pregnancy after every estrous cycle. However, some individuals have more dramatic physical and behavioural changes than others, sometimes so dramatic that medical intervention is warranted. Behaviour changes vary from moodiness, snappiness and a desire to be alone under tables, beds and chairs, to a precocious need to be touched and in the presence of people. Whining and moaning often increase. Some individuals moan and act lethargic giving the impression of serious illness. Typically, a dog becomes possessive of her toys, carries them around with her and protects them.
The mammary glands often enlarge and become productive. Milk can be squeezed from the teats. The abdomen is often slightly distended, giving an impression of true pregnancy. In extreme instances, at what would be the time of birth, bitches go off their food, become restless and have mild contractions. Unless your bitch is physically or psychologically uncomfortable there is no need for treatment. If an individual has an overt false pregnancy her future false pregnancies are likely to be as dramatic. If you do not intend to breed from her she should be spayed a month or more after the false pregnancy finishes. When treatment is undertaken, we use oral prolactin inhibitors.