Phantom pregnancy in dogs
After every season or heat, there are hormonal changes which prepare a bitch’s body for pregnancy, even though they are not pregnant.
This may be because naturally, dogs would live in groups and the more female dogs that can help with puppies the better. Some females are more affected by the hormones than others and these bitches may suffer symptoms.
A phantom pregnancy in a dog can last anywhere from a week to a month.
Signs that your dog may be experiencing a phantom pregnancy include:
Depression and/or other behavioural changes
Loss of appetitive
Nesting – this can involve moving around and digging bedding
Nursing – your dog may become particularly attached to a toy
Secretion from mammary glands
If you suspect that your dog is having a phantom pregnancy, take them to see your vet, who will be able to rule out a real pregnancy or any other medical conditions which can cause similar symptoms.
Unless symptoms persist for a long period of time, treatment is not normally necessary and the phantom pregnancy will normally stop on its own. Milk will dry up more quickly if the glands are not stroked or bathed. Long-term, neutering is recommended.