False pregnancy or phantom pregnancy in dogs can be a very distressing time for your dog, as well as their owner, when pseudocystis occurs your dog will experience a variety of changes in their body that will cause them to behave and act very differently.
What is Phantom Pregnancy, what you can do to keep your dog calm, treatments, how to prevent them as well as keeping it as comfortable as possible during the stages of ‘pregnancy’ is beautiful here.
What is a phantom pregnancy?
Phantom pregnancy, miscarriage or pseudocystis in dogs are terms used to refer to a common condition in non-pregnant female dogs that shows symptoms of pregnancy or nursing after heat (estrus).
Estrus – This is a stage in the female dog’s reproductive system, there are four different stages of the reproductive system, prostrus, estrus, dystrus and anastrus, each stage involving hormonal, behavioral, physical and physiological changes in the dog.
The bitch has to have sex with male dog during estrus. The mating phase usually lasts nine days, but can last up to 3 weeks.
False pregnancies can be caused by a failure to conceive or by a bitch never having sex. Symptoms usually appear between six and 12 weeks after heating, but can last for more than a month depending on its severity.
The exact reason why bitches have phantom pregnancies is not known but they believe it is driven by a hormonal imbalance, progesterone and prolactin.
Symptoms of phantom pregnancy in dogs
Every female dog experiences different symptoms, but here is a list of what to look for if you feel your dog is experiencing a false pregnancy.
- Mammary gland enlargement / mammary gland secretion
- Nesting – moving and digging in the bed
- Self-nursing – paired with a specific toy
- Behavior Changes in behavior
- App Lack of appetite
- Swollen belly
If you think your bitch is pregnant / book an appointment to consult a veterinarian, you should give as much history as possible about your dog so the veterinarian can take a full examination and assess your dog’s overall health.
A complete blood count is required, urination (for hormones indicating true pregnancy), abdominal x-ray and ultrasound (these loose or any abnormal growths or infections in puppies can cause phantom pregnancy).
Dog False Pregnancy Treatment
Mild In mild cases most dogs do not need treatment because the symptoms go away in 3 weeks. However, in some cases hormonal treatment may be needed if the dog’s symptoms cause anxiety and changes in behavior.
This drug controls milk production, anxiety or if your dog is physically ill. If you find your dog laughing at himself, it is a good idea to put an Elizabeth collar or t-shirt on them, as this will reduce the stimulus.
Any stimulus leads the body to believe that the puppies are nursing and that milk production will continue.
If you are not planning to breed with your bitch, spawning them is the best option, as it will solve the problem and prevent this from happening in the future, as phantom pregnancies can be very distressing for the dog and the owner.
Most dogs usually come to be warmed up twice a year, but this will determine the dog, size and breed of dog. Bitches that have a litter or more can cause phantom pregnancies on non-breeding dogs.
Natural treatment for dog false pregnancy
Natural Ingredients Can Help Reduce Phantom Pregnancies Raspberry Leaf Tablets is a licensed veterinary herbal medicine that has the power to help miscarriages, give it to your dog as soon as you see signs of a season, depending on the dog’s weight.
Your bitch should continue to take the pills for up to a week after wheeling, which usually lasts twelve weeks.
Raspberry leaf has a very successful rate for dogs in preventing phantom pregnancies and is highly recommended by many owners.
Other natural remedies to help false pregnancy:
Uls Pulsatilla 15C – Again it helps dogs experiencing miscarriage, but soothes pale gums and soothes mouth and throat.
Urtica uranium 3C– It increases milk flow in mammals
Note: Before using any medications for your pet, consult with them first.
Dog Phantom removes pregnancy toys
There seems to be quite a bit of debate going on regarding this question, because some people believe that you should remove toys from your dog if there are too many toys on your toy, yet many believe that leaving your bitch to keep her ‘surrogate children’ is the right thing to do.
This time keeps them light and calm, removing the toys increases their anxiety and makes the theme upset if their ‘kids’ can’t be found, over time they lose interest in these toys and it’s time to come back to them.
If you want to distract your dog from ‘her puppies’, try to take her for a walk to take her mind, you may not be able to go very far as you are pinning her back to her nest bed, but gradually you should increase their gait a little further each day until they return to normal .
Phantom pregnancy dog is not eating
Dogs with Phantom Pregnancy have many symptoms, most commonly morning sickness, nausea and vomiting in your dog in the morning, and other signs of morning sickness:
- fatigue / sleep
- Frequent urination
- Tender or swollen mammary glands
- Food cravings
- Abdominal cramps
When a dog experiences a phantom pregnancy, they experience a lot of changes in their appetite, one minute they have a big hunger, the next day they do not eat anything for several days and go on a hunger strike, although it is not uncommon to see this happening. You can also see weight loss because they contain more fluid.
Consult your vet for some advice if you have problems with your dog’s health.
Why Do Female Dogs Get Phantom Pregnancy?
False pregnancies are an undesirable side effect of the female dog’s natural hormonal cycle.
A healthy pet is more likely to experience her first heat cycle when she is between six months and a year old.
Some smaller species already experience it, but larger species do not become hot until they are 18 months old.
Unless you see your dog or she is pregnant, she will be in the heat once every six months for 10 days.
After being in the heat, her ovaries begin to produce hormones that prepare her body for pregnancy – regardless of whether or not she has had intercourse.
If she is pregnant, her body will produce hormones to maintain her pregnancy, hopefully the result will be a lovely litter over a period of nine weeks.
If she is not pregnant, these hormones mimic the actual pregnancy. They subside in a few weeks and usually do not have permanent effects.
It is not known exactly why phantom pregnancies occur. An imbalance of the hormones progesterone and prolactin seems to be one cause, and it is also thought to be associated with hypothyroidism or mastitis in some dogs.
Another theory is that in the wild, dogs live in packs and all females help breed puppies born to the “alpha” pair. False pregnancies are believed to induce the dog’s mother to tolerate the instinct so that she can help keep all of her puppies in her pack.
Should I take my dog to the vet?
Most phantom pregnancies heal up naturally within a few weeks. If the symptoms are mild and you know for sure that she has not met male dogs recently, you do not need to do anything, though your vet visit is guaranteed.
However, sometimes, phantom pregnancies can sustain and afflict a dog – and you, its owner. In that case, it is advisable to have her checked by a professional.
Once your vet is satisfied that your animal is not pregnant, they may want to check for any underlying conditions that may be causing the symptoms. These may include infections, a benign tumor of the inactive thyroid gland or pituitary gland.
A more serious illness that is mistaken for a miscarriage is pyometra, a malignant condition of pregnancy that is usually caused by E. coli bacteria in the stool. In this case, an emergency operation is required to terminate your animal’s pregnancy.
Major health issues such as pyometra are quite expensive to treat. Dog insurance vets can help you pay the fees.
How to prevent phantom pregnancy in a dog
There is a very easy way to prevent phantom pregnancies: Take care of your dog. This quick and safe operation to remove your animal’s womb and ovaries can be done by your vet.
In addition to preventing pregnancy and phantom pregnancies, spaying eliminates the risk of biometric and serious conditions such as tumors or infection of the uterus.
It also reduces the risk of other diseases such as breast cancer.
Your vet advises you to wait until the symptoms of a miscarriage are resolved before spawning.
Despite the general anesthesia in the process, your dog should be able to come home the same day and be fully recovered within a few weeks.
If you want to breed from your dog, there is nothing you can do to prevent phantom pregnancies.
Keep an eye on her after she is hot and get veterinary attention immediately if she feels pregnant.
For optimal health, do not breed from her before she is single, and take care of her after she has produced four litter puppies.
The Kennel Club has more guidelines on safe dog breeding.