Daisy started displaying some very odd behaviors... whimpering often, loss of appetite, she vomited a few mornings, she started "gathering" all of her toys in another room... but the real kicker was when I noticed that it looked like her little nipples were getting bigger, and she looked like a dog that was getting ready to nurse... she was leaking milk - yep, really! It would shoot more than 3 feet in the air if you applied a little pressure, weird! And there was NO CHANCE at all of her being pregnant. So I did a little research on the web and discovered that she was going through a "false pregnancy". Strange indeed, here's what I found...
Canine false pregnancy is a term used to describe female dogs showing signs of pregnancy, nursing, and lactation, and yet produce no puppies; either there was no mating occurred or have any fertilized eggs. This sign usually occurs after her estrus stage is over (about a month or two), and it may last for two to three months depending in type and severity from one female to another.
What Can Cause a Dog To Have a False Pregnancy?
The current research studies offer the notion that false pregnancies are the result of a major hormonal imbalance. Some female dogs have a nurturing drive so tremendous that they can show signs of a false pregnancy after every astral cycle with the signs becoming progressively more severe on each occasion. Female dogs that have this condition on an ongoing basis tend to ovulate longer than the standard four-to-five week period.
What Happens When Dogs Go Through a False Pregnancy?
Again, this is largely depending on individual female. In very mild cases, you may not notice any difference in the female’s mental or physical state. As false pregnancy progresses, many females can experience a dramatic variety of mood and sensory changes such as a swollen abdomen, mammary glands filled with milk. She will exhibit almost the exact physical symptoms, as well as behavioral symptoms, that she would go through a real pregnancy. In severe cases, she will probably have it again after each heat, the female may actually strain as if she is producing a litter.
Physical and behavioral symptoms during canine false pregnancy:
Morning Sickness. The most common sign in canine false pregnancy is morning sickness. You will notice that your dog is getting sick in the morning experiencing bouts of nausea and vomiting, to varying degrees. Other morning sickness symptoms include exhaustion or feeling sleepy, food cravings, frequent urination, abdominal cramps, and/or tender or swollen mammary glands.
Appetite. Changes in appetite are also extreme. When a dog is pregnant she will go through periods of huge appetite increases as well as periods of what appear to be hunger strikes which can last for days. It is not unusual to see her rejecting her regular food in favor of those that are less appealing to her when she isn’t experiencing false pregnancy.
Stool Eating. (thank God this is one symptom she didn't have!!!) Although this is a rare case, your dog may eat stool during a false pregnancy. The technical term for stool-eating is called Coprophagia and is normally considered to be caused by some hidden behavioral problem. However, in relation to a dog experiencing a false pregnancy, it can be her body telling her that she is not getting the proper amount of nutrients that she needs to feed her unborn puppies. Even though she is not truly pregnant, her body is telling her otherwise.
Weight. Probably the most interesting aspect of a false pregnancy is the physical changes that occur in the female dog’s body. They truly mimic a real pregnancy. For example, she will experience an unusual amount of weight-gain, even if her diet hasn’t changed. Her mammary glands will increase in size and she will start production of milk and colostrum. You may also notice that her pelvic and global area may pulsate as she swells and relaxes the area.
Exercise. Nearing the time she would “give birth”, she will show nervous signs including panting and breathlessness even though she hasn’t move much all day. Getting her to exercise or go for a brisk walk is almost impossible. When coaxed, she may attempt to cry and “fake” an abdominal cramp right at the door.
Nesting. The female behavior will start displaying that of a mother who is trying to “nest.” She will spend time building her nest and form attachments to inanimate objects like toys, shoes, remote controller, and throws. She will then carry her invisible puppies around the house and taking them to her bed. Her territorial and maternal instincts will show as she protects her invisible litter, which can be upsetting for owners especially family members aren’t close to her.
Daisy is drying up now and it seems to be almost over, I am calling the vet tomorrow to set a date for her to be spayed, hopefully she'll never go through that again!
BUT, she does look ADORABLE in her little rockstar diaper... (pics in next post)
age: 3 1/2 months
One of our cats, Junior (aka Juney), decided he wanted in on the action...
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