Phantom pregnancy in female dogs is one of the most frequently used terms to describe the situation whereby a female dog shows the symptoms of pregnancy without being pregnant and, even, peripartum, postpartum and lactation. However, this condition is nothing more than a luteal phase – period after ovulation – excessively prolonged.
This false pregnancy can be easily diagnosed and treated by a veterinary professional. Therefore, if you think your dog may be suffering from a phantom pregnancy, you should take her to the vet. This will rule out that it is a real pregnancy and will offer you all the tips to help your pet.
Symptoms of ghost pregnancy in female dogs
Phantom pregnancy in female dogs is considered a normal clinical condition. It is not associated with any type of reproductive abnormality, such as pyometers or infertility.
In fact, that a dog suffers a psychological pregnancy shows that ovulation took place during the last heat and that all the organs responsible for it are intact, such as the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland and the gonads or reproductive organs.
The reason why some female dogs are more likely to suffer symptoms of phantom pregnancy, or why in some cases these signs are very strong, is still unknown. The most common symptoms during phantom pregnancy in female dogs are:
Emergence of maternal behavior
This is, perhaps, one of the most defining symptoms of the state of psychological pregnancy. The dog will try to make a nest and will be continuously taking care of herself and grooming. In addition, excess nipples may be licked, which will increase the chances of milk production.
Restlessness, nervousness and depression
It is usual that, during this period, the dog is very nervous and restless. He may not show interest in the things he did show before. In addition, you can behave in a way that is not very obedient because you don’t know how to manage your new situation. Further, you can spend the day wandering around the house aimlessly.
The dog, too, can change physically due to phantom pregnancy. The mammary glands will enlarge. On the other hand, the abdomen could distend, as if carrying puppies inside.
Other symptoms of ghost pregnancy in female dogs
In addition to the symptoms shown above, we may also notice vomiting, loss of appetite or anorexia and the appearance of an aqueous fluid, through the mammary glands, which is not milk.
Causes of ghost pregnancy in female dogs
The possible causes of ghost pregnancy in female dogs is yet to be discovered, but the hypothesis that shows more reliability is the one that involves prolactin.
Psychological pregnancy seems to be related and dependent on exposure to high levels of a hormone called progesterone. When the luteal phase appears late and is prolonged, the rapid decrease in progesterone levels causes another hormone, prolactin, to increase. The latter stimulates milk production and also increases during pregnancy, which can confuse the dog.
How to help the dog during this period
First, we must make sure that, really, the dog is not pregnant. To do this, we will visit the veterinarian and explain the situation.
Once we know that the dog is going through a false pregnancy, we must do everything possible to distract her from her condition. Increasing the number of rides and duration is a good strategy.
While we are on the street, another person will remove all the toys that the dog has been able to adopt as if they were puppies. It also favors the regulation of hormonal states by offering a handful of fresh parsley at meals.
A dog’s diet during pregnancy changes, since the dog needs more energy and nutrients for the development of her puppies. Read more “