Definition of False Pregnancy
False pregnancy, also called pseudopregnancy, is common in intact female dogs. It usually occurs somewhere between 6 and 12 weeks after a bitch goes through her normal heat cycle and is caused by an exaggerated response to normal hormonal changes, including elevated levels of the hormone progesterone. During this time, females can develop many of the signs of pregnancy, even if they aren’t pregnant and haven’t even been bred. Signs of false pregnancies include appetite fluxuations, restlessness, whining, depression, anxiety and aggression. Many bitches engage in maternal behaviors, such as digging, nesting and mothering of stuffed toys, and some actually produce milk. These signs can be so convincing that even experienced breeders are fooled. Fortunately, with the help of modern technology, false pregnancies are easy to diagnosis. They usually don’t require treatment and go away on their own.