Symptoms of False Pregnancy
The clinical signs of pseudopregnancy range from subtle to extreme. In some cases, they are so convincing that even experienced breeders are confident that a litter is coming. Signs include behavioral changes (anorexia or appetite fluxuations, excessive vocalization, whining, restlessness, signs of aggression, depression, or anxiety), maternal behaviors (nesting, digging, mothering or “adopting” of toys, stuffed animals or other inanimate objects), mammary problems (engorgement, lactation, licking of the mammary glands/self-nursing), vomiting and abdominal distention.
There is no known age or breed predisposition for this condition, although some experts indicate that Dalmatians, Basset hounds and Pointers may be more frequently affected. Interestingly, the phenomenon of non-pregnant bitches developing milk and actually lactating may have had some functional importance in evolution, when mature canine bitches (such as wolves) without puppies had to nurse orphaned litters in the wild.