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Treatment and Prognosis of False Pregnancy in Dogs

Source: PetWave, Updated on July 16, 2015
False Pregnancy

Treatment Options

If treatment is appropriate, a veterinarian can determine what steps should be taken. Some owners apply hot or cold-packs to swollen mammary glands, but experts discourage taking any steps that stimulate lactation and so these treatments are not recommended. Owners may use an Elizabethan (cone) collar and remove any inanimate puppy-substitutes that the bitch is hoarding to try and hasten resolution of the false pregnancy. In more severe cases, veterinarians may recommend removing food and water for 6-10 hours for several nights in a row to reduce lactation. Dieuretics and mild sedatives may also be prescribed to assist in this process. A dog going through a false pregnancy should not be spayed (ovariohysterectomy) until all signs of the condition have resolved. If the owner wants a litter from an affected animal, she probably should be bred on her next cycle.

Hormonal therapies have been used to manage false pregnancies as well. Because these can change over time, only a veterinarian is best able to advise owners about the most current treatment protocols at any given time.


Pseudopregnancy is not a “disease” per se but rather is a clinical syndrome involving an exaggerated response to normal hormonal changes. Owners of bitches going through a false pregnancy should be reassured that even if left untreated, the condition almost always will resolve on its own.

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