What Are Signs of a False Pregnancy in Pug Dogs?

Written by alyssa guzman
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What Are Signs of a False Pregnancy in Pug Dogs?
False pregnancy in pugs is a natural phenomenon. (Sitting Pug image by LOLA from Fotolia.com)

Pseudocyesis, also called false pregnancy, is a medical condition that can affect all female dogs, including pugs. When false pregnancy occurs, a female dog shows signs of pregnancy, such as lactation, yet produces no puppies. False pregnancies in dogs occur about 6 to 12 weeks after a dog's oestrus cycle, or heat cycle. Depending on the severity, the symptoms of false pregnancy can last up to 90 days. According to the Pet Place website, hormonal mechanisms are the likely cause for canine false pregnancy, specifically decreases in progesterone and increases in prolacti.

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Your pug may demonstrate nesting behaviour during false pregnancy. Nesting is often the first sign of canine pregnancy, under both false and real pregnancies. When dogs nest, they seek out a secluded spot and create a nestlike environment where they can birth and care for their young. Your pug may try to build her nest inside the house by tearing up papers, blankets or towels. You may also find the dog digging a hole in your back yard and placing small branches in and around the hole.

Mothering Inanimate Objects

During false pregnancy, female dogs display maternal instincts as if they gave birth to puppies. For this reason, they often "adopt" inanimate objects and try to mother them. You may see your pug gather random items, such as cell phones, remote controls, stuffed animals and balled up socks, and bring them to her nesting place. She will guard these items as if they were her real puppies, and may even carry them around with her when she leaves her nest.


In some cases, your pug's breasts may actually engorge with milk. Because the mammary glands get stimulated by touch, she may continue to lactate if you try to reduce the swelling or let her lick them. Your pug may need to wear an Elizabethan collar--a large, cone-shaped collar--to prevent her from licking herself. Leaving the mammary glands alone helps speed along the false pregnancy and stops the production of milk.


Vomiting, weight gain, mucous-like vaginal discharge and abdominal swelling are other symptoms of false pregnancy. However, if your pug shows these symptoms, or acts depressed or lethargic, take her to the veterinarian for an official diagnosis. When combined with depression and lethargy, symptoms of illness may indicate a medical condition, such as a uterine infection, other than false pregnancy. Failure to properly diagnose a false pregnancy or other medical condition can result in the death of your pet.

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