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Signs & Symptoms of False Pregnancy in Dogs

Updated June 13, 2017

Pseudocyesis, the medical name for false pregnancy in dogs, occurs as a natural part of a dog's oestrus cycle. While it may last for only a short period of time, sometimes false pregnancy drags on, resulting in frequent headaches for the owner. Knowing a few key symptoms can help you decide when it's time to seek aid for your pet.

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Behavioural Signs

Nesting usually provides the first sign of false pregnancy. Your dog may begin to treat inanimate objects, such as toys, as her puppies.

Physical Symptoms

During false pregnancy, dogs may actually begin lactating. Their bellies can swell as in pregnancy and in extreme cases may actually feign labour pains.


Normally, false pregnancy lasts about three weeks. However, symptoms may continue much longer.

Dealing With Symptoms

If symptoms don't subside in a few weeks, consider taking your dog to the vet. The vet might prescribe hormonal therapy or a diuretic like furosemide.


While spaying may prove during false pregnancy, it may actually prolong the condition. Instead, wait until symptoms disappear before spaying.

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About the Author

Frank Friedman has been writing since 2009, with articles on eHow and L. He also writes copy for various businesses, though blogging is his true passion. Friedman earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Houston.

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