Signs of a Phantom Pregnancy in a Springer Spaniel

English Springer Spaniel image by Jeff Dalton from

Springer spaniels may show signs of pregnancy even if they are not actually pregnant. This is called psuedocyesis, or a false pregnancy. The female spaniel may begin to behave in a way that could cause her owner to suspect she's pregnant. She may also exhibiting physical signs that she is pregnant.

False pregnancies are common in dogs; they are caused by changes in hormone levels.

Mothering Behaviors

A springer spaniel experiencing a false pregnancy may begin acting motherly toward shoes, toys, stuffed animals or other objects that the dog can bring into her bed or a cosy nest she has created. She may want to keep these objects close, warm and protected.

Nesting Behaviors

The springer spaniel may begin to create a safe spot to nest during her phantom pregnancy. She may dig a hole to create an area for her and her puppies. She might tear up paper, blankets or clothing to make her area warm and soft, or she could rearrange the bed she already uses.

Morning Sickness

During a phantom pregnancy, a springer spaniel may vomit, reject food and act tired or lethargic. She may be nauseous and experience morning sickness just as if she were really pregnant. Watch for food preferences to change and for her appetite to vary from day to day.


A springer spaniel may experience real physical symptoms of her phantom pregnancy. Her mammary glands may swell due to milk production. They may even secrete milk or fluid if they are extremely enlarged. This is common in false pregnancies.

Weight Gain

Weight gain in the abdominal area is another sign of a false pregnancy in springer spaniels. Phantom pregnancies mimic real pregnancies, and even in a false pregnancy, her abdomen will feel and look thicker. She may even appear to go into labour after a few weeks, panting and acting as if she is in pain.

Vaginal Discharge

A springer spaniel may have some vaginal discharge during her false pregnancy. If the discharge is foul smelling or cloudy, it may be a sign she has an infection. If your springer spaniel has this symptom, take her to the vet to confirm that it is a false pregnancy and not a more serious condition.