How to Tell If Your Dog Is Having a False Pregnancy

Is your dog acting pregnant? Is she gathering blankets and trying to make a nest for herself? Does she seem to be "mothering" all sorts of objects, like shoes? Your dog may be experiencing canine pseudocyesis, or canine false pregnancy [source:].

False canine pregnancy is usually characterized by the following symptoms (assuming that your dog isn't actually pregnant).


  • Nesting. A dog going through a false pregnancy will often try to build a nest for herself.
  • Weight gain. Dogs gain weight as if they were really pregnant when experiencing a false pregnancy.
  • Mammary enlargement, lactation and maternal behavior. Dogs experiencing canine pseudocyesis experience these symptoms as if they were really pregnant [source:].
  • Dogs that go through a false pregnancy may even seem to experience labor [source:].

False pregnancies occur six to 12 weeks after a dog has been in heat. False pregnancies generally last up to three weeks, and during this period, the dog's hormones are the same as they would be if she were pregnant. If your dog's symptoms persist beyond three weeks, it's probably best to have her seen by a veterinarian. The vet will carefully examine your dog, and might perform some blood tests and diagnostic imaging before making a final diagnosis. Pseudocyesis normally goes away by itself. However, your veterinarian may advise you to limit your pet's food or water intake as a way of decreasing her milk production. On rare occasions, the vet may prescribe medication to help relieve your dog's symptoms [source:].