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Lucy seems to be having increasingly intense false pregnancies after each season. I think she has gone into season 5 times now (she will be 2 1/2 in Feb) and each time she has had a false pregnancy. The last two false pregnancies (she's actually in one right now) have been very intense. In particular, she is nesting like crazy and pretty much spends all day in her crate.

We watch for signs and remove all toys once we realize the false pregnancy has arrived, which is what was recommended to us by her handler the first time she had a false pregnancy. Yesterday, I gave her a frozen kong and after she finished it, she took it into her crate as though it was her new baby before I realized it! I exchanged it for a bully stick and she forgot about it. Won't make that mistake again!

There seems to be some mild milk production when I look at her teets, although we are very cautious not to stimulate anything, so that has not been an issue as far as I can tell. I don't really notice any major swelling in her belly - but have read that can also sometimes occur.

Because this is our first intact bitch and this is all new to us, it's just hard to see the behavioral change and we feel badly for her. Maybe we are emotionalizing it too much, but she is definitely not herself. Although when out and about at training this week she seemed fine. But once we got home, back to her crate she went.

So, a few questions for those experienced with this...
  • Should I be worried about the nesting behavior? Should I try to discourage it? Or just wait it out?...
  • Is there anything I should or can be doing to reduce the false pregnancy symptoms?
  • Are there any treatments that you are aware of? I have read there are some homeopathic/herbal treatments - does anyone have experience using them? I also plan to raise up this question to the vet.
  • Are you aware of an increased risk of pyometra due to false pregnancy? I have read that in a few different places and it worries me, especially given Lucy's false pregnancies seem to be so intense...Another thing I plan to ask vet.

I will be so happy once she hopefully finishes her CH and we can eventually spay her! Many thanks in advance for any insight or suggestions you can provide.
 

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Parsley! Fresh or dried will work, and give as much as she'll eat.

Next time she comes in, once she stops bleeding just start the parsley.

I don't know about a increased risk of pyometra, but I was told something is off. So spay or have a litter, and see if that evens out the horomones. Luckily we finished our CH and had a litter. And her false pregnancies became almost nothing. Maybe a little nesting, gathering up toys but that was it.

Honestly I let them nest, I feel bad for them. But I wouldn't encourage it either.

If she has milk get her to the vet, there are shots that can stop this.
 

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shilow had 2 of them and they lasted over 3 weeks. the vet said she would alway have them so i had her spayed since i did not have any intension on breeding her anyway. All good now
 

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Bless your heart - it is a royal pain for sure especially if you are trying to finish her.

It is caused by a hormone imbalance. Here is some info I have collected over the years from some of the very top breeders:

Sometimes if you start them on a good quality senior dog food, if at
all possible before she actually starts to cycle, it helps. Protein,
especially if it is high, tends to help with milk production. Do not
give any meat during this time for the same reason.
>
> If she does have one, what would you suggest to make it as SHORT as
> possible?

In addition to the senior dog food, I add dehydrated parsley to the
diet. They stay on the parsley, every meal, for at least a month after
they have finished their heat cycle.

Eve Auch

If she has had one, the chances are very good she is prone to it and will
have them again. The only thing I can recommend is Cheque drops which will stop
her from cycling, this product has been endorsed by DR. Robert Hutchison
probably one of the foremost reproductive Vets. in the country. We did use it on
one of our girls a long time ago and it had no ill effects and she came into
season once the drops were stopped. Hutch feels that false pregnancies are
not good for the uterus and he is highly in favor of this treatment to solve
this problem. Of course this is his opinion and others might not agree, but
Hutch is a very good Vet. and it did work for us.

* as soon as she show signs of coming in heat, put her on a senior or
low protein dog food
* add dehydrated parsley to her meals
* no high protein food, such as meat
* if she develops milk, alternate washing her teats with a washcloth
that has been soaked in witch hazel (a.m.) and white vinegar (p.m.)
* don't allow her to play with sucky toys - no allowing her to "nurse"
or "clean" or "mother" the toys
* lots of vegetables to add bulk to her food, though vegetables that
have a high water content aren't the best

Others can add particular products that are on the market but I haven't
used any chemical products.

I have also found that Evening Primrose Oil helps. 1000 mg twice a day. I've also found that my bitch's false pregnancies aren't as bad as she ages.

dehydrated parsley - about 1/4 cup each meal

soak it to make a tea (not too much fluid) and

drop her protein percentage

Make sure you do not give meat which has a very high protein count. It
will only produce more milk.

When I am weaning my bitches who have a ton of milk, I alternate
rubbing their teats with witch hazel and white distilled vinegar. Take
a washcloth and soak it in witch hazel in the a.m. and rub all teats
gently. In the p.m. do the same with a different washcloth with the
vinegar. It should only take about five days.
 

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Before you try Cheque drops, you should be aware you're not allowed to show bitches who are taking them, it's a disqualification. I know people who have used them, their bitches became very "doggy" looking as a result, some of them develop a disgusting smell on Cheque as well.

All bitches have false pregnancies, it's perfectly normal, and part of how the canine reproductive system works. Some bitches just have more extreme falsies than others.

I routinely take away anything that becomes a "baby"-they'll just worry themselves to death about their babies. I *wouldn't* allow any denning behavior, either. If a stranger happened to come into your house and went near that crate when she considers it a den, she could go after them for blood-maternal instinct and all that. So I'd break the crate down and put it away until she calms down.

Like some of the others have said, if I know a bitch is prone to extreme false pregnancies, I start them on senior kibble and parsley the day they go into season, and keep them on it until about a month after they'd "give birth". If they develop milk, I fast them for 24 hours.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thank you very much everyone for the inputs and suggestions!! They are all super helpful!

Parsley! Fresh or dried will work, and give as much as she'll eat.

Next time she comes in, once she stops bleeding just start the parsley.

I don't know about a increased risk of pyometra, but I was told something is off. So spay or have a litter, and see if that evens out the horomones.
Sounds like parsley and the lower protein/sr. food others have also mentioned is definitely the way to go. As far as spay or litter, we are definitely committed to doing our best to finish her CH per our agreement with her breeder (hopefully it will not take forever) but have never aspired to breeding. Especially since we moved cross country from her breeder this past year and would not have the local support/mentoring. So not sure a litter will be in her future... Hopefully one of these days we can spay!

Bless your heart - it is a royal pain for sure especially if you are trying to finish her.

It is caused by a hormone imbalance. Here is some info I have collected over the years from some of the very top breeders.

Sometimes if you start them on a good quality senior dog food, if at all possible before she actually starts to cycle, it helps. Protein, especially if it is high, tends to help with milk production. Do not give any meat during this time for the same reason.

In addition to the senior dog food, I add dehydrated parsley to the diet. They stay on the parsley, every meal, for at least a month after they have finished their heat cycle.
Thank you for all your information!! It was very helpful!

Any thoughts on whether cheese would also be considered high protein? She gets a lot of cheese, hot dogs and sometimes steak for training. I'm cutting out the hot dogs and steak for now. Hopefully cheese is not too bad though...

Someone suggested low protein/senior food to me and it did seem to help. I fed Solid Gold Holistique (18% protein) during her heat.
Thank you. I will definitely plan to go with a lower protein/senior food, along with the parsley, next round. Her current food (TOTW) I think is around 26% but hopefully a lower protein food will help next round.

Before you try Cheque drops, you should be aware you're not allowed to show bitches who are taking them, it's a disqualification. I know people who have used them, their bitches became very "doggy" looking as a result, some of them develop a disgusting smell on Cheque as well.
Yikes! We will definitely not go with the Cheque drops. When I talked with Lucy's breeder about the false pregnancies in the past, she was also not a fan of the cheque drops, so I've never pursued them. But I had no idea about the points you made.

I routinely take away anything that becomes a "baby"-they'll just worry themselves to death about their babies. I *wouldn't* allow any denning behavior, either. If a stranger happened to come into your house and went near that crate when she considers it a den, she could go after them for blood-maternal instinct and all that. So I'd break the crate down and put it away until she calms down.
I'm kinda kicking myself for letting her hang out in her crate like she has. I'll tear down the one in my office tonight. I can imagine what you mean about the blood-maternal instinct as well. She has not become aggressive or anything with us during her false pregnancies, but she sometimes seems very worried based on the look in her eye. And if I walk into my office and she's following me, she races ahead and dive bombs into her crate in front of me. I can only imagine how she might react with a stranger.

On the plus side, we had a nice long walk, played fetch and trained over lunch and she seemed very happy to be out and about. But as soon as we came inside, back to her crate she went. Not sure how tonight will go once I take the crate down!

She's going w/ her handler overnight on Friday & Saturday to a show this weekend, as I can't be there on Sat. She really likes her handler and she'll also get to play with some other pups at our handlers place. I'm thinking (Hoping!) the change of environment and distractions with other dogs might snap her out of it. Hopefully it won't be the opposite!

Thanks again everyone.
 

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ok, here's my feelings on this. If she's getting false pregnancies after every heat and you're not planning to breed her, then why try and get a Championship on her? Conformation showing is really intended to prove the best dogs for breeding. Although a beautiful girl, Lucy doesn't seem to be flying through her Championship, it could take a long time to finish. Health wise, and that is if you definitely aren't going to breed her, she is much better off getting spayed. All those hormones in my experience with my dogs makes them more susceptible to mammary gland tumors, and since Lucy comes from my line I would think she would follow suit. The ones that have been spayed haven't developed these tumors. I think you should spay her for her own health, discuss it with your breeder, I am sure she would understand. Do agility and obedience, it is such a blast! Wish I'd realized that years ago, but now I'm making up for lost time.
If you decide not to spay her, I agree about the parsely, it does help, but the best thing is just to wait it out, it does go away. Actually her half sister Rally is in one right now and she's never had one before!
 

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ok, here's my feelings on this. If she's getting false pregnancies after every heat and you're not planning to breed her, then why try and get a Championship on her? Conformation showing is really intended to prove the best dogs for breeding. Although a beautiful girl, Lucy doesn't seem to be flying through her Championship, it could take a long time to finish. Health wise, and that is if you definitely aren't going to breed her, she is much better off getting spayed. All those hormones in my experience with my dogs makes them more susceptible to mammary gland tumors, and since Lucy comes from my line I would think she would follow suit. The ones that have been spayed haven't developed these tumors. I think you should spay her for her own health, discuss it with your breeder, I am sure she would understand. Do agility and obedience, it is such a blast! Wish I'd realized that years ago, but now I'm making up for lost time.
If you decide not to spay her, I agree about the parsely, it does help, but the best thing is just to wait it out, it does go away. Actually her cousin Rally is in one right now and she's never had one before!
Thanks Pat, I appreciate the input and insight. We'll see how things go. BTW - Lucy is doing OB and agility too and is doing great. We are loving it! :) Glad to hear you are enjoying it too.
 

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You're welcome, and just to clarify, I wasn't implying that Lucy is pet quality, quite the opposite, I think she is absolutely gorgeous in her pics! It puzzles me why she isn't finished already! Conformation showing is weird, some who shouldn't finish do and ones that are so beautiful and truly deserve to finish don't for some strange reason. Lucy is gorgeous and I wish you the best of luck should you pursue her Championship! And that's wonderful that she's doing so well in Agility, Rally got her first leg a few weeks ago for her CD and we plan to trial her in Agilty in February. She's only three singles away from her Grand Championship, so she's a busy girl. Please keep us posted on Lucy's progress.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
You're welcome, and just to clarify, I wasn't implying that Lucy is pet quality, quite the opposite, I think she is absolutely gorgeous in her pics! It puzzles me why she isn't finished already! Conformation showing is weird, some who shouldn't finish do and ones that are so beautiful and truly deserve to finish don't for some strange reason. Lucy is gorgeous and I wish you the best of luck should you pursue her Championship! And that's wonderful that she's doing so well in Agility, Rally got her first leg a few weeks ago for her CD and we plan to trial her in Agilty in February. She's only three singles away from her Grand Championship, so she's a busy girl. Please keep us posted on Lucy's progress.
Thanks Pat, I definitely did not take your comments to imply pet quality, but I appreciate you clarifying and your kind words about Lucy too. You definitely raised some points worthy of consideration... In the meantime we're off to shows the next two weekends so wish us luck! :) And good luck to you with Rally - she does sound like a busy girl!
 
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