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OK, I have been trying to do some research and read past posts, regarding this topic, and I have a few questions that I am hoping someone will have the answer to.

First off, I am pretty positive my kiddo is going through a false pregnancy. Over the past week she has started lactating, nesting, and mothering her toys. She also has barely eaten anything (she doesn't want anything, even people food, raw bones, etc) for about 6 days now. I had a Bitch, in the past, who had very minor false pregnancies. She just nested and acted a little more depressed for a few weeks and was back to normal. This does not seem to be the case with my current girl.

So here are my questions:

1. Her nipples have been swollen since her heat cycle ( Started 3 months ago, lasted about 3 weeks). The swelling in her vulva went down, but never really in her nipples. This is also when she started showing some strange behavioral changes that we have not been able to account for medically. I have read some people say that false pregnancy starts right after estrus and can last 2-3 months, and others that say it lasts 2-3 weeks. Does anyone have any information on which it really is? If her behavioral changes could be potentially linked to wonky hormones, that would certainly be a huge relief to me (since that is an easy fix and doesn't mean something terribly wrong is going on inside her little head).

2. my second question is I have seen a lot of people talk about taking the "babies" away from there girls. Why is that? My kiddo has collected all of the toys that are brown (which I think is rather interesting that they are all the same color) and decided that they are important to her. She is not guarding them and will let us all take them (including the other dogs) but she does get very upset when they are out of sight or she has "lost" one. Is this behavior bad, in its self, or is it only an issue if she starts to guard them?

3. Has anyone else ever had a bitch that refuses to eat during this time? any suggestions? She will take a few bites but is looking a little thin to me and I just worry. Her energy level and water consumption is normal.

4. When is it safe to spay her? I am pretty sure I need the hormones to stop wigging out before it happens, correct?


Funny, I have been through this before, but my other bitch was so much different in how she handled it (mainly digging gigantic, Great Dane sized dens. lol)
 

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Sea Hag
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False pregnancies last pretty much the same amount of time a pregnancy would last-the dog "gives birth" around 63 days after they were in standing heat. Note that ALL intact bitches have false pregnancies after being in heat, some are just more pronounced than others.

IMO, letting the dog keep the "babies" just extends the length of the drama. So my bitches have their babies "weaned" pretty quickly. :)

I'd spay about halfway through the time period between heats.
 

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oddly enough with Saph i didnt notice she was going through a falsie until her "puppies" would have been 4weeks old... never seemed to nest much but then she would dig in the couch- she only had one baby and she took it everywhere with her- an orange cuz! I didnt take it because she wasnt lactating she was protective she just carried it around with her, sometimes squeaked it and then she would whine a bit. Honestly i thought it was adorable.
 

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She also has barely eaten anything (she doesn't want anything, even people food, raw bones, etc) for about 6 days now.
Not any kind of expert on false pregnancies... my current eight and a half year old bitch is intact, but is the first intact girl I have lived with.

I think, unless more experienced folks chime in saying that this is absolutely normal/typical, that the not eating would scare me. I might be wanting an ultrasound to make sure that there was no uterine infection, since the timing is right for that to be a possible issue.
 

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Right after we got Sofia, we had her spayed.. She had recently littered and the vet told us it would be okay for the surgery as she was dried up. ( no one ever found out what happened to the pups, she was just 'deposited' at our guard gate where we live.)
She immediately went into a horrid depression and refused both water and food.. She lost 20 pounds and we were fearful that we would lose our wonderful girl. She too would carry her stuffies upstairs, shred our futon into a nest and lay the 'babies' down by her belly to nurse. it was heartrending as she wouldn't make eye contact, just stare out the window and give long ragged sighs. Our vet suggested we take 'the babies' away as he thought she would start to lactate and so we did.. after tempting her with boiled chicken and rice, IV's of fluid and appetite enhancers, she bounced back in about a week.Long story short, I would take the stuffed animals away, and do get her checked out by your vet. Good luck and let us know
 

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Good Gracious, Gracie!
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We did notice that Gracie was not all that enthusiastic about her food, but she did eat it.

I'd be concerned if my dog was turning down human food/treats. Vet visit concerned.
 

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This Doberman (red, 4 years old) has had three false pregnancies. Milk expressing, swelling, cleaning, licking, nesting, not eating . . . same as described by others. What to do? The last year's false was seemingly exacerbated by a squeeky toy which caused her to pace and whine constantly until my son took it away. Sadly she did recover but alas, sadly to her. She gets 24/7 attention and my companionship. We are joined most often within 10 - 20' from each other unless I'm gardening and she is laying in the sun. Otherwise she does the circle, turn and stand on my foot stance. I go, she goes. She has an array of moods which she expresses quite well. Almost human-like: disappointment, cookie excitement, chicken get out of my space, nope, no water on me, sulking and others. She also has the loss of hair over the hips with a bit more fat on the hips. Otherwise she reminds me of a champion, sleek, shining, mannered beyond bragging and understands everything said to her almost like ESP. She hears what I cannot and tolerates little kids although I send the "eek aack" vibe on occasion as well as the "good girl" (more of the good girl than anything else as she is appreciated). Sometimes I don't have to say anything as she has her eyes on me (or facing me with eyes averted) and understands our own version of ASL. Love and kindness, all you add is love. So what to do to help her out of this? I thought she had "mouse fever" as the mice are beginning to come out and we check the traps throughout the day. She enjoys digging them up and feeding them to the chickens . . nope, not kidding. And a soft "get out of the garden" or "kitchen" does the trick. I have also used "beep beep beep" as a back-up signal, look up, look down and she does. Well enough bragging, feed no grain. If she wants grain she eats chicken feed seeds without hormones or no GMO's added. She ate another dogs poop which totally grossed me out. There is a word but I can't pronounce it. Feed? Any suggestions greatly appreciated! Smiles4Miles (she does not like water and does not swim any more after getting caught in a current and scared herself while swimming with son's two water dogs. Had a first owner (we don't talk about that horrible experience either but I'm sure it has some residual affects on her fears), at one time when she was about 6 - 9 months old, would not get into a vehicle. Had been chained to an igloo, mistreated and then she just liked me more so here we are a bit more than four years later. I wasn't a dog person either - nor cat. Love birds, pond fish and horses though. And now don't mind sweeping the floor 2, sometimes 3 times a day and mopping as many. Gardening involves a bit of dirt and mud. With the chickens (another story you can read about in Backyard Chickens), in the house (yes they have a coop - lined with fresh Timothy/Orchard, weekly), two rescued, I have my house full and have to say loving every minute except this whining false pregnancy. She is obviously uncomfortable and there isn't anything I seem to do that makes it better. Haalp!
 

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I have my house full and have to say loving every minute except this whining false pregnancy. She is obviously uncomfortable and there isn't anything I seem to do that makes it better. Haalp!
Sure there is. Spay her.

Every time she goes through a heat cycle, she is at the risk of pyometra, a possibly deadly uterine infection. And of course, as you're seeing, the false pregnancies.
 

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Got mutt?
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How could there be an infection if there were no breeding?
There is always the risk of pyometra after every heat cycle, especially if they aren't bred. The older the bitch is, the higher the risk.

Also, if she is experiencing hair loss, she should have her thyroid levels checked, as hair loss is one of the symptoms.
 
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