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Categories: Breeding

Q. I am wondering if what my bitch is going through right now is what is called 'phantom pregnancy'?
We spoke in June regarding our 10 month old bitch. Kids had left door open and we had an unexpected 'accident' during her heat. We took her to vet and had 'morning after' shot .. all was well ... and heat ended as normal .. she seems to be nesting by digging a large hole under a travel crate we have behind our shed. I'd bet she isn't pregnant .. she is a slim bitch and I palpated and nothing though her nipples seem to be a little distended though she had a hernia repaired this week and she is shaved. If anything had been produced from the unintentional mating she'd definitely be at 62-64 days this week. Sound like phantom pregnancy? some of the material I have read said this is disturbing behavior and she should be spayed. thoughts, as we intend to breed her in heat of fall/winter of 2008.

She isn't neurotic, is well exercised, well-mannered and just a lovable girl.

Thanks, Jan

A. False pregnancies are actually quite normal. In a natural setting of a pack, only the alpha female actually breeds and gives birth but many of the other females have a false pregnancy right along with the alpha's real pregnancy.

From my reading, it's normal. The other females in the pack develop maternal behaviors and even produce milk. If anything were to happen to the alpha, one of the other females could then take care of the puppies.

I would not spay her if she was my dog; I would go ahead and breed her next year as you planned.

I would say that 50% of the females I have owned in my lifetime have gone through false pregnancies. I actually have one of my girls bred right now, and she has gone through a false PG after every heat cycle in the past.

Cindy Rhodes
  
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