Pseudo-gestation, also called pseudo-nursing or psychological pregnancy is a phenomenon happening to female dogs between two or three months after ovulation. This is caused by a decrease in the levels of progesterone in the blood that causes an increase of a hormone called prolactin, which is the direct responsible for all the symptoms dealing with this profile.

Pseudo-gestation’s characteristics are doing with an increase in the volume of the feeding glands that sometimes may cause some liquid similar to water, blood or milk. Besides, the dog usually shows frequent changes in the behaviour including anorexia, nesting conduct, decrease of movements, irritability and «adoption» of objects.

This profile must not be considered as a disorder since it is a common phenomenon happening not only in pets but also in other species of social carnivores. In several of these species, pseudo-gestation allows all the females in the group participate in the feeding of their offspring.

Bearing in mind that the members of a same group are usually family relatives, it has been suggested this phenomenon may have kept through a process of relatives selection.

Pseudo-gestation is usually finished some days later and it does not need any treatment. However, if the changes in the behaviour are really disturbing for the owner or the increase of the feeding glands is uncomfortable for the dog, medicine inhibitors of the prolactin synthesis could be used, although the definite solution and the one we recommend the most is sterilization. Opposite to what many people think, the fact of a real pregnancy and the natural feeding does not avoid the rise of this phenomenon in the following ovulation.


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