Dog Phantom Pregnancy: Understanding Pseudopregnancy in Canine Gestation

Dog Phantom Pregnancy: Understanding Pseudopregnancy in Canine Gestation

Jun 15, 2023

Phantom pregnancy, also known as pseudopregnancy or false pregnancy, is a condition observed in female dogs that mimics the signs and symptoms of real pregnancy without the presence of actual pregnancy. This puzzling phenomenon occurs during the diestrus stage of the canine heat cycle, which is a critical period for identifying signs of pregnancy or pseudopregnancy. Recognizing and differentiating between false and true pregnancy is essential for accurate diagnosis and appropriate management. This article aims to shed light on dog phantom pregnancy, its symptoms, and the role of the Bellylabs Dog Pregnancy Test in distinguishing between pseudopregnancy and genuine gestation.


Signs and Symptoms of False Pregnancy

False pregnancy symptoms typically manifest approximately 4 to 9 weeks after the end of the heat season. One common indicator is the enlargement of the abdomen, which may lead dog owners to believe that their pet is pregnant. Additionally, the dog’s nipples may become larger and more prominent, resembling those seen during actual gestation. In some cases, dogs may even exhibit lactation, producing milk-like secretions from their mammary glands.

In addition to the previously mentioned symptoms, another characteristic behavior observed in dogs experiencing phantom pregnancy is nesting. Around 8 weeks after ovulation, affected dogs may exhibit maternal instincts by creating nests using blankets, pillows, or other soft materials. They may also adopt toys or objects as if they were their own puppies, displaying nurturing behaviors towards them. This nesting behavior further reinforces the illusion of pregnancy and emphasizes the need for accurate diagnosis and understanding of pseudopregnancy in dogs.

The Bellylabs pregnancy test is specifically designed to detect pregnancy in female dogs while also distinguishing between pseudopregnancy and real gestation. This innovative diagnostic tool provides breeders, veterinarians and dog owners with an accurate means of determining the reproductive status of their pets. The test works by detecting a hormone called relaxin, which is produced by the developing placenta during pregnancy. In cases of false pregnancy, relaxin levels will be absent. In most cases will not be elevated.


Differentiating Between False and True Pregnancy

To accurately differentiate between pseudopregnancy and real pregnancy, various factors should be considered. First, a thorough examination by a veterinarian is essential to rule out other potential causes for the observed symptoms. Additionally, hormonal assays, such as the Bellylabs pregnancy test, can be conducted to measure relaxin levels and confirm the absence of genuine pregnancy. It is also recommended to contact a veterinarian who can provide a definitive diagnosis.


Management and Care

Pseudopregnancy is a completely normal part of the canine hormonal cycle, and it is not an illness or something to try and prevent from happening. While pseudopregnancy itself is not a harmful condition, it can cause distress and discomfort for the affected dog. Providing a supportive and caring environment is crucial during this time. Exercise and mental stimulation can help distract the dog from the false pregnancy symptoms. It is generally advised to avoid manipulating the mammary glands to prevent further stimulation of lactation. However, if the symptoms persist or worsen, consulting a veterinarian for appropriate management strategies is recommended.

Phantom pregnancy, or pseudopregnancy, is a common condition observed in female dogs during the diestrus stage of the heat cycle. The symptoms of false pregnancy closely resemble those of genuine pregnancy, making it crucial to differentiate between the two. The Bellylabs pregnancy test, in conjunction with veterinary examination, provides an accurate means of distinguishing pseudopregnancy from real gestation. Understanding and effectively managing dog phantom pregnancy is essential to ensure the well-being and comfort of our canine companions.

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Bellylabs Pregnancy Test For Dogs

The best selling early detection rapid dog pregnancy test kit for home use. Testing is fast, safe, easy and stress-free. Results in 10 minutes. 

The test is intended to determine pregnancy in a bitch as well as to distinguish between pseudopregnancy and a real gestation. The test measures relaxin hormone which is a reliable indication of pregnancy. For the best accuracy 96 %* we recommend testing after 28 days has passed from ovulation**. There is no harm in testing earlier, but there might not be enough of the hormone for a reliable detection yet. 

  • Convenient: Test when it best suits you and your dog at the comfort of your own home.   
  • Safe: The test kit contains all equipment needed for performing the test at home. No professional knowledge or needles needed.


96 % accuracy*Results within 10-15 minutesFor the best accuracy, test 28 days post-ovulation**Money-Back Guarantee