Pseudo-pregnancy vs. pseudo-motherhood in bitches [Part 2]

The false pregnancy occurs in the cyclical phase of Diestrus instead of. Diestrus is the phase in the cycle that occurs after heat. If you want to know more about the female dog's cycle, take a look here over. The diestrus occurs regardless of whether the bitch has been bred or not and lasts approximately 63 days. 

In the bitch's cycle we differentiate between: false pregnancy and the False motherhood. Two hormones determine these two phases and influence our dog's behavior accordingly. On the one hand, false pregnancy and false motherhood are one of the coolest things nature has come up with. In order to support a pregnant dog in the family unit, non-pregnant dogs also become pseudo-pregnant. This is a clear fitness benefit. Fitness is not to be understood in the sense of sport, but rather in the biological sense of adaptation. “Survival of the fittest” or in German “Survival of the most adapted”, as it is so beautifully said in Darwinism. This is often a complicated procedure for domesticated bitches and many bitches suffer from false pregnancy and false motherhood. However, sometimes the dog person suffers more than the dog herself. Smaller breeds are more affected than larger breeds. But as is often the case, hormonal changes are very individual. If you would like to find out more about aids during heat and false pregnancy, then take a look this blog (blog to come) over. 

false pregnancy

During a false pregnancy, the bitch goes through a hormonal period Pseudoschwangerschaft, even though she is not pregnant. The false pregnancy lasts just as long as a pregnancy, so approx. 63 Take. The gel body hormone is responsible for this because the corpus luteum continues to release progesterone even after ovulation. 

Progesterone is a sex hormone. It is responsible for the creation and maintenance of pregnancy. Progesterone can be detected in the blood from the first day of the estrus phase. Progesterone levels peak after ovulation (bitches have several). If the bitch does not become pregnant, the progesterone level drops with diestrus. 


Progesterone affects behavior positive on the bitch. The dog is looking good social contacts, is cuddly and generally quieterAs in a normal pregnancy, the dog becomes more affectionate and seeks closeness to her family members. This makes perfect sense because a pregnant dog in the family needs the protection and closeness of family members for a successful pregnancy. Pseudo-pregnant bitches would primarily provide social support to a pregnant bitch. This has to do with the fact that progesterone has a calming effect to ideally prepare the bitch's body for pregnancy. It also inhibits milk production and generally prepares the bitch's body for pregnancy. Progesterone generally promotes one positive Mood situation and Increases well-being. As soon as the bitch's progesterone level drops in diestrus (in non-pregnant bitches), the bitch's general well-being decreases. At the same time, the hormone prolactin increases in the dog. 


  • Increase in circumference
  • attachment
  • Increased need to eat or loss of appetite

False motherhood

As soon as the hormone progesterone decreases, the hormone prolactin increases. At the False motherhood The hormone prolactin causes changes in the bitch. she finds approx. 2 months after estrus (still heat) instead of. Prolactin is also colloquially called the “parent hormone” and lasts 2-4 weeks. The dog really develops motherly feelings without having puppies. This is typically reflected in their behavior.  

Prolactin includes the Latin part lac = milk. It Among other things, it ensures that the glandular tissue of the mammal grows and stimulates milk production (lactation).


As soon as the progesterone level drops, it can cause the dog to become depressed. 

The dog may want to no longer leave their home, in fear of leaving “the puppies” alone. This is natural behavior and you shouldn't encourage your dog unnecessarily, but you should show understanding and offer distraction. Since there are no real puppies during the pseudo-motherhood, the bitch looks for herself Replacement puppies, mainly cuddly toys, but also smaller animals (cats, smaller dogs) have to be used at this point. With replacement pups but also other resources, there may be stronger resource defense. In addition, the dog shows so-called Nest building behavior. Nest building behavior is behavior in which the bitch stays mainly around her nest, i.e. usually the berth, and carries all objects to it. Scratching, circling around the berth and similar behaviors are marked using the Glands on the paws have their own place. To humans, the dog may appear bitchy or unpredictable because her moods fluctuate. This is all natural behavior encouraged by the increase in the hormone prolactin and is nothing to worry about. 


  • Swollen nipples
  • Milk production
  • Fiep
  • Tremble
  • Panting
  • Mood swings
  • Reduced general condition

    False pregnancy and false motherhood are not diseases! They are part of an intact female dog. Behavioral changes (including negative ones) are normal and horomonellically favored. These changes twice a year are not a reason for castration. Only when there is significant suffering or medical relevance (uterine suppuration) that cannot be regulated (e.g. through hormone-regulating medicinal plants or medications) should 2-3 opinions from veterinarians be included.

    Every cycle a new chance

    Each bitch's cycle is individual. An intensive false motherhood in the current cycle does not necessarily mean that things will turn out badly in the next cycle. The fact is: false pregnancy and false motherhood are not diseases! It is an evolutionarily stable remnant. If the dog is only slightly injured, there is no reason to worry. If the symptoms become intense, action can be taken. Bitches can be supported with aids right from the start of heat in order to regulate severe symptoms and behavioral changes of false pregnancy and false motherhood. We would always recommend that you consider all options for support and not make any hasty decisions regarding spay or neuter. However, we will go into these connections in more detail in another blog (Blog to follow). You can find out what support you can offer your dog during heat and false pregnancy this blog (blog to come). 

    If high symptoms of false pregnancy or false motherhood occur regularly after heat, then you should have it examined by a veterinarian. The risk of the following diseases could be increased:

    • Inflammation of the nipples due to engorgement of the milk
    • Ovarian cysts
    • Uterine suppurations
    • Mammary tumors (growths in the mammary gland)

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