How Do I know If My French Bulldog Is Having A Phantom Pregnancy?

Your Frenchie may sleep more than usual. You may notice her getting thicker and rounder, and she may seem lethargic. She’s showing signs of pregnancy, and you could be getting excited, you realized that this may be true if she’s been mated during her heat cycle- but she’s not. This is what we call phantom pregnancy or pseudocyesis, where female dogs show physical and behavioral changes pertaining to being pregnant. So How Do I know If My French Bulldog Is Having A Phantom Pregnancy?

The signs of a phantom pregnancy in French bulldogs are Behavioural and mood changes, Nesting Behaviour, Appetite Loss, Nursing behavior, Production of Milk, and Weight Change.

How Do I know If My French Bulldog Is Having A Phantom Pregnancy?

With your Frenchie, it is no different. She may also undergo this experience and think that she’s pregnant when she’s not.

This occurrence happens not just in dogs but also in other animals, and surprise, surprise – even in humans!

The thing with female French Bulldog undergoing phantom pregnancy is that you may also think that they are indeed pregnant as they have round bellies. Don’t get confused with what your Frenchie is manifesting but be aware of the signs of false pregnancy, so you are knowledgeable if it happens to your Frenchie.

Below are the lists of signs and symptoms that your Frenchie may display. Some dogs will show one sign while others will have two or more of the symptoms mentioned, such as.

Behavioral and mood changes

You will start noticing your Frenchie getting aggressive with other dogs or they may show signs of being protective of their toys or anything that they think they own. Your Frenchie will start getting restless at one point and then will be comfortable playing with the other dogs another time. It is also not unlikely for your dog to feel depressed and stay in bed for most of the day, not wanting to be bothered or called upon. They will also show anxiety and will want that extra attention from you.

Nesting Behavior

Moving her bedding around, getting some mat as extra bedding, creating a den for herself can be another behavior that your Frenchie will display. Don’t be surprised if she used the back of the sofa or the space under your bed as her hideout.

She will also start digging just anywhere around the house, but most of the time near the bedding that she prepared for herself and her phantom pups.

Appetite Loss

This is what you will notice with your French bulldog with phantom pregnancy. Some show signs of being voracious eaters during the phase, while others lose their appetite. They don’t show enthusiasm when presented with the food they previously favor and would isolate themselves and want to hear nothing from their owners.

Some dogs may also manifest vomiting while undergoing this phase, vomiting happens before or after eating.

Nursing behavior

Your Frenchie will suddenly show signs of being protective of their favorite toy and will cling to it most of the time. The dog will also show aggression when someone will get near their toy or if anyone touches the object. She may not want to leave her sleeping area or her bed for fear that someone may take the object.

Production of Milk

Some symptoms may even cause you to believe that your dog may be having puppies. One example is milk production. You may see milk drops and leaks, and you can even express the milk when you tug at your dog’s nipples. This is because of the high levels of prolactin.

Nipple enlargement or swelling

This can also coincide with milk production. As the teats produce milk, it is inevitable to have swollen nipples in dogs. Your Frenchie may begin to lick their mammary glands, and will further stimulate it to produce more.

Experts also advise to not rub their bellies, including the nipples, while they are in this phase cause this will also stimulate the mammary glands.

Morning sickness

Watch out for vomiting episodes in the morning or any time of the day. Your Frenchie may undergo morning sickness and will show signs of lethargy, not wanting to get up in the morning even if called and will have frequent urination. Your Frenchie may only get up to relieve herself and will come back to bed after.

The dog is not feeling like herself and will be irritable most of the time.

Mucous Discharge from the Vagina

You will also notice some clear fluid or brownish vaginal mucous discharge from your Frenchie, and she will also clean that area frequently. Another common symptom in pseudopregnancy in dogs that you need to watch out for.

Weight Change

Since your Frenchie may lose interest in the food, she can lose weight for a few weeks. Although there are some dogs whose appetite did not change at all and still feeds on anything you provide for them, these dogs will gain weight in the process.

Losing weight is the most common result, though, and is attributed to vomiting and morning sickness.

Change in Abdominal Shape

The shape of your Frenchie’s abdomen will change and appear larger, and rounder, giving an impression that she is pregnant, as we can liken the shape to dogs who have confirmed pregnancy.

Eating their stool

This symptom is rare, but there are a few dogs who manifest this behavior. They will eat their own poop, thinking it will help with the growing puppy in their womb. Not the easiest symptom to accept in the long list of symptoms for dogs with phantom pregnancy. But, if your Frenchie is doing this when they are no longer in the phantom pregnancy phase, it is time to give this your attention and have it corrected.

How Do I know If My French Bulldog Is Having A Phantom Pregnancy?

But why does it happen, and why are there false pregnancies in dogs?

With every heat cycle of your Frenchie and even dogs of different breeds, their ovaries produce hormones that also ready their uterus in cases of pregnancy. The hormones will be present even if there are no puppies conceived. The hormones will stay in your Frenchie’s body and will take time to decline. This paves the way for your Frenchie to have symptoms of pregnancy. This happens when the body balances the hormones and sends signals and thus mimics the symptoms of pregnancy.

Although there are also a few dogs who don’t have such symptoms even after the heat cycle.

Do you treat false pregnancies?

The phantom pregnancy in dogs will end within 2 to 3 weeks, while some can last up to a month, and this is not something that should bother dog owners. If you have concerns about the symptoms your pooch is showing, then a visit to the vet may be required, especially if you are unsure if your pooch, had their menstruation or not, such as with silent heat.

There are ways a vet can check and ensure if it is just a phantom pregnancy or if there is something you should be excited about. The vet can do radiographs, ultrasound, and blood tests to rule out pregnancy or confirm it.

There are also ways you can make it easy for your Frenchie and help her undergo the process;

Do not stop her from nesting.

Let your Frenchie nest, and do not bother her with her supposed nest laying activity. Leave her to make her supposed puppy’s bed and not further add to her anxiety and distress by stopping her from doing what calms her.

Leave her with the nursing rituals.

If your Frenchie kept all the toys in her bed, let her, and if she seems doubly protective of the toys, then just allow her to do so. You can also help by adding some more toys that she can care for, to lessen her anxiety and stress.

Keep her mind off the false pregnancy.

Exercise can help your Frenchie get her mind off the supposed pregnancy. You may provide some activities such as playing with her and taking her on a walk. If her favorite activity is to run around the yard or in the garden, accompany her and let her have her rounds on your garden or backyard.

Be more tolerant and understanding with your Frenchie.

She may not be her sweet self, and maybe it is taking some time before she comes to you when you call her. She may also show signs of aggression and irritability to you and other dog members in the family, but this is normal for a dog to have such episodes. Let her be and try to be more patient with your pooch. She needs your support more than ever.

Some vets would advise dog owners to have their beloved pet spayed to eliminate such episodes of phantom pregnancy and, at the same time, prevent unwanted litters.

But for dog owners who are looking forward to having some numbers of new litters to take care of, this is not to be considered.

The best way to assist your unspayed female Frenchie during phantom pregnancy is to be patient with them and tolerant. Your dog may also not understand what she’s going through, and it is all just because of the hormones that she needs to undergo such an experience. It will not last years, and a bit of your patience can go a long way.

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Dan James

Dan James is the founder and editor of FrenchBulldogio, a canine enthusiast who writes about what he's learned on the way of being a French Bulldog owner and sharing his advice, tips, and research.

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