Wilmas Phantom Pregnancy

I wanted to talk to everyone about Wilma’s story because I am hoping I may be able to help some of you on a similar journey!

I have mainly had male dogs throughout my life so much more experience with the boys…. Wilma and Lucy are the exceptions here and both of them have experienced phantom pregnancies.

Phantom pregnancy is when your dog thinks they are pregnant, they also show physical signs of being pregnant too, even when they are not. Such as producing milk, mothering objects and making whelping dens. After every season or heat, there are hormonal changes which prepare a bitch’s body for pregnancy, even though they are not pregnant. Some bitches then don’t lose the hormones like other do and this leads to a phantom pregnancy.

Wilma the little cute dachshund had her first season when she was about 1 year old. Directly after this she went into a phantom pregnancy and was, let’s say, a little grumpy.

Wilma had previously been quite outgoing fine with other dogs and playful, this all stopped and she became guarded, swollen nipples filled with milk, hiding teddies and creating dens, she also became unmanageable on walks because she wouldn’t tolerate other dogs getting anywhere near to her (the dogs needed to give her about 10m space!). I found this rather a challenge and despite my best efforts to modify the behaviour nothing seemed to work…. I had asked the vets for help to try and stop the phantom and was unable to get anything for her. I stumbled across a fab webinar about phantom pregnancies that lead me to go back to the vets and lead with them to start some treatment, 5 days in not much had changed, I started to think I had made a mistake, but then 8 days in I started to get my dog back, we are 11 days in to treatment and the difference is remarkable.

Sometimes when you have something intrinsic such as a pain element or in Wilma’s case a hormonal one they become unreceptive to learning which is why I only work on vet referral and often refer back to the vets too! Now I am teaching Wilma the best way to react to dogs and she is so much calmer and happier on walks. I love working in a multimodal approach with the vets as we all make such a great team!

Now, I don’t want you thinking that this is the answer in every female dogs case (every dog and case is an individual), however if you do suspect that your dog has had  or is having a phantom and you are struggling with their behaviour get in touch with me for a consultation and your vets.