How Can Tell If Its A Real Pregnancy Or A Phantom Pregnancy In A Dog?


4 Answers

KR- myopinions Profile
KR- myopinions answered
The only way to do that is to have the test(s) done by the vet. It's standard protocol to do the ultrasound or x-rays and extremely important. Any prenancy and whelping and nursing period should be closely monitored by your veterinarian. :-)
The physical signs can be change in appetite (decrease usually earlier and increase later), bigger milk glands, behavioral changes (also sign of uterine infection), and of course a bigger belly (also sign of uterine infection).
HOWEVER that is not accurate and many of the signs can also be signs of a possibly deadly uterine infection. You can't tell usually just by looking or behavior or even because their body changes. Many go through false pregnancy so it is not an accurate way to tell. It is recommended dogs that have repeat false pregnancy be spayed (most dogs really for health and overpopulation issues) because of hormonal issues. My favorite way to tell is the ultrasound. It is easy, non-invasive, and you can tell the earliest this way. And you can get a picture of them before their even born! You can also tell if it's an infection that's present and not pups and catch it sooner than before your dog is critically ill. 20 to 30 days in your vet can feel for particular lumps that let them know she's probably pregnant, after that they can't feel them and what they are feeling for kind of blends in to everything else. Mid-way a repro test can be run (ask your vet). And 45 days and after an x-ray can be run and they can have a good idea of how many pups by how many skeletons show up on the x-ray.

The visuals can be invaluable in spotting potential problems before they occur or knowing whether your pup is better off actually whelping under the supervision of your veterinarian because there is likely to be a problem.

Gestation period is usually 59 to 63 days but they can go a little sooner or a little later. 70 and you need to call your vet. Start taking her temperature around day 57 - 59 (or when the colostrum comes in, whichever) if the vet (or you) doesn't think you should sooner. Normal average temp is 101 to 102 but usually closer to 102. When she drops to 98 (or 99) it'll be within the next 24 hours.

It is also very important to know whether your breed is prone to complications during pregnancy and whelp and whether or not your breed is a standard c-section breed and any other particulars about your breed.
Christine NZ Profile
Christine NZ answered
A fake pregnancy will produce similar symptoms as a real pregnancy.  A vet can x-ray to tell for sure,  though puppies are not detectable by xray until around 43rd day of pregnancy. Prior to that, there's not a lot of difference ~ both real and fake pregnancies will produce milk and swelling of the abdomen along with swelling of the vulva.  
During the last 3 weeks  you can feel or see the puppies moving in a real pregnancy.
So the real difference really is only the end result - puppies or not.
A dog who has had false pregnancies can often  go through the same thing after each heat cycle - in which case it really is the best thing to spay the poor girl.
KR- myopinions Profile
KR- myopinions answered
Basically the difference between the two is mostly whether or not there are puppies that exist. With a false pregnancy the body still 'thinks' it is pregnant and she changes accordingly whether or not there are pups and still has some of the risks of an actual pregnancy.
In order to know the difference between pregnancy, false pregnancy and something like uterine infection confirmation is done at the veterinarian and if she is pregnant you would continue with your prenatal care after that.
About 3 to 4 weeks in to the pregnancy confirmation is done by either a quick blood test or an ultrasound if the vet has one. The blood test just confirms pregnancy but the ultrasound gives much more information and the pups themselves can be checked on if they exist as well as being able to catch a uterine infection or something like that sooner rather than later if there is fluid build up in the uterus.
Later in the pregnancy a visual is done to evaluate things like size and number of pups closer to whelp so that difficulty during whelp can be evaluated since things like the size of pups, fewer pups, many pups ect. Can all indicate she may be more likely to run into difficulty and may be more likely to need assistance or c-section. You also will have a better idea when she's done or that she didn't whelp them all in time and things like that and a better idea of when she needs help or to go in sooner than the 24 hours or so post whelp. Good Luck.
KR- myopinions Profile
KR- myopinions answered
You would go in about 3 to 4 weeks in depending for what would be a regular confirmation appointment and do your ultrasound or blood test. You can't just tell automatically as their body thinks their are puppies in there and changes accordingly and everything follows normal pregnancy and there are even many of the same risks with a false (like infections ect.).  
Average gestation is 59 to 63 days from the first tie (calculator in first link below) though can be a little earlier around 57 (earlier may be a bit of concern for puppy development) or up to 68 (time to be concerned and are more likely to need assistance or c-section at that length and more so on smaller breeds and some will not wait until 68 depending on factors). Some of the standard prenatal care consists of things like confirmation by ultrasound or blood test earlier around 3 or 4 weeks to confirm and try and be sure she doesn't have something like pyometra and possibly STD if dogs weren't tested before breeding instead. It also helps with distinguishing a false pregnancy which has some of the complications of a real one and indicates the thyroid or hormones may be off and dogs who go through false pregnancy are usually recommended spayed for those reasons and their comfort.  
Towards the end of pregnancy you will do an x-ray or ultrasound. This is where we try to evaluate for likelihood of difficulty and c-section based on the pups themselves and things like their size and rate of growth leading to the whelp and how many and if she is likely to run into difficulty from exhaustion and things if not known you are doing a C before even breeding based on breed. Knowing how many is exciting but it is an important detail to know during free whelp. If your girl is only carrying one or two pups she may be more likely to have problems and of course, likely to become exausted and unable to continue if there are many, it also gives you an idea of when she's done or if there is a pup left to decay and cause infection and even helps evaluate distress when she has stopped or seems to tired to continue or there is too long a period in between pups and you know there are more during a free whelp and things like that so is imperative and invaluable (and standard) when whelpingAbout a week before the due period is often best for evaluation and being able to figure out if size ect. May be a big problem once they’ve grown even more. The second link is a quick run down of danger signs during whelp. Colostrum usually appears a week or so before or not until right at whelp but most often appears a day or two before the temperature drop. Colostrum is where the pups get the bulk of their antibodies from and is less in volume than milk which comes in day 3 or 4 after whelp. It is a good idea to begin taking temperature ( a couple times or so a day and preferably at the same time each day) when the colostrum appears no matter how many days in if you weren’t before that.
During early labor the females temperature will usually drop to around 98 (it goes back up as thing’s proceed) and may only drop by a degree or two if your girl doesn't follow typical patterns. It is important to know when a temperature drop occurs since if there are no pups within 24 hours of the temperature drop (active labor) there is likely a problem and the vet should be called (or if c-section breed that it is time to head in). If your gut says it's time and your girl is in labor she probably is, even with only a minor temperature drop on some very rare occasions. If the pups are free whelped (non c-section) the dam is examined 24 hours after to be sure there are no complications (rupture, torsion, prolapse hemorrhage ect.) and retained placenta's or pups to cause deadly infection. She may need or benefit from an injection to help clean her out faster at that time (also to try and prevent infection). The veterinarian will usually go over the next steps and more common danger signs and problems (like mastitis and eclampsia) for the nursing stage at that time. Usually around 2 to 5 days the pups go in to the vet for a look over and to have dew claws removed and tails docked if that's done.
The earliest any pup can be placed is 8 weeks, having been started on their shots and dewormings and recent vet check. This is for health, socialization and behavioral purposes and many breeds and most breeders keep them beyond the 8 week minimum though breed can factor in how long. This is for health, socialization and behavioral purposes, they learn some things like the meaning of no (from Dam), pack placement and bite inhibition through interaction with the family unit. Bite inhibition doesn't begin until 7 to 8 weels. 6 to 8 weeks with Dam and litter mates is critical for starting to learn normal behavior that makes for a good companion.  Many breeds are recommended a minimum of 12 weeks.

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