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Lisa, Certified Vet Tech
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 16554
Experience:  AAS Vet Tech. Bully breed rehab & Behavior modification
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My 19 month old female Bullmastiff, Nellie, was spayed 1 week

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My 19 month old female Bullmastiff, Nellie, was spayed 1 week ago. About 3 days after surgery she began to treat a soft, squeaky toy as it is her puppy. She carries it everywhere with her. She lays the toy beneath her wherever she sits or lays and sometimes whines after setting the toy underneath her. Sometimes she postions the toy in way that appears to be like she is trying to feed it. She is very concerned and attentive when the toy is taken from her by me. She will not let the issue go unless the toy is returned to her. She snapped at our larger and older Bullmastiff female when she attempted to play with the toy. Nellie has never snapped at are older female in any circumstance. Any insight into this?
Hello! My name is XXXXX XXXXX it will be my pleasure to help you with your dog today.

Did the vet mention if Nellie was in heat when she was spayed?

If not...when was her last heat cycle?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


The vet did not say she was in heat and I do not believe she was. Her last cycle was probably in July or September.

Perfect. Thanks for the additional information Joel. I really appreciate it.

Even though your vet didn't mention if she was in heat when she was spayed, I suspect she was just on the tail end of it...especially if she had been in heat in September (the heat cycle actually lasts 21-25 days). Because of this, I suspect she's got a false or phantom pregnancy going on.


Pseudocyesis (false pregnancy) often occurs when a dog has been bred but doesn't get pregnant or is spayed while still in a hormonal peak after a recent heat cycle. You can find more information about this here:


Unfortunately, there isn't anything you can do to get a dog to stop a dog from acting like this during a false pregnancy. They have this issue strictly due to hormonal imbalance and the body thinking that there are puppies to nurse. This issue will usually clear up on it's own after a few weeks.


If it doesn't, or if you notice any swelling to the mammary chains, lethargy, anorexia, vomiting or diarrhea or heat to the touch on the mammary chains, these are all signs of an infection that needs to be looked at by a vet as soon as possible.


I hope this helps.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

First, thank you very much for your response. Unfortunately, that answer doesn't necessarily satisfy me. I meant July or August but even if it was September, and lets say mid-september, based on your response of the heat cycle, she would have been fully completed with her cycle. Now, everything I described about Nellie's behavior undoubtly resembles a false preganancy. Information about that i was able to google for free, but i was not convinced with said information, which led me to pay $15 dollars to further explore. Is there anymore information based upon your expertise that you could supply or maybe reference my question to someone else who may have more insight on this matter?

I have spent years working in high volume spay neuter, where we've altered tens of thousands of dogs...many of them either pregnant or just after their heat cycle and I can say with 99% certainty that what Nellie has going on is most likely a false pregnancy.

Although it does happen after being in heat, it's not always immediately after. The level of estrogen (the female hormone) remains elevated in a female dog for up to 45 days after the end of a heat cycle...this is because they're only in heat twice a year, so those levels stay up for some time.

I've seen dogs with pseudocyesis up to a month after being spayed...there's no 'for sure' time frame on when it will happen, and since Nellie was only spayed a week ago, I'm certain this is what is going on.
Lisa and 2 other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Hi Joel,

I'm just following up on our conversation about Nellie. How is everything going?