How you can help your bitch through a phantom….
This difficult condition is also a tiresome one for owner and dog, as bitches who suffer from phantoms, or to give it its proper name pseudo-pregnancy, can often go on to experience it at every subsequent season. There can be the obvious physical symptoms such as milk production and swollen teats, but also sometimes emotional symptoms too can be quite common for bitches going through a phantom, often becoming very unsettled, carrying around their toys and making nests. This is not surprising really as they must be very confused about what is happening to them, especially the first time they suffer from this.
Obviously prevention really is the best answer for a bitch who is prone to this condition. In extreme cases when this occurs at every season it may be advisable to seek veterinary advice regarding the ultimate spaying of the bitch if she is not going to be bred from. But it if this is not an option, then try our Raspberry Leaf Tablets which have been used successfully to help many bitches in this situation. They are a licensed herbal medicine that are authorised to aid in prevention of pseudo-pregnancies and need to be given at a dosage rate of 1 tablet per 10kgs bodyweight twice daily from the first sign of her coming into season. This dose should be continued for twelve weeks, which is up to the time when she would have whelped had she been mated. The use of Raspberry Leaf tablets have been extremely successful in preventing this condition for many bitches over the long period of time that Dorwest have been manufacturing them for prevention of this condition.
However, if it is too late for Raspberry Leaf Tablets and your bitch is actually going through a phantom pregnancy there is is assistance available that will help to reduce the symptoms and make her more settled while it lasts. There is a homoeopathic remedy, Pulsatilla 15C, which can help a lot and this should be given every 2 hours for the first 12 hours and then four times a day until the symptoms reduce. Very often a bitch will have swollen teats and also start to produce milk and this is one of the more obvious symptoms. Limiting the amount of cereals you feed will help to minimise this and also, within reason, not giving extra fluids as both of these encourage milk production. At the same time give the homoeopathic remedy Urtica 3C which is specifically used to suppress milk production and one of our most widely used homoeopathic remedies. As with the Pulsatilla 15C, give it every 2 hours for the first 12 hours and then three times a day until the milk flow reduces.
While the above tips will help with the physical symptoms, it is the psychological aspects that are as distressing for us as owners as we find it upsetting to see our bitch being upset and confused by what is happening to her. This may include anxiety, confusion and general insecurity that often results in her wanting to cling to us more than usual. The best way to help, apart from reassurance and lots of cuddles, is to give Scullcap & Valerian Tablets at a dosage of 1 tablet per 5kgs bodyweight twice a day. These reduce anxiety and stress and so will help her to feel more calm and relaxed and she will be noticeably less fretful and worried by the condition.
We would always recommend giving Evening Primrose Oil Capsules to all bitches after a season as it helps to restore hormonal balance and also avoid that ‘moody’ phase that many bitches suffer from!