A:

It is natural and very common for bitches to show some degree of false pregnancy, perhaps producing a great deal of milk.

The symptoms may be so slight that the owner may not even notice.

However, there may be a mood change, loss of appetite, digging up the carpet, carrying round toys or just being completely miserable.

It is also true bitches that have never had a season do not suffer from false pregnancies, so many vets will advise bitches be spayed that are suffering severe symptoms, which are likely to worsen with each subsequent season.

Spaying does have side effects in some instances, such as weight gain or urinary incontinence, but both of these are treatable.

The side effects of the more severe symptoms of false pregnancy can be life-threatening, however, such as mammary cancer. Consult your vet for more advice regarding this condition and whether surgery is advisable.