We recently rescued a chiwawa who's, the vet says, about 1.5 years old and has clearly been pregnant before. When we first got her she would act worried and cry often; pretty normal for a dog in her situation. That faded as we trained her not to and she began to get comfortable.

After a while we noticed her playing with rolled up socks and a few of our other dog's (Boston Terrier) furry toys. So we bought all the dogs their own toys. Immediately, our other dogs began the ceremonious destruction of their's; while Bean, the chiwawa, looked as if she was living a horror movie.

Since, she has become burdened by the toy; she seems to worry about it constantly. She acts strangely around it seeming to hurdle over it and lay on it oddly. She's also started making her kennel bed with her mouth crazily at night when they go to bed. Earlier tonight we took it away on the DL. She's looking around for it and crying too. Is it possible she could be confusing this store bought toy as an offspring?

I've been around bread dogs and have seen where a mother will try to continue to care for a dead pup; is it possible she's remembering her motherhood?

  • Not enough for a full answer, I don't think, but after my cat's kittens had been weaned, she adopted a little furry money purse, would even 'feed' it and everything. I think it's possible that your dog is going through 'empty nest' syndrone.
    – Piper
    Commented Feb 7, 2015 at 14:38

1 Answer 1


Yes. Websearch "false pregnancy", or read some of the James Herriot life-of-a-vet books, or ask your own vet. I believe that if it is a real false pregnancy, rather than just play, a hormone shot can break the fixation, which is another reason to ask the vet. (Some animals go as far as starting to lactate, which would be pretty solidly diagnostic.)

  • Thanks; good info with the hormone shot. We thought she might have been separated from her real pups while still nursing but her nipples don't look like it. We'll definitely look out for lactating if nothing else. Commented Feb 7, 2015 at 20:11
  • It would be a lot better if you could summarize why you think it's a false pregnancy, rather than saying to just Google it. Maybe a little bit about what a false pregnancy is, and what it's symptoms are, that way people can see that the symptoms match.
    – Spidercat
    Commented Feb 8, 2015 at 0:09
  • No time to go deeper right now. Feel free to write a better answer.
    – keshlam
    Commented Feb 8, 2015 at 0:27
  • You would think the dog would know since the toy does not smell like a puppy
    – Huangism
    Commented Feb 12, 2015 at 19:26
  • Call it either a strong version of make-believe or a canine version of ocd..
    – keshlam
    Commented Feb 12, 2015 at 21:23

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