When Matilda was about 15 months old, she pulled her foot off one of her toys. The feet look like small brown beans about 1.5 inches long, a bit like a very small baby Chihuahua.
She used to hold a little foot in her mouth, whine, pace around, tumbling around in a blanket. She never did this again.
Since this happened before she was sterilized, and possibly during one of her menarche, I believe the influx of hormones in her body made her feel motherhood in a way she couldn’t understand.
False pregnancies in dogs
Carrying toys with you when crying is a sign of false pregnancy. This usually occurs 4-6 weeks after thermal cycling.
Around that time, Matilda’s breasts will also increase. I haven’t noticed any other symptoms of false pregnancy, but you can notice increased stickiness, refusal to eat, bloated abdomen and even breastfeeding. Although these symptoms usually go away on their own, if you think your dog may actually be pregnant, you may need to see a vet.
Dogs that are neutered no longer have ovaries, so they usually do not experience false pregnancies. Sterilization can also eliminate the chance of your dog getting a serious uterine infection and pyometra. This is an important reason why I finally decided to sterilize Matilda at the age of 3, although I was nervous about the operation due to her size.
But my dog is male!
Male dogs may also have strange protective behaviors towards toys, although they will not experience the same hormonal fluctuations, so they will not experience false pregnancies. When real puppies are born, most male dogs will not play an active role in raising children, but some will.
Protecting toys is likely to be an instinctive, fatherly act. Since sterilized women occasionally have false pregnancies, they may not be hormone-related in every situation.
Non-mother reasons why dogs carry toys when they cry
Sometimes a dog will walk around with a toy when crying, not because they think it is a puppy.
If she wants to finish it later, your dog may carry her chews or bones with her, and if she is worried about finding the perfect hiding place, she may start to complain. If you have another dog that she is worried about stealing her snacks, she may be particularly anxious. It is enough to give her an old blanket or towel as her collection.
Although this behavior is not necessarily harmful, it may lead to resource protection. You may want to provide snacks that your dog can eat at once so she doesn’t have to worry about her leftovers.
You can take away the remaining chews and provide them the next day. If you must take away your dog’s snacks, be sure to retrieve the snacks by exchanging a little delicious snack with your dog.
If your dog looks anxious in general, you can interact, Unstructured game time Being with you will help a lot. You can teach your dog that toys are used for sharing and playing, and it does not need to worry about them disappearing.