Is There a Morning After Pill Available for Dogs to Stop Pregnancy?
The Morning After Pill for Dogs: Does It Exist?
Is a pill available to halt a dog's pregnancy? Well, yes and no. It really depends on your veterinarian.
In humans, the type and effectiveness of the "morning-after pill” varies by country—it is the same thing with dogs. For humans, a progestin-only tablet that works up to 72 hours is available in most countries, and a abortion pill (mifepristone) called Mifeprex or RU486 is also available in a few.
When you take your dog into your vet, the first thing he should determine is whether the female is really pregnant. Keep in mind that it takes about 30 minutes for a successful mating.
The vet will do a vaginal cytology to find out if she is in heat—if she is in an early stage of heat but you tell him that she ran off several days ago, there is not much chance she was bred. If he sees sperm cells when looking at the cytology, she has obviously bred.
If the female is no longer in heat, if sperm is found on the slide, a successful breeding was seen, or she was gone long enough to be bred, your vet will discuss options.
What Birth Control Medicines Are Available to a Dog?
- If you take her in immediately, she can be treated with diethystilbesterol (DES) tablets for 5 days. This is the “morning after pill” for dogs.
- If it is several days later, probably more than five days, DES will only work if it is given after an ECP (estradiol cypionate), the estrogen mismate injection. “Mismate” injections are not available everywhere.
- RU486 has been used, but it is not labeled for dogs and is also expensive.
- Dexamethasone tablets can cause abortion in dogs later in pregnancy. Side effects—excessive thirst and urination during treatment. No known permanent side effects.
- Other drugs are available in some countries.
No drug works 100% of the time. The vet needs to check your dog over the next few weeks to make sure she is not pregnant, and if the drugs have not worked, she may need to be given something else.
Side effects vary depending on which drug is used—most of them are serious!
- DES can cause blood problems,
- ECP can cause pyometra and bone marrow suppression,
- and dexamethasone may cause skin or GI problems.
A long time ago, one of my Siberian Huskies was bred by a stray dog and I took her in for a mismate injection. Months later, I stood next to the cage and held her in my arms as she died of severe anemia and organ failure secondary to bone marrow suppression. At that time, the mismate injection was a lot more common. No one spoke to me about the alternatives.
Spaying vs. Other Alternatives
A note about breeding: Selling puppies is not really a good way to make money. Besides the costs of excess food and medications (like dewormers), a female may have problems whelping and require expensive veterinary care, such as a c-section. Some females do not produce enough milk and you will spend a lot of money bottle feeding the new puppies.
If you want to breed her so that the kids can see the “miracle of life,” you also need to know that according to the US humane society, about every 11 seconds a dog or cat dies in the US because of pet overpopulation. Getting your dog spayed now is the only way to prevent her from having a litter of puppies down the road.
Unless you are willing to take back and rehome every puppy you put out there, do not breed your dog.
If you think you need to keep her intact and produce a litter of puppies because she is purebred, you should be aware that about 25% of all dogs in the shelter are purebreds. Having papers does not mean a whole lot to a dog on his way to death row.
If you think your dog is pregnant and you really have no vital need to breed her in the future, take her in for a spay about two to three weeks after she goes out of heat. Dogs just coming out of heat bleed excessively and have problems during the spay. If it has been two weeks, even if she is bred her uterus should be small and the vet should not charge any extra. If you wait longer than this her uterus will be large and the surgery will be more difficult.
It will still be less traumatic than whelping!
Think about it.
More About Your Dogs Health...
- How to Tell If And When Your Dog is in Heat
This article will describe what the signs are of a female dog coming into heat, when best to breed or when not to breed!
- How to Breed Your Female Dog Successfully
Do you know how to breed your dog? This article will tell you the signs to watch for, what you need to do in preparation, and how to handle the breeding procedure.
- How to Help a Dog Whelp or Deliver Puppies
Are you expecting a litter of puppies anytime soon? This article will give you some tips on how you can to help.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
Questions & Answers
I have an American bully. We have a selected male for her to be bred to but I saw a local mutt in my yard stuck to her. He jumped over the wall. What can I do to prevent her from breeding with other dogs, and can I still breed her to the selected male I had plans for?
You cannot do anything at this point, she is already bred. Call your local vet immediately and find out the options they have to abort the puppies if you do not want them. You cannot breed your dog this time around but in 6 months, when she is in heat again, you can keep her confined so that she will not be bred by a local dog, and then breed her to the dog that you have selected.Helpful 15
How can I tell at home if my dog is bred?
Here is an article you can read to look for some other signs at home:Helpful 11
I can not find a vet in Massachusetts to provide the DES - do you know any or can you tell me how to find the proper dosing?
Some vets will not sell the product because of the side effects. Other alternatives (like dexamethasone) are safer. Having your dog spayed is teh safest option. If you cannot find a source for the DES, the dose is not necessary.Helpful 9
How can I stop the implantation of my Rottweiler who was just bred with a local dog?
You need to contact your local vet and find out what is available. Some countries no longer sell mismate injections, so ask what is available. If nothing is available, and you do not plan on breeding your Rottie in the future, having her spayed is the best option.Helpful 8
© 2013 Dr Mark