Is The Morning After Pill Available For Dogs?

When puppies arrive by accident, they may not be welcome.
When puppies arrive by accident, they may not be welcome. | Source

The Morning After

Well, yes and no. It really depends on your veterinarian. In humans, “the morning-after pill” varies by country—it is the same thing with dogs. In 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 available in a few.

When you take your dog into your vet, the first thing he should determine is whether the female is really bred. If she was only gone for 5 minutes there is not much to worry about, since it takes about 30 minutes for a successful mating. He will do a vaginal cytology to find out if she is still in heat—if she is there 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:

  1. 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.
  2. RU486 has been used but it is not labeled for dogs and is also expensive.
  3. If it is several days later, probably more than 5, DES will only work if it is given after an ECP (estradiol cypionate), the estrogen mismate injection. “Mismate” injections are not available everywhere.
  4. Dexamethasone tablets can cause abortion in dogs later in pregnancy. Side effects—excessive thirst and urination during treatment. No known permanent side effects.
  5. 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

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.

When I was still in High School, 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.


Does your dog really need a mismate injection or morning-after pill? If you want the dog to get pregnant later on to make a few bucks, you need to realize that 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 humane society of the US 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, and adding to the problem.

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.

When puppies are "accidental" (cross bred) it is not always easy to find them a home.
When puppies are "accidental" (cross bred) it is not always easy to find them a home. | Source

If you think your dog has been bred, 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.

© 2013 DrMark1961

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Comments 13 comments

DrMark1961 profile image

DrMark1961 3 years ago from The Beach of Brazil Author

A lot of the volunteers were doing "alterative sentences" (community service) but the boy who put the dogs in the gas chamber was an employee. I am sure he had nightmares. Small puppies went there immediately--they never even had a chance. Like you said, someone has to pay for selfishness.

LKMore01 profile image

LKMore01 3 years ago

Doing that kind of work would be the end of me. My soul would die. There would be nothing left of me to give any one after spending twenty minutes doing that job Dr. Mark. I know it has to be done and the people who do it are brave. They do care about animals. I know this. You know this. But who the hell would want to do that for a living? And yet we have to have skilled practioners who will kill them humanely because of our own selfishness.

DrMark1961 profile image

DrMark1961 3 years ago from The Beach of Brazil Author

That comment on "putting to sleep" is really true. Dogs are not sleeping, they are dead. It is not easy for some to accept, but it is true!

I know what you mean about the injections. Years ago I volunteered my time at a local humane society and they gassed dogs nearly every day. It was not humane.

LKMore01 profile image

LKMore01 3 years ago

Outstanding, Dr. Mark. Examining all the alternatives to solve the pet overpopulation crisis. Overpopulation is a stunning problem in this world. Imagine working at a shelter where you have to inject perfectly healthy dogs and cats with poison and KILL them . "Putting to sleep" is a term that needs to be abolished. We are literally killing millions of animals every year because we are not taking responsibility for their spaying and neutering. Thank you. Voted up and sharing.

DrMark1961 profile image

DrMark1961 3 years ago from The Beach of Brazil Author

I will read it as soon as you publish. I am not a fan of crate training but am not the sort of person who always has to be right, either. It is good to hear other experiences, and, as you know, dogs are individuals and you can't treat them all the same.

Mom Thoughts 3 years ago

DrMark, I am hoping to write more on dogs. We recently started crate training her as a last resort when she would not stop chewing our faux leather couch. It turns out she actually loves her crate and will go in there without us telling her too when she wants some alone time. I am hoping to write an article about that soon.

DrMark1961 profile image

DrMark1961 3 years ago from The Beach of Brazil Author

Thanks, MomThoughts. I read your hub on the Sporn harness last week when you published. Are you planning on writing more about dogs?

Writer Fox, I appreciate those words. It was a long time ago but even now I wish someone had just talked me into having her spayed.

Writer Fox profile image

Writer Fox 3 years ago from the wadi near the little river

So sorry you lost your pet. I think you give some great insight into this topic and I hope many people will find your article here. Voted up!

Mom Thoughts 3 years ago

I want to say I love the title of this Hub. It causes a reader to stop in her tracks with interest and click the link to read it.

As a new dog owner who recently adopted a dog from my local SPCA I am a huge believer in getting animals spayed and neutered. Enter any animal shelter and you will see the results of owners choosing not to get their animals fixed. There are so many beautiful animals getting put down because of overpopulation and it would not be happening if owners would just get their dogs and cats spayed or neutered.

DrMark1961 profile image

DrMark1961 3 years ago from The Beach of Brazil Author

That "barepawed and prego" philosophy was all too common where I used to live. When puppies sell for $1000, a lot of people really do think they can make money at it.

Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

Bob Bamberg profile image

Bob Bamberg 3 years ago from Southeastern Massachusetts

Ditto. Your info and cautions are most valuable.

In my area, leash laws exist and owners are all but ostracized if they don't have their dog or cat altered, so it may seen a bit odd, but a hub like this is a reality check for me.

I forget that elsewhere, people see ads for puppies selling for hundreds or even thousands of dollars and figure, "Hell, I'll just get me one of them puppy machines, keep her barepawed and prego, and make me a ton of money." Others are just careless or neglectful and accidents happen.

Good and important hub! Voted up, useful and interesting.

DrMark1961 profile image

DrMark1961 3 years ago from The Beach of Brazil Author

We cannot drive that point home often enough!

epbooks profile image

epbooks 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

Thank you for this wonderful and informational hub. I'm so glad that you addressed the population of dogs on death row and how many are purebreds. It's a point I always try to drive home as well. Voted this up.

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    DrMark1961565 Followers
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    Dr Mark is a small animal veterinarian. He works mostly with dogs and exotic animals.

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