Is the Morning After Pill Available for Dogs?

Updated on January 7, 2018
DrMark1961 profile image

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

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.

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.

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

  • 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:

    https://pethelpful.com/dogs/How-to-tell-if-your-do...

  • 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.

  • 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.

© 2013 Dr Mark

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    • DrMark1961 profile imageAUTHOR

      Dr Mark 

      3 months ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      Ayla, are you planning on using your dog for breeding later? If not, the best thing to do is have her spayed now, while her uterus is small.

      You cannot diagnose the preganancy this early, but around 30 days she can have an ultrasound or a relaxin test. All vets, even in the US, have access to dexamethasone so can use that alternative if they are willing.

    • profile image

      Ayla 

      3 months ago

      hello. my dog harley was let out by my parents last night, she jumped the fence and was gone for over four hours, she is a week and around three days into her second heat and has been licking at her privates ever since she came back, ever since i came back from school ive been looking for any vet offices that sell abortion pills/shots but cont find any so far, i live in america where mismate is not available and i dont know any places that would sell these products i have a couple brands such as Dinoprost and prostaglandi2alpha (heard this over phone with vet so may not be spelled correctly). is there any ways i can tell she is pregnant or can soon?

    • profile image

      Caitlin Jones 

      3 months ago

      can a dog abortion happen?

      my fur baby has had a round of puppies twice now and they just have not made it.

      I am ashamed to say the least that my husband and I haven't gotten her in sooner to be spayed.

      My husbands boy dog got into her sleeping area and had his way with her. I do not want to go through that with her again. Our oldest dog had major issues with her when she lost her last batch. Vet said it was because in a "pack" every dog has its role and apparently carmela didn't do her job when she lost her puppies. It was hard trying to get all my fur babies to get along again.

    • DrMark1961 profile imageAUTHOR

      Dr Mark 

      8 months ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      Kiley, how long ago was this?

    • profile image

      Kiley 

      8 months ago

      I didn't know my dog was in heat because this was her first heat cycle and she was with her intact dad all day. I don't know what to do?

    • DrMark1961 profile imageAUTHOR

      Dr Mark 

      12 months ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      Why terrified? Preventing the pregnancy, and what might be a difficult whepling, is the best thing you can do.

    • profile image

      MissKay 

      12 months ago

      My dog is a chihuahua papillon mix, she’s 2, and my sisters beagle terrier mix he’s 8 months. He caught my dog, and I don’t know if she’s pregnant cause it just happened. I want to get her the mismate pill, but I’m terrified to give it to her. Also I have no money or a job.... so I’m frantic.

    • DrMark1961 profile imageAUTHOR

      Dr Mark 

      12 months ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      Ss--these drugs are not available over the counter in the US. Call your local vet´s office and ask what they have available.

    • DrMark1961 profile imageAUTHOR

      Dr Mark 

      12 months ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      Ss--these drugs are not available over the counter in the US. Call your local vet´s office and ask what they have available.

    • profile image

      Ss 

      12 months ago

      My female just got mated this evening with a Stray accidentally ... the heat was almost over...What can I do to avoid the pregnancy ?

    • profile image

      Ramesh Chandra Suryavanshi 

      15 months ago

      Kelly give him delvosteron injection to stop pregnancy..

    • DrMark1961 profile imageAUTHOR

      Dr Mark 

      15 months ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      Kelly, talk to your vet about havin her spayed.

    • profile image

      Kelly ellison 

      15 months ago

      My dog has been cought of a bigger dog and I'm frightened she might have trouble giving birth is there anything I can do to stop the pregnancy

    • DrMark1961 profile imageAUTHOR

      Dr Mark 

      20 months ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      deya-monkey --there is no standard answer on how many visits. Many owners of pregnant dogs do not even bother going in, but at least once in late pregnancy is a good idea. If you are going to get the ultrasound, get it done kind of late in pregnancy, about 6 weeks, to evaluate how many puppies there are and how things are developing.

      Sorry that happened, hope it all works out. (Hopefully you will find homes for the puppies. Start looking now.)

    • deya-monkey profile image

      deya-monkey 

      20 months ago

      Dr Mark, so i have never been a fan of spraying my dogs.. but it was not my intention for them to mate.. my stud is 4 yrs half husky half pit.. and she is a pit mix of some sort 2 yrs.. yesterday while my bf was at work and i was out doing some things regarding my own pregnancy.. now not to point finger i will avoid how it happened, but the dogs were left alone for a lil over an hr loose in the house bc people do not like to respect or listen to what others tell them to do.. bottom line is they locked and there's no telling for how long.. i don't really have the money at the moment to deal with the vet pills for her to be pregnant.. but if she is then i would like her to have her puppys and i will keep one.. and find homes for the rest but making sure if something happens they come back to us..

      how many appt do the vet usually request when the dog is pregnant? how far does she have to be to get an ultra sound? and any advice i would be more them happy to listen to..

    • DrMark1961 profile imageAUTHOR

      Dr Mark 

      20 months ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      Steven, I just answered your question on HP. Yes, you can call your vet and arrange to have her treated with mismate but having her spayed is the best ultimate solution.

    • profile image

      Steven 

      20 months ago

      My dog is in heat about a week,have been informed a dog might have breed with her by accident 4 days ago can I still use medication to terminate the pups, or would getting her spayed fix it

    • DrMark1961 profile imageAUTHOR

      Dr Mark 

      5 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      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 

      5 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 imageAUTHOR

      Dr Mark 

      5 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      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 

      5 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 imageAUTHOR

      Dr Mark 

      5 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      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.

    • profile image

      Mom Thoughts 

      5 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 imageAUTHOR

      Dr Mark 

      5 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      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 

      5 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!

    • profile image

      Mom Thoughts 

      5 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 imageAUTHOR

      Dr Mark 

      5 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      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 

      5 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 imageAUTHOR

      Dr Mark 

      5 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      We cannot drive that point home often enough!

    • epbooks profile image

      Elizabeth Parker 

      5 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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