Birth-Control for Dogs – Definition, Available Options, Cost & FAQ

birth control for dogs

Similar to the human reproductive system, without interference, the reproductive cycle will continue. Dog breeders often need a way to make sure unwanted pregnancies do not take place, therefore they often use birth control for dogs.

Frequent breeding and pregnancy can be detrimental to your bitch and the offspring produced, hence why breeders may decide to postpone the reproductive cycle to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Breeders will not want to castrate their male as this is an irreversible procedure and they will not be able to use that stud again. Dog birth control is easily reversible and manageable.

What is Birth Control for Dogs?

Birth control for dogs is a medical aid used to prevent pregnancy. It can temporarily or permanently stop the reproductive cycle in males or females. This makes your dog unable to impregnate or become pregnant whilst on birth control or minimize the ability to do so, thereby preventing unwanted pregnancies.

Often you will still want your bitch to maintain the ability to become pregnant alongside the health and energy to carry a pregnancy to birth and then care for the puppies. As recommended by the AKC (American Kennel Club), a female should only have a litter every eighteen months to two years. Too many litters lead to detrimental effects. Puppies can be miscarried, born stillborn, or with a severe disability. Even the mother can suffer physical health risks from excess litters such as fatigue. Birth control can manage the number of pregnancies your female has each year.

You must also consider the health of your stud. Males who mate multiple times a day, regularly, will tire themselves out and can cause hip pain. Excess breeding will lower the sperm count in studs. Birth control will prevent successful mating and maintain a male’s sperm count and fertility. Therefore, from a business perspective, birth control will benefit stud owners. It may also decrease his sex drive, thereby decreasing mounting numbers and preventing joint pain.

Types of Canine Birth Control

The types of birth control available for dogs available are not just limited to a pill. You are able to provide your stud with an implant, or a pill or liquid medication for your bitch. Furthermore, there are temporary birth control methods and permanent. Surgeries can entirely prevent a female or male dog from being able to become pregnant or fertilize. Each method has pros and cons including cost, availability(due to location and laws), ease of administration and risks. You need to know each birth control type so you can make an informed decision about which is best for your dog and your circumstances.

Surgical

Surgical procedures of birth control are irreversible and the most successful method of preventing pregnancy and fertilization. In males, this is usually achieved by removing the testicles (neutering), thereby preventing the creation of semen so ejaculation has no possibility of leading to fertilization. In females (spaying), both ovaries and therefore all her eggs are removed alongside her womb. This takes away both the eggs to be fertilized and the womb to sustain a successful pregnancy. These methods guarantee a prevented pregnancy as the organs which do so are not present.

Pills

Known as megestrol for dogs. You will need to administer the contraceptive pill to your female at the beginning of her heat cycle for eight days. This will prevent the rest of the cycle from taking place, thereby stopping her from being able to be fertilized. The pills can be crushed up and put in her food, or given in some meat whole, but the whole of the pill must be taken.

Furthermore, the pill must be taken at the same time every day, otherwise, the female’s cycle will start again. Only give these pills when they are prescribed by your vet. They will only work if the instructions are followed correctly as this is a non-permanent method.

there is a morning after pill for dogs.
Megestrol is the morning-after pill for dogs.

Implants

Known as Suprelorin®, the implant contraceptive for male dogs. The implant is administered just under the skin. The implant minimizes their libido and prevents successful fertilization. This is done by the implant releases a hormone that prevents the production of testosterone and therefore stops the male hormone cycle. Sperm production is thereby prevented. This contraceptive method lasts from six months to a year and is given to your dog through a quick injection. Currently, there is no version of the implant that can be given to female dogs. Their hormonal cycle is composed of multiple hormones released at different times, therefore this method would not work.

Injections

There are two forms of contraceptive injections, regular hormone, and anti-hormone injections. Regular hormone injections are given roughly every five months (ask your vet for individual specific dates). The shot will be injected through your bitch’s back by the vet. She will not have a heat cycle as long as the shot is administered at the proper date and will stop working as soon as one is missed. An anti-hormone shot can be given during pregnancy to terminate it up to forty-five days in. There is a very small possibility that the litter will survive but be aware it is possible.

Liquid Contraceptives

Medical drops are a form of liquid contraceptive. Administer this to your bitch thirty days before the beginning of her cycle. Apply this in their mouths or directly on their food. Thirty days is the minimum application time, and although many owners give more of the treatment to ensure that it has been given at least thirty days before, which is often difficult to judge.

What is the price of birth-control for one dog?

Dog birth control prices can vary due to location, staff, individual’s risk factors, breed, and dosage. Here we will explain why these factors increase the price and present a rough price guide comparison in the table below.

  • Location: If your location is in the middle of nowhere or you require a vet to visit you due to your dog having vet anxiety, this may increase the costs. Similarly, different clinics have their own rates and those which are more popular are often more pricey.
  • Staff: A vet nurse, vet or vet team may have to perform the procedure. Depending on the training of staff and availability at that clinic, the higher trained staff may require more participants, the higher the costs.
  • Individual risk factors: Each dog will have their own traits and characteristics which may affect them negatively when being given contraceptive. This can be age, as the older a participant the higher the risks, therefore the procedure may be more costly. It can also include physical differences, such as if a dog is overweight. An overweight dog will be more unhealthy, having more trouble breathing and can be affected by side effects more deeply.
  • Breed: Depending on a breed, they may both have higher risk factors because of health (especially during surgery) and size. The cost increases with the size of the breed. The procedures may also take longer due to their size.
  • Dosage: A higher dosage of the contraceptive medium requires more ingredients, and in some cases, more time spent on the procedure and more staff. These factors all increase potential costs.
Type of birth controlRough price range
Spaying$50-$300
Neutering$50-$300
Contraceptive pillNot available in the USA
Implant (Suprelorin®)$140-$240
Hormone injection$55
Anti-hormone Injection$105
Medical drops$50

What are the risks and dangers of birth-control in dogs?

Each type of contraceptive comes with its pros and cons, it is important to find what is right for your dog and you as an owner.

MethodProsCons
Surgical– Permanent: no chance of
unwanted pregnancy
– Irreversible
– expensive
– risky
Pills– Least invasive
– Can administer at home
– Not available in the USA yet
– They must be given at the
same time every day
Implants– Can be administered to
your stud as opposed to
all your bitches
– Costly
Injections– Few are needed each
year
– Can be invasive
Liquid– Cheapest– Difficult to estimate the
administering time period

Surgical

Use this method to permanently ensure your dog will be infertile. Which is often useful for owners that do not plan to breed their dogs. This procedure takes one operation and then your no longer have to worry. However, your dog may not be a suitable candidate due to their risk level, the procedure itself can be the more costly of contraceptive methods and there is a required healing time. Both males and females will have stitches so they will not be able to go on walks, jump and will need to be monitored in case they lick their wounds.

Pills

Pills are often considered to be the least invasive method of contraception. Your dog will not often notice that there are pills in their food.

Furthermore, this is one of the few methods that can be administered at home. Therefore you can avoid regular trips to the vets which can be costly. Unfortunately, dog contraceptive pills are not yet available in the USA. You must give your dog the pill at the same time every day. Therefore, many prefer other methods of dog contraception. This can be difficult if a dog has an upset stomach or if you work shift work.

Also, note that birth control pills have been found to increase the likelihood of a phantom or pseudopregnancy.

Implants

Implants have the most costly minimum price and it is the only method to work specifically on males. The benefit of this is that if you are a breeder, you will often have more females than males, so in the long run, this is a much less time-consuming method and less expensive. A downside of this method is that implants will last up to a year and will then need replacing. This increases the methods overall costs and the procedure can be stressful and slightly uncomfortable for your dog.

Injections

Usually, hormone injects only have to be administered every five months. This means a maximum of three injections will be given every year which is a regular level of contraceptive costs. Petrol prices and vet consultations will add to the overall price at vet visits. Unfortunately, these can be considered intrusive as the needles can be quite large, even for smaller dogs.

Liquid contraceptives

Probably the easiest method of administration is a liquid contraceptive. You can put this in your dog’s food without detection. A major drawback of this method though is the administration time. With the requirement of administration being a minimum of thirty days before the heat cycle, it can be almost impossible to predict unless you have timed multiple cycles beforehand. Therefore you cannot use it straight after buying it as this increases the failure rate.

FAQs about Birth Control for Dogs

Even with our previous assessments and comparisons, you may still have dog contraception questions that have not been answered. Therefore, we have composed some of the most commonly asked to answer here.

dog abortion
Dog abortion is more of a convenience for the owner than a need for the dog itself.

Can my dog use human birth control pills?

No, these pills not only do not work for your dog but can also but detrimental to your dog’s health. The pills have had the amount and ingredients designed for a human female, these cycles are different. Humans have their cycle lasting 21 days compared to dogs who have two cycles a year. Human contraceptive pills will not provide the correct hormone nor the correct hormone ration for a dog’s body. Therefore the body’s hormonal imbalance will be interrupted and no stage of the hormonal cycle will be prevented. When dogs ingest these pills, they have been found to have deteriorating bone marrow as a result of them.

Are human contraceptive pills dangerous for dogs?

Dogs are known to eat whatever they have found, unfortunately, it is possible for them to eat your contraceptive pill. They can not only make your dog ill but can be lethal for your dog. However, this is only the case in very high doses of the pill or a huge level of consumption. If given gradually, there will be no notable change externally but internally the pill will have side effects. Along with the pill not preventing unwanted pregnancies, it can also cause weakened bone marrow over time and even affect blood cell count in your dog.

Are there any side effects in humans taking dog birth control pills?

The side effects of humans taking dog birth control are not well known. As testing is still in place, this element has not yet been disclosed, hence why they are not yet for sale without a thorough warning. Although it is important to bear in mind that these pills will be designed for a long term cycle that dogs possess, the pills will contain different hormonal levels and upon being ingested by us, these may affect our bodies negatively.

What is the duration of canine injection for birth control?

A canine birth-control injection will prevent a bitch from becoming pregnant for one whole cycle, this usually lasts five months. The injection will be given during the start of the cycle and will maintain hormone control to prevent the release of eggs and thereby stop pregnancy. Therefore, hormone injections should only be required twice a year per bitch.

What type of birth control can my male dog use?

In the USA the most well known reversible birth control is the implant. This is male-specific and requires changing every six months to a year. It suppresses testosterone release and thereby inhibits a high sex drive and sperm production/release. Bear in mind this birth control will require a period of time to work and will not be effective immediately, please consult your vet.

2 comments on « Birth-Control for Dogs – Definition, Available Options, Cost & FAQ »

  1. birth control is also used in a dog for breeders to avoid having too many dogs instead of castrating the male dog which irreversible

  2. Castrating the male dog which is irreversible instead use of birth control for the dog breeder to avoid having too many dogs.

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