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Dog Abortion — Methods, Cost, Pills, Injections

Breeding Business is passionate about all sorts of domesticated pets. They have written dozens of articles across the web.
Published on
Friday 19 May 2017
Last updated on
Tuesday 9 May 2023
dog abortion
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Dog abortion is a hot topic but this article focuses on the different methods of pregnancy termination for dogs, their cost, and confirms their legality. People talk about dog abortion pills and shots but don’t really know when is the best time to stop a female dog’s pregnancy and how can it be achieved safely.

Breeding Business and Vanessa Ralha, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and Strategy Officer at Petable, explain all that matters about canine abortion. Ethics and personal opinions are purposefully left out of this article — just like I did with my article on the morning-after pill for dogs.

Abortion in dogs is more of a convenience for the human than a need for the dog itself.

Can a Dog Have an Abortion?

Pregnant female dogs can undergo an abortion in order to terminate their pregnancy using veterinarian solutions, either surgical or medical. It is legal in most states in North America, as well as in most countries. The main cause of abortion in dogs is accidental mating occurring while the female was in heat.

Dog Abortion Laws

According to animal moral rights, it is wrong to seriously harm dogs for experimentation, entertainment, and other immoral purposes. Therefore, abortion should only be done for the sake of the dog’s health and overall well-being. 

In the Sherry Colb and Michael Dorf’s Beating Hearts: Abortion and Animal Rights Symposium, they emphasize that animals, at least vertebrates, including dogs, are morally considerable and sentient beings. It means that they are capable of feeling pleasures and pains.

Moreover, the moral-theoretical reviews say that even dogs have the right to their own lives and bodies. But since dogs cannot decide which is better or not, their human companion is usually the one deciding which is good or not. 

Early abortions, late abortions, and abortions, in general, are not condemned by animal rights or any other laws. However, owners and veterinarians alike should take necessary precautions and see to it that the purpose of abortion is to provide a better quality of life to a dog.

Dog abortion is legal and most veterinarian practices will offer ways to terminate a dog’s pregnancy. However, some vets will claim ethical incompatibility with ending a pregnancy that is too far along.

Additionally, there are vets that will not abort a pregnancy if they do not spay the mother, thus making sure the same does not happen to the same dog twice, but that is at their own personal and professional discretion.

Common Causes of Abortion in Dogs

Mother Nature did a good job with canines so very few cases occur where the female needs to undergo abortion to protect her own health. In other words, abortion in dogs is more of a convenience for the owner than a need for the dog itself.

Most frequent cases arise from owners who allow their female dogs to wander off during heat resulting in suspicion or confirmation that coitus occurred. If this results in an unplanned and unwanted pregnancy, then most owners will request guidance from their vet and seek a medical solution to terminate the pregnancy.

Some cases come from breeders or owners of multi-dog households that have poor control over their dogs’ heat timings. These breeders fail to predict when they should separate the bitch in heat from their studs, leaving enough room for her to breed without the human selection of the intended male partner.

When Is It Best to Abort a Dog’s Pregnancy?

Most vets will push for ovariohysterectomy as a first solution, but mostly only during the beginning of pregnancy (i.e. the first month.) Ovariohysterectomy is a spay by surgically removing the uterus and ovaries (watch an explicit video of the surgical procedure here.)

There are increased risks to doing such a procedure on a pregnant dog: blood vessels are engorged, the surgical procedure takes longer which increases anesthesia risk and if the due date is very close, the puppies may already be fully formed, which implies individually euthanizing them.

How Late in a Pregnancy Can Dogs Have an Abortion?

Technically, a veterinarian can abort a female dog’s pregnancy at any stage if necessary. The abortion methods used towards the last weeks of this female’s pregnancy may, however, become heavier surgical operations instead of medication during the first weeks.

Therefore, veterinarians will always recommend dog breeders think twice before asking for an abortion in the second half of the bitch’s pregnancy.

Can You Give Human Abortion Pills To Dogs?

Not a chance.

The problem isn’t the efficacy (or lack thereof) of the drugs, but rather the lack of medical guidance during the process and what that entails to the dog’s or even human health. Most of these drugs have rather troublesome side effects and none of them is 100% effective. There is no way to control if the treatment was effective without recurring ultrasound or blood work. Also, dosage control is of the essence to minimize side effects and most of the time antiemetic or antibiotic drugs must be prescribed simultaneously by a veterinarian, to minimize nausea or to control the risk of infection.

Uneducated use of these drugs in dogs may result in overdosing a pregnant dog to the point of toxicity or causing serious problems like pyometra or other reproductive emergencies.

Dog abortion is legal and can be completed through a surgical spay or a drug-induced procedure.
Pregnancy termination in dogs is legal. It can be done through a surgical spay or a drug-induced abortion depending on the stage the female dog is at in her pregnancy.

List of Dog Abortion Methods

First, every vet will start by confirming the pregnancy. A great way to confirm a dog pregnancy is an echography at 25 days of gestation or a relaxin test (a blood test) that can be tested as soon as 22 days but should be confirmed a week later if negative to confirm the diagnosis.

However, some dog breeders want to keep the dog’s reproductive system intact, allowing her to be bred in future instances. Then, other solutions include drug-induced abortion either with:

  • Prostaglandins,
  • Antiprogestins (aglepristone),
  • Dexamethasone,
  • Prolactin inhibitors (metergoline)
  • or oral estrogens.

Most veterinarians will advise an ovariohysterectomy as the first form of approach to an unwanted canine pregnancy. If there is to be an intervention to solve the problem, then it might as well be one that simultaneously prevents the risk of future recidivism.


Prostaglandin F2α is injected 3 times per day until all fetuses have been successfully expelled (controlled ecographically) — sometimes for as long as 14 days, but normally less. Association with an intravaginal prostaglandin will help reduce treatment time and secondary symptoms (nausea, diarrhea, restlessness, tremors). Doses must be under strict control, and the chances of overdosing are high.



Must only be used up to 45 days into pregnancy. Injections are applied daily for the first 48h and then weekly for 2 weeks, totaling 4 applications. Bitches later than 20-30 days into their pregnancy may experience severe symptoms including fetal expulsion with blood loss, anorexia, and mammary congestion. These tend to be quite expensive.


Administered as pills, twice daily to effect (expulsion of all the fetuses) after day 30 of the pregnancy — can take more than 10 days. However, dexamethasone is a corticosteroid and owners must be warned about the risks of prolonged corticotherapy (immune system suppression, predisposition to infection, excess water intake and urination, restlessness, constant hunger) and if the dosage isn’t well adjusted, the dog may show signs of medically-induced Cushing’s disease. Bitches with pre-existing health conditions like diabetes or Cushing’s disease are not advised to undergo this type of treatment.

Prolactin inhibitors

Also to be used in the second half of the pregnancy. Alone or combined with prostaglandins for increased efficacy. Daily oral treatment is required and treatment continued until effect.

Oral estrogens

Can only be used the first few days into pregnancy but largely increase the risk for pyometra which is a possibly life-threatening uterine infection. Most veterinarians will avoid this method due to the risks it entails.

QUICK NOTE — No drug, however, meets all the following criteria of a perfect mismate drug: possible to give at any stage of oestrus or pregnancy, 100% effective, causes no vaginal discharge, has no side effects, does not impair future fertility, is readily available, and is inexpensive.

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

Aftercare & Recovery

Whatever the method, the bitch will feel poorly for some time after the abortion. Antiprogestins, for example, can stay in the body for about 24 days after the last take because they are lipophilic and side effects persist long after the effect of the abortion.

Keep the bitch in a quiet, clean, and cozy environment. Watch for signs of nausea and anorexia. You might need to give supplementation to keep nutritional support. Keep plenty of fresh water available so as to never condition water intake, especially if dexamethasone was used.

If surgery took place, then antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs will have to be given at home, along with special care for keeping the suture clean and dry.
Watch out for any type of vaginal running that could indicate pyometra.

How much does a dog abortion procedure cost?


If pregnancy is suspected but not confirmed during the first 15 days after heat, most veterinarians will charge the same fees as for a normal spaying procedure.

Drug-induced abortion tends to keep prices lower ($100 to $700 in total, depending on the dog’s size, cost of living in the geographical area, etc.) This will include abortion medication, symptom medication, and ultrasound control or bloodwork expenses. Varies according to the length of the process which is different for each dog. Depends on litter size, anatomical conformation, and pre-existing health conditions.

If the pregnancy is well-developed prices will increase up to $2,000-3,000 total costs, including hospitalization and drugs in some clinics.

Abortion for dogs is a raging conversation. This article focuses on different abortion techniques for dogs and available pregnancy termination methods.

A massive thank you to Vanessa Ralha, DVM and Strategy Officer at Petable, for her help with this informative article. Check out their great app for pet care, Petable, available in the App Store and Google Play.

13 comments on “Dog Abortion — Methods, Cost, Pills, Injections”

  1. Melisa Lalich

    I am trying to purchase your book! However, your website is giving me a hard time at checkout! It tells me to log in… but won’t let me do so…yet won’t take my payment either!! Help please! Thx ML

  2. Margaret

    This information has been most helpful thus far. I have visited local Vets and none explained the situation as this. Our dog has mated with a junkyard dog and now she’s pregnant. She is a blue nose Pitbull. I am devastated and don’t know what to do.

    1. Thank you very much for your kind words, we tried to cover dog abortion as well and thoroughly as possible.

  3. Pauline

    I have a Staffordshire bull terrier and accidently my male staff mated with her after I had successfully kept them apart for over two weeks. The bitch was young she was only 15 months. My vet told me I was irresponsible and if she had a litter at that age all of the puppies would die. Against taking the judgement of the vet I let her have the pregnancy and all six puppies were healthy and also mum as well. I kept all puppies and wormed them and fleaed them before homing them. Later on I had the mother spayed as I really did not want any further puppies. I still have the mother and one female puppy I kept and life with them has been awesome. If an unwanted mating takes place it is not the end of the world these things can happen but everything can still turn out well.

    1. Robert Williamson

      You are absolutely right. There are some people out there that just go bonkers whenever their pet gets bread when they don’t want it to be bred and they panic and they want to do horrible things to the dog the female like giving her their abortion shot or giving her the the pills and both of those are actually very dangerous for your dog he calls a bad bone dissolving disease or some kind and could wind up killing your dog and even at the least the female dog will be sick for several days after the shot or the pills so if it happens it happens it’s not the end of the world just let her have the puppies she’ll probably be a very good mother and then after she’s finished with raising her puppies off of Mama’s milk then have her spate so it doesn’t happen again. But thank you very much for your your published remarks about pregnancy in animals. I’m glad your dogs turned out perfect for you and it is wonderful.

  4. Jennifer

    My female rottie hooked up with my daughters lab and I do not want her to have a litter at this time. It happened only a day ago and I am wondering how soon I can use dexamethasone on my rottie. Do I have to wait to confirm pregnancy.

  5. Toni

    My female Chihuahua got suck with her boy pup. He is 6 months old. I do not want her to have another litter as the first almost killed her! How soon should I take her to the vet to abort any pregnancy?

  6. Sharon

    My 4 year old golden was with her 10 month old male son! We have kept them apart for a week and turned our head 5 minutes! We don’t want another litter and we are afraid there will be something wrong with the puppies since it’s mother and son! HELP!!

    1. Melissa Zee

      Hello Sharon,
      I read your article re: My 4 year old golden was with her 10 month old male son! We have kept them apart for a week and turned our head 5 minutes! We don’t want another litter and we are afraid there will be something wrong with the puppies since it’s mother and son! HELP!! What happened, did you keep them. or did you get an abortion, this just happened to my female german shepherd, who is 3 and her son is 2. I don’t know what to do, please share your experience with me. Melissa 3103090099

      1. Emilia

        Hi Sharon and Melissa
        I have the same problem could you tell me what you decide and what was the result please! I’m just waiting for vet consultation next week.

  7. Opal

    Holy Smokes!
    I’m going through this same thing right now!
    Worst of all-!!!-
    I was away , out of state on a family emergency for a little over a month and come home to see my Poor Girl well into a pregnancy!!!
    My boyfriend was supposed to be keeping them apart (her Brother!!!!!)he said he took them with him everywhere, someone came up to the car window and started talking to him, and Boom! Right then!!!?!?!
    There’s actually only a3day window for conception to actually happen..
    I’m so upset and Worried!!!
    She can’t have another litter!!!
    She’s only 3 years old and has had 3 litters already! Plus them being Siblings!!!
    I’m actually at a Vets office right now, going in to see what they say!!!!
    I’ll make sure and update you all with what I find out!!!!!

  8. Natalie Delgado

    Please don’t use the word “bitch” to refrence dogs. It’s triggering

  9. Candy Lyons

    I have american bully and whippet that got pregnant. It’s the worst breed to hook up. I can’t abort I’m scared for puppies. It’s my fault I didn’t say her.. soon as she has pups I’m fixing her but what about these poor pups look up bully and whippet you’ll understand. Need prayer here in Sebring fl

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