Contraception is such a controversial topic for humans. An endless debate has raged over the pros and cons of such methods, and it has affected the policies of nations around the world for centuries. While contraceptive systems are very complex in humans, not a lot of people know that the same amount of complexity is also present in pet contraception techniques. One of the most common questions pet owners and breeders ask vets is if there's such a thing as a morning after pill for dogs. As much as a yes or no answer is preferred, it's much more complicated than that.
For those who are not familiar with contraceptive language, the meaning of the morning after pill may be very foreign. A morning after pill, also known as the day after pill, is a form of contraceptive that prevent pregnancy up to 72 hours after having sexual intercourse. Contrary to what its name would suggest, waiting before morning comes before taking the pill is not necessary. Such drugs function by delaying the fertilization process. There are 2 ways in which these drugs work: it's either the drug prevents ovulation or the drug interferes with the fertilization of the egg. Some people may classified drugs considered as abortion pills as morning after pills, but strictly speaking, the definition explained in this paragraph is the definition of a morning after pill.
In a strict sense, there is one drug that fits the bill of a morning after pill for dogs: diethystilbesterol, also known as DES. A nonsteroidal estrogen that was first synthesized in 1938, it is a drug that was initially developed to be a treatment for prostate cancer. DES was later discovered to have a preventive effect on adverse pregnancy outcomes, and it was prescribed as a drug for exactly this purpose in 1947. An off-label use for DES as a morning after pill became very popular soon after a study on DES postcoital contraceptive was published in 1971. It won't be long until this pill was used for animals such as dogs, as they are deemed to have a mostly similar reproductive system as humans. What makes it even more promising is that it's not carcinogenic when used by dogs.
An alternative for the morning after pill is a set of drugs that are designed to alter the estrous cycle of your dog. Prescribed and administered by a registered veterinarian, the application of such drugs must be done carefully and with correct timing. To prevent your dog from being accidentally pregnant, she must be carried to your nearest veterinarian to be evaluated for signs of intercourse. If it's positive, the drug can be administered either orally or thru an injection. The intervals of applying these drugs are very specific. It's designed in such a way that the estrous cycle is either significantly delayed or suppressed, preventing the fertilization of the egg on the process.
Technically speaking, morning after pill for dogs actually exists. Still, if you will ask a veterinarian, taking such contraceptives carries its risks. Just like how morning after pills for humans are potentially risky for human health, morning after pills for your pets can have potentially disastrous effects on your pooch. There are potentially serious side effects with the taking of drugs that alter the production of hormones in your dog's body, these destructive effects can potentially be irreversible, and they can even be fatal on some cases. Because of this, you'll need to discuss it with your vet if taking such contraceptives is the right move.
Prevention is better than cure. This is what most people say about health. This holds true with other life forms, not just humans. You know by now that morning after pills is a hit-or-miss prospect for your pets. In addition to this, it can pose potentially serious health risks for your dog on the long run. Because of this, we recommend that you follow preventive measures rather than settling for a cure and hope for the best.
Here are some of the best preventive techniques you can use to prevent unwanted dog pregnancies.
- Avoidance to male dogs - The magic mantra would say that someone would not get pregnant unless they have sex. Applying this logic, the best way to prevent unwanted pregnancies is to prevent sex from happening to begin with. If you know your dog is in heat, it would be best to isolate her from other male dogs. If you want her to be pregnant with a specific dog, make sure that your dog only has contact with her mate. If you don’t want her to be pregnant, make sure to isolate her until her heat period passes by. Avoidance is the key to avoiding unwanted pregnancies.
- Neutering - Neutering, also known in other names such as spaying and ligation, is a process wherein a dog’s reproductive system is cut off permanently. In the case of female dogs, the ovary is typically sectioned with the help of a minor surgical procedure. Once done, a female dog cannot be impregnated even when they are in heat. Such a procedure is ideal for pet owners who don’t want any additional pups in the long term. However, it must be noted that neutering is potentially dangerous (due to concerns of excessive bleeding) when your dog is still in heat.
To conclude, a morning after pill for dogs does exist. However, because of effectiveness and safety issues, the use of such drugs is not always recommended. Furthermore, in the event that it does get recommended, strict precautions and procedures must be followed. For your dog’s safety, proper reproductive management is a better route.
Cool Rare Animals (author) on October 06, 2014:
thanks @Susan :)
Susan Zutautas from Ontario, Canada on October 06, 2014:
What will they come up with next. Very interesting hub. I have a female and a male dog. I got the female fixed and left the male as is :)