Unwanted Pregnancies in Dogs - What You Should Do

Unwanted Pregnancies in Dogs - What You Should Do

Health & Safety

If you own a female dog and have no intentions of breeding from her, it's really important to have her spayed as early as possible to avoid an unwanted pregnancy. A bitch as young as 6 months old can have pups which is something many people don't realise. The other problem is that during the first weeks of pregnancy, it is extremely hard to tell whether a bitch actually is in pup or not.

It is not until well into the pregnancy that any real signs become apparent but you may notice your dog putting on weight around their abdomen and you may also notice their mammary glands start to swell and develop. If you have any doubts or worries, you should take your dog to the vet and have them examined as soon as you notice any changes or have a suspicion that things are not quite right.

However, if you know your young dog may have been got at"" you need to take her to the vet as soon as possible so they can advise you on how to terminate the pregnancy safely without any further harm coming to your young dog and there are a few options available which your vet may consider.

Your vet would want to carry out some blood tests to see if there is any relaxin evident in it which is a dog's reproductive hormone. This will give the vet a clear indication if your dog is indeed pregnant. The blood test can be done anything between 20 to 26 days after you think your dog may have mated with another dog but you need to bear in mind the test results might well indicate your dog is pregnant even if she has reabsorbed or lost her puppies.

There are other ways that vets can check to see if a bitch is pregnant or not which includes carrying out an ultrasound at around the third week to see if there are any heartbeats. By the sixth week an X-ray would show if any bones are forming and this would help give an idea of how many pups are in the litter.

Hormonal Changes

Your dog may show a few changes in behaviour which is all stimulated by hormonal changes that could happen even if she is not pregnant. These include the following:

  • You may notice a change in your pet's appetite
  • She may gain weight
  • Your pet might start to make nests
  • She may start mothering toys and other objects
  • She may even start producing milk even if she is having false pregnancy

What You Need to Do

If your dog is just too young to be having puppies because she is still a pup herself, you need to get her to a vet as soon as you think something is wrong. Your vet will know how to terminate her pregnancy safely and advise you on whether this can be done or not but only after having carried out a full examination of your pet to assess how far along she actually is. Some bitches will experience a spontaneous abortion or they may miscarry which could happen for several different medical reasons.

What is a Spontaneous Abortion?

You may notice your dog is experiencing a lot of vaginal bleeding which could be a sure sign they have suffered a spontaneous abortion. On the odd occasion your pet may have expelled the foetus too but this is not always the case. One of the most common causes of spontaneous abortions in dogs is due to a hormonal imbalance. You would need to get your pet to the vet as soon as you can and then keep a close eye on them over the next few days.

What About Terminating a Pregnancy?

If you want to terminate your dog's pregnancy for whatever reason, you would need to discuss the best method with your vet. However, there are several options open to the vet which they may choose to do and these include the following:

Injectable Oestrogens

Your vet may recommend administering oestrogen in an injectable form but this would need to be given very soon after your dog has mated for it to be effective. As such, if you are unsure just when the mating occurred, it could prove to be a problem. The other downside to this type of injection to terminate a pregnancy in dogs, is there are several side-effects which includes the following:

  • Bone marrow suppression
  • Pyometra

Prostaglandin F2 Alpha

A naturally occurring hormone, prostaglandin F2 Alfa can be safely given to induce an abortion in dogs and other animals. There are some mild side-effects to be aware of which include the following:

  • Panting
  • Trembling
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhoea


Another option open to vets when they need to induce an abortion in a dog is to give them dexamethasone in injection form but again there are some side-effects you should be aware of which includes the following:

  • Panting
  • Excessive thirst – polydispia
  • Excessive urinating – polyuria

Preventing Unwanted Pregnancies is a Must

It is really important to have a bitch spayed as soon as you can to avoid having to cope with an unwanted pregnancy. A bitch as young as 6 months old can have puppies which is something you need to keep in mind if you choose to share your home with a young female dog. The same goes for neutering a male dog because by doing this you reduce the chances of them developing testicular cancer later on in their lives. Spayed and neutered dogs are much easier to cope with too because you don't have to think about your pet coming into season which would attract the unwanted attention of a few male dogs which can be a real nuisance when you are out and about on a nice long walk.




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