Dog Abortion: Ethics, Methods, Costs and More

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By: Lezanne Winshaw Updated: September 10, 2020

dog abortion

There are different reasons for a dog abortion. Also, there are many ways to terminate pregnancy in dogs. Read on if you want to find out more about the methods and costs involved..

Is Dog Abortion Possible?

The short answer: Yes, dog abortion is possible. There are a variety of veterinary solutions for terminating a pregnancy in female dogs. These include both surgical and medicinal methods.

Before pursuing a dog abortion, make sure that your dog is pregnant. Your vet will do a pregnancy test in one of three ways:

  • Doing a blood test for the presence of the hormone relaxin.
  • Performing an ultrasound.
  • Additionally, your vet could perform a vaginal swab to check for the presence of sperm to indicate mating.

Why Do People Opt to Terminate a Dog Pregnancy?

There are very few cases in which a dog pregnancy terminates due to health risks. Similarly, dogs will rarely have a spontaneous abortion. Dog abortion is, in most cases, a choice made by the owners for the sake of convenience.

Unwanted Pregnancies

In most cases, abortion in dogs takes place due to unwanted pregnancies. This can be as a result of an unwanted mating. For example, a female on heat escaped her yard and mated with unknown male dogs.

Alternatively, a mating took place too early in a dog’s life. It is preferable for female dogs to only produce their first litter after the age of two years. Before that their bodies haven’t developed sufficiently to withstand the stresses of pregnancy and lactation.

Pregnancy Complications

Pet owners might consider a dog abortion because of health risks to the pregnant female. Such risks could be due to a breed or size mismatch. Also, a dog could be too young to bring a litter of puppies to term healthily.

Further complications that can occur during canine pregnancy include conditions such as pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes.

dog abortion methods

2 Dog Abortion Methods

There are two main methods for pregnancy termination in dogs: surgical and medical. Your vet will advise you about the best method for your pregnant dog’s situation. Factors that they will consider include the health, age, and size of the dog. Also, how far into her pregnancy your dog is and whether you wish to breed with her in the future.

Dog Abortion Pill: Do Dog Abortion Pills Exist?

Some may ask: Can you give a human morning after pill to dogs. The answer: No. No, no, no. There is insufficient medical research to understand the risks and side effects of these drugs on the human and canine reproductive systems.

The uninformed use of these drugs may lead to overdose and toxicity in a pregnant dog. Consequently, resulting in grave health issues, and even death. Furthermore, one should never give human medication to animals without prior consent from your veterinarian.

However, other oral medications are used to elicit the expulsion of fetuses from a pregnant dog.


Dexamethasone is a corticosteroid hormone administered to pregnant females past day 30 of the pregnancy. This process can take more than ten days and comes with a host of risks and negative side effects. For example, pyometra (uterine infection), excessive thirst and urination, suppressed immune system, and medically induced Cushing’s disease.

Prolactin Inhibitors

Prolactin inhibitors are administered orally to terminate pregnancy in dogs. These drugs can be used in the later stages of pregnancy. Prolactin inhibitors can be given on their own or in conjunction with prostaglandin treatment to increase efficacy.

What About Dog Abortion Shots?

Most vets will prefer to conduct a surgical dog abortion. In other words, an ovariohysterectomy. However, some dog owners may want to keep their dog’s reproductive tract intact. In this case, some drugs can be administered to pregnant females to spur on the termination of pregnancy.

Prostaglandin F2α

The corpus luteum is integral for launching and maintaining pregnancy. Prostaglandin F2α induces breakdown of the corpus luteum. This reproductive hormone is injected into the pregnant dog 3 times a day until all fetuses are ejected. The process is monitored with daily palpation and/or regular ultrasonography. Treatment time can take up to 14 days. Negative symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, tremors, and agitation.


Antiprogestins injections can only be given if the pregnant dog is less than 45 days into her pregnancy. The dog receives two antiprogestin injections in 48 hours. This is followed up by another injection one week later and a fourth injection a week after that.

The negative effects of this treatment include blood loss accompanying fetal expulsion, anorexia, and mammary congestion. This can be especially severe for dogs 20-plus days into their pregnancy. Adverse signs and symptoms can continue long after the abortion process is complete.

dog abortion procedure

Medical Procedures

If a female dog is in the first month of her pregnancy, most veterinarians will prefer to perform an ovariohysterectomy to terminate the pregnancy. This procedure, more commonly known as a spay, involves the surgical removal of the uterus and ovaries. Besides, spaying your dog is the best form of birth control. It will ensure that your dog doesn’t fall pregnant again.

What are the Costs Involved?

The cost of a dog abortion depends on several factors. An abortion earlier in the pregnancy is likely to be less risky. Therefore, more affordable. Pregnancy loss later in the pregnancy might require more expensive methods. Regular ultrasound screening and testing to check the efficacy of the treatment will also be a part of the process and costs.

The cost of a dog abortion will also depend on whether you opt for a surgical or medicinal solution. Different drugs also have varying costs. Drug-induced abortions tend to be more affordable. However, if you were planning to spay your dog at a later stage, the surgical option will make more financial sense.

Other Factors to Consider

There are other factors to take into consideration with regards to the cost of a dog abortion. For example, how often your dog needs to go for clinical checks during and after the treatment. Similarly, will your pet require any supportive medication or supplements to help her make a speedy recovery?

is dog abortion legal

Is it Legal?

Abortion in dogs is legal in most states. Many veterinary practices will be able to guide you in the termination of pregnancy of your pregnant dog or cat. However, it is for the individual veterinarian to decide on their ethical viewpoint of dog abortion.

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