Birth Control for Dogs: What Are the Options?

birth control for dogs

Birth control for dogs is a serious consideration when you have a canine companion.

If you have ever been to a shelter, then you know there are more dogs than owners in the United States.

Due to this fact, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) euthanizes about 670,000 shelter dogs each year.

The good news is that fewer dogs are euthanized now, in part due to birth control used by responsible pet owners.

Is there birth control for dogs? Yes, there is.

But the reduction in shelter dogs is not the only reason why birth control for dogs is something you should consider.

We look at other reasons for birth control for dogs and available options.

Why Birth Control for Dogs

There are a few different reasons why a dog owner may seek out birth control for dogs.

Outside of controlling the animal population, some pet owners are not ready to breed their dogs.

When it comes to pregnancy, a great deal of time is required to plan, test for genetic conditions and choose the perfect mate.

Additionally, some dogs are not healthy enough to breed.

This is especially true if they have a genetic condition, like von Willebrand’s disease, which is the most common hereditary bleeding disorder in dogs.

This disease, as well as many others, can easily be transmitted to offspring.

Birth control is also important when it comes to ensuring the health of your canine and keeping behavior issues at bay.

Behavior problems are common when it comes to both male and female dogs, and investing in spaying and neutering can reduce these problems significantly.

According to one research study, after sterilization surgery, at least 74 percent of all males and 59 percent of females showed a reduction or elimination of behavior problems such as aggression.

Dog Birth Control Surgery

The most common form of canine birth control involves spaying or neutering.

Surgical spay and neuter procedures are extremely common, with millions of operations completed each year.

The female spay procedure is called an ovariohysterectomy where the uterus and ovaries are removed.

In some cases a tubal ligation is completed, but this is not nearly as common because female dogs will still go through the heat cycle.

The neutering operation, which is sometimes called castration, involves the removal of the testes.

Spaying and neutering are both permanent birth control methods that provide a variety of benefits for your pet.

Namely, your canine is likely to be much healthier if he or she is spayed or neutered.


In general, sterilized dogs live longer and experience fewer infectious and degenerative diseases than intact dogs.

Female dogs will no longer be at risk of developing ovarian cancer once the spay procedure is completed, and mammary cancer risks will be significantly reduced as well.

Spaying is also a good way to prevent false pregnancy in dogs.

When it comes to male dogs, testicular cancer will no longer be a concern.

However, you should know that sterilization has been linked to certain types of cancers as well as some joint issues such as hip dysplasia.

One study conducted by the University of California, Davis, shines a light on these health concerns and how they pertain to golden retrievers.

As with any surgery, there are some risks of infection as well as anesthesia allergies.

Allergic reactions are relatively rare though, according to a study on propofol and canines.

If you want to know more about the pros and cons of spaying, this article provides some in-depth information.

Dog Birth Control Pills

Sterilization is not the only type of birth control available to dogs.

Believe it or not, there are veterinarian-prescribed birth control pills for dogs.

However, they really are not similar to the type used by humans, even though they may sound the same.

Dogs do not have a monthly cycle, like humans, so they do not require monthly cyclic pills. They instead go through a single heat cycle once every six to 12 months.

The birth control pill, which is called Megestrol, is administered at the very beginning of the heat cycle for eight days. This postpone the cycle.

The pills can be given to your canine whole or they can be crushed up and added to a meal or snack.

Daily Use

You must give your canine the pills at the same time every day.

Since the medication is similar to the hormone progesterone, this is necessary to ensure that hormone levels remain consistent.

Megesterol may be an option if you are looking for female dog birth control that does not involve sterilization.

This is ideal if you’re undecided about whether you want your dog to have puppies in the future.

Also, if your canine has experienced an adverse reaction to anesthesia or if surgical risks are a concern, then the pill method might be best.

There are some side effects that can occur with the birth control pill.

Nausea, vomiting, dizziness, sleeplessness, general discomfort and weight gain can occur.

Additionally, allergies are sometimes problematic but rare.

birth control for dogs

Birth Control Liquid Drops

Oral pill contraceptives do not require administration over a long period of time.

You will need to give your dog a daily dose of medication if you choose the Mibolerone liquid birth control solution though.

Mibolerone works to keep estrogen levels low instead of elevating the hormone progesterone.

Since rising estrogen levels trigger the start of the heat cycle, this keeps the cycle from beginning.

A heat cycle will often begin soon after the liquid Mibolerone treatments are discontinued.

Basically, when estrogen levels are no longer controlled by the medication, they will naturally rise. This is one reason why you need to provide the fluid every day.

Mibolerone, like birth control pill, is a good choice if you want to avoid surgical sterilization or if you are waiting for the best time to breed your pup.

Add the fluid to your female dog’s food after speaking to your veterinarian about the medicine.

Keep in mind that since daily doses are required, the cost of the medicine can be problematic for some people.

How much does the dog birth control pill cost?

Costs may vary.

Additionally, the medicine does have some side effects that are more serious than other types of birth control.

Infertility is one possible issue and so is liver damage. Some dogs also experience urinary incontinence, behavior changes and a foul body odor.

If you are considering Mibolerone, speak with your veterinarian about these side effects because the cons of the medicine may outweigh the pros.

Birth Control for Dogs Injection

If the other alternatives do not sound right for your female pup, then a dog birth control shot might be something to think about.

The injection is similar to the one that you may receive from your own doctor.

The injection is called Provera or Depo-Provera, and is an injectable that contains synthetic progesterone called medroxyprogesterone acetate or MCA.

It is given once every four months, and it keeps the heat cycle from starting, similar to many other birth control methods.

The injection has the advantage of being convenient because it is administered only three times a year.

However, the shot can lead to some endocrine and hormonal issues such as diabetes and endometriosis.

Fatigue, uterine disorders, bone density problems and other issues may be noted as well.

Like some of the other types of birth control, the side effects are serious enough that the medication is not ideal for some canines.

So, administration does require careful consideration with the help of your veterinarian.

Male Dog Birth Control

Female dogs are not the only ones who can receive birth control.

Males are sometimes provided with an implant device that limits the amount of testosterone produced and released into the body.

This keeps your dog from producing sperm, causing infertility while the implant remains in place.

Birth Control for Dogs via Implant

The implant device is called Suprelorin and is placed under the skin between the shoulder blades.

The device releases chemicals that limit testosterone production for up to about six months.

Once the six-month time period is over, a new implant must be inserted.

Unlike a lot of the hormonal birth control products made for female canines, the implant has few side effects.

There may be a bit of swelling at the insertion site, but this typically resolves on its own.

Also, you should know that it is extremely difficult to remove the implant because it tends to break.

This means that you will need to plan ahead if you want your dog to breed in the future. Basically, you commit to at least six months of infertility if you choose this method.

Birth Control for Dogs: A Conclusion

There are a surprising number of birth control methods used to control whether or not your canine can breed.

Many of the methods are similar to the ones available to us humans, even though they tend to work differently due to the canine heat cycle.

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If you want to know more about your options and the method that is best for your pup, whether it is permanent or temporary, speak with your veterinarian.

When talking to an animal professional, make sure you understand all of the pros and cons of each type of birth control, especially since side effects can be quite serious.

Are you currently weighing your options when it comes to birth control for dogs. Let us know in the comments below.

References and Further Reading:

Heidenberger, E. and Unshelm, J., 1990, “Changes in the Behavior of Dogs After Castration,” Tierarztl Prax, 18(1), pgs. 69-75

Hoffman, J.M., Creevy, K.E., and Promislow, D.E.L., 2013, “Reproductive Capability Is Associated with Lifespan and Cause of Death in Companion Dogs,” PLOS ONE, 8(4)

Holmberg, L. and Nilsson, I.M., 1992, “von Willebrand’s disease,” Wiley Online Library

Onuma, M., et al., 2017, “Incidence of Anaphylactic Reactions After Propofol Administration in Dogs,” Journal of Veterinary Medical Science, 79(8), pgs. 1446–1452

Ovariohysterectomy,” American College of Veterinary Surgeons

Riva, G.T., et al., 2013, “Neutering Dogs: Effects on Joint Disorders and Cancers in Golden Retrievers,” PLOS ONE


  1. My sprocker puppy is now six months old,her father lives with us ,I do want pups with her when she is older, but obviously not with her dad ,my stud dog.What would be the best course of action. I worry about side effects