Using Contraceptives for Dogs and Cats

Using Contraceptives for Dogs and Cats
Francisco María García

Written and verified by the lawyer Francisco María García.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

The use of contraceptives in dogs and cats is a main topic of discussion in modern veterinary medicine. Currently, pills or injections are available, but their effectiveness causes controversy between veterinarians and owners.
Below, you can learn all about using contraceptives and some recommendations for applying them consciously.

How do contraceptives for dogs and cats work?

The effects of contraceptives in canine and feline females are very similar to preventive methods used by women. It’s not 100% effective, which is why it’s considered to be a temporary or preventive measure for pregnancy.
Its formula contains a high concentration of progesterone to suppress the secretion of estrogen in females, making it possible to prevent ovulation and fertilization from happening during intercourse.
Likewise, contraceptives are already available in the form of pills or injections. However, in the example above, it’s not a injections, but rather an intravenous application of the formula’s content.
A dog on a bed
Injecting the contraceptive is usually more recommended, because it guarantees that the female will receive the correct dosage. However, pills are not so reliable because the animal can spit or vomit them out.

Things to consider when using contraceptives for dogs and cats

Before you give pills or injections to your dog or cat, you must know the pros and cons of contraceptives. Below, you can find the main positive and negative aspects of their use.
The main benefit of using contraceptives on dogs and cats is that they help control the stray animal overpopulation. At the same time, they help reduce abandonment due to irresponsible or undesired breeding.
In addition to these advantages, contraceptives are non-invasive methods that are usually recommended for females who cannot undergo a surgical procedure.
As for the disadvantages, you must be aware that using contraceptives for a long period of time is dangerous for your dog or cat’s health. If you do so, your pet may experience the following side effects:

Some side effects

Several studies have shown that females that use contraceptives for more than two years have a greater chance of developing the following medical conditions:
  • Mammary tumors.
  • Uterine cancer.
  • Uterine diseases (especially endometritis and Pyometra).
  • Urinary tract infections.
  • Sexual organ atrophy
  • Low production of bone marrow cells
  • Many females also have experienced constant bleeding or severe bleeding as a result of abusive contraceptive use.
  • Another disadvantage is that contraceptives are not a 100% effective. Therefore, you run the chance of putting your pet’s life at risk without any guarantee of preventing pregnancy.

Responsible reproduction and other benefits of sterilization

Neutering or sterilization, consists of surgically removing the sexual organs, with using general anesthesia. In females, the ovaries and uterus are removed, while the testicles are removed in males. Sterilization is the only method that completely prevents pregnancy. However, sterilization isn’t a birth control method.

 Neutering a female brings many health benefits, such as:

  • Prevents several diseases and decreases the risk of tumors, dysplasia, epilepsy, hemophilia, venereal diseases, etc.
  • Improves and prevents behavioral disorders, especially if the animal usually shows defensive behaviors or wants to escape when in heat.
  • Prevents harmful practices, such as abandonment, and stray animal overpopulation.
  • Females stop experiencing radical hormonal changes when in heat.
  • Neutered males and females tend to be more affectionate and social, so they become more pleasant to live with people and other animals.
  • Sterilized animals accept the training and socialization process more easily, since they tend to become more obedient and less anxious.
A female cat

Preventive measures to prevent pregnancy

Many homeowners want to prevent their female pets from getting pregnant, but they can’t sterilize them immediately and prefer not to use contraceptives. So what can they do to prevent a pregnancy?
In these cases, you must not allow the female to have contact or live with a fertile male. You can keep her inside your home more often and not take her out for a walk without a lease, or decrease the amount of time you walk her during heat.
It’s also important to prevent the female from escaping or being off leash where there is a male nearby. If you have a male in the same house, you must keep them separated while the female is in heat.
All these methods are preventive measures and may not be 100% effective. They simply try to prevent the female from having intercourse by not allowing her to have contact with a fertile male.
You must also remember that you shouldn’t administer any medication without asking a trained professional first. Therefore, before you using contraceptives on dogs and cats, you must talk to your trusted veterinarian first.

The contents of My Animals are written for informational purposes. They can't replace the diagnosis, advice, or treatment from a professional. In the case of any doubt, it's best to consult a trusted specialist.