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Can Dogs Get Abortions?


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We don’t look similar. We sound even more dissimilar, but can humans and dogs end up with same ailments and needing similar treatment? One event that happens to all living beings is pregnancy. However, responding to pregnancy is not always a straightforward procedure. There are instances where humans choose to pursue abortions. This is a very complex and serious decision, hence the need for serious medical precautions and advice. But, can dogs also have abortions if the circumstances deem it the right decision?

Can Dogs Have Abortions?

Yes, dogs can, of course, get pregnant much like humans can. But they can also undergo abortions if it is deemed the right course of action. Although the Journal of Bacteriology in 1968 highlighted the complications that can arise from canine pregnancy, many could argue then that abortions come with even more dangers. However, they are certainly technically possible, and they do take place regularly.

Is My Dog Pregnant?

Pregnancy in dogs is very similar, in some respects, to pregnancy in humans. The condition in each shares a lot of similar symptoms. One of the earliest signs of pregnancy in dogs is when their nipples go a rosy color. They will appear much more pink than before. It won’t be for about 4 to 5 weeks before you see significant body changes. At this point, the waist will appear to thicken and your pooch's tummy will expand. Your dog may seem much quieter and reserved in the first third of the pregnancy, however, this could also be a symptom of illness, so be wary. 

Some owners insist their dog cannot be pregnant because they have not seen them engaged in the act of mating with another dog. However, this is the only cause of the pregnancy, and it is not uncommon for mating to take place without the owner being aware. It can take place on walks, when dogs are off leads, as very little time may be required for the process to take place.

Your vet will be able to diagnose your dog and confirm pregnancy. They will likely do this through urine tests, blood work and ultrasounds to ensure there are no complications and to gather as much accurate information as possible.

Does My Dog Need to Have an Abortion?

Various conditions could bring about the need for your dog to undergo an abortion, from potential health risks for the mother or pups to a breed or size mismatch. For more information on the abortion issues and procedures, visit Abortion in Dogs.

An abortion should not be a decision taken lightly. But once it has been agreed upon with a vet and the wheels set in motion, there will be a number of abortive methods to decide upon. If it is the early stages of pregnancy and you do not wish for your dog to have puppies in the future, you could have her spayed. This will remove the uterus and the ovaries, and the formative cluster of cells will also be removed. It may take several weeks or more before the dog has fully recovered from the procedure.

There is also the option of a mismating injection of Alizin. This is an antiprogestagenic compound and can be used within the first 22 days of suspected conception.

There is also the most serious abortive measure which is a surgical abortion. Or the administration of abortifacient medications. Both options are severe procedures and should be used with caution and only for late pregnancies. The dog will need substantial time to recover. With surgery, they are likely to stay in the hospital for a week and it could be months before the dog is fully healed.

How is Pregnancy in Dogs Similar to Pregnancy in Humans?

There are certain similarities between pregnancy in dogs and pregnancy in humans and other animals:

  • In humans and dogs, pregnancy may render the mother ill or tired for periods of time.

  • In both, those symptoms of illness can be easily confused with early signs of pregnancy and vice versa.

  • In both, mammary glands and nipples will change to prepare for lactation when the offspring are born.

  • In both, an ultrasound is the most effective way to monitor the offspring and check for complications.

  • In both, the tummy and waist will visibly grow within months.

How is Pregnancy in Dogs Different than Pregnancy in Humans?

While in many respects there are very similar attributes to the pregnancy, there remain some substantial differences. Some of those differences are as follows:

  • In dogs, one of the earliest signs of pregnancy is the pinkening of the nipples. In humans, this change will not take place until later on in the pregnancy.

  • The changes in the dog will take place much swifter than they do in humans, as pregnancy in dogs normally takes between 58-68 days, compared to a 280-day gestation for humans.

  • Contracting parasites is much more common in dogs during pregnancy than it is in humans.

Case Study

An article from The Journal of the Society For Reproduction and Fertility published the results of an important study into early abortions in dogs. It demonstrated the efficacy of antiprogestagen therapy, providing vets with a safe alternative abortive method, meaning surgical abortions only have to be used in certain circumstances. This greatly reduces the harm to dogs requiring abortions.

Medically necessary abortions can be expensive. If you suspect your dog is at risk, start searching for pet insurance today. Brought to you by Pet Insurer, Wag! Wellness lets pet parents compare insurance plans from leading companies like PetPlan and Trupanion. Find the “pawfect” plan for your pet in just a few clicks!

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