My Dog Ate Birth Control Pills What Should I Do? (Reviewed by Vet)

Reviewed By Evie Moloney, RCVS •  Updated: 03/01/23 •  3 min read
Dog Severe Toxicity Level
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Dog Ate Birth Control Pills

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Has your dog eaten one or more birth control pills? If so, you’re not alone. For some reason, this is a very common question online. Why would a dog eat birth control pills? He may find the packaging somehow attractive. Perhaps the container looks like a toy or he sees you taking a pill and thinks he may be missing out on a snack!

The good news is that your fur baby should be OK!

What are Birth Control Pills?

Birth control pills are a type of medication that’s prescribed to women to prevent pregnancy.  These pills contain either a combination of estrogen and progestin or only progestin. Some birth control pill packs also contain 7 iron pills.

It is strongly recommended to contact a Pet Poison Helpline or your veterinarian.

Each package generally contains about 21 tablets of estrogen and/or progesterone and 7 placebo (fake) pills or iron tablets. Each pill contains low amounts of hormones: estrogen pills usually have less than 0.04 mg per tablet.

It is recommended to phone your veterinarian and give them the following information:

Your vet may have some more questions for you, but the above points are important information to try and have ready to give them.

Your vet can then calculate how much of each drug your pet has had, and recommend the next best step for your fur baby. This may include an examination and possible lab work (blood tests).

Unless your dog has eaten a large number of birth control pills for his size, most commonly he will just have an upset stomach, such as vomiting and diarrhea. Your vet will help you decide how best to manage this.

It’s important to note that the plastic packaging on birth control pills could cause a bowel obstruction, which could be a life-threatening emergency for your fur baby.

A bowl obstruction is a complete or partial blockage of the intestines. The blockage keeps solids and fluids in the stomach, unable to be passed through the system.

Symptoms of Bowel Obstruction in Dogs

Symptoms of an intestinal blockage can include:

It’s important to contact your veterinarian if your fur baby has eaten a birth control package, even if he is not showing any of these symptoms yet. The sooner your pet receives medical attention, the better his chance of recovery.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Bowel Obstruction in Dogs

When you get to the vet, they will ask you questions on when your dog ate the packaging and the subsequent symptoms you’ve noticed. Next, the vet will perform a complete physical exam and may order blood tests, an ultrasound, or other imaging tests such as x-rays. The imaging tests can help show where the blockage is located, which can help the vet determine the next course of action. Your canine companion may need surgery to remove the blockage.

If caught and treated early, your dog has a very good chance of surviving and living a long, happy life.

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Evie Moloney, RCVS

This article has been reviewed and approved by an independent Veterinarian: Evie is a vet surgeon who graduated from the University College Dublin, which is the only university offering the veterinary medicine degree in Ireland. She really enjoys surgery and has also worked as an emergency and critical care vet. She is passionate about sharing education about preventative health care for pets, especially the importance of regular dog and cat teeth brushing at home. She also enjoys helping owners find practical solutions for keeping pets as comfortable as possible while living with conditions such as arthritis. When not working, she enjoys hiking and swimming.

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