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My Dog Ate My Birth Control: Should I Be Worried? (Vet Answer)

Written by: Dr. Maria Zayas DVM (Veterinarian)

Last Updated on June 26, 2024 by Dogster Team

My Dog Ate My Birth Control: Should I Be Worried? (Vet Answer)


Dr. Maria Zayas  Photo


Dr. Maria Zayas

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Contrary to your likely knee-jerk reaction, birth control pills are not actually something you usually need to be worried about your dog eating. The hormone levels of birth control pills are so incredibly low that even if a small dog eats an entire birth control pack, which is usually a one-month supply, they are unlikely to have any issues besides some GI upset.

There are different types of birth control, but due to the low doses of each, the type doesn’t change the fact that, if anything, the packaging of the birth control is more dangerous than the pills. Read on to learn more!

Types of Birth Control

The birth control we’re discussing here is birth control pills. A vast majority of these pills will contain estrogen, progesterone, or both. These pills are usually offered in one-month packs of 28 pills, of which 21 are hormone pills, and seven are inert (or inactive) pills with no hormones. There can be some variances in the number of active to inactive pills, and multiple packs can be purchased together, but having more than a month’s supply available at home would be pretty rare.

Birth Control
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Why You Shouldn’t Be Worried If Your Dog Eats Your Birth Control

Estrogen and progesterone are reproductive hormones that dogs also produce. Birth control pills generally contain 10 to 35 micrograms of either hormone per pill. At these doses, even a small dog can eat dozens of pills without exceeding the toxic doses, as long as it isn’t happening daily.

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What Are the Risks of a Dog Eating Birth Control?

The biggest risk associated with a dog eating your birth control is actually the packaging. In most cases, for a dog to only eat the pills, they would need to scavenge one or two that have been dropped, which poses no health concern to them. If they get into your birth control, though, most of these pills are contained in a combination of plastic and foil packaging, which, when ingested, poses a risk of GI obstruction for the dog.

If you realize your dog has gotten into your birth control, it is important to check not only how many pills they may have eaten but also how much of the packaging is missing.

What Are the Signs of a Dog Eating Birth Control?

If a dog has eaten a significant number of birth control pills, they may develop some mild vomiting or diarrhea. Decreased appetite and some lethargy would also be expected.

In rare cases, if a dog truly ingests a significant amount of birth control pills, specifically those containing estrogen, you may notice some swelling of their vulva or vaginal bleeding similar to a heat cycle, which would pass within a couple of days.

Dogs with estrogen toxicity may experience bone marrow suppression but that is nearly impossible to do with birth control pills and is more likely from something like hormone replacement pills, which have a much higher dose.

Dogs that have also eaten the packaging from birth control and are at risk of GI obstruction may develop vomiting, anorexia, lethargy, abdominal pain, diarrhea or no passing of stool, inability to keep any food or water down, dehydration, or extreme lethargy and loss of consciousness. GI obstructions that go untreated and cause a bowel perforation or sepsis are generally responsible for the most significant signs of illness.

a sick vizsla dog lying on a dog bed at home
Image By: Edgar Feliz, Shutterstock

What Do I Do If My Dog Eats My Birth Control?

Even though it’s very rare for there to be a problem after a dog eats birth control pills, it is best to call the Pet Poison Helpline to screen your specific birth control compared to your dog’s weight just to be sure. There are some birth control pills that may have added elements and you want to make sure there isn’t a toxic dose of anything else contained in the pills.

Be sure to have the exact name, dosage, and quantity of your birth control ready when you call the Helpline, in addition to your dog’s basic information. If you need to take any next steps at home or at a veterinary clinic, they will advise you on what to do.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if a dog accidentally takes a birth control pill?

If a dog eats just one pill, nothing at all should happen regardless of the dog unless they are allergic to the medication.

How much estrogen is toxic to dogs?

The toxic dose of estrogen is 1 mg/kg of a dog’s body weight. Estrogen levels in birth control pills usually range from 10 to 35 micrograms, which is 0.01 to 0.035 mg. For a dog to eat 1 mg of estrogen from estrogen birth control pills, the toxic dose for a 1-kilogram or 2.2-pound dog, they would need to eat at least 28 to 100 active pills.

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Birth control pills are typically not toxic if eaten by dogs, though some mild GI upset may occur. Dogs that also eat the packaging from birth control may be in danger of a GI obstruction and should be screened by a veterinarian. When checking if a dog is in danger after eating birth control pills, it is best to contact the Pet Poison Helpline to find out your recommended risk and next steps.

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