Birth Control for Your Golden Retriever: What Are the Options?

The reckless birth of dogs has increased immensely. It is so chaotic that you can find more population of dogs in shelter homes than humans in the USA. Thus, birth control options for your Golden Retriever are a serious consideration nowadays.

Every year, the American Society for the prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) euthanizes about 670,000 shelter dogs to manage this outrageous growth.

However, dog owners are somehow trying to manage the problem of overpopulation, using the euthanization technique nowadays.

There are many different options of birth control for your Golden Retriever such as; sterilization surgery, birth control injection, contraceptive pills, daily use pills, and birth control liquid drops available in the market to avoid your Golden Retriever from breeding.

Before discussing the birth control measures, let’s know why it is necessary to control your Golden Retriever from breeding.

What Is Birth Control Of Dogs?

Birth control is a medical aid that prevents your dog from being pregnant. It permanently or temporarily stops the reproductive cycle in males and females. Thus, the dog is unable to impregnate or pregnant, preventing unwanted pregnancies.

As recommended by the AKC (American Kennel Club), a female should only have puppies every eighteen months to two years. Large numbers of puppies have detrimental effects; miscarriage, stillborn, or severe disabilities. The mother can also suffer from severe physical complications.

Similarly, males who mate multiple times daily will tire themselves, leading to hip pain, reduced sperm count, decreases sex drive, and results in joint pain, etc. To keep your pet healthy, you ought to manage the birth of its offspring.

Why Birth Control?

There are few reasons why you should seek out birth control for your Golden Retriever. Apart from controlling the animal population, you may not be financially and emotionally ready to breed younger Retrievers.

When your Retriever comes to pregnancy, you must give enough time to plan, test for genetic conditions, and choose the perfect mate. If your pet has a genetic problem like von Willebrand’s disease, then the offspring born from them are prone to bleeding disorders. Therefore, you should better stop them from breeding.

Birth control manages the behavioral problems of both your female and male Golden Retriever. According to one research study, at least 74% of all males and 5% of females showed a reduction or elimination of behavior problems such as aggression after sterilization surgery.

After being familiar with the benefits of birth control, you should know about the safest and most effective birth control methods.

What Must You Know Before Dealing With Birth Control Options For Your Golden Retriever?

Before heading towards the birth control options, you must be familiar with the word Heat cycle and fixed/altered.

Heat cycle or Estrus cycle: It is the stage in a female dog’s reproductive cycle during which she becomes receptive to mating with males. At this time, estrogen levels first increase, then sharply decrease. And finally, the ovaries release the mature egg.

Fixed or Altered: colloquial terms for being surgical sterilization of pets

What Are The Birth Control Options For Your Golden Retriever?

Unlike humans, your Golden Retriever becomes mature to reproduce after 18 months, and the best age to breed them is 18 months to 24 months. After this age, breeding your Retriever may result in numerous complications.

There are different types of birth control available for your Retriever with falls in the following three categories;

Surgical Sterilization, A Birth Control Options For Your Golden Retriever

The most common type of birth control preferred by most owners is surgical sterilization. Here, spaying deals with the surgical process in females and neutering in the case of males. The shelter home sterilizes all the pets before giving them for adoption.

Medical Birth Control

Some medications are available in the market that causes your Retriever to become temporarily or permanently infertile. These medications may vary as per the country you live in, your dog’s health condition, and several other things. Though they may help your dog, you better take your vet’s suggestion before using them.

Barrier Contraception, A Birth Control Options For Your Golden Retriever

The basic principle of barrier contraceptives for dogs is the same as that of humans. This contraceptive prevents the union of sperm and egg and hinders fertilization.

When concerned with your Retriever’s care, all these options are not perfect. All of them have some weaknesses and strengths. According to your Retriever health and environmental situations, some may work better than others.

What Are Spaying and Neutering?

Spaying is the process of removing organs to stop reproduction in females and neutering is a similar procedure for males. Most vets consider male birth control surgery to be a little quicker and easier procedure.

Neutering or Orchiectomy

The vet makes an incision in front of the dog’s scrotum and removes both testicles along with some related structures after anesthetizing your male Retriever. Then, the vet sews the open incision shut and the scrotum in place, but if the scrotum is large, the vet removes it too.

Spaying Operations

Spaying operations are a little more complicated, and there are two different options for sterilizing dogs.

Ovariohysterectomy- removal of the fallopian tubes, the uterus along with both ovaries

Ovariectomy- removal of a portion of fallopian tubes and the ovaries while the uterus’ bulk remains intact.

Both of these procedures effectively sterilize your female Golden Retriever; you can use any of the methods. Most commonly, the US prefers ovariohysterectomy, and Europe prefers ovariectomy.

Health benefits of surgical birth control options for your Golden retriever

Both neutering and spaying procedures are permanent and 100% effective with several health benefits, such as:

  • Neutering helps to reduce mounting and wandering behaviors in males. It also reduces the possibility of developing prostate cancer in your Retriever.
  • Spaying may minimize the risks of uterine infections and various cancers.

Complications of surgeries

Though surgical procedures are highly effective, it does have some complications.

The study conducted by the University of California, Davis, shines a light on these health concerns and how they pertain to Golden Retrievers. With any surgery, there are some risks of infection and anesthesia allergies. Allergic reactions are relatively rare, according to a study on propofol and canines.

Some females develop incontinence after ovariohysterectomy. If you allow your Retriever to experience one complete heat cycle before the spaying operation, this problem reduces.

Due to the complete cessation of testosterone production in the neutered male, they may be at an increased risk of joint issues and some types of cancer. Thus, vets suggest spaying or neutering your retriever at an early age (between four to six months).

What Is The Medical Birth Control Options For Your Golden Retriever?

Few different medicinal forms are oral, or some are through an implant device for your retriever’s birth control.

What Is The Birth Control Options For Your Golden Retriever In Contraceptive Pill? [Megestrol Acetate]

Megestrol Acetate is a birth control medication for your female Retriever. Apart from this, it also treats other health conditions such as false pregnancy and skin conditions. Since it suppresses testosterone production, it controls sex-related issues in males.

Megestrol acetate resembles the progesterone hormone of female dogs. It is not available as contraceptive pills, but when you administer it at the beginning of the dog’s second heat cycle, it triggers a four-to-six-month delay in the onset of the next cycle.

The vet recommends only two consecutive heat cycles and only for deliberately bred dogs that need spaying later. This may probably be due to the health risks of Megestrol acetate. Such as:

  • Mammary gland enlargement
  • Mammary cancer
  • Behavioral change
  • Weight gain
  • Lethargy
  • Birth defects and difficulties in labor if given to your pregnant retriever

What Is The Birth Control Options For Your Golden Retriever In Liquid Contraceptive?[Mibolerone (Methylnortestosterone)]

Milborne is an androgenic steroid that suppresses the estrus cycle of your female dogs. It counteracts the effects of estrogen and progesterone.

Start the administration of the drops before the beginning of the estrus cycle for effectiveness. Cheque Drops are their brand name, and the dose differs according to the size of your retriever.

Since mibolerone delays your dog’s estrus cycle only about 90% of the time, it is not completely effective. You can use it only for two years.

If your pet has kidney or liver problems, don’t use it. These medication drops may lead to side effects like; aggression, oily skin, vaginal discharge, and urinary incontinence. It can cause lesions in the reproductive tract and cause clitoral swelling of your retriever.

What Is The Birth Control Options For Your Golden Retriever In Contraceptive Injection? [Medroxyprogesterone Acetate]

Medroxyprogesterone acetate is the synthetic form of the drug progesterone and works in the same way as megestrol acetate. Though the medication is available in several forms, its brand formulations are Provera or Depo-Provera. 

It is an injection of two doses, three and four months, respectively. Numerous side effects are resulting from the use of medroxyprogesterone acetate i.e.

  • Mammary tumors
  • Diabetes
  • Weight gain
  • Lethargy
  • Potential dangerous uterine infections

It also reduces sex drive and sex-related behavior like roaming for mates in males.

What Is The Birth Control Options For Your Golden Retriever In Contraceptive Implants? [Suprelorin (Deslorelin Acetate)]

“Suprelorin” is a contraceptive implant for male dogs that suppress gonadotropins and testosterone in your Retriever. This medication is available in two different sizes to trigger infertility for either six or twelve months respectively.

The implant works by releasing a chemical similar to the gonadotropin-releasing hormone that slowly over time prevents the body of your pet from producing necessary hormones for reproduction (like testosterone), leading to temporary infertility.

What Is The Birth Control Options For Your Golden Retriever In Sterilization Injection? [ Zeuterin (Zinc Gluconate and L-Arginine)]

Zeuterin is the only FDA-approved sterilant for dogs in the US. This medication is only for male dogs of 3–10 months and injected into each testicle. The procedure takes only a few minutes and causes less pain.

This medication kills any sperm present and damages the testicles. Your Retriever experiences swelling for a few days or even months after the injection.

Although this medication reduces the testosterone level, the dog begins to produce some testosterone again after some time. Thus, it doesn’t reduce the problems like prostate cancer or other diseases affected by testosterone.

However, the medication is unlikely to trigger behavioral changes; it reduces aggression.

Calcium Chloride/ Ethyl Alcohol Injection:

Though some vets use calcium chloride or ethyl alcohol to permanently and irreversibly sterilize male dogs, FDA doesn’t recommend it.

Barrier-Based Birth Control Methods

Out of various barrier-based contraceptives used for dogs, some are:

  • Intrauterine devices
  • Condoms
  • Dog chastity- belt-like option
  • Belly band for male dogs
  • A female dog with a period pantie

None of these are entirely effective; they are just temporary, stop-gap options.

Are There Any Other Birth Control Options For Your Golden Retriever?

Though not so common, different parts of the world use other medications. Like Ultrasound is effective to sterilize male dogs, according to some research.

What Are The Pros And Cons Of The Birth Control Options For Your Golden Retriever?

Like a coin, everything has two sides, so all the above birth control options have both advantages and disadvantages—some of which I have mentioned below to make it easier to finalize the best options.

METHOD PROBS CONS
Surgical Permanent

No chance of unwanted pregnancy

Irreversible

Expensive

Risky

Pills Least invasive

Can administer at home

Not available everywhere

give at the same time every day

Implants Can administer to your male retriever to oppose to a female retriever Costly
Injections Few injections are sufficient for a year. Can be invasive
Liquid Cheapest Difficult to estimate the exact time for administering

 

What Is The Cost Of The Birth Control Options For Your Golden Retriever?

The price of birth control varies according to the location, staff, your pet’s health, and dosage of medication used. Here, I will explain to you how these factors affect the cost.

Location

If your location is farther from the clinic, frequent visits to the vet tend to be more expensive due to high transportation costs. Likewise, the rates of vets and checkups vary according to the place. Those clinics which are popular have higher rates and are often pricey.

Staff

A team of vet nurses, vet, and other staff may perform the procedure. The training of the staff or availability of highly trained staff may increase the cost.

Individual risk factors

Your Retriever’s characteristics (like; age, health, sex, weight, etc.)  highly influence the cost of birth control. The older participants have a higher risk; the procedure may be costly. Similarly, an overweight retriever will have more problems during the procedure. Unhealthy retrievers are prone to more side effects after the procedure. This increases the cost of healthcare and checkups.

Dosage

A higher dose of contraceptives increases the time of procedure and the number of staff required. These factors increase the cost.

Types Of The Birth Control Options And Their Costs

The cost of various birth control procedures is in the table below. You can opt for anyone according to your convenience.

         Types of Birth Control Average Price Range ( in $)
Spaying 50-300
Neutering 50-300
Contraceptive pills 20-50
Implants 140-240
Hormone injection 55
Anti-hormone injection 105
Medical drops 50

 

What Are The Benefits Of Preventing Your Retriever From Breeding?

If you are not ready for the new puppies then, birth control is very beneficial. Preventing the birth of the Retriever has a lot of benefits. It withdraws you from the following problems. These may occur during the breeding of your Golden Retriever.

Mitigates the cost of stud services

It is very difficult to find a championship bloodline for your Retriever. It can cost several hundred or even thousands of dollars to have your female Retriever bred to a purebred male Retriever.

Eliminates potential health risks

Your female Retriever develops life-threatening conditions during pregnancy or injures during breeding. Therefore, if you do not supervise your pet during pregnancy or birth, they will either die or give birth to the offsprings with major complications.

No need for additional vet expenses

The pregnant Retriever requires several additional trips to the vet. The puppies also need proper vaccination for a qualitative life. These vet bills can range to thousands of dollars as per the size and complications experienced by your Golden Retriever.

No need to resolve the health issues of the puppies

Until you find other decent arrangements for the young puppies. You (the female Retriever’s owner) are responsible for the puppies’ health issues.

No need to worry about the cost of vaccines and minimizes feeding cost

Your Retriever requires a larger amount of higher quality and more nutritional food during pregnancy. Along with it, the newly born puppies also need qualitative foods. Apart from food costs, pregnant Retriever and newly born puppies need vaccines to reduce health risks. Preventing your Retriever from breeding eliminates these costs.

Reduces ongoing health issues

After giving birth to few puppies, your female Retriever is more prone to develop ovarian and breast cancers. The male Retrievers become less active and obese, resulting in various types of diseases after mating.

Along with this, raising puppies requires more time, effort, and love. It is tough managing for both the Retriever and its puppies. Thus, birth control also helps you in managing your time.

What Are The Problems Relating After The Use Of The Birth Control Options?

Well, everything has both good and bad sides. Similarly, the use of birth control measures also shows some side effects. Such side effects may be:

  • Liver damage
  • Kidney diseases
  • Vaginal infections
  • Body odor
  • Urinary inconsistency
  • Skin problems
  • Behavioral changes
  • Uterus infections
  • Mammary gland cancer or enlargement
  • Weight gain
  • Skin and coat changes

Do you think you will be able to welcome a new member risking the life of your old one?

What do you prefer a healthy and happy life for a single pet or an insufficient and congested life for many pets?

Be aware! Welcoming cute puppies in your home invites the responsibility of providing them food, health, time, care, and love. So, act smartly and opt for the birth control measures if you think you are incapable of carrying the additional responsibilities.

Some FAQs

Do they make dog IUDs?

Dogspiral‘. Two Bosnian veterinarians in 2014 had designed it.

What should you do if your dog ate human birth control pills?   

The dog doesn’t experience serious health issues if he/she eats a birth control pill or two. But you should always contact your vet to be sure. Occasionally, birth control pills may cause bone marrow suppression leading to serious health hazards.

Can you terminate your dog’s pregnancy at home?  

Though you may find some online tips to terminate a dog’s pregnancy, these may risk the life of your dog.

Is there a ‘Plan B’ for dogs? 

There is no such thing as “morning-after pills” for dogs. However, few medications can terminate an unwanted pregnancy in your dog. Like; ‘Alizin’

What happened to the Stud Stopper? Can you still buy it?     

The Stud Stopper is a barrier-style contraceptive device to prevent dogs from mating. It was popular with some breeders, but the company that made them does not appear to be operating anymore.

What are the stages of a dog in heat?   

The canine estrous (reproductive) cycle is of 4 different stages. These are proestrus, estrus, diestrus, and anestrus. Each stage has differing signs related to behavior, physical or clinical changes, hormonal changes, physiologic changes, and cytologic (vaginal smear) changes.

Do dogs act differently when in the heat?

The earliest sign that a female dog may be in the heat is a sudden change in personality, energy level, or aggressive behavior. At the same time, some will become more reserved or aggressive just before going into heat. And, some will exhibit the opposite behavior, becoming more outgoing and friendly.

Are birth control pills bad for dogs? 

Most birth control pills have a low concentration of hormones, so if your pet were to ingest even a whole packet of pills, it would just lead to stomach upset such as mild vomiting and possibly diarrhea.

How long does the heat last, and how long does a female dog breed?

Heat usually lasts between 2-4 weeks since a female dog may not be receptive to male dogs in the early cycle. However, some are receptive through the entire cycle. It is shorter or longer, and you’ll know the cycle is over only when all her vulva returns to its normal size and there’s no more bleeding or discharge.

Is progesterone toxic to dogs?  

Medications containing progesterone. Such as birth control pills and some topical cancer medications, which are also dangerous. If ingested in large quantities, these medications can lead to bone marrow toxicity and seizures.

The dog is bleeding due to heat. What to do?

Prepare Diapers and Pads since the blood due to heat range from light pink to dark red. It stains beds, carpets, and furniture. Thus, use diapers until the bleeding stops to prevent leaking or mess.

Does heat cause pain to dogs? Why do they cry?   

The female dog heat cycle is comparable to a woman’s menstrual cycle. And they, too, experience cramps and mild amounts of pain during their heat cycle. As a result, they make sounds.