My Dog Ate Birth Control: What Now? (Solved & Explained!)

You’ve found a chewed up packet of birth control pills in your room. You think your dog ate birth control. What do you do? Should you be concerned?

Even if your dog didn’t eat many of your birth control pills, it’s a good idea to call your vet. While it would probably take a lot of pills to cause serious effects, we still don’t fully understand what birth control pills could do to a dog.

Most of the time, dogs who eat birth control pills are just fine. In this article, I’ll go over what to say to your vet and how they can help you.

How Many Did Your Dog Eat?

No matter how many pills your dog managed to eat, you should probably call your vet. Even if it’s only a couple of pills, they can still have an effect on your dog. Check the packaging, if your pet didn’t eat that too, so you can tell the vet exactly how many pills, and which pills, your dog ate.

Birth control pills usually come in packs of 28. Pills for the last seven days of the pack are usually placebos, or sugar pills. If your dog just ate the sugar pills, they’ll most likely be all right. You’ll still want to check with your vet anyway.

If your dog ate two or three of the regular hormone pills, they’ll probably still be all right. Your vet might recommend you induce vomiting, or bring your dog in to have them do it for you.

You’ll definitely want to call your vet, maybe even set up an emergency appointment, if your dog ate more than a couple of the regular pills or the packaging.

How Much Estrogen is in the Pills?

After determining how many pills your pup scarfed down, you’ll want to check the ingredients in your birth control pills. Take note of how much estrogen is in each one.

Birth control pills usually have either estrogen, or estrogen combined with progesterone. They might also have ingredients like iron.

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Usually, the amount of these hormones in each pill is minimal. This is why it isn’t too much worry if your dog only ate a couple of them. However, we still don’t really understand the effects of birth control pills on a dog. 

This is why it’s important to know the estrogen content of your pills when you call your vet.

Potential Effects of Dog Eating Birth Control Pills

While we might not fully know what effects birth control pills have on dogs, we can list some potential problems they might cause. Again, it will probably take a lot of pills to cause any of these symptoms. However, it’s still a good idea to keep an eye out for any change in behavior or health.

Estrogen Toxicity

It takes a lot of birth control pills to cause estrogen toxicity in a dog. The amount needed for estrogen toxicity is usually one milligram per kilogram of body weight. The average amount of estrogen in one birth control pill is less than 0.04 milligrams.

Obviously, a small dog is more at risk of estrogen toxicity than a big one. However, it will probably still take quite a few pills to cause estrogen toxicity.

Just because the risk is minimal, however, doesn’t mean it isn’t there. If you’re monitoring the situation at home, bring your dog into the vet if you see any of these symptoms:

  • Lethargy or fatigue
  • Depression
  • Fever
  • Blood in urine
  • Enlarged breasts or nipples
  • Swollen vulva
  • Pale gums
  • Chronic infections
  • Longer heat periods for female dogs, decreased libido for male dogs
  • Changes in testicles if your male dog has them
  • Alopecia
  • Development of breasts in male dogs

Iron Poisoning

It’s extremely rare for a dog to get iron poisoning from a pack of birth control pills. Iron toxicity levels are more than 20 milligrams of iron per kilogram of body weight. Some birth control pills do have a small amount of iron in them. However, your dog would have to eat a lot of them to get iron poisoning.

Since iron poisoning symptoms can look like other conditions which cause digestive distress, it’s best to call your vet if you notice your dog has diarrhea or vomiting. Iron toxicity is a very treatable condition, especially when caught early. However, the effects can be damaging, if not life threatening.

Even if your dog doesn’t have iron poisoning from the birth control pills, they might be vomiting because of other reasons. It’s best to call your vet if you see any symptoms of gastrointestinal distress.

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What Can My Vet Do?

If and when you bring your dog to the vet, they’ll probably induce vomiting. It’s best to have the vet do this, as doing it incorrectly at home might hurt your pup. Try to get them in to see your vet within two hours of eating the pills or the packaging.

If, for some reason, you can’t make it to the vet, they might be able to give you instructions over the phone. Usually, inducing vomiting in a dog requires hydrogen peroxide. You can try putting it in ice cream to make it more appealing.

How Do I Stop My Dog From Eating Birth Control?

It can be difficult to keep your dog from eating things they shouldn’t. However, keeping your birth control pills safe in a drawer, box, medicine cabinet, or bag can save you multiple vet trips, and the loss of your contraceptives. Make sure wherever you put your pills is out of your dog’s reach.

Try not to leave your birth control pills somewhere around your home. This includes new or backup packs.

In case your dog gets at the pill pack again, practice the leave it command. Here’s a video on how to teach your pup to leave it.

Conclusion

Your dog would probably have to eat a lot of birth control pills for them to have any serious effects. However, it’s still best to call your vet if your pup has eaten any. Getting them into your vet’s office to induce vomiting can prevent any negative effects from eating either the pills or the packaging.

You can prevent this from happening again by keeping your pills in a secure place away from your dog.