Giving Your Dog Meds While Pregnant, Lactating: What's Safe and Unsafe

By PetMD Editorial on Dec. 1, 2015

Dog pregnancy is a delicate time for your dog and her unborn puppies. While some medicationsare safe and even recommended during dog pregnancy, most should be avoided, as they can harm your dog and her unborn puppies.


Dog Pregnancy Basics

If you think your dog might be pregnant, the first thing you should do is see your vet for a check-up. Share your suspicions, and your vet can confirm whether or not they are true. If your dog was left outside or otherwise accessible to other dogs during her last heat, she may very well be pregnant.

Dog gestation lasts about 63 days. Your dog's diet will need to be carefully monitored during pregnancy, as well as her intake of medication. Carefully monitoring your dog's diet and medication ensures that her puppies have the nutrients they need to grow and begin healthy lives.


Caring for Your Pregnant Dog

Your pregnant dog will need to continue exercise during pregnancy, though it shouldn't be too strenuous. Feed a high-quality, premium dog food; vitamin supplements aren't necessary, and may even do harm to your dog or her puppies. Especially avoid calcium supplements, as these can cause eclampsia, a life-threatening, acute disease.


Using Dog Drugs During Canine Pregnancy

With few exceptions, dog drugs should be avoided during your dog's pregnancy. Giving your dogmedications while she is pregnant can result in birth defects to the puppies, harm to the mother, or even spontaneous abortion.

However, some medications are safe for use in pregnant dogs. Your vet may recommend administering vaccinations to your dog during her pregnancy, especially if your dog missed her last round of boosters. This could be a good idea, as your dog's unborn puppies are especially vulnerable to diseases including canine distemper, parvovirus, rabies and canine hepatitis. If your pregnant dog is exposed to any of these illnesses and hasn't been properly vaccinated, both her life and the lives of her puppies could be at risk.

If you're using topical flea and tick protection, or the monthly heartworm medication ivermectin, please continue to use these medications during your dog's pregnancy. They are safe for use during dog pregnancy, and their use prevents your dog from passing parasites on to her puppies during their birth or during lactation.


Drugs Safe for Use in Pregnant Dogs

Here are some common drugs that are safe for use in pregnant dogs:

  • Thryoxine, used to treat hypothyroidism in dogs. Vets recommend, however, that hypothyroid dogs not be bred as the disease is hereditary.
  • Selemectin, the flea, tick and worm preventative branded as Revolution.
  • Psyllium, an ingredient in Metamucil.
  • Fipronil, the active ingredient in Frontline spot-on flea and tick preventative
  • Insulin is safe for use in pregnant dogs, though vets recommend that diabetic dogs not be bred, as the disease is hereditary.

Antibiotics and/or pain medications, such as oxytocin, may be administered to your pregnant dog during delivery. However, unless your dog has complications associated with pregnancy, she can give birth at home. This will be more comfortable for her and the puppies.

Remember, you'll need to continue restricting medication during lactation, as your dog's puppies will be ingesting any medications their mother receives through her milk.

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