How can you stop a dog from being in heat

Several people have asked us if it is possible to stop a heat cycle in dogs. We understand that dogs are hard to deal with during the heat; thus, no surprise people look for medical solutions to this.

To answer short, Yes, there are several methods to stop a heat cycle in dogs.

However, owners who seek relief for their misery may be left slightly disappointed. Mostly, because the method involves severe risks to your dog’s health.

Medicine to stop a dog’s heat cycle

You can stop the heat cycle of a dog with a medicine megestrol acetate (commercial name: Ovaban).

Above all, you must use any medication under veterinarian supervision only. In most countries, the use of megestrol acetate requires a veterinary prescription. And it’s not without reason.

Megestrol acetate is a synthetic derivative of the hormone progesterone. Naturally, the level of this progesterone starts to climb as the ovulation approaches; that is, near the ninth day of the heat.

The main consequence of progesterone is the lining of the uterus becomes receptive to implantation. However, the hormone also suppresses estrogen — a hormone that causes is indirectly responsible for ovulation.

If the dog receives progesterone during the beginning of the heat, it supresses the output of estrogen early. In such a case, ovulation does not occur. The dog also enters the next phase and eventually ends the heat cycle earlier than expected.

Is stopping a heat cycle in dogs safe?

Stopping the heat cycle by using Ovaban sounds like an easy solution. However, there are things you should be aware of:

  • Follow your vet’s instructions. We already mentioned you should use Ovaban with veterinary guidance only. Ask your veterinarian for directions and do not exceed prescribed doses. Additionally, keep your doc informed in case something unexpected happens.
  • Contraindications. Megestrol acetate should not be used with pregnant dogs, dogs who have the uterine disease, diabetes mellitus or mammary tumors. Also, there should be caution using it for young dogs who have not developed a stable heat cycle, or for dogs who undergo stress. Contraindications, not mentioned here, must be discussed with a veterinarian.
  • Aversive effects. Like most medications, Ovaban also has a long list of contraindications. They vary starting from increased appetite (and weight gain), or fatigue, and ending with mammary tumors. The problem is, megestrol acetate is often used in the long run. Dogs come in heat twice a year, and regular use of the medication increases the risks tremendously.
  • Keep your dog isolated during therapy. While the most common reason to use the treatment is to stop worrying about the heat, you still have to prevent your dog from mating during it. In most cases, the therapy lasts for eight days or more. If your dog mated during this time, you must cancel the treatment, unless your vet confirms it’s safe to continue.
  • Consider spaying. If you use megestrol acetate (Ovaban) to escape worries about the dog coming in heat, and you do not intend to breed her, you should seriously consider spaying your dog.
If the above contraindications or aversive effects did not scare you, you may go to your vet for more information. You must start the therapy during the first three days of the heat, though.
However, note that the list of aversive effects is not just letters on instructions. They do happen, and many of them are not rarities. If you are a responsible dog owner, you’d want to stop dog from coming in heat by spaying her. Halting the cycle each time it
starts by a hormonal treatment is not a good long term solution.

This article is a part of a series about dogs in heat.