Miscarriage in dogs: signs, prevention and what to do

What are the causes of miscarriage in bitches? How to know if his dog makes one? How to react if this happens?

Help the development of the site, sharing the article with friends!

Miscarriage in the female dog: what are we talking about?

A miscarriage is otherwise known as a spontaneous abortion. These two terms designate the impossibility for a female dog to carry her gestation to term and, consequently, a premature termination of the pregnancy resulting in the death of the foetuses.

The origins of a miscarriage in the female dog

There are many causes of miscarriage in dogs. These can be infectious, hormonal, drug or toxic, traumatic, nutritional or even linked to a condition/abnormality of the female dog's uterus.

Infectious origins

Several germs can cause miscarriages in bitches among:


Several types of bacteria can be involved in spontaneous abortions in dogs. This may include:

  • bacteria from the bitch's genital tract that multiply excessively within them,
  • food bacteria that come from the ingestion of contaminated food or water contaminated by the pregnant dog,
  • of Brucella canis, the bacteria responsible for canine brucellosis, a disease that causes abortions in bitches at the end of pregnancy. It is mainly transmitted orally or during mating via the bodily fluids of the contaminated animal (sperm, urine, vulvar discharge).


Several viral diseases can cause - among other symptoms - miscarriages in pregnant dogs, including canine herpes virus infection or minute virus infection (or parvovirus type I).


More rarely, certain parasites are suspected of causing miscarriages in bitches, such as Toxoplasma gondii, the causative agent of toxoplasmosis in dogs.

Hormonal origins

Several hormonal conditions can cause pregnancy to stop in bitches such as:

  • hypothyroidism,
  • luteal insufficiency (insufficiency of progesterone production),
  • diabetes mellitus.

Medication or toxic causes

The administration of certain medications, live attenuated vaccines or improper general anesthesia of the pregnant dog can sometimes be the cause of a miscarriage in the latter.

Similarly, poisoning or intoxination of the female dog (particularly by mycotoxins) can have the same consequences.

Nutritional causes

Severe undernutrition in the bitch can, in rare cases, lead to miscarriage, as can a diet that is too low in sodium at the end of gestation or an excessive intake of vitamin A in the first month of gestation.

Also read: Feeding the female dog during pregnancy

Traumatic causes

A fight between animals as well as abuse can also lead to miscarriages.

Uterine causes

Several conditions of the uterus can finally explain a miscarriage of the dog. This is particularly the case of glandulocystic hyperplasia of the uterus or the presence of scars on the uterus from a past cesarean section.

How do I know if my dog is having a miscarriage?

A miscarriage that occurs in a dog before 45 days of gestation generally goes completely unnoticed by its owner. The dead fetuses then resorb spontaneously in the female dog's uterus. It is then possible that the bitch's pregnancy itself goes unnoticed and that recurrent pregnancy interruptions pass for infertility.

After 45 days of gestation, it is possible to witness the expulsion of aborts, in other words fetuses emerging from the bitch's womb before term.

Miscarriage in the female dog: what to do?

If your dog has expelled runts, pick them up immediately wearing gloves, place them in a waterproof plastic box and take your dog and the runts to your veterinarian without delay. These hygienic precautions are essential because, if the abortion is due to an infectious cause, the germs in question can potentially be transmitted to humans.Remember to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after touching or handling your dog.

During the consultation, the veterinarian will then endeavor to determine what is at the origin of the spontaneous abortion (he may need to take samples from the bitch and the abortions) of the bitch and will put if necessary, a treatment and/or monitoring of the bitch in place.

If you have several dogs, physically isolate the bitch from other animals while waiting for the visit to the veterinarian so as not to risk transmitting a possible infection to your other animals.

If your female dog seems to have problems having babies, also consult your veterinarian to find the cause of this infertility.

Miscarriage in dogs: how to prevent it?

If it cannot prevent all causes of miscarriage in bitches, several precautions should be taken in bitches to prevent the risk of miscarriage:

  • systematically vaccinate your female dog against distemper and canine herpes virus before pregnancy,
  • ask to do a serological screening for brucellosis in the breeding male in the event of scheduled mating (however, cases of canine brucellosis are almost nil in France),
  • more than ever, take care of the sanitary quality of the food you give to your pregnant dog, especially if she is fed with a household ration based on raw meat,
  • avoid administering medication to a pregnant or likely to be pregnant dog without the advice of a veterinarian. If your dog breeds while she is already on treatment, talk to your veterinarian immediately,
  • make sure your dog is not exposed to the risk of fights. So, if she has a tendency to run away, secure your garden or if she tends not to come back on call, keep her on a leash during her walks throughout her gestation.

Help the development of the site, sharing the article with friends!