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Published: Aug 21, 2012

The most effective way to prevent dog pregnancy is to spay or neuter the animal. However, for a variety of reasons, some people choose to forego having these medical procedures performed on their pets.

In female dogs, the most effective way to ensure your animal does not go into heat and attempt to reproduce is to have her spayed. Dog spaying is a surgical procedure which involves removing the ovaries and uterus of the dog.

"This has numerous health advantages for the dog, including reducing the risk of breast cancer and eliminating the risk of ovarian and uterine cancer," veterinarian Dr. Ernest Ward explained on "In addition, unwanted litters are prevented and the behavioral changes associated with 'heat' are avoided."

But is there another way to prevent estrus, or heat, in your dog? According to VCA Animal Hospitals, the other option is medical management of your pet's cycle using hormonal drugs.

Birth control drugs for dogs are not widely available and experts say these medications often have severe side effects. However, there is a tremendous amount of research going into additional birth control methods for dogs.

Pet owners are encouraged to discuss the best birth control option for their pet with their veterinarian in order to make an informed decision.