How much melatonin can you give a dog?
The recommended canine dose of melatonin varies, depending on the patient. Doses typically range from 3-6 mg once or twice daily, depending on the dog’s medical condition. Some conditions respond well to low doses of melatonin given once daily, while other conditions require higher doses given twice daily. Additionally, your veterinarian will take your dog’s size into account when recommending an appropriate melatonin dose.
Human melatonin supplements are safe for use in dogs when used at the correct dosage and for the correct indications. However, it is important to follow your veterinarian’s dosing recommendations. Overdosing may be harmful to your dog, while underdosing your dog may reduce the likelihood of seeing any benefits from treatment.
Melatonin should not be combined with other prescription or over-the-counter drugs, unless under the guidance of your veterinarian. Melatonin can reduce the efficacy of other drugs, especially blood pressure medications and corticosteroids (such as prednisone). Combining melatonin with anticoagulant medications may increase the risk of bleeding. Therefore, it is important to talk to your veterinarian before treating your dog with melatonin, to minimize the risk of problematic drug interactions.
Melatonin worked wonders for my Pomeranian patient
Finally, since I like to talk about dogs and not just conditions, let’s meet a 4-year-old neutered Pomeranian named Elvis. Despite having a doting owner who adored him, Elvis looked like he’d been rescued from a grooming incident that had gone awry. He had a mane of rust-colored fur around his neck, but his body was bald. Patches of his skin had turned to a blackish leather and his tail looked like that of an opossum with mange.
We did a full work up with labs to try to get to the bottom of what was causing Elvis’s hair loss. All of his bloodwork results pointed away from the “normal” dog endocrine diseases which can cause hair loss—like Cushing’s disease in dogs and hypothyroidism—and toward a diagnosis of alopecia X.
We started Elvis on oral melatonin. I explained to his mom that we would commit to a three-month trial before making any further changes. Dogs with alopecia X reportedly demonstrate hair regrowth in 40-60% of the cases.
It took over four months until Elvis had the coat of a normal Pomeranian, but he regrew his hair! It was somewhat stunning to behold.
Will 5mg of melatonin hurt my dog?
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), melatonin is a safe supplement10 to give to your dog. Melatonin has little risk for harmful side effects11.
Seasonal Flank Alopecia : Seasonal Hair Loss in Dogs
Melatonin has been shown to result in partial of complete hair regrowth in 40% of animals. The dosage is variable and can be increased depending on response to therapy. Melatonin at a dose of 3mg once or twice daily has been shown to be useful but can be doubled.