Melatonin, a naturally occurring neurohormone, has long been thought to work as a sleeping aid in humans. Now there’s some evidence it may be useful for several canine conditions. Its sedative properties have been helpful in treating separation anxiety in dogs, as well as stress from noise like fireworks, thunderstorms or other noise phobias. According to Linda Aronson, DVM, who published a study in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, she has seen successful results in about 80 percent of canine patients treated with melatonin.
As mentioned earlier, melatonin can be helpful for dogs with severe anxiety. But there are plenty of uses and other evidence suggests that melatonin for dogs successfully treats some forms of hair loss (canine alopecia). Melatonin can assist with:
Is Melatonin Safe for My Dog?
While some pet owners like the natural properties of melatonin as opposed to chemical medications, you should talk to your veterinarian before deciding on a melatonin regimen. There has not been much study of its side effects and safety, nor has it been approved by the FDA for use in animals.
Side effects of melatonin in dogs, although rare, include:
However, if you and your vet determine that melatonin is a good option for your dog, you may find it treats a range of anxieties and phobias, as well as sleep problems.
Can I Give My Dog Melatonin and Is It Safe?
Now that you know what melatonin can potentially do, you may wonder if you can give your dog melatonin safely? The answer is that you potentially can, but watch for negative side effects and make sure you have approval from your vet first.
The most common side effects your dog may experience from melatonin are extreme drowsiness, fatigue, digestive issues and, in some cases, an increased heart rate. Veterinary Partner says you should never give melatonin to dogs with diabetes, as it may cause insulin resistance.
Also, keep in mind that the Food and Drug Administration doesnt regulate supplements, including melatonin. This can be dangerous, as some supplements may contain xylitol, a sugar substitute thats benign for humans but toxic to dogs. Be sure to thoroughly inspect ingredient labels. In fact, it is best to only by a certain brand recommended by your vet if they suggest that melatonin might be right for your dog.
Is human melatonin safe for dogs?
Melatonin is a sedative hormonal supplement used to treat many kinds of anxiety, hyperactivity, restlessness, and other conditions in dogs.
It’s a naturally occurring hormone produced by the pineal gland. Many pet parents prefer to use supplements for their dogs instead of drugs that may contain more chemicals and have harmful side effects.
You can purchase melatonin online here or over the counter, though the FDA has not approved it for use in dogs. You should not give it to your dog without first consulting your veterinarian, as it may react poorly with certain medications, worsen some medical conditions, and pose risks for pregnant dogs or puppies.
It hasn’t been thoroughly studied for side effects in canines, though it’s generally considered to be safe for dogs with a vet’s recommendation. Most pet parents only report rare and minimal side effects.
Here’s what you should know about the uses, dosage, and side effects of melatonin in dogs.
Melatonin for dogs generally works as a sedative by supplementing the naturally occurring neurohormone produced by the pineal glands. It’s often used to calm dogs who suffer from different types of anxiety, such as separation anxiety or noise anxiety caused by fireworks, thunderstorms, etc.
Melatonin may possibly reduce any kind of phobias or panic, and some dogs have been entirely cured of their fear of loud noises with use of this supplement. However, it may not cure every dog in every situation.
Supplements can also be used to treat dogs who are hyperactive or those who have epilepsy, and there is some evidence that it may treat certain types of alopecia.
Some pet parents give melatonin to dogs to help them sleep at night, especially older dogs who might have disrupted sleep patterns. Canine Cognitive Dysfunction is a condition in dogs that’s similar to Alzheimer’s in humans, and it makes it difficult to sleep.
Melatonin helps reduce restlessness and aids sleep, and its effects usually last for about eight hours.
If your dog suffers from any of these conditions, you must seek your vet’s guidance before trying melatonin.
The proper dosage of melatonin for your dog must be determined with the help of a vet, as individual dogs may have different needs based on the conditions being treated.
Some vets recommend introducing melatonin gradually, then increasing the dosage as needed. Always consult your vet before giving your dog supplements or medication.
The usual dosage of melatonin for dogs depends on size. Dogs less than ten pounds should generally take 1 mg. Dogs ten to 25 pounds usually take 1.5 mg. For dogs 26 to 100 pounds, 3 mg is recommended. Dogs over 100 pounds may take 3 to 6 mg.
Melatonin comes in tablet, capsule, powder, and liquid forms that can be given with or without food. It usually starts working within ten to 15 minutes after a dog takes it.
Effects last for about eight hours if dogs take the correct dosage. For this reason, pet parents often give it to their dogs immediately before bed to provide a full night of sleep.
You can also purchase chewable melatonin supplements made specifically for dogs, but you must still talk to your vet before giving them to your pet.