As a devoted dog owner, we always strive to provide our furry companions with the best care possible. When our dogs experience anxiety or trouble sleeping, we often look for safe and natural solutions to help them.
In recent years, melatonin has gained popularity as a potential aid for dogs in managing various conditions. This essay aims to shed light on the use of melatonin for dogs, covering topics such as its safety, appropriate dosage, and potential benefits.
What is Melatonin?
Melatonin is a hormone supplement used to treat a variety of conditions in many different breeds. In dogs, it has been used to treat sleep and behavior disorders as well as for non-allergic hair loss (alopecia).
Melatonin is a hormone that nearly all mammals, including dogs, produce naturally.
Animals produce melatonin during periods of darkness, and their melatonin levels can change throughout the year in response to varying amounts of daylight. Melatonin has many potential functions, including helping animals sense the time of day and regulate seasonal changes in their body and behavior.
Melatonin is also sold as a dietary supplement that is marketed for use in humans, dogs, and other animals. The body can make melatonin naturally, but melatonin manufactured for supplements is typically produced synthetically.
Can You Give Melatonin to Dogs?
When considering any new supplement for our beloved pets, the first question that arises is whether it is safe to administer. In the case of melatonin, the answer is generally positive.
According to experts, melatonin supplements are believed to be safe for most dogs when used in appropriate amounts; and many veterinarians prescribe melatonin to try to help dogs with various health issues.
However, it is important to note that melatonin is not approved by the FDA for use in dogs, and it should always be approved by a veterinarian before use.
How Effective is Melatonin for Dogs?
Limited studies in animals have been performed, but there is anecdotal evidence that melatonin works to treat behavioral and sleep issues, adrenal disease, improve breeding rates, and treat non-allergic hair loss.
How Melatonin Affects Your Dog
Melatonin may be helpful for dogs who regularly experience anxiety, stress, phobias, or signs of cognitive dysfunction (doggie dementia).
Many dogs experience anxiety that may be triggered by fear of a potential threat, separation from their family, or changes in their environment or routine.
Anxiety and sleep problems can also be a sign of cognitive problems in older dogs. Anxiety sometimes occurs as a phobia, which describes a sudden and intense response to a trigger, such as loud noises from a vacuum cleaner, fireworks, or thunder.
Anxious fearful behaviors may include:
- Chewing, scratching, or other destructive behavior
- Shaking, shivering
- Barking, howling, or whining
- Going to the bathroom in the house
- Excessive salivating
- Pacing or having difficulty settling down
- Refusing to eat
These and other behavioral challenges in dogs are usually treated with a combination of training, changes to the dog’s environment, and medication or supplements.
Benefits of Melatonin for Dogs
Melatonin offers various potential benefits for dogs. Here are some of the most commonly observed benefits:
Melatonin for Anxiety Management
Dogs, like humans, can experience anxiety due to various factors, such as separation anxiety, noise phobias, or travel-related stress. Melatonin’s calming effect can help alleviate anxiety symptoms in dogs, promoting a sense of relaxation and reducing restlessness.
Melatonin for Sleep Regulation
Just like humans, dogs can experience difficulties falling asleep or maintaining a regular sleep schedule. Melatonin can assist in regulating their sleep-wake cycle, promoting a more restful and consistent sleep pattern. This can be particularly beneficial for dogs with insomnia or irregular sleep habits.
Melatonin for Noise Phobia Relief
Many dogs are sensitive to loud noises, such as fireworks or thunderstorms, which can trigger anxiety and panic. Melatonin can be used as a supplement to help calm dogs during these stressful events, providing relief from noise phobia symptoms.
Melatonin for Cognitive Function
In some cases, melatonin has shown potential benefits in supporting cognitive function in dogs, particularly in older dogs. It may help improve mental alertness, memory, and overall brain health. However, further research is needed to fully understand its effects in this area.
Risks & Potential Side Effects of Melatonin for Dogs
Research studies are limited for this supplement and therefore information regarding side effects is also limited.
When given in proper amounts, melatonin is considered safe to give to dogs. Although harmful effects are uncommon, giving too much melatonin may cause a dog to be lethargic and have an upset stomach.
Other potential side effects of melatonin include:
- Fertility issues
- Weight gain
- Increased heart rate
- Sleepiness / Confusion
Melatonin may also interact with other medications given to dogs. Melatonin can increase the effects of benzodiazepines, which are used to treat anxiety and seizures. It may also interact with succinylcholine, a drug that is sometimes used as a muscle relaxer in animals.
Melatonin for Dogs Dosage
Determining the appropriate dosage of melatonin for dogs depends on various factors, including the dog’s size, weight, and individual needs.
The appropriate dosage of melatonin for dogs depends on their size and weight. Some experts suggest giving a dog melatonin every 8 hours at a dose of 0.1 milligrams of melatonin for each kilogram of the dog’s weight; other sources recommend a dosage of 1 to 3 mg of melatonin per 10 pounds of body weight.
It is important to note that the right dose of melatonin depends on several factors, including a dog’s weight and medical needs.
So even though melatonin is available over the counter (OTC), you should always confer with your holistic veterinarian before giving melatonin to a dog. They may want you to use a specific prescription.
How Many Mgs of Melatonin Can I Give My Dog?
To ensure the safety and efficacy of melatonin for dogs, it is crucial to adhere to proper dosing guidelines. Here is a general dosage chart based on weight:
Small Dogs (under 10 lbs): 0.5-1.5 mg
Medium Dogs (10-25 lbs): 1.5-3 mg
Large Dogs (25-100 lbs): 3-6 mg
Extra-Large Dogs (over 100 lbs): 6-9+ mg
It is essential to remember that these dosages are approximate, and consulting with a veterinarian is essential to determine the appropriate dosage for your specific dog.
Dosage Chart of Melatonin for Dogs by Weight
Can You Give Melatonin to Puppies or Senior Dogs?
According to various sources, melatonin is safe for dogs of any age at the right dosage, so it can be safely given to both puppies and senior dogs.
For more guidance, here are some additional details:
Melatonin for Puppies
Melatonin can be given to puppies, but the appropriate dosage should be determined by a veterinarian. According to one source, the recommended dose of melatonin for puppies is 0.5-1 mg per 10 lbs. of body weight, given twice a day or as needed.
Melatonin for Senior Dogs
Melatonin can be especially helpful for senior dogs who have cognitive issues and for blind dogs who can’t see when it’s nighttime or morning.
According to animal care specialists, the recommended dose of melatonin for senior dogs is 3 mg daily for a dog weighing 100 pounds. However, the appropriate dosage should always be determined by a veterinarian.
Is Melatonin Right for Your Dog’s Needs?
When given in proper amounts, melatonin can provide several benefits for dogs, including reducing anxiety, regulating sleep cycles, and promoting hair growth.
It is important to note that while melatonin is generally considered safe for dogs, it should always be approved by a veterinarian before use. Additionally, the appropriate dosage can vary depending on the dog’s weight and medical needs.
As a dog owner, it is important to prioritize the health and well-being of our furry friends, and melatonin can be a useful tool in achieving that goal.
Curtis has been passionate about the health and welfare of animals since his first dog rescue.
After studying Sports Medicine & Biology at the University of Oregon, Curtis went on to excel in a career of Clinical Nutrition, later owning a health care supplement company serving private-practice physicians.
Known for his expansive knowledge of natural health and alternative medicine, Curtis believes that natural plant-based therapies can be applied to veterinary animal care which led him to study the science of Cannabinoid Medicine. His expertise in Functional Medicine led him to formulate a unique hemp-based canine care product, Canine Support Formula, fulfilling a dream to combine natural pet-care strategies with the new therapeutic potential of medical cannabis.
In reverence for his own dog, Parker, Curtis has dedicated his company–K9 Medibles–to improving the health and longevity of all dogs.
To learn more about Curtis and how K9 Medibles can help your dog, click HERE.