Can You Give A Dog Melatonin? ( Benefits, Side Effect, Dosage )
As dog owners, we love and treasure our pets.
We want to provide them with the best possible care and know we are making the best choices regarding their health and wellness.
When I am struggling with lack of sleep and feeling down, sometimes a little melatonin can work wonders, but have you ever wondered, "Can you give a dog melatonin?"
If your dog seems to have the blues, melatonin can help naturally in supplement form.
It's a good idea to always talk to your veterinarian before giving your pets any medications or supplements but administered properly, melatonin does have some powerful benefits for our canine friends.
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What Exactly is Melatonin?
Melatonin is a hormone that is created naturally in the bodies of humans and animals.
The hormone is related to sleep cycles and quality of sleep.
Used as a supplement, it can help us sleep, feel better, and relax. It is also connected with the relief of certain medical conditions.
Different Ways Melatonin can Help Dogs
Most of us have heard of using 'Melatonin' as a sleep aid, but what uses can it have for dogs? As it turns out, it can be quite beneficial for our canine counterparts.
Anxiety in Dogs
According to Dr.Judy Morgan, on WebMD, melatonin has powerful effects on dogs suffering from anxiety. 
Morgan specializes in holistic veterinarian practices and believes that melatonin supplements can help dogs who suffer from separation anxiety caused by time away from their owners.
Situational anxiety caused by road trips, plane flights, or simply a stressful trip to the vet can also be eased with a little melatonin beforehand.
Weather Stresses for Dogs
Anyone who has owned a dog knows how sensitive they can be, especially when it comes to specific sounds or types of weather.
Many dogs suffer from anxiety from thunderstorms, so if this sounds like your dog and you have a storm in the forecast, have the melatonin ready; given beforehand, it can help give your pet some calming comfort.
Sleep Problems in Dogs
As melatonin helps regulate sleep cycles, in part by its reaction to daily light changes, melatonin has been used as a sleep-inducing supplement for centuries.
Melatonin helps control the internal responses that tell us when it's time to play or time to sleep. In older dogs, it can help with cognitive dysfunctions and regulate their internal biorhythms that promote restorative sleep patterns.
Treatment of Cushing's Disease in Dogs
Dr. Morgan says that her most common use of melatonin for dogs is as a form of treatment for Cushing's Disease.
Melatonin supplements help the body block the uptake of increased levels of cortisone caused by benign tumors on the pituitary gland.
While other drugs are used as a treatment method in this form, melatonin is known to carry the fewest side effects as it is a naturally-occurring hormone already familiar to the body.
Treatment for Alopecia in Dogs
Alopecia refers to a condition in which dogs develop bald patches in their fur on either side of the abdomen.
The condition is often seasonal, and while melatonin is not scientifically proven as a treatment, there have been positive results in treating the condition.
It is also beneficial as a natural treatment option that gives owners the peace of mind of knowing they are trying to help their pets.
Hyperactivity and Epilepsy
Dogs that are hyperactive and never seem to slow down can put unnecessary strain on their hearts.
Melatonin has been shown to have positive effects on hyperactivity and even lesson seizures associated with epilepsy.
What are the Side Effects of Giving Melatonin to Dogs?
Before adding any medication or supplement into a pet's health regime, one of the first things to look into is what, if any, potential side effects the treatment carries.
Check with Your Vet First
While melatonin is a naturally-occurring hormone and is generally safe for most dogs, it is still a good idea to talk about it with your pet's veterinarian to be on the safe side.
You will also have to consult with your vet if your pet is on any other medications that the melatonin might react with.
Monitor the Ingredients
Your pet's dosage will depend on its size and sensitivity to the supplement if they have tried it before.
Different melatonin brands can carry different additives and additional ingredients, so be sure you know exactly what is in the melatonin supplement you are considering for your dog and discuss it with your veterinarian beforehand..
Xylitol is present in some melatonin supplements, and this is poisonous to dogs
Potential Side Effects
The most common side effect to melatonin is drowsiness. It is known to cause digestive upsets in some animals and an increased heart rate in others.
In diabetic animals, it is a possibility that it will cause insulin resistance and is also known to sometimes disrupt the reproductive cycle of females.
While it is rare, something to watch out for is the fact that any new medication or supplement carries the potential to cause an allergic reaction, so keep your eye on your pet for signs of any reactions.
Benefits of Using Melatonin
The main reason owners choose the use of melatonin for the treatment of issues like anxiety, restlessness, alopecia, Cushing's disease, and hyperactivity is that it is a natural supplement.
Many other supplements or medications for pets contain harmful chemicals or additives that can cause more harm than good.
While most dog owners who have chosen to give their pet melatonin supplements have reported minimal, if any, side effects, the use of melatonin in canines is still not approved by the FDA.
This is why it is so important to consult a veterinarian before integrating it into your pet's health regime.
Extensive studies have not been done on the side effects on canines, but consulting with a veterinarian is a positive step to take to ensure it is the right fit for your pet.
Melatonin Dosage for Dogs
Knowing how much to give your pet is essential and mainly related to their size.
According to Mike Clark, of Dogtime dot com, dogs that weigh under 10 pounds should receive 1mg of melatonin; dogs that are in the 10-to-25 pound range should be given 1.5mgs; for dogs in the 26-to-100 pound range, 3mgs is recommended.
These dosages will be administered 1-to-3 times a day according to the vet and package instructions: See more
Melatonin - Mg
under 10 lbs
10 - 25 lbs
26 - 100 lbs
What Form does Melatonin for Dogs Come in?
Melatonin for canines can come in tablets, capsules, powders, or liquid forms.
These can be given with or without food, depending on how your pet responds to it.
The dose generally starts working with 15 minutes of administration and should continue working for 8 hours afterward.
The dose is best given at night before sleep to promote a long restorative rest.
Vetsecrets has some useful information on melatonin recommendations for dogs:
If your dog is suffering from any of the conditions above and you think melatonin could be a possible treatment option, talk to your vet and consider adding a melatonin supplement into your pet's health regime
If you have any relevant experiences or feedback on giving your pet melatonin supplements, please leave your comments below.
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