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Is Melatonin Safe For Dogs?

Written and published by Tails 'N' Tummies

As humans, we love our sleep, but unfortunately for many people, peaceful, restorative sleep can be hard to come by. Thankfully the supplement melatonin has successfully been helping thousands of people achieve a good night’s rest for decades.

How Melatonin Benefits Dogs

Melatonin can help dogs that suffer from anxiety disorders. That’s right! Melatonin is a proven, natural alternative used successfully to relieve anxiety in dogs.

Studies have shown that 3 out of 4 dogs suffer from an anxiety disorder, and it is one of the leading concerns that owners discuss with their pet’s veterinarians.

Melatonin naturally provides a calming effect that helps to put anxious dogs more at ease with their surroundings or anxiety triggers. So, a dog that suffers from separation anxiety or dives under the couch during a thunderstorm may greatly benefit from melatonin.

Is Melatonin Safe for Dogs?

Melatonin is a hormone that dogs and humans naturally produce. So, when giving dogs melatonin, you are not introducing anything new or unfamiliar to their bodies, only more of what their body already makes naturally!

Vets Are Using Melatonin for Dogs

Although melatonin has not been FDA approved for use in animals, veterinary professionals use it successfully with minimal side effects.

Melatonin has been prescribed by veterinary professionals to help dogs that suffer from the following:

Canine Alopecia

Also known as hair loss in dogs. Unfortunately, there are a variety of conditions that can cause hair loss in dogs ranging from seasonal flank alopecia to a condition called alopecia-X. Melatonin has been found to help stimulate hair growth in dogs suffering from these conditions.

Cushing’s Disease

This disease is caused by a tumor found in the pituitary (pituitary-dependent) or the adrenal glands (adrenal-dependent). This causes an overproduction of cortisol in the body. Melatonin works by blocking the uptake of that extra cortisol, which then lessens the severity of symptoms.

Insomnia  

Dogs can suffer from insomnia too! Anxiety, Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (comparable to Alzheimer’s in people), and old age can keep dogs from getting the sleep they need. Melatonin plays a huge role in the natural sleep cycle.

Cancer

Unfortunately, the side effects that people suffer from during chemotherapy affect dogs too. Chemotherapy can cause weight loss due to excessive nausea and decreased appetite. Studies show that melatonin can help alleviate these symptoms and help dogs increase their weight while undergoing cancer treatment.

Although melatonin has proven to be safe and effective, here are some side effects to be aware of:

  • Drowsiness (it’s a sleep-aid, after all!)
  • Gastric upset
  • Increased heart rate
  • Weight gain
  • Changes in fertility
  • Side effects of melatonin are uncommon but please always consult your veterinarian before starting your pet on any new medication or supplement. *

Is it safe to give melatonin with my dog’s other medications?

For the most part, yes! However, there are a few drugs that just don’t work well with melatonin, and those include benzodiazepines (used to treat anxiety), succinylcholine (used in anesthetic procedures), and warfarin (a blood thinner). So, make sure to double-check your pet’s medications before administering melatonin!

They Can Take a Melatonin Supplement for Dogs

Just keep in mind that there are circumstances in which you do not want to give your dog melatonin:

Pregnant

If you have any plans to breed your female dog or if she is pregnant already, then melatonin is not a safe supplement for her as it can disrupt the reproductive cycle.

Puppies

It may be tempting to give a new and energetic puppy something to help them sleep, but melatonin should not be given to puppies under 12 weeks old.

Diabetic

Melatonin has been known to cause insulin resistance in dogs, so if your dog has been diagnosed with diabetes, then it should be avoided.

Giving Your Dog Melatonin

Melatonin is administered orally in liquid, capsule, pill, powder, and chewable forms. This makes it easy for you to choose what works best for your dog!

Helpful Hint

For some dogs, no matter what you do, it can be next to impossible to administer any form of medication. You can wrap up the smallest pill in a pound of bacon, and they can still smell it a mile away! If your dog falls under this category, try putting their medication in the freezer first. This can help eliminate any smell associated with it. Then, try wrapping it in their favorite treat!

Is Human Melatonin Safe for Dogs?

Yes! But be aware of the additive, xylitol. This can be found in some human-grade melatonin as a sweetener, but it is toxic to dogs. Always be sure to check the ingredients label thoroughly.

Also, keep in mind that it is always recommended to use supplements specifically made for dogs. Supplements like our Melatonin For Dogs, have ingredients that are made for our furry friends and help them with their calming needs. 

How Much Melatonin is Safe for Dogs?

Consult the chart below to determine the dosage of melatonin appropriate for your dog. Be sure to get your dog’s accurate weight first!

  • Under 10 pounds: 1 mg
  • 10 to 25 pounds: 1.5 mg
  • 26 to 100 pounds: 3 mg
  • Over 100 pounds: 3-6 mg

Remember, it’s always safest to consult your veterinarian on the correct dosage.

Melatonin will stay in your dog’s system for 8 hours, so it’s essential to administer each dose AT LEAST 8 hours apart.

Use Nature to Promote Rest & Relaxation

Times are changing and for the better! People are not only becoming more aware of the harmful side effects associated with their medications but also their dog’s medications.

Owners are now asking about natural alternatives more than ever, and their dogs live happier and healthier lives because of it.

Melatonin has proven to be an excellent natural supplement that can help dogs overcome several conditions. With minimal risk of side effects and exceptional health benefits, your dog will thank you!

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