Melatonin for dogs is a hormone that is used by veterinarians as a natural treatment for various conditions. Research has shown that it can help relieve stress in dogs, eliminate anxiety, and decrease seizures among other health benefits. Despite this, the Food and Drug Authority does not approve its use in animals still veterinary continue to use it even if legally. We are exploring whether melatonin for dogs is safe, if it works, the proper dosage, as well as the side effects and precautions to take into account.
Is Melatonin Safe for Dogs? – Can I give my dog Melatonin?
A common concern online about melatonin is whether melatonin is safe for pets. In particular, is melatonin safe for dogs and can I give my dog melatonin?
Melatonin is in the neurohormone class of drugs and has various veterinary uses. It is used as an anti-convulsant, sedative, regulator of the reproductive cycle, as well as an antioxidant.
Most pet owners and veterinarians prefer to use melatonin in dogs because it is made up of natural substances as opposed to some commercially available drugs that are made of synthetic substances.
Melatonin has become more and more popular in recent years with veterinarians after discovering the huge positive effects that this drug has in regards to training your dog, adjusting their behavior and minimizing the symptoms of serious health.
As such, it is safe to administer melatonin in dogs as long as it is done under the direction of a veterinarian and the recommended doses are adhered to.
Does Melatonin Work on Dogs?
While it is safe to use in dogs, does melatonin work on dogs and what will melatonin do for a dog? Used correctly and in the right dosage, melatonin should work for certain specific conditions without having any negative effects. Some conditions it can help improve include:
Melatonin for Hair Loss Dogs
According to franklintnvet.com, pet owners and veterinarians have had success with the use of melatonin therapy for canine hair loss and shedding. Seasonal alopecia is the most common form of hair loss in dogs and is exposed on the dog’s back and flanks. It could occur on the nose, ears and tail too.
Melatonin for dog hair loss is used to help in dog hair growth and thickening of fur. Some pet owners are known to use it to help thicken the coat of their pets in winter. In addition, it will help you reverse the skin problems resulting from hair loss.
Melatonin for dogs anxiety
Dogs tend to suffer from various forms of anxiety attacks. There are some who have noise phobias and will be anxious due to thunderstorm noises, car alarms, sirens, vacuum cleaners and likes. Others will start to show signs of anxiety while about to ride a car. For others, separation anxiety comes into play whenever they are left alone.
According to webcanine.com, dogs that have melatonin in their system before they know the cause of the anxiety are doing well. It is advisable to give a dose of melatonin at least half an hour before the anxiety causing events take place. This is before things like thunders and fireworks strike.
Melatonin for dogs with Cushing
Another common question among pet owners is whether melatonin is safe for dogs with Cushing’s disease. Cushing’s disease is among the three most common diseases in older dogs.
It occurs when the dog’s adrenal glands produce too many corticosteroids leading to too much of it circulating in the body. Some of the first signs of the disease include increased water consumption and increased urination. As the disease progresses, weight gain and hair loss can be experienced too.
Endocrine specialists at the University of Tennessee, College of Veterinary Medicine, suggest that the use of melatonin in dogs may help treat Cushing’s disease,
Melatonin for Convulsions in Dogs
Dogs with epilepsy tend to suffer most seizures at night. The best way to approach this is to have a veterinary prescription for epilepsy. Melatonin supplements for dogs have been said to reduce the severity and frequency of seizures.
Melatonin for sleep cycle disorders and other uses in dogs
Another use of melatonin for dogs is to correct any sleep cycle disorders the animal may have. It helps regulate sleep-wake cycles and ensures dogs sleep well. In addition, it regulates the rhythms of the reproductive cycle and body. It has also been known to tame aggression and other correct behavioral flaws in dogs.
In addition, melatonin acts as an antioxidant and helps to fight free radicals in dogs as well. These have been known to lead to brain deterioration though.
Melatonin Dosage for Dogs
Before giving your bitch melatonin, it is important to speak to your veterinarian about it. Indeed, supplements can react with other drugs that have negative side effects.
The dosage for melatonin for dogs depends on a number of factors. The end result you are looking to achieve is one. The dose can be administered regularly if the dog has insomnia.
For epilepsy, the best time to administer it for maximum effectiveness is just before sleep. For anxiety cases, it can be administered in anticipation of anxiety causing incidence.
Melatonin takes effect 15-20 minutes after it has been given to a dog. The effects last up to eight hours. It is therefore recommended that the maximum number of times for each dose is three times a day.
Another way to determine the dose is to use the dog’s weight. To treat phobias, anxiety, fear and insomnia, the recommended safety amounts are as follows:
- 1 mg Dogs weighing less than 10 lbs
- 1.5 mg Dogs weighing 10 lbs to 25 lbs
- 3 mg Dogs weighing 26 lbs to 100 lbs
- 3 to 6 mg of Dogs weighing more than 100 pounds (ca. 45 kg)
Where to Buy Melatonin
Melatonin supplements are available over the counter. Petco and Petsmart stores are some of the places you can check out. It is also possible to buy melatonin for dogs online such as the Amazon. The only thing to keep in mind is to settle for trusted brands.
Although available in tablet, capsule, powder and liquid form, Info Vêt recommends plain tablets. This is as opposed to other forms of sublingual or time release. Do not opt for human melatonin as these may contain Xylitol which is an artificial sweetener which could prove harmful to your pet.
Melatonin for puppies
Although melatonin is considered relatively safe for pets, it should not be administered to puppies under the age of 12 weeks.
Melatonin in dogs Overdose
It is important to consult your veterinarian before you can give your dog melatonin. This will ensure that the correct dosage of the supplement is administered. It will also ensure that the brands prescribed are intended for use in dogs as those which are intended for human consumption contain slightly higher and stronger amounts of the drug.
If, despite taking all the necessary precautions, you still suffer from a dog overdose melatonin, consult a veterinarian immediately. Among some of the symptoms of a melatonin overdose in animals include:
- Loss of coordination
Melatonin for Dogs Side Effects
Just as in humans, drug administration in dogs should be done with caution.
The drug should not be given to pregnant dogs and young puppies. Always consult your veterinarian before giving melatonin to dogs especially those with preexisting medical conditions.
- The drug is known to slow the blood clotting process. It is therefore important not to give dogs alongside drugs with anticoagulant properties. This includes drugs such as aspirin.
- Another side effect that can be observed is an interference with hormonal functions in females causing a change when she goes to heat, as well as her urge to mate.
- The drug can cause drowsiness in dogs and mild stomach upset.
- It is also important to keep the recommended amounts of the drug as melatonin for dogs overdose can cause various negative side effects such as those described above.
- The drug is not recommended for people with hypersensitivities, as well as those who have allergies.