Can You Give Your Dog Melatonin
Melatonin is a popular supplement that many people take if they have trouble sleeping. It’s purported to promote a restful, relaxed state, and help you snooze through the night.
Many pet parents who favor the idea of “what’s good for me is good for my dog” wonder if melatonin may help their pups as well.
You might have heard that besides helping a dog sleep better, melatonin may also help with stress or anxiety and even some disorders of hair growth. The good news is that if you’ve heard this, you’ve heard right, but there’s some details to go over.
In this article, we’ll discuss what melatonin actually is, how it affects the body, and some benefits it can have for dogs. We’ll also answer the question “how much melatonin can you give a dog?”
The Science Of Melatonin’s Affects On Dogs
Unlike many of the other medications that may be prescribed to your dog throughout their life, melatonin isn’t a drug that was invented in a lab by people in white coats. Rather, melatonin is a hormone secreted by the pineal gland, which is located in the center of the brain.
As production of the hormone is inhibited by daylight, it only takes place at night, and as a result, it plays an important role in regulating your dog’s internal clock. And because the hours of daylight vary throughout the seasons, your dog’s melatonin levels will also fluctuate. These seasonal changes have an impact on the reproductive system, while melatonin also affects thryoid function and immune function.
Therapeutic use of melatonin in humans first gained widespread attention in the 1990s, mainly to combat jetlag and insomnia, but the hormone’s calming effect also saw researchers begin to consider using it to treat other conditions.
In dogs, melatonin can be prescribed to help treat a variety of conditions, including:
- To control sleeping patterns, for example in older animals suffering from the disrupted sleeping patterns caused by sundowner syndrome
- To treat various kinds of anxiety, including separation anxiety
- To promote hair growth, for example in a dog suffering from hair loss due to alopecia
- To combat a range of phobias
- To help dogs gain weight after an illness or after undergoing surgery
Side Effects Of Melatonin
Since melatonin naturally occurs in your dogs body, there are usually very few side effects to worry about. However, like people, every dog is different, so we’ll never know how your dogs going to react to melatonin until your dog has received a couple of doses.;Although rare, here are some of the side effects owners have reported throughout the years:
- Digestive issues, such as an upset stomach
- Reproductive cycle changes
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Consider A Natural Diet
Can dogs have melatonin? The answer is yes, as long as you talk to your vet first and follow her exact orders. Melatonin is a natural supplement that can help your dog build up her health without the use of chemicals or medications.
If you love natural solutions that improve your dogs health, check out Wild Earths collection of;plant-based dog food and treats! We use natural ingredients that youll actually recognize and that will support your dogs physical development and digestive health.
Side Effects Of Melatonin In Dogs
The side effects of melatonin may include an increase in the dogs heart rate. Your dog may experience an upset stomach or problems digesting food. Some dogs get excessively sleepy or have issues with confusion. Some dogs experience changes in their behavior or scratch constantly due to itching.
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How Does Melatonin Affect Dogs
Melatonin seems to have a calming effect on dogs, like it does on humans. In a study of healthy dogs getting ready for a surgery, those that were given melatonin before the procedure were more calm and required less initial anesthesia.
In addition to calming effects, melatonin has been shown to be beneficial in other ways for canines. In another study of dogs, those who were administered melatonin experienced less initial anesthesia compared to those that did not take melatonin. In a separate study, dogs that were given melatonin after castration were better able to regulate hormones that are usually out of balance after castration.
Ok But How Can Melatonin Help You
According to Dr. Rachel Salas, M.D., an associate professor of neurology at John Hopkins Medicine, Melatonin can help with the timing of your sleep-wake schedule. This means that, if you find yourself wide awake when youre supposed to be snoozing, taking a melatonin supplement could potentially help you better regulate your sleep schedule and waking hours.
If your doctor deems melatonin an appropriate sleep supplement for you, Dr. Salas recommends a dosage of between 0.5 mg and 9 mg. I typically use 1-3mg for most patients, she says, and advises that this should be taken two hours before bedtime. You can talk to your doctor about the amount they specifically recommend for you.
Although melatonin is relatively safe, Dr. Salas says not to take more than the amount your doctor recommends. Just like anything else, more is not always best or recommended, she says. It can provide a hangover effect in some the next morning.
Youre definitely not alone if you find yourself struggling to sleep or concerned about your dogs anxiety. Theres plenty to keep you up at night, after all! And similarly, recent change-ups in your dogs schedule could be causing increased anxiety. Speak to your own doctor and your pups veterinarian to find out if melatonin sleep supplements could help the both of you lessen your stress.
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What To Do In Case Of An Overdose
Management of melatonin overdose usually depends on how severe the condition is. The most severe manifestation of melatonin overdose is shortness of breath and difficulty in breathing.
The first thing to do in the event of an overdose is to take your dog to the veterinary officer without delay to receive prompt treatment.
If your dog is so overwhelmed that his/her breathing is failing, the veterinarian will first focus on making the dog stable before commencing any further treatment.
Once the dog is stable, it is advisable to stop the use of melatonin immediately. There are no documented effects of stopping treatment with melatonin abruptly and therefore no complication should arise due to a sudden stop in treatment
If the overdose is not severe, you only need to stop administering melatonin.
Side effects may also be caused by toxicity which have nothing to do with an overdose. In this regard, never use melatonin with artificial sweeteners in the ingredients. You will also have to take your dog to the vet for the removal of toxins and further health assessment.
Electromagnetic Frequencies And Radiation
This is another common environmental toxicity. EMF-EMR depletes melatonin levels in all bodies . This is man-made electromagnetic radiation from
- Certain pharmaceutical drugs;;
Lack of exposure to daylight is also a big factor so get your dog outside for plenty of walks and outdoor time in sunlight!;
Its also thought that melatonin production declines with age, though some experts disagree. But it would help explain why older dogs sometimes sleep less at night.;
With these unavoidable factors in mind, what can you do to maintain your dogs melatonin levels?
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What Is The Safe Dose
There are safe doses and precautions that should be respected at all times.;
The recommended dosages for dogs are actually quite high in comparison to human dosages, about 3mg for every 35-100lbs. Smaller dogs should be okay with 1.5mg or so.
A more detailed dosage based on the size and weight of your dog can be seen here:
What Is Melatonin For Dogs
Our bodies have various glands that secrete chemicals called hormones. One such gland is the pineal gland. It is basically a small pea-sized gland located in the brain of both animals and humans. The pineal gland secretes the hormone melatonin, which performs various functions in the body.
The chemical is responsible for regulating our need to sleep. It is responsible for telling us when we should sleep and when we should be awake: or, as most experts put it, it helps regulate the circadian rhythm of your body. In case the melatonin does not develop in a sufficient amount, it can lead to sleep problems. Even in humans, insufficient production of the chemical can lead to conditions such as insomnia.
If youve suffered from insomnia, you know how difficult it can be. Now think about your beloved pet who cannot even speak. Not being able to sleep is a fate some say is even worse than death. To combat the insufficient production of melatonin, vets often prescribe the drug.
Even in humans, the drug is used as a natural supplement in the diet to aid sleep. However, thats not all. It can combat other problems as well with as little side effects as possible.
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Why Is Melatonin Prescribed For Dogs
Your vet may prescribe melatonin for your dog if they have:
- Disordered sleep
- Hair loss
- Cushing’s disease
Your vet might also recommend melatonin if your dog has cancer and is going through chemotherapy.
When used to treat sleep or anxiety issues, especially noise phobias triggered by things like fireworks or thunderstorms, melatonin may be prescribed in conjunction with behavior therapy and other non-drug treatments.
What About Melatonin For Dogs
As Dr. Nelson reports, melatonin has a few different canine uses: Its a known supplementary treatment for certain endocrine disorders in dogs, such as some atypical forms of Cushings disease, as well as seasonal alopecia. It could also be helpful in treating canine stress disorders.
Melatonin can be used as an over-the-counter recommendation for dogs with aggression and anxiety, says Dr. Nelson. It has been shown to be useful as a part of separation anxiety protocols, for dogs with thunderstorm or fireworks phobias and for dogs with hospital or groomer-associated aggression and anxiety.
Finally, melatonin is very useful for elderly dogs who do not sleep well at night, she continues, explaining that with age-related cognitive dysfunction, the sleep-wake cycle can be interrupted. Melatonin can be given to help these dogs to once again get a good nights rest.
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Editors Choice: K9 Choice Melatonin For Dogs
Specially formulated for dogs, this supplement contains 3mg of melatonin per serving- which is more than enough to get your pet relaxed before a stressful event such as fireworks or visits to the groomers. As a chewable tablet with peanut butter flavor, this supplement is not difficult to administer: most dogs will see it as a treat! In case your dog suffers from chronic anxiety, has trouble sleeping or other issues that require regular use of melatonin, this dosage would translate into two chewable tablets per day if they weigh less than 30 pounds, and double that if they weigh more.;
- Chewable tablet with peanut butter flavor can be given as a treat
Melatonin For Dogs Summary
Melatonin is a fascinating hormone. We know it has lots of roles inside us and our dogs to help us function properly. We just dont know how it manages it all yet. Melatonin for dogs already has some established uses treating fear, anxiety, stress, and hair loss. Perhaps one day it could also be a routine part of some surgeries to reduce inflammation and accelerate healing. Used correctly it is incredibly safe. It can have fewer side effects than its pharmaceutical alternatives.
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Can I Give My Dog Benadryl And Melatonin At The Same Time
Benadryl and melatonin are synergistic in their actions and therefore should not be used together in dogs. Synergy means that when both the drugs are administered together, they augment the action of each other such that the overall effects of the two drugs combined are greater than the sum of individual effects.
This overall effect may be similar to melatonin overdose and could cause side effects consistent with an overdose.
Seek more information about the appropriate drugs to use in conjunction with melatonin when treating your dog.
Melatonin is very much safe for use in the management of anxiety, fear and sleep disorders. The side effects are very rare making it more appropriate and safer than other medications that can be used for similar purposes.
You should always seek expert advice when you are considering the use of melatonin to manage any condition to prevent worsening of any preexisting conditions.
Ideally, it is not advisable to self-diagnose your dog and start administering medications. If your dogs health is worrying you, you should talk to your vet and get expert help.
The prognosis for anxiety, fear and sleeping disorders after treatment with melatonin is usually good. Save your dog from anxiety and fear by choosing the best treatment option for him or her.
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Its not easy keeping canine anxiety under control, but this potent calming supplement can certainly help minimize your dogs symptoms. In addition to melanin, which contributes to the anti-anxiety properties of this formula, it also includes other powerful calming substances for dogs, such as L-Theanine , organic ginger root, L-Tryptophan, organic hemp, organic passion flower, and chamomile. Together, they help sensitive and anxious pooches feel at ease in stressful situations and can soothe dogs with aggressive or hyperactive tendencies. This melatonin supplement comes in the form of turkey-flavored chewables, so your pooch is bound to love it.
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When Should I Administer Melatonin
Melatonin takes approximately 30 minutes to kick in, so youll want to administer it to your dog roughly half-an hour before a thunderstorm or any other stressful event you are looking to help your dog manage.
For sleep assistance, melatonins should be provided in the evening. As a rule of thumb, its best to provide the melatonin alongside a meal or snack, since ingesting it on an empty stomach may result in intestinal distress.
Melatonin For Dogs With Hair Loss
Also known as canine alopecia, extreme hair loss is often a problem for dogs for a variety of reasons. Veterinarian Sue Paterson states that melatonin is useful for hair loss because it can reset the natural body clock.;Paterson discusses how melatonin is often used to treat a condition called Alopecia X.
This condition usually develops in dogs with double coats, like Malamutes, Keeshonds, Great Pyrenees, and Pomeranians. ;
Alopecia develops bilaterally alongside hyperpigmentation of the skin. Melatonin has been shown to add in either partial or complete hair growth when coupled with topical glycolic shampoo and oral retinoid therapy.
Another type of alopecia that melatonin helps with is known as canine recurrent flank alopecia. This type of hair loss happens on a seasonal basis, around November through March, usually as a result of the dogs inability to adapt to the modern environment. Dog breeds that suffer from this type of hair loss include Dobermans, Boxers, Mastiffs, and Airedale terriers.;
Melatonin theraphy was noted to help increase hair regrowth in recurrent alopecia cases by up to 50-75%.
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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:
- Changes in fertility
How Does Melatonin Work
Melatonin is a natural hormone. Although the pineal gland produces the hormone, its also found in some foods. The hormone regulates sleeping and waking cycles, protects cells in the body from free radicals, and promotes a healthy immune system. Bright daylight prohibits the production of melatonin. During the nighttime hours, when light is at a minimum, the brain produces more of the hormone.
In some medical studies, melatonin is more potent than vitamin E in neutralizing free radicals that are harmful to DNA. Although melatonin has traditionally been used as a natural sleep aid, veterinarians are finding it to be beneficial in treating canine disorders, including anxiety, stress, and behavior problems.;
As humans and pets age, melatonin production in the brain decreases. When the levels of the hormone in the body are lower, sleep patterns can be disrupted, and that can lead to issues with stress and anxiety. Fortunately, the side effects of human and canine use of the hormone are minimal.
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Does Melatonin Have Any Side Effects
Dogs might have some side effects if given excess melatonin. However, the lack of common side effects makes it the best choice for calming your dogs. Some side effects that might show up are gastrointestinal upsets, itching, confusion, and an increased heart rate . If you notice any of these side effects even if youve been giving your dogs the proper dosage, make sure you contact your veterinarian immediately.
You should also make sure there are no added ingredients like xylitol that is toxic to them or any other harmful ingredients. Some other medications can lead to harmful side effects when combined with melatonin and it might make some medical conditions worse. You should ask your veterinarian for advice on when and how to give melatonin to your dogs. Also, puppies and pregnant dogs should not be given melatonin.