How Do I Use Melatonin
If you think your pup might need melatonin, there are some situations where starting a melatonin supplement on your own is probably okay, but others where consulting with your veterinarian is important first.
If your pup is experiencing signs of separation anxiety, phobias to certain planned events like fireworks or large parties, or if you’re seeing her have trouble sleeping at night, consider starting with a low-dose melatonin supplement made for dogs.
Many folks will find success for mild conditions or targeted events where a light dose that doesn’t cause heavy sedation, will do the trick.
If you’re seeing issues with hair loss, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian first. You should also consult with your vet if you feel that lower doses aren’t helping or you feel that a much higher dose is needed.
Dosing melatonin in dogs, as with most medications, is based on weight. This can lead to vastly different doses for small or large dogs. For certain medical disorders, dosing also involves a range. The dosage for one dog for a hair loss disorder may differ for the dosage for cognitive dysfunction.
Melatonin’s main purpose in the body is to promote sleep, so it can cause significant drowsiness. Our goal is always to balance positive effects with any level of sedation that is seen.
Possible Adverse Effects Of Melatonin Use In Dogs
Veterinarians have prescribed melatonin for use in dogs over the last couple of decades. Based on anecdotal reports, significant side effects are rare . Humans taking melatonin report the following side effects which could potentially affect dogs.
- Changes in fertility
Use extreme caution if your dog has kidney or liver problems. Dont give melatonin if your dog is taking other medications without first consulting your veterinarian.
How Long Does It Take For Melatonin To Work On A Dog
Most vets recommend giving your dog melatonin about an hour before bedtime, although some people find that it takes effect faster than that.
The goal of treatment is to help your pet fall asleep more easily and stay asleep longer. If youve recently adopted a puppy or senior dog, you might find this medication helpful if they have trouble sleeping through the night.
If you give your dog melatonin and his sleep problems persist, talk to your vet about other possible causes and solutions.
The precise dosage will depend on your dogs size, age, and other health issues but in general you should start with a low dose and work your way up until you see improvement in your pets symptoms.
- Dogs less than 10 pounds should be given 1 mg of melatonin.
- Dogs weighing 10 to 25 pounds should be given 1.5 mg of melatonin.
- Dogs weighing 26 to 100 pounds should be given 3 mg of melatonin.
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Dosage: How Much Melatonin Can You Give A Dog
Heres dosage chart based on weight.
|Over 100 lbs||3 6 mg|
Melatonin for dogs is available over the counter. However, you should always consult your veterinarian to help you determine the right dosage for your dog.
Individual dogs are given different dosages based on their difference in body size and the type of condition being managed. This means that the amount required to induce sleep in sleeping disorders may differ from the amount used to treat anxiety and fear.
Your veterinary will weigh your dog to determine his/her weight. The weight obtained will then be used to calculate the melatonin dosages for your dog with reference to the condition being managed.
Ideally, 1 mg of melatonin is the recommended dose for dogs who weigh less than 10 pounds. This is the average amount of drug that should be given to avoid complications. Dogs weighing 10 to 25 pounds are managed with a dose of 1.5mg while dogs weighing 26 to 100 pounds are managed with a dose of 3mg.
Additionally, 3 to 6 mg is recommended for dogs weighing more than 100 pounds. Some dosages may exceed these limits since these are the standard amounts for melatonin therapy in dogs.
Nevertheless, you should seek guidance from a qualified expert such as your veterinary officer to avoid the possibility of overdosing or underdosing your dog. These dosages are indicated each for a single use and should not be administered more than three times within 24 hours.
How Your Dog Produces And Synthesizes Melatonin
Melatonin is produced and synthesized by the pineal gland, a small and simple gland located in the brain and is part of the endocrine system. In dogs, the gland is only about 1 millimeter long. Almost all vertebrates have a pineal gland that uses melatonin to dictate sleeping and waking times.
Fun fact: the pineal gland is named as such because it is shaped like a pine cone!
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How To Spot When Your Dog Needs Melatonin
Some cases are easy to spot, like if your dog is losing hair or seems like theyre not sleeping well. However, it may be difficult to spot if your dog is feeling excessively anxious.
Top signs of anxiety in dogs include:
Toileting throughout the house – Many animals show signs of anxiety by having accidents around the house. If your dog has suddenly started urinating or defecating on the floor rather than asking to go outside, it might be a sign that theyre feeling agitated.
Destructive behavior – Dogs often show anxiety by engaging in destructive behavior. This might be directed at objects around the house. They may chew furniture, rip up pillows and blankets, scratch walls, and more. It may also be self-directed, which is more serious. Dogs with anxiety can engage in self-harming behaviors, like excessive grooming, biting, chewing, or ripping their fur out.
Excessive barking or howling – This is especially true in dogs with separation anxiety, who may bark for hours while their owner is away.
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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Uses Of Melatonin For Dogs
Melatonin is sometimes given to dogs who suffer from anxiety, says Dr. Judy Morgan, a holistic veterinarian and author of several books, including From Needles to Natural: Learning Holistic Pet Healing.
The supplement can help ease the symptoms of caused by long days at the office or a family vacation. It can also help a dog mellow out before a potentially stressful experience like a long road trip or a visit to the groomer.
Dr. Marie Haynes, a veterinarian in Ottawa, Canada, says shes also seen melatonin help dogs who have thunderstorm anxieties.
We use it whenever we need some sort of calming effect, she says.
Melatonin is believed to help regulate the internal processes that tell our bodies whether its night or day, time to sleep or time to play. Humans may use melatonin supplements to overcome the insomnia associated with jet lag. It can also help older dogs with cognitive dysfunctions regulate their biorhythms and get a better nights sleep, Morgan says.
What I use melatonin most commonly for is the treatment of Cushing’s disease, Morgan says. The supplement helps the body block the uptake of increased cortisone caused by a benign tumor on the pituitary gland, she says. Cushings disease can also be caused by a tumor on an adrenal gland. These cases are best treated through surgery, says Dr. Jennifer Coates, a veterinary advisor for petMD.
Can Dogs Overdose On Melatonin
Little evidence exists regarding dogs overdosing on melatonin. Fortunately, melatonin has a wide dosage range, so a mild overdose is unlikely to cause significant problems. Mild overdosages of melatonin may cause vomiting, diarrhea, and excessive sleepiness.
A major overdose of melatonin might be more serious. Potential effects include incoordination, itchiness, high blood pressure, rapid heart rate, and seizures. Contact a veterinarian immediately if your dog eats a large amount of melatonin . You can call your local vet, a pet emergency center, or a pet poison control service like ASPCA Animal Poison Control at 426-4435 or Pet Poison Helpline at 764-7661. You may be advised to induce vomiting if the overdose happened recently. Your dog will likely require follow-up treatment at a veterinary hospital.
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Can Dogs Have Melatonin Supplements
Melatonin supplements are considered safe for use in most dogs. Veterinarians may recommend melatonin therapy to help treat skin conditions, behavioral concerns, and sleep disorders in your fur baby.
Melatonin has been shown to promote hair regrowth in dogs with alopecia related to non-allergic skin conditions such as generalized alopecia, atopic dermatitis, alopecia X, seasonal flank alopecia, and mange.
Because melatonin has a calming effect, it has been used to treat dogs with generalized anxiety, , and phobias.
Just like with people, melatonin can help dogs sleep better. Dogs can experience sleep disturbances due to sleep disorders such as narcolepsy or as a symptom of a health problem. Dementia can also disrupt dogs’ sleep-wake cycles.
Research has shown that giving melatonin prior to anesthesia can promote calmness and reduce the amount of anesthesia drugs needed. Veterinarians continue to study the effects of melatonin on animals and its potential benefits. Talk to your vet if you think melatonin could benefit your dog.
Melatonin Might Help During A Move
Moving into a new house or to a new city or town can be very stressful for your dog, and stress can disrupt your pets sleep schedule. If you have plans to move, you might consider introducing melatonin into your dogs routine to support them. Providing them with additional resources to encourage normal sleep and wake cycles during the transition can allow them to be more comfortable amidst the changes.
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Are There Any Side Effects
As with any medication, even natural supplements, you will need to weigh the risks and benefits before starting your dog on a melatonin regimen. Make sure to talk to your vet before giving your dog melatonin so that they help you provide it as safely as possible.
Dont ever give your dog melatonin without talking to your veterinarian. Thats because it can exacerbate certain medical conditions or interact badly with other medications. If your dog is pregnant, she should not be put on a melatonin regimen. Never give melatonin to a dog with diabetes, as some evidence suggests that it could increase insulin resistance.
Side effects in dogs dont happen often. But they are always possible. Your dog might experience stomach upset, a racing heart, irritability or confusion, or itchy skin.
If you notice your dog developing any of these symptoms, discontinue the melatonin and contact your vet as soon as possible.
Are There Any Potential Side Effects
Studies are limited for this supplement and therefore information regarding side effects is also limited. Side effects are uncommon but may include sleepiness, weight gain, and changes in fertility. The implants have been associated with non-infected abscesses.
In humans, altered sleep patterns, sleepiness, itchiness, low body temperature, and headache have been reported. The significance of these side effects in animals is unknown.
This short-acting medication should stop working within 24 hours, although effects can be longer in pets with liver or kidney disease.
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Products Containing Melatonin For Dogs
Here are some melatonin products made specifically for dogs. Again, you should consult with your veterinarian if youre considering any of these products or others containing melatonin.
Warning: Many melatonin products contain an ingredient called xylitol, which is unsafe for dogs so check each product to make sure its not included. None of the following products have this toxic ingredient.
- Pet Wellbeing Pet Melatonin For Dogs This 2 oz. oil formula contains melatonin, deionized water, natural bacon flavor, and vegetable glycerin
- K9 Select Melatonin This 1 mg beef chewable contains melatonin, dicalcium phosphate, liver, roast beef flavor, magnesium stearate, stearic acid, and silicon dioxide
- NaturVet Quiet Moments Calming Aid for Dogs Plus Melatonin 70 soft chews active ingredients include chamomile, thiamine mononitrate, passion flower, ginger, L-tryptophan, and melatonin
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?””
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How Does Melatonin Work
In its natural form, melatonin is a hormone produced at night by the pineal gland. Not only does it have to be night time, you also have to be in a low-light environment.
In the brain, tryptophan is converted to serotonin and then that serotonin is converted into melatonin.
According to veterinarian Sue Paterson, certain nuclei in the hypothalamus have melatonin receptors. When exposed to melatonin they help to control or reset a dogs natural circadian rhythm.
Therefore, melatonin supplements should help with any conditions that are related to an imbalance of these natural rhythms.
Due to its calming properties, it also helps with anxiety and stress-related ailments.
How To Give Your Dog Melatonin
If youre going to be giving your pup their melatonin at home, it will generally come in tablet form.
Therefore, just give the medication to your dog in the same way you would any other tablet. This usually involves hiding it in an extra tasty treat.
However, there is also an implant version which is injected under the skin. This releases a steady dose of melatonin into your dogs bloodstream for a set amount of time.
If your dog is having a melatonin implant, it will be inserted by your vet and you wont have to do anything else.
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Melatonin Side Effects In Dogs
While melatonin is regarded as safe for most dogs, its still important to talk to your veterinarian before administering it to your pet.
Dosage will depend on the size of the dog and his sensitivity to the drug. Its also important to run the supplements ingredient list by your veterinarian. Some brands of melatonin contain xylitol, which is poisonous to dogs, Haynes says.
The biggest side effect to melatonin is drowsiness. It can also cause digestive upset and, in some animals, an increased heart rate. It may also affect the reproductive cycle of female dogs and can cause insulin resistance in diabetic animals.
Its also important to speak to your veterinarian to make sure the supplement doesnt interact with other medicines your dog is taking.
And just like any medication, melatonin could cause an allergic reaction in your dog, Morgan says. Ive never seen it happen, but its something to watch out for.
Is There Any Risk Of Side Effects
There have been some reported side effects of melatonin for dogs. However, side effects arent common. Most veterinarians prefer a natural supplement like melatonin compared to tranquilizers and other types of drugs. Still, it’s important to be aware of the side effects to make sure your dog is safe.
Possible side effects of melatonin for dogs include:
- Extreme drowsiness
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Why Is Melatonin Prescribed For Dogs
Your vet may prescribe melatonin for your dog if they have:
- Disordered sleep
- 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.
Do You Need To Get Special Melatonin For Dogs
While purchasing dog-specific melatonin supplements isnt necessary, Dr. Sievert noted, Its important that you read the label carefully to ensure it’s free of added fillers or coating that could be harmful to dogs, especially the sweetener xylitol, which is toxic to your pup.
If you have trouble finding a human melatonin supplement without additives, Dr. Sievert suggested buying one made specifically for dogs or asking your veterinarian for a recommendation.
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Other Uses Of Melatonin For Dogs
For dogs with cancer, melatonin helps alleviate the side effects of chemotherapy and helps promote weight gain, according to Dog Cancer Blog. This is important because chemotherapy drastically reduces appetite.
According to the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Tennessee, melatonin may also help dogs who have Cushing’s disease, which is caused by an overproduction of the hormone cortisol, by reducing cortisol levels.
If you think your dog would benefit from melatonin, speak with your vet to see if it’s right for your furry friend.