Is melatonin safe for dogs? What are the benefits?

PetMeds® Pet Health Blog

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Melatonin is a commonly used supplement among humans, and while most human supplements aren’t safe to share with dogs, melatonin is on the safe list. In fact, melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone secreted by the pineal gland in the brain by both humans and animals. In our bodies, melatonin helps regulate the circadian rhythms of the body, meaning our sleep cycles.

How does melatonin benefit my dog?

 

Melatonin can be an excellent supplement for your dog. The sedative qualities in melatonin make it effective in calming down and soothing anxious dogs. Melatonin helps improve your pet’s mood and relieve your pet’s anxiety issues, including hyperactivity, restlessness, separation anxiety, and any kind of phobias like loud noises. Giving your dog melatonin before events of high stress like a thunderstorm, fireworks, or leaving the house can help your dog destress, relax and sleep soundly. It even helps older dogs suffering from insomnia experience a more regular sleeping cycle. Melatonin is actually known to help ease some of the symptoms of mild Cushing’s disease, a disease that causes a hormonal imbalance in dogs. Lastly, because melatonin promotes hair growth, it is a great supplement to use in dogs with alopecia.

How much melatonin can I give my dog?

 

Melatonin is safe for dogs at the right dosage. Like any other supplement or medication, it’s always best to talk to your veterinarian before giving it to your pet. Avoid giving melatonin to pregnant dogs and puppies under 12 weeks old. When discussing giving your dog melatonin with your vet, make sure to talk about the correct dosage for your dog. A general rule of thumb for melatonin dosage (up to 3x daily) for dogs is as follows:

  • Dogs less than 10 lbs should be given 1 mg
  • Dogs weighing 10-25 lbs should be given 1.5 mg
  • Dogs weighing 26-100 lbs should be given 3 mg
  • Dogs weighing over 100 lbs should be given 3-6 mg

If you do give your pet melatonin, check the label first to make sure the ingredients don’t contain xylitol. This is a commonly used artificial sweetener that is highly toxic to dogs. Also, as with any new medications or supplements you give your dog, keep an eye on them after the first administration in case of an allergic reaction. After administration, melatonin starts to work within about 15 minutes and lasts about 8 hours.

What should I watch out for when giving my dog melatonin?

 

Because melatonin is a naturally produced hormone in the body it’s rare to see side effects when given as a supplement. However, there are side effects that can occur:

  • Digestive upset
  • Increased heart rate
  • Itching
  • Female reproductive cycle change
  • Confusion

COMMENTS FROM LOVINMYPUP.COM:

Melatonin is one of the most common over the counter drugs in humans who are having difficulty with sleep.    Our Bella had started to have a couple of areas where there appears to be some hair loss   Her Veterinarian suggested I try 3 mg of Melatonin which appears to help rejuvenate hair growth in areas that need it.   She has now been on the drug for about six months and there does appear to be some hair filling in those affected areas.   Bella is a very laid back dog to begin with, so adding Melatonin to her diet had the potential to adversely affect her energy level.  We were pleased that the Melatonin did not effect her personality and energy level at all.    It does work two fold in dogs   It can promote hair growth and it can calm a dog plagued with anxiety issues.    So if you are dealing with either of these issues, try Melatonin and see if it helps.  Good Luck

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