Updated at: 02-03-2022 - By: Jane Brody

Dogs have circadian rhythms that are similar to our own. Dogs, like humans, have a diurnal sleep-wake cycle in which they are more active during the day and sleep at night. Chronic discomfort and cognitive problems can also interfere with a dog’s ability to sleep soundly.

Dog owners may wonder if the melatonin tablets they take for sleep could also benefit their cherished pets because of these similarities. Dogs may benefit from the usage of melatonin, despite a lack of study into its efficacy and use in this area.

What Is Melatonin?

To help our bodies know it’s time to go to sleep, our brains release melatonin, a natural hormone. Anxiety is reduced and the body is calmed by taking melatonin. In pill or chewable tablet form, teas, and tinctures, and as an over-the-counter supplement, synthetic melatonin is readily available to the public. It’s a good place to start if you’re struggling with insomnia or another sleep disorder.

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How Does Melatonin Affect Dogs?

As with people, dogs appear to benefit from Melatonin’s soothing properties. Those pups that were given melatonin before surgery showed less anxiety and needed less initial anesthetic, according to a study of healthy dogs undergoing surgery.

Melatonin has been demonstrated to have other benefits for canines outside its sedative properties. Another research of dogs found that that given melatonin suffered less early anesthesia than those who didn’t take melatonin. It was found that castration-induced imbalances in hormones can be corrected by administering melatonin to dogs who had been castrated.

Is Melatonin Safe for Dogs?

It’s safe to feed your dog melatonin, says the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). Melatonin has a low risk of causing harm11. Sleepiness is the most prevalent adverse effect, which might last all night and into the next day. However, you must make sure that the melatonin you buy does not contain any dangerous additives or coatings, such as xylitol, a sweetener that can harm dogs.

If your dog is taking any other medications, it is possible that melatonin will interact with them. Before giving your dog any new supplements, including melatonin, consult with your veterinarian.

How Much Melatonin Should You Give Your Dog?

The amount of melatonin you should feed your dog is not well-documented in the scientific literature. Doses of between 3 and 6 milligrams have been recommended by Plumb’s Veterinary Drug Handbook for dogs with a sleep condition. In Plumb’s Handbook, the melatonin dosage is 0.1 milligrams per kilogram of body weight for dogs with anxiety problems.

The best course of action is to consult with your dog’s veterinarian about the appropriate dosage based on their age, weight, and any other health conditions or medications. Make sure you buy the correct amount of melatonin if your veterinarian advises it. Pre-measured supplement alternatives make administering the exact quantity to your pet a cinch.

When Should You Give Your Dog Melatonin?

Using melatonin to assist your dog in rest before bedtime or before a veterinary appointment is best done two hours prior to the time of the operation. During this period of time, the melatonin can be fully absorbed by your dog’s body and be ready to work when you need it to be.

How much melatonin can I give my dog?

When given at the recommended dosage, melatonin is completely safe for dogs. It’s always a good idea to consult with your veterinarian before administering any supplement or prescription to your pet. Pregnant dogs and puppies under 12 weeks old should not be given melatonin. Be sure to discuss the proper amount with your vet before considering feeding your dog melatonin. Melatonin dose (up to three times a day) for dogs can be summarized as follows:

  • Only one milligram is recommended for dogs under 10 pounds.
  • Dogs ranging between ten and twenty-five pounds should receive In the range of 1.5 milligrams
  • a dose of 3 mg should be given to dogs weighing between 26 and 100 pounds
  • 3-6 mg should be given to dogs weighing more than 100 pounds.

Before giving your pet melatonin, ensure sure it doesn’t include xylitol by reading the label carefully. Toxic to dogs, this artificial sweetener is widely used. After the initial dose, keep an eye on the medication or supplement to see whether your dog has an allergic response. Melatonin begins working within 15 minutes of ingestion and lasts for roughly 8 hours.

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

Supplemental melatonin is unlikely to have negative effects because it is a naturally occurring hormone. However, the following adverse consequences are possible:

  • Inflammation in the digestive tract
  • a faster heartbeat
  • Itching
  • Changes in the female reproductive cycle
  • Confusion

Why Is Melatonin Prescribed for Dogs?

Veterinarians may prescribe melatonin for your dog if the following conditions are present:

  • Slumbering in an uncomfortable position
  • Anxiety
  • Hair thinning
  • Idiopathic steroidosis

If your dog has cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy, your veterinarian may also suggest melatonin to help him sleep.

There are many non-drug treatments that can be used alongside melatonin for sleep and anxiety disorders such as noise phobias, such as fireworks or thunderstorms.

How Does Melatonin for Dogs Work?

The efficacy of Melatonin depends on a number of factors, including your dog’s health, the tissue being treated, and the length of treatment.

Sleep

For dogs that are having trouble sleeping, Melatonin pills may assist. Dogs with dementia or blindness who can’t see at night or in the early morning may benefit from this.

Anxiety

Anxious dogs benefit from melatonin’s calming effects as well. Melatonin “may block dopamine,” the feel-good brain chemical, according to researchers at the British Small Animal Veterinary Congress. Too much dopamine has been related to a feeling of anxiousness in certain people.

Hair Loss

The particular mechanism by which melatonin reduces canine hair loss is a mystery to scientists. “Melatonin may work at a cellular level directly on the hair follicles,” says Dr. Sue Paterson, a veterinary dermatologist, in Veterinary Practice.

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Other Uses of Melatonin for Dogs

According to Dog Cancer Blog, melatonin aids in weight gain in cancer-stricken dogs by reducing the negative effects of chemotherapy. This is critical since chemotherapy has a significant impact on a patient’s ability to eat.

Melatonin may also assist dogs with Cushing’s disease, which is caused by an overproduction of the hormone cortisol, by lowering cortisol levels, according to the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Tennessee.

Consult your veterinarian if you believe melatonin would be beneficial for your dog.

Side Effects Of Melatonin In Dogs

If melatonin is delivered correctly and at the recommended dosage, there are minimal known negative effects in dogs. In fact, because of the lack of adverse effects, it is frequently referred to tranquilizers or other medications.

Even so, there are a few negative consequences to be aware of. As a result, your veterinarian may recommend a lesser dosage or an alternative course of treatment, so be sure to tell them about these symptoms.

There are a number of possible negative effects that might occur in dogs, including the following:

  • Constipation and cramps in the stomach
  • a rapid heartbeat (elevated heart rate)
  • Itching
  • Confusion
  • The state of a woman’s fertility might fluctuate.

When purchasing melatonin, it is important to read the product label thoroughly. Toxic artificial sweeteners such as xylitol may also be found in some.

The use of melatonin may cause some medical conditions to deteriorate, and other drugs may interact negatively with melatonin. Before giving your dog nutrients or medication, you should always consult with your veterinarian.

Additionally, melatonin should be avoided by pregnant dogs and puppies.

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