Last Updated: February 1, 2023
If you’ve ever wondered whether you can give your dog melatonin, you’re not alone—many dog owners are curious about the effects melatonin has on their pets and whether it’s safe to administer. In this blog post, we’ll answer all your questions about melatonin for dogs, discussing what melatonin is, whether can you give a dog melatonin, how it affects canines, as well as the potential side effects. Keep reading to find out more!
What Is Melatonin?
Melatonin is a natural hormone in humans and dogs that’s produced in the pineal gland and aids the management of our sleep cycle as well as our emotions of stress or anxiety.
Sometimes, the body doesn’t produce enough melatonin or release it at appropriate intervals, which is why some people take a melatonin supplement once a day for short periods of time to get back on track with their normal sleep routine. But can you give dogs melatonin, and will it work in the same way it does for us?
Can You Give a Dog Melatonin?
Yes, you can give your dog melatonin, as it’s considered safe for dogs in the short term and can help them adjust to changes in their environment or schedule. For example, if you need to move your dog’s bedtime up by an hour due to a time change, giving them melatonin can help ease the transition.
However, it’s important to note melatonin isn’t a cure-all for every sleep issue your dog might have. If your dog is having trouble sleeping, it’s always best to consult your veterinarian first—to answer your question “Can I give my dog melatonin,” they must first rule out any underlying health issues and recommend the best course of treatment.
What Is Melatonin Usually Prescribed for?
Although it’s frequently given for its sedative effects, melatonin has been found useful for a variety of other medical conditions, and may be beneficial to your pet.
Here are the most common uses for melatonin according to veterinarians:
While some dog owners wonder why their dogs sleep a lot, other canines suffer from insomnia, which might result in unusual sleep patterns or a lack of sleep overall. A melatonin supplement can help a dog’s sleep schedule return to normal. The answer to the question “Can you give your senior dog melatonin to regulate their sleeping pattern?” is that you can, because older canines are more likely to suffer from insomnia compared to younger dogs.
Although it’s not proven to help with depression in dogs, melatonin’s calming effect makes it perfect for soothing anxious dogs. It can improve your dog’s mood and alleviate symptoms of anxiety, including hyperactivity, restlessness, separation anxiety, and any other phobias, including fear of loud noises. Giving your dog melatonin before situations that create a lot of tension, such as thunderstorms, fireworks displays, or going out of the house can help them relax and sleep soundly.
Not only is melatonin safe for dogs, but it’s also shown to promote hair growth in both humans and animals with alopecia—a condition that results in patchy hair loss on the body or head. It’s usually caused by an underlying health condition, such as hypothyroidism, Cushing’s disease, or an autoimmune disorder. If your dog is suffering from alopecia, your vet will likely suggest a variety of supplements, including melatonin.
Other Uses of Melatonin for Dogs
Melatonin may aid the treatment of Cushing’s syndrome, a condition in which cortisol levels are excessively high, by reducing blood cortisol levels.
Many people wonder can dogs with cancer take melatonin, and the answer is that this supplement is useful for dogs with cancer, as it helps reduce the negative effects of chemotherapy and boosts weight gain. This is significant because chemotherapy has a powerful appetite-reducing effect.
|DID YOU KNOW: Apart from melatonin, many dog owners use dog CBD oil to treat symptoms of separation anxiety, joint pain, and even to alleviate cancer symptoms.
How Much Melatonin Can You Give a Dog?
The right dosage for your dog depends on their age, weight, and any other health concerns or medicines they take. If your veterinarian recommends giving your dog melatonin, be sure they specify the right amount—you can easily administer the appropriate dose using pre-weighed supplement choices.
Although the appropriate melatonin dosage for dogs varies based on the condition being treated, the general recommendations require administering 1 to 6 milligrams per eight to 24 hours by mouth. When used for sleep, doses are usually lower and less frequent than when used for skin conditions or behavioral issues. Your veterinarian will decide on the best dosage based on your dog’s requirements.
There are several options when it comes to administering melatonin to dogs:
The most common way to administer melatonin is as a pill or capsule. Some dog owners hide the tablet in a pill pocket to make it easier to administer.
In certain cases, your veterinarian may offer a liquid form of melatonin. Make sure you know how much liquid melatonin can you give a dog, since the dosage is different from solid melatonin forms.
For many pet parents, chewable melatonin is the most simple to administer, as dogs usually believe they’re getting a delicious treat.
In certain rare circumstances, a veterinarian may implant a device that administers melatonin beneath your dog’s skin.
|DID YOU KNOW: If you give your dog melatonin, double-check the label to make sure it doesn’t contain xylitol, a popular synthetic sweetener that’s harmful for dogs. Also, keep an eye on them after the first dose in case of an allergic response.
When Should You Give Your Dog Melatonin?
If you’re giving your dog a melatonin dosage to help them relax before going to bed or reduce their anxiety before a procedure, give them the right dose two hours before bedtime to ensure maximum drug absorption by the targeted time.
It’s not advised that you administer two doses within a short time period, although you can give the missed dose as long as it’s not too close to your dog’s next scheduled dosage. If your dog’s next melatonin dose is approaching, skip the missed dose and go ahead with the regularly scheduled one.
|Melatonin is a natural hormone produced in the pineal gland that aids the management of our sleep cycle, stress, and anxiety.
|Melatonin is considered safe for dogs in the short term, as long as you follow your vet’s advice.
|Not only is melatonin safe for dogs, but it’s also proven to successfully reduce stress, anxiety, and hair loss, and help with regulating dogs’ sleeping patterns.
|The appropriate melatonin dosage varies depending on the indications, but the general recommendations require administrating 1 to 6 milligrams per 8 to 24 hours (orally).
Side Effects of Melatonin in Dogs
In terms of the pros and cons of melatonin for dogs, there hasn’t been much research on its negative effects and safety. However, although it’s not FDA-authorized for use in animals, it has been proven safe for dogs when used correctly. Nevertheless, as with any other medicine, there are a few side effects your dog may experience, including:
- Upset stomach
- Increased heart rate
- Insulin resistance in diabetic dogs
- Disruption of the female reproductive cycle
You may discover melatonin helps your dog relax during stressful situations, but if your dog is constantly anxious or unable to sleep, other medicines and therapies may be more successful and show fewer side effects than those of melatonin in dogs. Consult your veterinarian before making your choice to ensure your dog has the best life possible.
|DID YOU KNOW: Although it’s generally considered safe when used with other medications, melatonin may increase the effects of benzodiazepines (diazepam and alprazolam) and succinylcholine (a muscular relaxant). Because it can also interact with certain vitamins and herbal supplements, you should inform your veterinarian about everything your dog takes.
All in all, the answer to “Can you give dogs melatonin?” is yes, since it has been proven to be safe if given as directed to aid issues such as irregular sleeping patterns, anxiety, hair loss, etc. However, as with any medication or supplement, be sure to speak with your veterinarian before starting a melatonin treatment for your dog.
Melatonin is a sleep-promoting hormone that can be used to treat conditions like separation anxiety and stress in dogs. The usual dog melatonin dosage is 1 mg per 20 pounds your dog weighs. Before administering melatonin to your dog, talk to your vet to determine the right dosage.
Usually, melatonin begins working within 30 to 60 minutes after being administered, with the effects lasting anywhere from four to eight hours. However, this can vary depending on the dosage as well as the form of melatonin your dog’s taken.
The general recommendations require orally administering 1 to 6 milligrams per eight to 24 hours. But can you give a dog melatonin in a dosage of 10 mg? As this seems far higher than the safety range, make sure to follow your vet’s recommendations to avoid overdosing.