Melatonin for Dogs

Melatonin is a naturally-occurring hormone that can help with many medical conditions, especially sleep problems and irregularities.

Although widely used by many people, it also has properties that make it beneficial to animals as well.

Many dogs, including pugs, benefit from the use of a melatonin supplement. There are many ways that it can benefit canines, especially by promoting relaxation and sleep. For brachycephalic breeds like pugs that often suffer from breathing issues, melatonin can be particularly helpful at lulling dogs to sleep.

Melatonin’s effects typically last about 8 hours and can help with many different conditions dogs experience.


These are just a few of the issues that a melatonin supplement can potentially help with.

Anxiety

No one wants to see their pet in distress, and anxiety in dogs can be upsetting for both the dog and the owner.

Fortunately, anxious dogs can often be soothed by melatonin’s calming effects. Dogs, like nearly any other species, often experience anxiety or restlessness. Separation anxiety is one condition that can often plague dogs when apart from their owners.

Melatonin helps to prevent and ease the symptoms of anxiety your dog experiences. It’s also helpful to give to your dog before a stressful event, such as a visit to the veterinarian.

Many dogs also experience stress and anxiety due to loud noises such as fireworks or thunder. Although there is no definite solution to the problem, melatonin may be able to soothe your pet’s anxiety.

Nearly any situation when your dog is anxious could potentially be helped by the use of a melatonin supplement.

Insomnia and Sleep Irregularities

Melatonin is most commonly used as a sleep aid, and it’s just as effective on dogs as it is on humans. The regulation of the body’s sleep cycle can be improved with melatonin, which is why it’s so commonly used. Dogs experiencing a lack of sleep, inability to sleep, or general restlessness may gain from the use of a melatonin supplement.

Older dogs often experience sleep issues, and melatonin can be helpful. Canine Cognitive Dysfunction is similar to Alzheimer’s disease- which only occurs in humans – and causes sleep difficulties. Fortunately, introducing the proper dosage of melatonin can help with these problems.

Cushing’s Disease

Melatonin is also often used to treat Cushing’s disease. The increase in melatonin can help the body block the increased cortisone resulting from benign tumors found on the pituitary gland. However, the disease can also stem from adrenal gland tumors.

Although these conditions are treated with surgery, melatonin can help with the process. Because surgical treatment of Cushing’s disease requires anesthesia, melatonin can be used to help reduce stress, thus mitgating some of the risk factors of anesthesia for dogs.

Alopecia

Some dogs suffer from a condition known as seasonal alopecia, which causes a loss of fur. While it remains unclear how melatonin helps with this condition — and there is no direct evidence that it’s effective — anecdotal evidence suggests that melatonin is definitely worth a try.

How to determine the proper dose of melatonin for your dog

A veterinarian should be the person to determine the proper dosage of any medication or supplement for your dog, and that includes melatonin. They should be able to evaluate your dog and provide guidelines for giving melatonin to your dog. Typically, the dosage depends on your dog’s size.

Dogs under 10 lbs are typically recommended 1 mg, while dogs weighing between 10 and 25 lb dogs usually receive 1.5 mg. For dogs weighing 26 to 100 lbs, 3 mg is usually appropriate, and dogs weighing over 100 lbs are typically recommended 3 to 6 mg of melatonin. Three times a day is typically the limit for any sized dosage of melatonin.

Regardless of the standard recommendations, you should always consult your vet before introducing any medication, supplements, or vitamins to your dog. Dogs sometimes have individual needs that require the skills and knowledge of a veterinarian.

Side Effects

There are very few known side effects of melatonin use in dogs, which is one reason why it’s a popular choice over sedative drugs. The lack of side effects make it a generally safe option.

However, it’s still important to be aware of any potential side effects and know what to watch out for. If you notice any symptoms occurring, it is important that you report it to your veterinarian as soon as possible. They may suggest a reduced dose or a different treatment option.

These are the potential side effects all dog owners should be aware of when giving melatonin to their dog:

  • Upset stomach
  • Bowel issues
  • Itching
  • Drowsiness
  • Tachycardia / racing heartbeat
  • Confusion
  • Irregularities in fertility

Overall, melatonin is generally very beneficial to animals, including dogs. Although it is a hormone that generates naturally, a boost can often alleviate problems such as anxiety, sleep troubles, and more. It’s always best to consult a trusted veterinarian with any concerns and ask then about giving your dog a medication or supplement like melatonin. With the proper dosage and safe guidelines to follow, your dog may benefit from trying a melatonin supplement.