The main use of Melatonin in humans is to help insonmiacs sleep better. Melatonin acts as a natural sedative to calm down anxious dogs. It is a better alternative to tranquilizers during those times that your dog is experiencing anxiety, for example, during thunderstorms, when taking your dog to the vet, or when he/she is around unfamiliar people. Melatonin is commonly used in dogs to ease the trauma that comes with a painful injury. Melatonin is also used in dogs to reduce hypertension and also to prevent brain deterioration in dogs suffering from Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (similar to Alzheimer’s disease in humans). It also helps in the immune system of dogs. Puppies are very sensitive to loud sounds and they panic easily, tremble and hide under the stairs. It is advisable to use Melatonin compared to sedatives and tranquilizers because the side effects are lesser.
Melatonin typically comes in pill form with 300mg, 1mg and 3 mg dosages. Small melatonin dosage for dogs is typically between 500mcg to 1mg given every eight hours. Large melatonin dosage for dogs is between 3mg and 9mg. Melatonin is given orally to dogs by mixing it to the dog food. Use the plain tablet form of melatonin for dogs, it is not recommended to use sustained release or sublingual melatonin. When using melatonin for sleep related problems, administer melatonin to your dog just before they retire at night. Melatonin takes effect within 10 to 15 minutes in a dog’s body. If your dog gets more restful sleep, you can gradually reduce the dosage. In case of anxious dogs during thunderstorms, you should administer melatonin before the storm hits.
Melatonin Dosage For Dogs
1 mg for dogs that weigh less than 10 lbs
1.5 mg for dogs that weigh between 10 to 25 lbs
3 mg for dogs that weigh between 26 to 100 lbs
3 to 6 mg for dogs that weigh over 100 lbs
Melatonin Side Effects on Dogs
The side effects of using melatonin on humans are minimal. Typical side effects of melatonin are headaches, nausea and mood changes. In dogs, melatonin simply makes them drowsy or does not have any effect at all on the dog’s anxiety or insomnia.
Melatonin Precautions for Dogs
Since melatonin is a hormone, it can interact with other body processes. It is always best that you discuss with your vet, the pros and cons of melatonin supplementation. Inform your vet about other medications that are administered to your pet before starting melatonin supplementaion. Melatonin is contraindicated for dogs that are pregnat or lactating.
Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association , Volume 215, No. 1, July 1999. “Vet Med Today: Animal Behavior Case of the Month” written by Linda Aronson, DVM, MA; from the Department of Clinical Studies, School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, North Grafton, MA.
May 2000 issue (Volume 3, Number 5) The Whole Dog Journal – melatonin and the positive results with noise and thunder-phobic dogs.