Melatonin For Dogs

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.

Melatonin References:

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.

7 Responses to Melatonin For Dogs

  1. linda says:

    My vet prescribed melatonin 3mg to assist her in getting her hearing back.

    • Nicki Wray says:

      My vet just prescribed the same thing for my dog after he gave me ear drops that made him deaf. Did this work for you?

  2. Missy says:

    I have an 8 year old stafffordshire terrier who has terrible separation anxiety. She is a hyper dog to begin with which I think has made her SA much worse. She has destroyed just about every door in the house from digging and scratching. She has destroyed every crate I have tried, and has also hurt herself while digging, scratching and biting her way out. I have tried a few different meds from the vet and have had no success. I am hoping that giving her melatonin will help with her symptoms. Any additional advice anyone has would be greatly appreciated!

  3. Alice says:

    i have a 6 yr old queensland mix male
    and everytime theres a bad storm or high winds
    he freaks out and would it be ok to give him the melatonin
    he weights i think between 60 to 70 lbs
    and is there any side affects to giving him this?

  4. Liz Leaf says:

    My vet recommended melatonin for my 14 year old 65 lb. dog who was displaying the symptoms of Cushing’s disease. The dog was drinking so much water at the time which led to accidents in the house. After playing around with the dosage we give him 4.5 mg of melatonin in the morning and again at night and the excessive water drinking has stopped.

  5. Connie Fravel says:

    I have a Cocker Spaniel that has Pituitary Dependent Cushings. Do you know of any studies done on melatonin and cortisol levels? I also have a dog with SARDS that is having some depression issues because of her blindenss, is melatonin something that would help her?

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