Can I Give My Dog Melatonin?

Can I Give My Dog Melatonin?Melatonin is an over-the-counter hormone primarily used for relieving symptoms of insomnia. It’s great because it’s a safe and natural drug. But is it really that safe for pet dogs?

This wonder drug is produced within the body through the brain’s pineal gland. It triggers sleepiness and helps a person, or dog, sleep soundly through the night. On the other hand, insufficient production of Melatonin can lead to insomnia and even depression.

Of course, dogs can have problems sleeping too. Sometimes their poor sleep is caused by fear, anxiousness or other external factors. Giving a Melatonin pill to your dog in such situations may be a good solution.

Can I Give My Dog Melatonin? Answer: Yes

Melatonin is just as safe for dogs as it is for humans when a correct dose is given.

However, it’s important to purchase a quality brand that doesn’t contain potentially harmful substances. Xylitol is, for example, a toxic artificial sweetener and often found in melatonin products. Other than that, this OTC drug can be given to dogs experiencing sleeping problems or separation anxiety issues.

What it Actually Does

The soothing effects of Melatonin can help most dogs relax and generally feel less agitated. They’ll likely sleep soundly through the night as well. Also, if your dog has fear of lightning or thunderstorms and other loud noises such as fireworks or the sound of gunfire, a melatonin tablet can provide some relief.

Keep in mind, the effects can sometimes vary from dog to dog just as they do among people. But in most cases, canine calming can last up to 8 hours. If your four-legged friend is staying up all night, it’s a good idea to give this medicine at around 10pm. This could help to facilitate a continued and restful sleep up to around 6am.

Melatonin vs. Alternatives

There are other ways to calm a fearful and agitated dog. You can tranquilize them but it’s kind of drastic and not a good solution unless several other alternatives have been unsuccessfully tried. Tranquilizers can have negative side effects. Just like their human counterparts, frequent and high dosage of tranquilizers bring on depression and even hallucinations.

Try melatonin first. It’s probably the most noteworthy type of people medicine that isn’t harmful for dogs. Your best buddy may feel relaxed and even-tempered as soon as the Melatonin begins taking effect. In certain situations, an even safer alternative is Thundershirt.

Safe Melatonin Dosage

Whenever giving medication to your dog, you should always consult with a vet as to the safety of the drug as well as the proper dosage. In the case of Melatonin, you can typically give your dog 3mg for every 35 to 100-pounds but not more than three times per day. Small breeds typically require around 1.5mg, while larger dogs can usually handle as much as 6mg.

Although this is a safe hormonal drug, talk to your vet regarding the right brand, dose and other important considerations which may be relevant to your particular dog.

Where to Buy Melatonin

Although it’s sometimes prescribed, Melatonin can be purchased in most drug stores nationwide or online. It’s become a very popular over-the-counter herbal medication. Any place that sells vitamins and supplements will likely carry it.

Some Safety Precautions

Compared to so many other drugs, Melatonin is relatively safe for canines but you should avoid giving this to pregnant dogs. It may affect the newborn puppies and the mother’s health as well. In this type of situation, you really should consult a professional to be on the safe side.

Conclusion on Melatonin

Melatonin can help to keep your panicky or phobic dog more relaxed and rested. That’s why many people keep this medicine on hand, especially those that have family members (that includes dogs) with anxiety or sleeping issues. It’s a better alternative compared to tranquilizers in most cases.

So yes, this natural medicine can be very useful and your dog may appreciate it. Just pay close attention to the product’s other ingredients because some additives can be harmful. Also, be prudent by starting out with a small dosage before increasing the amount of Melatonin your dog receives. You can never be too careful!

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{ 77 comments… read them below or add one }

Mimi October, 2015

My 11 year old Spaniel has sleep issues, especially if I leave her with a sitter. She sleeps all day and goes to sleep at night. But inevitably wakes in the middle of the night, pawing at the bed, panting and pacing. She has terrible separation anxiety and fear of thunderstorms. She also thinks planes are thunder sometimes too, which is a problem at night. My vet has prescribed Xanax which does no good at all. In fact, I think it scares her that she feels wobbly, and it makes the anxiety worse. I’m thinking about trying Melatonin. Any suggestions?

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Vickie B September, 2015

Has anyone ever heard of using melatonin for dogs with Immune-Mediated Hemolytic Anemia (IMHA)?

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Jan July, 2015

What is the best and safest brand of Melatonin? Also, can it be given while my Lurcher is taking Tramadol for his arthritic hind legs?

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Chloe July, 2015

Be very careful with melatonin. My dog immediately started getting severe nosebleeds afterwards. She’s been off of it for over a week but is still getting them. I can’t wait until it gets out of her system. Melatonin may be natural but has some nasty side effects.

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Nikki June, 2015

We give our dog liquid Melatonin to combat her fear of thunderstorms, fireworks, etc. We use Finest Nutrition brand, Extra Strength Liquid Melatonin, which has a strength of 5mg per tablespoon. One tablespoon is just under 15cc, so 5mg in 15cc works out to appropriately one milligram per 3cc. She weighs 12 pounds and we usually give her about 3cc. She’s receiving roughly 1mg of melatonin per dose. If there’s a severe storm, we can increase her dosage up to as much as 2mg.

This is a lightly lemon flavored liquid and, after dosing her, she actually wants to lick the rest off of the dosing syringe. It is easier to adjust the dosage using a liquid form and it works much faster than waiting for a pill to go to work. This does not knock her out, but it does calm her down. She will interact with us, eat and drink, etc. We have found that this has dramatically improved the quality of our dog’s life. No more hysterics, no more running frantically in circles or running headfirst into the wall.

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