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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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Sharon April, 2013

I have been giving my Jack Russell 3mg about an hour before bed time to help with sleeping. Like a previous poster, I may try adding 1-2 more doses during the day. She has already destroyed a chair and sofa. She is just over a year old so I figure we have another year of puppy chewing. She is otherwise a sweet girl and very intelligent.

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Cautiouseyes April, 2013

Giving our German Short Hair some Melatonin has a calming effect on him and has just about stopped all the whining. This was recommended by our vet, because our dog has such anxiety issues each time we get in the car.

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Sharon December, 2015

Thank you so very much for all your replies. This has helped tremendously. People were using starburst fireworks which are illegal here for private use and a danger to anyone without a license. It sent our GSD into a panic all night. Neither my husband nor I have gotten any sleep. The other dogs are trying to help her, but she refuses.

She has found solace in our office, while I write this, but the minute I get up she’ll return to her panic. My husband will find a place that will sell the Nature Made kind, so that she doesn’t become fearful of sleeping and the dark.

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Summer February, 2013

Thank you for this information. I have a 13 year old Maltese who suddenly developed anxiety issues. I have used the Thunder Shirt for one day, and it’s amazing, but he seems to need additional help. I feel confident in administering the Melatonin to him now.

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Amanda Sue January, 2013

We wish we would have know this years ago! It would have given us a really good chance of saving not 1, not 2 but literally 14 couches. Yes, I will scream it from the mountains, that dog was worth it. We lost him way too early, and our lives are not the same.

Deuce had some serious separation anxiety going on and it truly was hard to handle. I’m sure many of you understand that frustration! However this evening, we are giving it to our old mama dog. She has pain and sleeping issues in her old age and I try to keep her comfy as I can until we have her returned to the earth, which will be soon as I refuse to allow her to suffer beyond the help of simple OTC meds!

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Dog Lover January, 2013

Thanks for the information. We are taking care of a friend’s dog and he stays up all night. My children have melatonin prescribed plus myself. I would assume, melatonin being a natural substance which we ourselves produce, that it would be the same for all mammals.

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Anonymous July, 2013

From what I understand from my vet, you have to be careful with human medications because dogs metabolize differently then we do. But she said Melatonin is okay to give.

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James July, 2013

I totally agree with this comment. Many people give human medications to their dogs without a full understanding of the effects and how they differ compared to humans.

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