Melatonin is an over-the-counter hormone primarily used for relieving symptoms of insomnia. This naturally occurring substance is well regarded because it’s generally safe, but is that true for pet dogs?
This natural wonder drug is produced within the body through the brain’s pineal gland. Melatonin triggers sleepiness and can help a person, or dog, sleep soundly through the night.
Although less common, dogs can also have problems sleeping. Sometimes it’s caused by fear, anxiousness or other external factors. Giving a Melatonin pill to your canine may be a good solution.
Can I Give My Dog Melatonin? Answer: Yes
It is considered safe for dogs 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 natural OTC drug can be given to dogs experiencing mild 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 It
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. For this type of situation, you really should consult with 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. Just pay attention to the product’s other ingredients because some additives can be harmful. Also, start out with a small dose before increasing the amount of Melatonin your dog receives. You can never be too careful!