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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{ 62 comments… read them below or add one }

Angela Snowden March 20, 2015

My 4 month old Rat Terrier was spayed yesterday. She was fine due to a pain med that was given before she left. But today, she’s like nothing has happened to her. I am so scared she’s going to bust her stitches. I am going to try Melatonin, 1.5mg, and see if this will help keep her calm. Only for 7 days!

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Joyce March 15, 2015

My dog took my 3mg of Melatonin by accident. She is a 24 pound Poodle. Should I be concerned?

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Lila February 4, 2015

I have a small Cocker Spaniel that is going to be 10 this year. She has, in the last couple of weeks, began pooping a lot in the house. She doesn’t eat that much but has a lot of poop, though solid. About that time my 5 year old German Shepherd began picking on her and I think perhaps the Cocker is anxious and nervous because this now happens quite often. Since this has started, it was recommended that I give them both this medicine. What are your thoughts? Right now I do not have the finances to take the Cocker to the vet.

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Michelle January 29, 2015

We rescued a 7 month old Australian Cattle Dog from the Humane Society. He came in as a stray and spent 2 months in there. He had absolutely no training so he was out of control. I have raised and trained Cattle Dogs my whole life and have actually worked my dogs. I understand the breed and the energy level. I work during the day so the puppy is left with my 11 year old female Heeler. They have a huge backyard and I work him in the evenings. The problem is still getting him to settle at night and sleep. He gets up to potty in the night and thinks it’s playtime. My husband gets up at 2:30am and myself at 5:00am. Is it safe to give this guy Melatonin at night to help us all get a little rest until we can get through this stage of training? He is 7 months and 30 pounds.

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Nancy February 11, 2015

We adopted a little rescue Chow Chow that was reactive. For the 1st year and a half I gave her Melatonin 6mg in the evenings which seemed to help. This is our second year and I no longer give it to her. An interesting fact that I found out is that Melatonin can stave off dementia in dogs. I would also say that you should check with your vet.

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Sheri January 22, 2015

I have a 75 pound Boxer who got into a baggie of Melatonin that my girlfriend gave me. I have no idea how many pills were there but probably 15 or so. He ate them about 6 hours ago and seems totally fine. Should I worry? Does anyone know?

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Damian January 27, 2015

I was originally recommended Melatonin by a vet friend of mine to cure my Boxer’s skin disorder. He also said, in low doses, it is great for anxiety and for long car trips. I am sure your dog will be fine. It’s a very mild drug with little or no side effects.

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Andrew February 27, 2015

Melatonin is a precursor to serotonin in the brain. Too much serotonin also known as Serotonin Syndrome can lead to coma and even death. The proper dose of melatonin is mild. An overdose is not. I hope Sheri called her vet.

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