Melatonin is a hormone primarily released by the pineal gland that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. It is a naturally occurring hormone that both humans and dogs produce. As mentioned before, it’s produced in the pineal gland and also helps our bodies to normalize our sleep schedule, and, to some extent, it also helps in regulating our feelings of anxiety or stress.
Today, we are going to discuss the same: Melatonin for dogs there are times when our body doesn’t produce enough melatonin or doesn’t release it at the proper times. In cases like this, doctors recommend taking a melatonin supplement once a day for short periods. This allows the patient to get back in line with a proper sleeping pattern.
But the main question is, can we give dogs melatonin, and if we do, will it work in the same way?
The answer is yes. Yes, you can give your dog melatonin. However, never do it without consulting your veterinarian. The use of melatonin will not cause any major problems for most of the dogs.
Though, keep in mind that if your dog is already taking any other supplements or is already on some medications, then giving your dog melatonin may cause adverse effects. On top of that, it may even worsen certain medical conditions, that’s why we highly suggest you consult your veterinarian before making any major steps. Giving melatonin to the dogs who are pregnant is also a big no as it may pose risks to both her and her puppies.
While it is dubious that your dog will have a brutally negative reaction to melatonin, it will be your best shot if you create an action plan with the help of your vet.
Now, the question that arises is for what reason would you give your dog melatonin? There are a few reasons. In due course, one of the biggest requests for using melatonin to treat dogs is that it is quite natural.
Some vets also prescribe melatonin to dogs who suffer from conditions such as insomnia, anxiety, Cushing’s disease, and alopecia. The dose often reduces some of the symptoms connected with these disorders while producing insignificant and tiny side effects. Let’s take a glance at some of these disorders:
Dogs as we all know are pets who get attached easily. I mean, their clinginess is not something that a fur parent can avoid; it’s inevitable, to put it simply. This nonchalant clinginess can sometimes also lead to separation anxiety. An estimated 20-40% of dogs suffer from some level of this disorder. Besides the distress, this causes the dog, behavioral problems and unhealthy coping mechanisms are also seen.
Some owners have returned from work only to discover that their pet has chewed up their bedding or has been fanatically cleaning the same spots over and over again on their paws. In insertion to separation anxiety, some dogs also experience situational anxiety which ranges from the fear of car rides to the fear of thunderstorms.
Melatonin has been proven effective for some owners to treat their dog’s anxiety. It can help them to smooth it in times of stress which results in lowering the chances of behavioral issues or unhealthy coping mechanisms.
I bet you didn’t know that people are not the only ones who can suffer from insomnia. I think we all have familiarized ourselves with this term in this modern way of living, but if you have been living under a rock, insomnia is the inability to fall asleep, stay asleep, or sleep peacefully. Too many nights of interrupted or unrestful sleep may lead to other major issues throughout the day, for instance, an increase in anxiety or just basic lethargy.
Dogs who are diagnosed with insomnia often have cognitive dysfunctions that interrupt their natural cyclical change, which can lead to unusual sleeping patterns or limited sleep in general. In cases like this, owners use melatonin to help their dogs sleep serenely through the night and feel more alert and active like their usual selves, during the day.
Cushing’s disease takes place when your dogs body is producing too much of the hormone cortisol. While a normal level of cortisol helps normalize stress responses and the immune system, too much cortisol can lead to problems such as frequent urination, muscle weakness, low energy level, and numerous skin conditions.
In some cases, melatonin can help ease out the symptoms of this unwanted disease. If the cause of this disease is a tumor on the adrenal or pituitary gland, the uptake of excess cortisol will be blocked by melatonin. Many vets go for melatonin-based treatment before they opt for other medications as the latter can cause severe side effects.
Some dogs experience seasonal flank alopecia in the winters. They start losing patches of hair on their lower backside, near their tail. There is still no clear reason for this. It does not go together with other skin disorders, which is a part of what makes this phenomenon so mysterious and shadowy.
Several vets prescribe melatonin to treat this sort of hair loss, even though it is not an unambiguous solution. While the hair grows back for dogs who are treated with melatonin, there is indecisive evidence that it wouldn’t grow back without melatonin. Nevertheless, it is a harmless key for most dogs and it can also help bring owners the comfort that they are vigorously trying to battle the alopecia.
Also Read: 6 Ways To Keep Your Pets Healthy
Melatonin Dosage for Dogs
Now that we have talked about what is melatonin, what is it used for, and such, you may ask us ‘what kind of melatonin should I use for my dog’, ‘how many doses should I give my dog’, or even ‘how should I administer the supplement?’
And as the blunt person, I am, I’ll reply with ‘you will need to talk to your vet about these questions.’ But as far as choosing a brand is concerned, you will want to find one that is not cut with an amount of other active ingredients. You should also avoid supplements that include xylitol.
Mostly, melatonin supplements have a tiny list of ingredients that are safe for dogs to take. But you should still talk to your vet about the brand that you are choosing before you use it because let’s face it, we are talking about a practical member of your family here, and when it comes to the health of a family member you should take all necessary safety measures because it’s better safe than sorry.
Shaping the proper dosage will depend on your dog’s body weight.
An easy rule is that a dog that weighs less than 10 pounds should take 1 milligram. Now, let us move onto other weight ranges such as, a dog that weighs around 10-25 pounds can have 1.5 milligrams. A dog that weighs around 26-100 pounds can have up to 3 milligrams and dogs over 100 pounds can be allowed to have up to 6 milligrams.
Nevertheless, the weight alone should not be taken into consideration while determining your dog’s dosage. Other factors such as prior conditions should also be taken into account. You should never give your dog melatonin more than 3 times a day, it doesn’t matter if the size of the dosage is less or more. Never, never give your dog melatonin more than 3 times a day.
While melatonin should not be taken with food for medical reasons, what is a better way to get a dog to take their medicine than to mix it with food? If you are using a tablet or capsule of melatonin then dip a spoon in yogurt or peanut butter and place the supplement inside. Don’t worry, if you’re using a powder or liquid form, we have still got your back! You can easily add it to a tiny bowl of water or a treat as long as you know well enough that your dog will consume the full dosage.
It usually takes 15-20 minutes roughly for the melatonin to kick in and do its work. The effects last till 8 hours. If your dog is suffering from insomnia and you’re using the melatonin to help your dog sleep an undisturbed slumber then you can simply give the melatonin to your pet before bedtime and it will do its work!
That was all about melatonin for dogs! We hope this article did its purpose and helped you in any way possible. And as a responsible citizen, I am going to repeat this: never give your dog melatonin more than 3 times a day!
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