Melatonin is a hormone that acts as a sedative and helps your body to regulate its sleep routine. It’s been used for a long time in alternative medicine as a treatment for insomnia and jet lag. But just because we humans use it, doesn’t mean melatonin is safe for dogs. Many foods and drugs that are safe for human consumption can be poisonous and even deadly for dogs. So what about melatonin for dogs? Is it safe and if so, in what dosages?
Can I give my dog melatonin?
The short answer is that yes, melatonin is safe for dogs. It’s a natural substance that’s just as safe for your dog as it is for you to take, as long as you give your dog the right dosage.
It’s perfectly okay to give your dog melatonin if it’s having trouble sleeping, whether it’s just in general due to anxiety or at specific times such as when there are loud noises at Halloween or during thunderstorms.
You should be aware though that there may be other causes of your dog’s insomnia. For example, they may be suffering joint pain. In cases such as this, you should consult your vet.
Hair loss in dogs is known as canine alopecia and melatonin can be used as a natural treatment for it. So-called “seasonal alopecia” is the most common type of canine alopecia and often lasts for up to six months. The hair usually grows back after this.
Alopecia X is another common form of dog hair loss that melatonin can be effective in treating. It’s successful in resulting in part or full hair regrowth in up to 40% of cases.
When treating hair loss in dogs, melatonin can either be given orally or through implants.
If your dog suffers from separation anxiety or is stressed, you can also give it melatonin to help with this. Melatonin is very good for inducing feelings of relaxtion.
Melatonin is also sometimes used to help a dog regain weight after sickness or surgery.
You should make sure you buy a high-quality brand of melatonin. You wouldn’t skimp when it comes to your own health so why should you when it comes to your dog’s? And cheaper brands of melatonin may contain some harmful ingredients that are toxic to your dog.
Melatonin dosage for dogs
It’s advisable to talk to your vet before giving melatonin to your dog, as they’ll be able to tell you the correct dosage for your particular dog. The dosage will depend upon your dog’s size and weight, and also upon what you’re using it to treat.
In general though, a typical melatonin dosage for dogs is between 1mg (for small dogs) to 6mg (for large dogs) for every 35-100 pounds of body weight.
You shouldn’t give your dog a melatonin dose more than 3 times a day.
There are no known major side effects for melatonin when given to dogs. Even where melatonin has been given to dogs over an extended period there have not been many reports of adverse reactions. So to all intents and purposes melatonin is quite safe for dogs.
That said, it’s not advisable to give melatonin to very young dogs. Nor should it be given to pregnant dogs. And you should also consult with your vet first before using melatonin for dogs that have liver or kidney disease, or dogs that have already been prescribed anticoagulants.
Melatonin is generally safe for dogs but as always you should consult with your vet before giving it to your dog. It’s often used to treat insomnia and hair loss among other things.
It’s important to note you should be aware that when dogs are having trouble sleeping this is often an indication they are unsettled or anxious. It’s better to find and fix the underlying cause of this instead of using drugs to make it go away.
The same also applies if your dog is suffering from hair loss as this could be a symptom of deeper underlying health issues.
So while using melatonin for dogs with any of these problems is a valid treatment, take care that you’re not just masking other problems.