The number of reputable doctors recommending the use of melatonin to help alleviate various types of sleep disorders is continuously increasing, and as a result, melatonin use is becoming much more popular every day. Many people report that melatonin can also given to children with sleep problems, questions are being asked regarding the expanded use of this supplement. More specifically, some pet owners are wondering if it is safe to prescribe melatonin for dogs, and would it work? And the answer to this is yes—melatonin will work for dogs and it is just as safe for dogs as it is for humans.
When to Give Melatonin to Your Dog
There are several situations in which melatonin for dogs may not only be acceptable, but actually recommended. For example, some dogs may have trouble sleeping through the night, and their sleeplessness can cause them to howl, bark, or disturb you (and your neighbors!) when you sleep. Some dogs may also benefit from melatonin when they are obviously suffering from separation anxiety, as it can help them feel more relaxed. The dog’s anxiety and stress may also be caused by loud noises such as thunder and fireworks, and the fear these noises can create may become so severe that it can cause seizures. Melatonin can calm these dogs down, and their anxiety levels can revert to normal levels.
Finally, there are certain cases in which dogs have become so disturbed and agitated that calming them down quickly is a necessity. Traditionally, vets have used tranquilizers for this purpose, even though this medication can cause many unwanted side effects. Taking too much tranquilizers or too frequently can cause dogs to become depressed or to even hallucinate. Now, an increasing number of vets have begun prescribing melatonin instead. Melatonin is just as effective, but it’s also much safer than tranquilizers.
Like humans, dogs have different reactions to medications and supplements including melatonin. It may be a good idea for pet owners to consult their vets first in order to make sure that the proper dosage is administered.
However, there are some very general rules you can follow when you give your dog melatonin. Medium sized dogs weighing anywhere from 35 to 100 pounds may safely receive 3mg of melatonin three times a day. Smaller dogs should have their dosage reduced to 1 or 1.5 mg, while larger dogs should have their dosage increased to at least 6mg three times a day.
In general, melatonin for dogs is safe. However, just like people, some dogs may be sensitive to melatonin. You should reduce the dosage if your dog becomes overly lethargic during the day. Melatonin may also disrupt reproductive cycles in female dogs, and it is also not recommended to give melatonin to pregnant and breastfeeding dogs. But aside from these issues, melatonin is safe for dogs. Give them melatonin to help them sleep through the night, and perhaps you can sleep more soundly as well.