It seems there’s been a recent trend in using melatonin to treat a plethora of issues relating to dog’s health. There’s even tablets meant specifically for dogs, which can raise some interesting questions for the curious canine owner, “Can I give my dog melatonin?” and “Why should I give my dog melatonin?” Thankfully, there’s plenty of science-based information out there to answer your queries.
Is Melatonin Safe for Canines?
The short answer is YES. Melatonin is a natural hormone which regulates several bodily functions. Although it’s primarily known as a safe sleep aid for humans, it’s rapidly gaining a reputation as one of the safest tranquilizers around to use for out canines.
As with anything, however, there’s more to it than that. The most important thing is that you can’t just load your dog full of the stuff and expect it to work properly. The dosages for dogs are actually quite high in comparison to human dosages, about 3mg for every 35-100lbs. Smaller dogs should be okay with 1.5mg or so.
There’s also a couple of different additives, which are normally considered benign in humans that you’ll want to look out for. For instance Xylitol, an artificial sweetener, is harmful to our pets, and it’s probably best to go with a high-quality tablet meant for dogs instead of trying to use a human formulation.
While you might be able to save some money utilizing generic melatonin tablets, keep in mind this can be rather harmful for your canine.
What to Dose Melatonin For?
The uses of melatonin in canines is actually more diverse than it is in humans. It seems to act as a mild sedative overall, rather than just being specifically for sleep with all of the anxiolytic properties you’d expect.
There’s a wide variety of conditions that can be helped by utilizing this safe and effective hormone.
Fear of Loud Noises
One of the most common things it’s used for is the fireworks season. Since it seems to act as a general sedative within canines, it can also help to desensitize them to loud noises that would commonly cause them to panic. It can also be helpful when storms begin to come in during the winter as some of our pets are terrified of thunder.
It can also be used to help with separation anxiety. If your poor dog finds himself often freaking out when you’re gone, administering melatonin before you leave for the day can be a great way to help them out. It’s a common condition, especially with smaller dogs, and a simple way to improve their quality of life while you go about your busy day.
Of course, separation anxiety is best handled with training but if your dog has shown no response to it you might want to give this compound a shot.
If your dog has trouble sleeping at night, you might want to consider giving them a dose before you go to bed at night. Just like in humans it can induce feelings of sleepiness and they’ll soon be snoozing away peacefully and ready to get up in the morning. Even better, it’ll be without the feeling of grogginess that can accompany more traditional sedatives.
It’s also useful for older dogs who have trouble sleeping at night due to the pain of arthritis or the various joint conditions that emerge as dogs get older.
While it’s not a cure-all, if your dog is overly fond of tearing your home apart you might want to consider dosing them a couple of times a day. The overall sedative quality of melatonin might be just the thing to get them back on a more normal energy level and prevent the destruction of your property.
As you can see, melatonin makes for an amazingly safe and simple way to sedate your dog without spending a ton of money on veterinary pharmaceuticals. It has virtually no side effects, and the safety margin for using it is quite large.
If you’ve been asking yourself, “can I give my dog melatonin?” the answer is quite affirmative. Whatever your reasons for giving it you’ll find that it’s simply one of the best sedatives around for dogs, and can make a huge difference in the quality of life for a nervous canine or one with trouble sleeping. Make sure to use a dog-approved brand and you’ll be good to go.