Can Dogs Eat Melatonin?
March 25, 2022 | 3 min read
Updated March 25, 2022
Published: March 25, 2022
Updated: May 12, 2023
Summary: In this blog, we learn all about the pros and cons of melatonin for dogs. We’ll discover what melatonin for dogs is, how and why it’s used in dogs and whether there are any side effects…
What Is Melatonin For Dogs?
Melatonin is a hormone. It naturally occurs in the body of both humans and dogs. Despite there not being enough studies in melatonin usage in dogs and no conclusive evidence, it’s touted to have multiple benefits when supplemented properly and in a controlled way in dogs…
Pros And Cons
It can ease anxiety; some anxious pups can really benefit from melatonin supplements. It’s thought to help mellow out pups struggling with separation anxiousness or stressful, triggering situations like fireworks or thunderstorms.
It can help with seasonal hair loss; some doggies lose hair and shed quite substantially dependent on the season and usually on the sides of the abdomen. Some owners swear by melatonin supplements to help alleviate this happening too severely.
It can help control symptoms of Cushing’s disease; Cushing’s disease is when there is benign tumor growth on either the pituitary gland in the brain or on an adrenal gland. When a benign tumor is located on the pituitary gland, melatonin is touted as being effective in helping block the excess cortisone which causes the body to release. Mainstream drugs can come with debilitating side effects so some vets may suggest trying melatonin in milder cases to help manage symptoms.
It can help restless dogs sleep; melatonin is thought to help tell our bodies when it’s nighttime. Dogs with cognitive dysfunction disorder (which can be common in senior dogs) or those that experience difficulty sleeping/settling may benefit from melatonin supplements as it may aid in regulating the body’s biological rhythms and patterns.
Melatonin for dogs is generally regarded as safe. However, although arguably rare, some side effects have been seen with melatonin supplements in dogs. These include drowsiness, stomach upset, stomach cramps, insulin resistance in diabetic pets, itching, increased heart rate, confusion, and in some cases the disruption of non-spayed female dog’s reproductive cycles.
Additionally, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has not yet approved melatonin for use in animals.
How Much Melatonin Can You Give A Dog?
Melatonin supplements can come in tablet, capsule, powder, and liquid forms. They can also be found in chewable melatonin supplements made specifically for dogs. Always read the label of the melatonin supplement you’re interested in trying, as some brand formulas contain xylitol which is toxic for dogs to ingest.
Melatonin supplements usually start to work about 15 minutes after ingesting and the effects can last up to 8 hours.
When it comes to how much you should give your dog, you must consult with your vet first – especially if Fido is on any regular medication as the melatonin may interfere with it.
Your vet will also be able to help advise on appropriate dosage according to your dog specifically. Most vets will recommend a gradual introduction so a small amount at first, and then work your way up to the advised dosage.
Typical dosage advice usually follows:
Up to 10lbs - 1mg up to 3 times a day
10-25lbs - 1.5mg up to 3 times a day
26-100lbs - 3mg up to 3 times a day
100lbs+ - Between 3 and 6mg up to 3 times a day
Pregnant dogs and dogs under a year of age (puppies) should not be given melatonin.
Remember, before starting your dog on anything new, medicinal, or supplemental, always consult with your vet.
"Melatonin For Dogs: Is It Safe?" Mar 13. 2017, Pets MD https://www.petmd.com/dog/general-health/melatonin-dogs-it-safe
Author Clark, Mike "Melatonin For Dogs: Uses, Dosage & Side Effects" Dog Time https://dogtime.com/dog-health/59583-melatonin-dogs-uses-dosage-side-effects
Author Reisen, Jan "Melatonin For Dogs: Usage, Benefits And Dosage" Aug 22. 2016, American Kennel Club https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/melatonin-for-dogs-uses-benefits-and-dosage/