Last updated on January 4th, 2016 at 10:13 pm
Is Melatonin safe for dogs
Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone in human beings which is produced by the pineal gland. It is used in the treatment of insomnia.
Many people are all too quick to give their dogs human, over-the-counter
medications. One of these is Melatonin, which is used to treat insomnia and anxiety in dogs. However, Ideally, you really shouldn’t give your dog human medications, not even Melatonin.
There are some Melatonin formulations which are manufactured specifically for dogs which are a better alternative instead of giving your dog your sleeping tablets.Human grade Melatonin products often have other additives which can potenially be harmful to dogs. For example, Xylitol which is an artificial sweetener is often an additive which is harmful for dogs.The side effects of Melatonin will vary from one dog to another, in the same way it varies from one person to another. However, some of the various side effects your dog may experience include:
- Some female dogs become less interested in mating
- Larger dosages cause dogs to urinate more often
- Melatonin interacts with medications such as monoamine oxidase inhibitors, sedatives, and steroids causing vomiting and diarrhea
- For some dogs, it may cause excessive lethargy or paradoxically nervous behaviour.
- Never give Melatonin to pregnant or nursing dogs nor should you give it to puppies
Other Alternatives to Melatonin
Fortunately, there are some things you can use instead of Melatonin. Of course, what you choose to use will depend on what you’re trying to treat your dog for.
1. Melatonin for dogs: If you have had great results with Melatonin in the past and would like to continue using it, I would suggest to use a product like K9 Choice Melatonin which is specifically formulated for dogs and does not contain any harmful additives.
2. D.A.P Pheromone Products: Adaptil Happy Home Diffuser is a D.A.P. pheromone product that relieves stress and anxiety by replicating the “no fear” chemical signal mother dogs produce when they nurse their puppies. These are typically used via infusers that spray an odorless mist into the air at pre-set times.
If your dog is suffering from anxiety, you can try:
3. Thundershirts: Thundershirts are the best way you can calm your dog without giving him medication. This is what makes so many people like using it for their dogs. 80% of dogs show significant improvement in their anxiety when they wear it. With over 3000 positive reviews on Amazon from satisfied dog owners, the thundershirt is the best and my favourite option for anxiety in dogs. It is a blessing for dog owners whose dogs get freaked out by sounds like thunder, crackers, travelling etc. Some experts, such as Dr. Temple Grandin have shown that pressure has a calming effect on the nervous system, which is why it works so well.
4. Chamomile soft chews: Many types are available with chamomile in them. For instance, there are:
- Complete Calm is administered up to twice daily. Each time you’ll give your dog one tablet per 25 pounds of body weight or half a chew for dogs under 25 pounds.
- Pet-Ease is a wafer you feed your dog. The recommended dose is one wafer per 10 lbs of body weight as needed, but don’t give your dog more than 6 wafers per day.
- B Vitamin soft chews: If you don’t want to give herbs to your dog, you can try giving him Vitamin B1 instead.
- Chewable tablets: While these ease anxiety, they work best when given before the event and in conjunction with a behavioral modification program. There are a few choices available including:
- Virbac Anxitane‘s main ingredient is L-Theanine, which is an amino acid that’s found primarily in particular plant and fungal species. This all-natural ingredient will help you calm your dog. Various research studies were done demonstrating its safety as long as it’s given properly. As such, you should only give dogs under 25 lbs a half tablet twice daily while giving dogs over 55 lbs one whole tablet per day. You can give this to your dog twice a day, but no more, if necessary.
- Travel Calm contains various herbs and vitamins, including Calcium (Citrate), Potassium, Ginger Extract, Magnesium, Pyridoxine (B6), Tryptophan, and Valerian Root. This is one of the few medications here you actually must time. It’s important for you to give Travel Calm to your dog an hour before the event you know will cause them anxiety. If your dog is under 25 lbs give one tablet; between 25 – 75 lbs give 2 tablets; and for dogs over 75 lbs give 3 tablets. If you like this product, but don’t want to give your dog medication, note that it does come in the form of a calming spray as well.
- Calming sprays: These are aerosol sprays you can use in any room or vehicle to give your dog with calming reassurance. This is thanks to the natural, calming pheromones coupled with the aroma therapy ingredients they contain.
6.Liquid drops: These include brands like HomeoPet and Natural Pet, both of which contain ingredients (e.g. Aconitum Napellus, Arsenicum Album) meant to help calm your pet. You can add a few drops of them to their mouth, food, or water.
Of course, some of these medications can treat both insomnia and anxiety, such as Rescue Remedy. These are liquid drops you give your dog. They’re made of diluted flower extracts (e.g. Helianthemum nummularium, Clematis vitalba, Impatiens glandulifera, Prunus cerasifera, and Ornithogalum umbellatum), which you place in your dog’s mouth or disguise in their food or water. After 30 – 60 minutes your dog will calm down without feeling excessively sleepy. This can help your dog overcome anxiety too since it’s possible they’re too uptight to sleep.
What All of This Really Means
While there are many different alternatives to choose from to calm your dog down and help him sleep, ultimately, if your dog is having a lot of problems, you’ll want to take him to your vet. He’s the one who can tell you if something more than the aforementioned treatments are necessary or better for your dog. Whatever you do, you don’t want to give your dog Melatonin. If you do decide to use one of the medications or treatments we’ve mentioned above, then keep in mind that the one that works best for your pet will depend on him in much the same way as different medications work better for various humans. Nonetheless, with this information you’re ready to find the right one for your pet.