Melatonin For Dogs – All You Ever Wanted To Know

By Michael Tarran

September 14, 2016

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It seems there’s been a recent spike in trends when it comes to using melatonin to treat several concerns that relate to the health of your fuzzy friends. 

There are even tablets meant specifically for dogs, which can raise some eyebrows, especially when it comes to extremely worried dog-owners, “Can I give my dog melatonin?” and “Why should I give my dog melatonin?”. 

Of course, some people are rightfully skeptical about using any kind of medications on themselves, let alone on their beloved companions.

So, here I come to the rescue with all the necessary and vital information that relates directly to your burning question:

“Can I give my dog melatonin?”

Thankfully, there’s plenty of science-based and science-backed information out there to answer all the questions.

What are you waiting for? Let’s get to the bottom of this!

Last Updated: October 23rd 2020

Things to Consider When Using Melatonin for Dogs

melatonin for dogs - yes or no?

The all-encompassing answer to your initial question, “Can I give my dog melatonin?” is YES, you can. 

However, the matter is much more complex, and there are sides that need to be investigated.

Luckily, I am there to do the entire process for you so that you do not have to bother yourself! 

#1 - Is Melatonin Safe For Canines?

The shortest possible answer to this question is YES; it is. 

But before I get to it, it’s essential to educate ourselves about melatonin and its uses and benefits.

First and foremost, melatonin is a natural hormone that regulates several bodily functions. 

Although it’s primarily known as a safe sleep aid for humans, it’s rapidly developing a reputation in the dog-owning microcosms as one of the safest tranquilizers around to use for our canines.

The most important thing to accept is that, like all other tranquilizers, hormones, aids for your fuzzy friends, it cannot and will not work like magic!

#2 What Is the Safe Dose?

There are safe doses and precautions that should be respected at all times. 

The recommended 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.

A more detailed dosage based on the size and weight of your dog can be seen here:

Dog’s Weight 

Melatonin Dosage

Less than 10 lbs 

1 mg

Between 10-25 lbs

1.5 mg

Between 25-100 lbs

3 mg

Over 100 lbs 

3-6 mg

#3 Which Kind of Melatonin Should You Give Your Dog?

There’s also a couple of different additives that you should be on the lookout for. 

If you choose to give your fuzzy companion melatonin, please check the available labels to make sure that it doesn’t contain Xylitol.

Additives are typically considered benign in humans. But, 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.

Another useful piece of information is that you should also be on the lookout for any allergic reactions that your dog might have. 

After you give your dog melatonin, you should monitor them carefully and make a note of their behavior. It starts to kick in after as little as 15 minutes and can last up to 8 hours.

It seems that melatonin has kicked in 🙂

While you might be able to save some money utilizing generic melatonin tablets, keep in mind that melatonin tablets that work for humans can be rather harmful to your canine.

Instead, opt for melatonin tablets that are specifically made for dogs, or a supplement that contains melatonin for dogs.

#4 Are There Any Side Effects?

If you dose melatonin correctly, most likely, there won’t be any side effects.

Some overly sensitive dogs may experience them, though, and the most common are:

  • Drowsiness. Your dog may become lethargic, especially if that’s the first time it takes any kind of sedatives.

  • Digestive issues. Puppies and dogs who have a sensitive tummy should avoid it!

  • Increased heart rate. This is very rare and occurs only if your dog has an underlying, more severe condition.

  • Allergic reaction. Just like with pretty much anything, it can cause an allergic reaction, though melatonin is not a frequent allergen, and I haven’t heard of any case where a dog was allergic to melatonin.

Things to Consider When Using Melatonin for Dogs

The use 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 (though it can help with sleep problems).

There’s a wide variety of conditions that can be helped by utilizing this safe and effective hormone.

Fear Of Loud Noises

This little pal could use some melatonin!

Does your dog look like this when it hears a loud “BANG” or thunder rumbling?

One of the most common things for which melatonin is used is during the fireworks season, and to treat noise phobia. It can also be helpful when storms begin to come in during the winter, as some of our pets are terrified of thunder.

Since it seems to act as a general sedative with canines, it can also help to desensitize them to loud noises that would commonly cause them to panic. 

Separation Anxiety

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!

Destructive Dogs

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 rational energy level and prevent the destruction of your property.

The same goes for dogs that are hyperactive and won’t calm down. 

If they can stop trembling, jumping, or running around for days, melatonin might help them relax a little bit.

It may look something like this:

Or this 🙂:

Non-Psychological Issues: Alopecia & Cushing’s Disease

While all of the previously mentioned conditions are pretty much psychological, there are some physical health problems that can be treated with melatonin, such as alopecia and Cushing’s disease.

It can be implemented into the treatment of alopecia to help dogs that suffer from hair loss. Although it’s controversial whether the cause of the disease is stress, melatonin is known not to have any side-effects, and it helps the dog experience less stress.

As for Cushing's disease, melatonin blocks the increased cortisone that is caused by the condition (precisely, by a benign tumor) and thus helps when dealing with mild cases.

To Sum It Up...

If you’ve been asking yourself, “Can I give my dog melatonin?”, the answer is quite affirmative. 

As you can see, melatonin makes for an amazingly safe and straightforward 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.

Whatever your reasons for giving melatonin, you’ll find that it’s merely 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 who has trouble sleeping. 

Make sure to use a dog-approved brand, and you’re good to go!

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Michael Tarran

About Me

I'm a devoted pet parent to two lovely creatures – Charlie the Cat and Jimmy the Dog – a full-time assistant pet store manager, and an animal shelter volunteer. I've gathered knowledge about pets for almost a decade, and it all started in a small store called Jack's Pets.

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