Melatonin for Dogs (Calming the Savage Beast)
Life with a nervous dog can be nerve-wracking. At its worst, it could hinder your ability to have a good night’s sleep or even leave your house without feeling wrought with guilt. Fortunately, you can use Melatonin to help take your pooch’s edge off – provided you use it correctly.
A Look at Melatonin
In order to understand why Melatonin can be an effective treatment for your pooch’s anxiety, it’s important to take a brief look at the substance itself, and why it can be considered an effective relaxant. After all, it’s never a good idea to give your dog something without understanding what exactly it is you’re giving your dog.
Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that’s secreted by a dog’s pineal gland. This secretion helps humans and animals regulate their sleeping and waking cycles by sending out messages that it’s time to relax and prepare for rest. Reputable sleeping aids for humans will typically have Melatonin in their formula.
Dog owners may be attracted to Melatonin because it is a substance that occurs in nature and is not synthetic. Because of the hormone’s associative properties, it’s not exactly surprising to see dog owners giving it to their dogs as a sleep aid. However, Melatonin’s abilities go well beyond helping your pooch with his slumber.
The Many Uses of Melatonin
In addition to being used as a sleep aid, Melatonin is used to help dogs to combat separation anxiety. It’s also used to help treat a dog’s anxieties related to certain noises, like fireworks. The rationale here is because an increase in the hormone will enable the dog to become more relaxed and less jumpy.
Melatonin has also been shown to be an effective treatment for alopecia, or hair loss. It is thought that the hormone can promote partial or complete hair regrowth in certain animals that have developed conditions causing hair loss. This treatment may be especially prominent for certain breeds prone to alopecia, like Pomeranians.
There are other beneficial claims that have been associated with the use of Melatonin. Some state that it can help with weight gain in the wake of a surgery or an illness. Others state that it can aid in fighting Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome, a condition that’s not unlike Alzheimer’s in humans.
Before You Give Your Dog Melatonin
Admittedly, all of the claims of health benefits associated with Melatonin make it sound like some sort of wonder drug that almost sounds too good to be true. While it has been deemed safe for canine consumption, this level of safeness does come with a couple of asterisks in place.
First and foremost, despite its general acknowledgment as a safe product, it is still considered an experimental treatment. There isn’t a whole lot of information out there regarding its safety when used over a long period of time.
With that being said, there are a few elements relating to the use of Melatonin that seems to indicate it will get over this speed bump one day. For instance, many veterinarians have used Melatonin implants to treat alopecia with no signs of negative reactions. These particular implants can last for up to four months.
How Should I Administer Melatonin to My Dog?
As is the case with any over-the-counter medication, the amount of Melatonin you should provide your pooch depends on his size. Dogs weighing less than 10 pounds should take in just 1 milligram of the substance. Conversely, dogs weighing 100 pounds or more should take in 3 to 6 milligrams.
There are several delivery methods to provide Melatonin to your dog. The supplement comes in the form of a tablet, capsule, powder, or liquid. In the case of the latter two delivery methods, the substance can be easily incorporated into your dog’s food.
The effects of the dose typically work in your dog’s body for 8 hours. If you’re using it to control his anxiety, you’ll want to time the administration of the substance to cover the times where he is most likely to become skittish. The effects of Melatonin typically kick in 10 to 15 minutes after it’s been administered.
Is Melatonin Safe for All Dogs?
Dogs that are pregnant should not be administered Melatonin. The supplement is also not considered safe for very young puppies that are 12 weeks and under. The reason in both of these cases is that the physiology of the dog is in flux, and an introduction of an outside substance may cause an unfortunate disruption.
Also, based on what has been ascertained from human usage, Melatonin should not be taken if your dog has health issues related to the liver, brain, blood, or kidneys. The supplement has also been shown to slow down the blood clotting process, so you shouldn’t administer it if your dog is on a drug possessing anticoagulant properties.
What Are the Side Effects of Melatonin?
Based on the scant information that is out there, the side effects of Melatonin are seemingly rare. With that being said, it is thought that issues like increased heart rate, gastric upset, stomach cramps, and itching may crop up. Some of these side effects are projected issues based on the potential side effects seen in humans.
As is the case with any over-the-counter medication, if you’re not 100% sure on using Melatonin on your own, you should set up a visit with your veterinarian. Your vet can provide your pet with a thorough examination to rule out any potential issues your pooch could face while using Melatonin, which could obviously provide you peace of mind.
Help Your Dog Gently!
If you decide to provide your pooch with Melatonin, be sure you do so in a caring, gentle manner. Getting from point A to point B with anything relating to behavior is a gradual process, and the best way to reach the desired endgame is to provide consistent love and kindness to your pooch. He may not be able to say it through words, but he’ll be thankful.
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