Many people own dogs that have what veterinarians would say are behavior problems. They are hyperactive, restlessness, sleeplessness, or exhibit obsessive compulsive disorders. Other dogs suffer from noise anxieties, such as a fear of the sound of the garbage disposal, the vacuum cleaner and the sound of thunderstorms or fireworks. Then there are the dogs that suffer from separation anxiety, and cannot be left alone without howling, barking or destroying things. Sometimes these issues and disorders can become bad enough to interrupt the peace and balance of an entire household. As a result, most owners are happy to learn that there is a safe and effective, natural, remedy for many of these complaints. It is as close at hand as their local neighborhood pharmacy or grocery store.
Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that is produced by both animals and plants. In both humans and animals, it produces a feeling of calm and relaxation. In vertebrates, Melatonin is produced by the endocrine gland in the brain, called the pineal gland. It is responsible for, among other things, the management of the organism’s circadian rhythms or day and night sleep and away patterns. These chemical changes have a direct impact on a person or animal’s behavior, physiology and mental state. Based on a 24 hour cycle of darkness and light, the body has a natural response to the changes in the amount of light they are exposed to. The amount of Melatonin a body produces rises in the absence of light, typically after the sun goes down. It helps the body relax and prepare for sleep. The amount of Melatonin produced in a human or animal is much higher when they are younger. As we age, it begins to decrease.
Melatonin’s chemical name is N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine, and it can be collected from animals, or produced synthetically. Although there are some instances where a “natural” supplement might be better, in the case of Melatonin, the opposite is actually true. The two types of Melatonin are identical in composition and structure. However, there is a small risk exists that the “natural” Melatonin might be contaminated with a virus. For this reason, it is generally recommended that only synthetic Melatonin be taken as a supplement. Synthetic Melatonin is available over-the-counter in most pharmacies in 1mg, 3mg and 10 mg dosages, and in timed release formulations.
Many dog owner themselves take Melatonin at night to help them sleep, and have found themselves wondering at times, “Can I Give My Dog Melatonin?” The answer to this question is a definite and emphatic, “Yes!” Although there are may be rare exceptions, the vast majority of dogs respond positively when given Melatonin for such complaints as fear of thunder, to calm them for a trip to the veterinarian’s office, or even from riding in a car. For these stressful events, Melatonin may be the answer. Melatonin is an effective all round anxiety medication for dogs, and is much safer for them than tranquilizers.
Some people have dogs that suffer from debilitating health conditions, such as epilepsy, Cushing’s Disease and Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome, a form of dementia that dogs and other domesticated animals may occasionally develop. Many owners wonder can dogs take Melatonin for these diseases and again, the answer is a definite, yes. Many dogs, as they get older begin to be restless during the night. They simply do not sleep as well as they once did. Melatonin is a strong and beneficial sleep aid for dogs. Just people, the dogs sleep is deep, relaxed and restoring. A good nights sleep can correct a number of health issues. For the most up-to-date information about treating these diseases holistically, make an appointment with a holistic veterinarian to talk about your dogs specific health issues. While Melatonin might not be a cure-all for some of these chronic conditions, a large number of dog owners will testify that when they started their dog Melatonin, they had fewer seizures, especially at night. They also required less prescription medications. Dogs with Cushing’s disease had less hair loss when given Melatonin than did dogs without it.
Melatonine sold for human consumption is safe to give to your dog, so long as the dosage is correct. The correct melatonin dosage for dogs depends upon the dog’s weight. A typical dose is around 1 mg. per 20 pounds. This would translate to approximately 1 mg for a small dog, 3 mg. for an medium sized dog, and as much as 6 mg. for a large dog. If you know a stressful event is coming, such as a trip to the vet’s office, or a forecasted thunderstorm, give the Melatonin 20 -; 30 minutes ahead of time. You can repeat the dosage up to three times per day at eight hour intervals.
Depending on how bad your dog’s behavior problems are, their physical health and/or emotional stress, Melatonin may or may not provide your dog relief. However, even in cases when it doesn’t provide “the cure,” most owners agree that it does takes the edge off. It helped to reduce their dogs anxiety, and made their quality of life better. So, wonder no more, “can dogs take melatonin?”, the answer is yes and safely, too.