The question is often brought up if melatonin is safe for dogs, to treat stress and travel anxiety? Let’s take a look at the drug and how it reacts so you can get a better understanding of how it affects your pup (and whether it’s really the best solution).
What Is Melatonin?
Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that’s produced in the body from the brain pineal gland that regulates our sleep-wake cycle. Because of this, most people consider melatonin to be a natural sleep aid for insomnia.
Dogs are similar to us in that they also experience emotions and feelings. This means that dogs can also experience insomnia and depression if they don’t naturally get enough melatonin in their diet. A good natural source of melatonin for dogs is bananas. However, as with most food we can eat without issue, only give your dogs banana slices in moderation. Bananas contain a lot of natural sugars which can be unhealthy for your loyal companion in large quantities.
Can I Give My Dog Melatonin?
In some cases, yes, melatonin is considered to be okay for dogs just as it is for people. However, you should provide your dogs with the appropriate dosage and be aware certain brands have dangerous ingredients that can be poisonous to your pet. For example, xylitol is a common artificial sweetener in melatonin which is poisonous to dogs. This ingredient can often be found in over-the-counter melatonin products.
Side Effects of Melatonin
Melatonin may cause the following side effects if given to your dog:
- If you give your dog too much melatonin, you may notice that your dog is drowsy or may have an upset stomach.
- One of the most common side effects you might notice when giving your dog melatonin is an increase in heart rate.
- If your furry friend is female, it may affect their reproductive cycle. If you notice any signs or issues they are having, consult with a veterinarian immediately.
- Melatonin may cause insulin resistance if your dog is diabetic.
Again, make sure that your dog is fit to take melatonin before you give him or her any amount and be aware of all the ingredients to avoid accidentally making them sick from substances that can be harmful to them.
You can avoid these side effects through a natural solution like NaturPet Be Calm. Made from natural ingredients like valerian root and black cohosh (both which relieve muscle tension and blood pressure) it’s simple to administer and a perfect option to help your pet deal with any travel anxiety they might experience.
Obviously, if your dog has any pre-existing conditions you should take that into consideration (or talk to a vet) before giving them any melatonin.
Pregnant dogs and young puppies (12 weeks and below) should not be given this drug at all. Melatonin can slow the blood clotting process, which is why it is not recommended to administer it with other drugs that have anticoagulant properties like aspirin. If your dog is epileptic, then it should be administered before bedtime to help reduce epileptic seizures at night.
If you notice that your dog is suffering from hair loss, it is recommended that you speak with your vet and diagnose it accurately. Hair loss in dogs can be associated with many different conditions, such as Cushing’s disease, parasite infections, thyroid disease, and bacterial infection, which may require various forms of treatment.
Alternatives to Melatonin
Even though melatonin can be beneficial in some cases, pet owners should keep in mind that emotional distress and physical pain such as arthritis could be the cause of their issues. Other factors include environmental changes, separation anxiety, emotional tension in the household, joint-related pain from old age, and finally changes in the family “pack.” In some situations, a safe alternative that can help your dog feel more relaxed and even-tempered would be to make them wear a dog anxiety jacket or reestablishing his or her daily routine.
Another excellent option is to use NaturPet Be Calm. It’s a natural remedy that can help your dog calm down (which you can purchase from Nature Pet Store and other retailers!). The formula contains all-natural ingredients like ashwagandha which improves the health of your pet’s nervous system and eases stress. Plus, it can relieve travel anxiety when you’re adventuring with your loyal companion and ensure they can have as much fun as you’re having while exploring the world.
It’s important for dogs to get natural sources of melatonin as part of their regular diet. While melatonin supplements can be useful to them in some instances, you’re better off using alternatives to help them deal with stress and travel anxiety and avoid any of the potential side effects melatonin can bring.
At Nature Pet Store we believe that nature has provided the best medicines of all and that pets deserve only the very best! We are passionate about pet health, pet behaviours, and pet training.