Can I give my dog ​​melatonin?

Can I give my dog ​​melatonin?

If the dog is prone to anxiety, the owner may consider giving the dog melatonin. In fact, some experts prescribe this drug to relieve sleep disturbances, mild anxiety, and other such problems. 

It is important to consult with your veterinarian before giving your pet any medication or supplement. But how to figure out if melatonin is really needed for a dog to sleep?

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In mammals, melatonin is a natural hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain that regulates sleep cycles. It alerts the body when it is time to sleep and wake up. Melatonin levels are highest at night and lowest during the day.

Most melatonin supplements are synthetic. However, so-called natural melatonin supplements are derived from the pineal gland of animals.

Uses of melatonin for dogs

Your veterinarian may prescribe melatonin to your dog if they have:

  • քնի խանգարումներ;
  • անհանգստություն;
  • մազերի կորուստ;
  • Քուշինգի հիվանդություն.

In addition, in some cases, veterinarians recommend melatonin to dogs with cancer when they are undergoing chemotherapy.

To treat sleep or anxiety problems, especially noise phobia caused by auditory stimuli such as fireworks or thunderstorms, melatonin may be given in combination with behavioral therapy and other non-drug treatments.

How to give your dog melatonin

This drug is reasonably safe, but adverse side effects must be monitored and approved by a veterinarian beforehand.

The most common side effects of melatonin are severe drowsiness, fatigue, digestive problems and, in some cases, increased heart rate. Veterinary Partner advises that under no circumstances should melatonin be given to diabetic dogs as it may cause them to become insulin resistant.

In addition, the US Food and Drug Administration does not recommend supplements that include melatonin. This poses a risk as they may contain xylitol, a sugar substitute that is harmless to humans but toxic to dogs. 

It is important to carefully study the labels on which the composition of the drug is indicated. In fact, it is better to buy only a certain brand recommended by a veterinarian.

How melatonin works for dogs

The effectiveness of the hormone depends on several factors: the health of the dog, the problem to be solved, and the length of treatment.


Melatonin supplements can help improve your pet’s sleep patterns. This is especially helpful for older dogs with cognitive impairments and blind dogs that cannot tell day from night.


Melatonin also acts as a sedative for dogs prone to anxiety. Researchers at the British Small Animal Veterinary Congress explain this by saying that melatonin “is able to suppress dopamine.” It is a chemical produced by the brain that makes you feel good. Too much dopamine has been linked to anxiety.

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Experts are not sure by what mechanism melatonin helps reduce hair loss in dogs. Dr. Sue Paterson, a veterinary dermatologist, explained to Veterinary Practice that “melatonin can affect hair follicles directly at the cellular level” or by stimulating growth hormones.

Other Uses for Melatonin in Dogs

In dogs with cancer, melatonin helps alleviate the side effects of chemotherapy and promotes weight gain, according to the Dog Cancer Blog. This is important because during chemotherapy, appetite decreases dramatically.

According to the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine, melatonin may also help dogs suffering from Cushing’s disease. It is caused by overproduction of cortisol.

If your veterinarian thinks that melatonin will benefit your dog, don’t worry. It really does help her sleep.

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