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What happens if a dog takes 10mg of melatonin?

Melatonin for Dogs

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Melatonin is known for its role in helping people sleep, but this hormone also affects animals. Although research is limited, melatonin supplements are generally believed to be safe for dogs, and veterinarians may suggest melatonin supplements to help dogs with sleep problems, behavioral issues, and medical conditions. For pet owners, it can be helpful to learn more about melatonin for dogs, including when to use it and how much to give. Pet owners should also know about the importance of working with a veterinarian and choosing a quality supplement.

Table of Contents
Table of Contents

  • Can Dogs Take Melatonin?
  • How Melatonin Can Affect Your Dog
  • Melatonin Dosage Chart for Dogs
  • When To Give Your Dog Melatonin
  • Risk of Melatonin Side Effects in Dogs
  • Choosing a Melatonin Supplements for Your Dog

Can Dogs Take Melatonin?

Melatonin supplements are believed to be safe for most dogs when used in appropriate amounts, and many veterinarians prescribe melatonin to try to help dogs with various health issues.

Melatonin is a hormone that nearly all mammals, including dogs, produce naturally. Animals produce melatonin during periods of darkness, and their melatonin levels can change throughout the year in response to varying amounts of daylight. Melatonin has many potential functions, including helping animals sense the time of day and regulate seasonal changes in their body and behavior.

Melatonin is also sold as a dietary supplement that is marketed for use in humans, dogs, and other animals. The body can make melatonin naturally, but melatonin for supplements is typically manufactured synthetically. Veterinarians may recommend melatonin supplements for some behavioral or medical conditions in dogs.

Although there is a lack of research Trusted Source National Library of Medicine, Biotech Information The National Center for Biotechnology Information advances science and health by providing access to biomedical and genomic information. View Source about melatonin’s effectiveness in dogs, it is common in veterinary medicine to consider prescribing medications that have been studied and used in humans. In people, melatonin may be used for sleeping problems like delayed sleep-wake phase disorder, jet lag, and anxiety related to surgery.

Before giving a dog any new supplement or medication, it is important to speak with a veterinarian. Prior to recommending melatonin, a veterinarian may perform an exam and conduct tests to diagnose the cause of behavior or sleep issues. This may help identify the optimal treatment and ensure that melatonin is a safe and appropriate option.

How Melatonin Can Affect Your Dog

Veterinarians may recommend melatonin to treat dogs experiencing stress and anxiety, sleeping problems, or certain medical conditions. Melatonin may be suggested in addition to other treatments for these issues because of its potential effects on sleep and behavior.

Melatonin for Stress, Anxiety, and Phobias in Dogs

Melatonin may be helpful for dogs who regularly experience anxiety, stress, phobias, or signs of cognitive dysfunction .

Many dogs experience anxiety that may be triggered by fear of a potential threat, separation from their family, or changes in their environment or routine. Anxiety and sleep problems Trusted Source National Library of Medicine, Biotech Information The National Center for Biotechnology Information advances science and health by providing access to biomedical and genomic information. View Source can also be a sign of cognitive problems in older dogs.

Anxiety sometimes occurs as a phobia, which describes a sudden and intense response to a trigger, such as loud noises from a vacuum cleaner, fireworks, or thunder. Because dogs cannot say when they are anxious or afraid, they may display their anxiety through a wide range of behaviors, including:

  • Chewing, scratching, or other destructive behavior
  • Shaking or shivering
  • Barking, howling, or crying
  • Going to the bathroom in the house
  • Excessive salivating
  • Pacing or having difficulty settling down
  • Refusing to eat

These and other behavioral challenges in dogs are usually treated with a combination of training, changes to the dog’s environment, and medication or supplements.

Melatonin for Sleep Issues in Dogs

Like their human counterparts, dogs need sleep for their health and well-being. Changes in a dog’s sleep patterns may be a sign of an underlying medical issue, a symptom of a sleep disorder, or a response to changes in their surroundings. While more research is necessary, some experts believe that melatonin supplements may help to alleviate insomnia and other disruptions in a dog’s sleep-wake cycle.

Melatonin may also be used in dogs that cannot tell when it is light or dark outside because of blindness or other problems with their vision. In humans, this condition is called non-24-hour sleep-wake rhythm disorder and is often treated with supplemental melatonin .

Other Uses of Melatonin in Dogs

Other potential uses of melatonin in dogs include treatment for hair loss, Cushing’s disease, and thrombocytopenia.

  • Hair loss: Research suggests that melatonin may be helpful for dogs with hair loss. In dogs with certain types of alopecia, melatonin may help prevent hair loss, promote regrowth of fur, and encourage the formation of a healthier coat.
  • Cushing’s disease: Melatonin may be an alternative treatment for Cushing’s disease, a condition caused by excess production of the hormone cortisol. Examples of symptoms of Cushing’s disease in dogs include increased hunger and thirst, hair loss, and panting more than usual.
  • Thrombocytopenia: Canine immune-mediated thrombocytopenia (ITP) is a common disorder in dogs in which the immune system attacks platelets or cells in the bone marrow. Some veterinarians prescribe melatonin alongside other treatments for canine ITP.

Researchers continue to explore other potential uses of melatonin in dogs. For example, studies are evaluating whether melatonin may reduce the anesthesia required before surgery, improve the outcomes of cataract surgery Trusted Source National Library of Medicine, Biotech Information The National Center for Biotechnology Information advances science and health by providing access to biomedical and genomic information. View Source , or be beneficial as a treatment for canine cancer.

Melatonin Dosage Chart for Dogs

The right dose of melatonin depends on several factors, including a dog’s weight and medical needs . For these reasons, it is important to talk to a veterinarian for support in finding the right dose of melatonin for any specific dog.

When giving melatonin for anxiety or as a sleep aid, the dose of melatonin is determined by a dog’s weight. Some experts suggest giving a dog melatonin every 8 hours at a dose of 0.1 milligrams of melatonin for each kilogram of the dog’s weight. Others suggest a slightly larger dose given once every 12 to 24 hours.

WeightMelatonin Dosage
Less than 5 kilograms1 milligram every 12 to 24 hours
5 to 15 kilograms1.5 milligrams every 12 to 24 hours
15 to 50 kilograms3 milligrams every 12 to 24 hours
Over 50 kilograms5 milligrams every 12 to 24 hours

When To Give Your Dog Melatonin

To address a dog’s anxiety or phobias, it may help to give a dose of melatonin prior to the trigger that can cause distress. A veterinarian may recommend providing a dose of melatonin between 30 minutes and 2 hours before the anticipated anxiety-provoking event in order to allow enough time for the supplement to take effect.

For helping a dog sleep, avoid giving melatonin during the day. Instead, wait until around 30 minutes before the desired sleep time. To help establish healthy sleep patterns, it is recommended to give melatonin as part of a bedtime routine. Components of evening routines for dogs can include keeping a consistent bedtime, turning off bright lights, limiting noise, and providing the same comfortable place to sleep each night.

Risk of Melatonin Side Effects in Dogs

When given in proper amounts, melatonin is considered safe to give to dogs. Although harmful effects are uncommon, giving too much melatonin may cause a dog to be lethargic and have an upset stomach. Other potential side effects include:

  • Fertility issues
  • Increased heart rate
  • Cramping
  • Itchiness
  • Confusion

Melatonin may also interact with other medications given to dogs. Melatonin can increase the effects of benzodiazepines, which are used to treat anxiety and seizures. It may also interact with succinylcholine, a drug that is sometimes used as a muscle relaxer in animals.

While melatonin is safe for most dogs when using an appropriate dose, some supplements can include other ingredients that may pose health risks.

For these reasons, it is important to talk to a veterinarian before giving melatonin to dogs, especially dogs that are taking other medications as well as dogs that are pregnant, very young, or have other medical conditions.

Are Melatonin Gummies Safe for Dogs?

Some melatonin gummies may be harmful for dogs. Melatonin supplements designed for humans may contain xylitol or other ingredients considered toxic to dogs.

Xylitol is an ingredient used as a sweetener in many sugar-free products, like baked goods, chewable vitamins, toothpaste, and dietary supplements. Even at low doses, xylitol can cause dangerously low blood sugar in dogs.

Additionally, some gummies may not contain the right amount of melatonin for dogs. In fact, research has found that melatonin supplements vary in quality, and some may contain a different amount of melatonin than what is listed on the package. For this reason, it is best to talk to a veterinarian about finding a high-quality melatonin supplement.

Choosing a Melatonin Supplements for Your Dog

With such a wide range of melatonin supplements on the market, it can be challenging to find the right one for your dog. Melatonin comes in a variety of formulations for dogs, including pills, drops, powders, lotions, and liquids. Several considerations may be helpful when choosing a melatonin supplement.

  • Advice from a vet: Contact your veterinarian before giving your dog a melatonin supplement, especially if your dog is taking other medications, is pregnant or will become pregnant, or has a diagnosed medical condition. A veterinarian can help you select the right supplement and find the appropriate dose.
  • Find quality supplements: Because melatonin supplements are not regulated by the FDA, be cautious about trusting what is written on the label. When possible, find a reputable supplement by asking a vet or looking for third-party verification of the product.
  • Check the ingredient list: Not all human supplements are safe for dogs. Before giving a supplement to your dog, check the label for toxic ingredients like xylitol. Also check the label to make sure that the melatonin has not expired.
  • Watch for side effects: Although generally safe for dogs, look out for side effects after giving melatonin. If you notice any abnormal or concerning symptoms, contact a veterinarian as soon as possible.

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Melatonin for Dogs: Is It Safe?

Melatonin for Dogs: Is It Safe?

Melatonin is a hormone that occurs naturally in the bodies of pets and people. As a supplement, it can help us and our canine companions relax, de-stress, and sleep. It may also help with certain medical conditions.

While you should always talk to your veterinarian before introducing any new medications or supplements into your pet’s health care regime, here are some ways melatonin, when administered properly, can help your dog feel healthier and happier.

Uses of Melatonin for Dogs


Melatonin is sometimes given to dogs who suffer from anxiety, says Dr. Judy Morgan, a holistic veterinarian and author of several books, including “From Needles to Natural: Learning Holistic Pet Healing.”

The supplement can help ease the symptoms of separation anxiety caused by long days at the office or a family vacation. It can also help a dog mellow out before a potentially stressful experience like a long road trip or a visit to the groomer.

Dr. Marie Haynes, a veterinarian in Ottawa, Canada, says she’s also seen melatonin help dogs who have thunderstorm anxieties.

“We use it whenever we need some sort of calming effect,” she says.


Melatonin is believed to help regulate the internal processes that tell our bodies whether it’s night or day, time to sleep or time to play. Humans may use melatonin supplements to overcome the insomnia associated with jet lag. It can also help older dogs with cognitive dysfunctions regulate their biorhythms and get a better night’s sleep, Morgan says.

Cushing’s Disease

“What I use melatonin most commonly for is the treatment of Cushing’s disease,” Morgan says. The supplement helps the body block the uptake of increased cortisone caused by a benign tumor on the pituitary gland, she says. Cushing’s disease can also be caused by a tumor on an adrenal gland. These cases are best treated through surgery, says Dr. Jennifer Coates, a veterinary advisor for petMD.

Other drugs used to treat pituitary-dependent Cushing’s disease can cause harsh side effects, including vomiting, diarrhea, and even kidney failure, although they typically become necessary when a dog has moderate to severe symptoms. “I like to start with something natural and take it from there,” Morgan says. Melatonin appears to be most helpful when dealing with mild cases of Cushing’s disease or with “atypical” Cushing’s disease, in which sex hormone production is elevated, Coates explains.


Haynes says she uses melatonin to help dogs suffering from seasonal alopecia, which is sometimes also referred to as flank alopecia. The condition is marked by bald patches on either side of the abdomen.

It’s not known what causes the hair loss, she says. It’s also not clear how melatonin helps seasonal alopecia, or if the condition would go away by itself without the use of the supplement. But for some pet owners, it’s satisfying to know they’re trying to do something to help their dog.

“There’s no scientific proof melatonin works, but the potential for serious side effects is very low,” Haynes says. “In most cases, there’s no harm in trying it.”

Melatonin Side Effects in Dogs

While melatonin is regarded as safe for most dogs, it’s still important to talk to your veterinarian before administering it to your pet.

Dosage will depend on the size of the dog and his sensitivity to the drug. It’s also important to run the supplement’s ingredient list by your veterinarian. Some brands of melatonin contain xylitol, which is poisonous to dogs, Haynes says.

The biggest side effect to melatonin is drowsiness. It can also cause digestive upset and, in some animals, an increased heart rate. It may also affect the reproductive cycle of female dogs and can cause insulin resistance in diabetic animals.

It’s also important to speak to your veterinarian to make sure the supplement doesn’t interact with other medicines your dog is taking.

And just like any medication, melatonin could cause an allergic reaction in your dog, Morgan says. “I’ve never seen it happen, but it’s something to watch out for.”

Can Dogs Have Melatonin?

If you’ve ever been up all night tossing and turning, you’ve probably tried using melatonin to help you sleep. And if it worked for you, you might wonder if melatonin can be given to dogs. The answer is yes—most dogs can have melatonin and some even benefit from it.

But it’s not just for sleep! Melatonin has a few different uses in veterinary medicine. Here’s what to know if your veterinarian suggests it for your pup.

What is Melatonin?

Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone in many animals, including dogs, cats, and humans. It’s primarily produced by the pineal gland in the brain and helps regulate the body’s daily cycle, or circadian rhythm. Melatonin production is stimulated by darkness, so levels are significantly higher at night than they are during the day. Levels are even higher in the autumn and winter as a result of shorter days.

In dogs and many other animals, melatonin has an impact on bodily functions related to reproduction, behavior, and hair growth (including seasonal shedding).

Can Dogs Have Melatonin Supplements?

Melatonin supplements are considered safe for use in most dogs. Veterinarians may recommend melatonin therapy to help treat skin conditions, behavioral concerns, and sleep disorders in your fur baby.

Melatonin has been shown to promote hair regrowth in dogs with alopecia (hair loss) related to non-allergic skin conditions such as generalized alopecia, atopic dermatitis, alopecia X, seasonal flank alopecia, and mange.

Because melatonin has a calming effect, it has been used to treat dogs with generalized anxiety, separation anxiety, and phobias.

Just like with people, melatonin can help dogs sleep better. Dogs can experience sleep disturbances due to sleep disorders such as narcolepsy or as a symptom of a health problem. Dementia can also disrupt dogs’ sleep-wake cycles.

Research has shown that giving melatonin prior to anesthesia can promote calmness and reduce the amount of anesthesia drugs needed. Veterinarians continue to study the effects of melatonin on animals and its potential benefits. Talk to your vet if you think melatonin could benefit your dog.

Melatonin Side Effects in Dogs

The good news is that melatonin is considered quite safe for dogs, with side effects being quite rare. The primary side effect is sleepiness. Melatonin can also cause changes in fertility in dogs that have not been spayed or neutered. Other potential side effects include GI upset, increased heart rate, itching, and confusion.

Melatonin Dosage for Dogs

Melatonin has a wide dosage range for dogs, just like for humans. The recommended dose depends on the reason for treatment. General recommendations are to give 1 to 6 milligrams orally every eight to 24 hours. Typically, doses are lower and less frequent when used for sleep than for skin conditions and behavioral concerns. Your veterinarian will determine the dosage that is most appropriate for your dog.

Melatonin is usually given orally as a pill, chewable, or liquid. Oral forms for both dogs and humans are available as over-the-counter products and can be given with or without food. Studies have revealed that the composition of commercial melatonin products varies widely. Many of the tested products had melatonin levels that differed from what was listed on the label, and some even contained serotonin. Your vet can help you find the best product for your dog.

There’s also a melatonin implant called Dermatonin that may be available in some areas. This implant is injected under the skin and provides continuous melatonin treatment for up to six months. Your veterinarian can recommend the best type of treatment based on your dog’s needs.

Melatonin works quickly, taking effect within about 1 to 2 hours.

If you happen to miss a dose, you can give the missed dose as long it’s not too close to the next scheduled dose. If it’s nearly time for your dog’s next dose of melatonin, then skip the missed dose and proceed with the regularly scheduled dose. Do not double up on doses.

Can Dogs Overdose on Melatonin?

Little evidence exists regarding dogs overdosing on melatonin. Fortunately, melatonin has a wide dosage range, so a mild overdose is unlikely to cause significant problems. Mild overdosages of melatonin may cause vomiting, diarrhea, and excessive sleepiness.

A major overdose of melatonin might be more serious. Potential effects include incoordination, itchiness, high blood pressure, rapid heart rate, and seizures. Contact a veterinarian immediately if your dog eats a large amount of melatonin (like a whole bottle). You can call your local vet, a pet emergency center, or a pet poison control service like ASPCA Animal Poison Control at (888) 426-4435 or Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661. You may be advised to induce vomiting if the overdose happened recently. Your dog will likely require follow-up treatment at a veterinary hospital.

Can Dogs Have Melatonin Gummies?

The answer here is a big maybe. Some human-labeled products contain ingredients that are harmful to dogs, particularly the sugar substitute xylitol. It’s best to choose a product labeled for use in dogs. Check the labels and ask your vet which ingredients are safe. Immediately contact your vet or a poison control service if your dog eats melatonin gummies that contain xylitol.

Melatonin Drug Interactions and Warnings

Melatonin is considered safe to use with most other drugs. However, it may increase the effects of benzodiazepines like diazepam and alprazolam. Melatonin can also increase the effects of succinylcholine, a skeletal muscle relaxant. In addition, melatonin may not react well with certain vitamin and herbal supplements. Be sure to tell your vet about all of your dog’s medications and supplements before starting melatonin.

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