Treating Separation Anxiety in Dogs with Melatonin
How Does Melatonin Help your Dog with Separation Anxiety?
Most of us are familiar with melatonin as a supplement for those who are sleep deprived. But there’s more to it than what you know. Taking melatonin supplements helps you sleep better, but it also is an effective remedy for dogs with separation anxiety.
Melatonin refers to a naturally occurring hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain of most animals, including humans. The hormone affects the sleep cycle of the animals through the neuroendocrine control system. Melatonin supplements are a synthetic form of the hormone and can be purchased over the counter in the U.S.
So, how does your dog benefit from melatonin?
1 – Relieves Anxiety
Melatonin supplements for dogs come in two modes of delivery. You can either feed it to your pooch on its own or buy a product containing melatonin and other vitamins that promote calmness and relaxation.
Anxiety in dogs is quite common. The most prevalent forms are separation anxiety, night walking behavior, thunderstorm phobia, and general anxiety. If your dog suffers from anxiety, melatonin can help it calm down.
2 – Hair Cycle Abnormality
A dog’s hair cycle abnormality is medically referred to as Alopecia X. It is, unfortunately, an often-misunderstood disorder in which the dog loses hair for an unknown cause. It usually happens in double-coated dog breeds like Siberian Huskies and Pomeranians.
A dog suffering from Alopecia X sheds hair and fails to regrow it. There are a couple of studies showing promising results on the use of melatonin to help in hair regrowth of dogs with Alopecia X.
3 – Cushing’s Disease
Old dogs may suffer from a disorder called “Cushing’s disease.” It is linked to an abnormality in the endocrine system, where the abnormal production of cortisol causes weight gain, hair loss, panting and increased urination and thirst.
Fortunately, it is a common practice among veterinarians to prescribe melatonin as an alternative treatment for Cushing’s disease. It makes sense because melatonin reduces cortisol levels in the body, and the condition is caused by the excess production of cortisol.
Melatonin Side Effects in Dogs
While melatonin is a proven treatment for dogs with separation anxiety, it is also a dog owner’s responsibility to learn of the possible side effects. It’s not a secret that veterinarians prescribe melatonin every day. But like humans, it also may have adverse effects on a canine.
The most common are:
- Weight Gain
- Fertility Issues
When to NOT Give Melatonin to Your Dog
If your dog has a history of liver or kidney problems, you must be cautious in giving it melatonin supplements. You’re better off asking your veterinarian first. The usual dosing range of melatonin for dogs is from three to 12 mg through oral solution every eight hours. Melatonin may be taken long term, but if there are no improvements after a couple of months, there’s no point in using it.
There are a wide range of products to choose from, but if you are looking at treating your dog’s anxiety, choose a combination product with melatonin along with ingredients like colostrum, chamomile, kava-kava, and L-Theanine.
Melatonin is currently offered in stores as an over-the-counter supplement for the treatment of anxiety, Cushing’s disease, hair cycle abnormality, and sleeplessness in dogs. There remains a lot of questions to answer about its effectiveness in treating other conditions aside from those mentioned, but research is ongoing.
Like melatonin, your dog also can benefit from a full spectrum oil-based food supplement. Petness Calm is a mood-enhancing, and anxiety relief dog treat that’s all-natural and contains hemp extract and non-GMO ingredients. The product is also full-vegan, with sweet potato and pumpkin as the two primary ingredients.