Melatonin for Dogs: Benefits, Safety, Dosage and More!

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By: CertaPet Staff Updated: September 11, 2020

melatonin for dogs

Melatonin for dogs can be an excellent supplement in your pet’s diet. This naturally occurring substance is known to alleviate and assist with a whole range of health and mood problems in dogs. But what is melatonin, exactly? And how does it work?

In this article, we go into detail about everything you need to know regarding the safe and effective treatment of dogs using melatonin supplements.

Is your pooch experiencing anxiety or sleep problems? Or perhaps from Cushing’s disease or alopecia? Melatonin could have your pupper on the path to a happier and healthier life very soon!

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What is Melatonin?

First of all, if you’ve never encountered it before you may be wondering – what exactly is melatonin?

Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone in the body of both humans and animals. It is secreted by the pineal gland, a pea-sized gland which is found just above the middle of the brain.

Melatonin is essential in the body as it determines the circadian rhythms of the body. In other words: it regulates when we need to sleep and when we should be awake.

Without sufficient melatonin production, humans can develop sleep problems, such as insomnia, which if you’ve suffered from, you know you would not wish on your worst enemy, let alone on your beloved canine pal!

The effects of melatonin are proven to be a great treatment for sleep problems. It is often used as a sleep aid in humans. It is a natural and safe supplement that helps to combat sleep problems such as insomnia, or even jet lag, with minimal side effects.

How Does Melatonin Work?

Melatonin works to regulate your sleep cycle, which makes up our circadian rhythm. As it starts to become darker, the brain signals the pineal gland to increase production of melatonin, which in turn causes you to want to sleep.

The reverse happens as it becomes lighter again, when the body decreases its melatonin hormone production, signaling that it’s time to wake up.

People with sleep problems often have insufficient ability to produce melatonin, leading to disrupted sleep cycles. That’s where melatonin supplementation comes in! With the correct dose of melatonin, the body is once again able to regulate its sleep cycles effectively. Melatonin can also be an effective co-treatment for anxiety and depression.

What is Melatonin Used for in Dogs?

Melatonin for dogs is used for many of the same applications as in humans. Because melatonin is a naturally occurring substance, it is a safe and worry-free treatment for owners of pooches with some of the below problems.

melatonin dogs

Cushing’s Disease

Cushing’s disease is a condition in which there is a hormone imbalance in dogs, leading to an increase in cortisol levels. The cause of this is generally benign pituitary tumors which affect the pituitary gland. While operable in humans, they are not surgically removable in dogs.

In some dogs the disease is caused by tumors on the adrenal glands, which may be benign or cancerous – these should be operated on. Cushing’s disease can have a number of unpleasant effects for your beloved pal, such as hair loss, obesity, insomnia and loss of appetite.

In addition to this, traditional medications for dogs with this disease can be brutal. They have side effects such as vomiting, diarrhea, and kidney failure. At the correct dose, melatonin is a much gentler yet effective approach to easing the symptoms of mild Cushing’s disease.

General Anxiety and Separation Anxiety

Many dogs suffer from anxiety, either in general form or specifically when their owners leave the house. Melatonin can be used as a supplement to assist those dogs with anxiety safely and easily.

Because of its sedative like qualities, melatonin can be very effective in calming and soothing dogs with anxious conditions. This also applies to dogs that have anxious reactions to loud noises, such as those with a thunderstorm phobia or fear or fireworks.

Using this supplement is a wonderful way to stop worrying that you will come home to a runaway dog after leaving Rover alone for the evening!

Sleep Problems

As our furry friends get older, just like us, they can begin to experience sleep problems which can be frustrating for both you and them. Melatonin levels regulate the sleep-wake cycles of the body, which are supposed to be in sync with our circadian rhythm.

However, if your pooch has low melatonin levels, it makes it much harder for them to sleep at the correct time, and for the correct length of time. Melatonin for dogs supplements can boost your pup’s melatonin levels, making it easier for them to sleep, and to stay asleep for longer. Peace for both owner and pooch!


Melatonin therapy has been shown to have excellent effects in combating seasonal alopecia in dogs. So if your dog has problems with this hair loss condition, it may be an excellent solution.

Melatonin also assists with the hair loss associated with alopecia – however, at this stage, experts are not precisely sure how the compound helps! We’ll chalk that one down to the mysteries of science.

Is Melatonin Safe for Dogs?

Yes, as in humans, melatonin is also safe for use in dogs! Of course, if your dog has a pre-existing condition such as Cushing’s disease, it is important to consult your veterinarian in order to be sure that using melatonin is the right answer for your pupster.

Another important safety factor in the use of this supplement in dogs is the melatonin dosage that should be used. It is possible to calculate the dosage of melatonin to give your dog according to their condition and size and weight. However, we recommend working together with your vet to work out the ideal amount to give your canine companion.

It is always a good idea to discuss using melatonin as a supplement for your dog with your vet before you begin giving it to them. That way, your vet can help you to give your dog the perfect amount of melatonin to help them towards a better quality of life!

Potential Melatonin Side Effects to Look Out For!

While side effects of melatonin for dogs are rare, it is important as a responsible pet parent to know what to look out for, just in case.

It’s also really important to have a sharp eye out for nasty added ingredients when buying melatonin supplements, as some are known to contain xylitol which is toxic to dogs. 

The main side effect that can occur from melatonin is drowsiness. It can also cause digestive upset, increased heart rate and insulin resistance in diabetic dogs.

As with any new medication, there is a very small chance of an allergic reaction occurring with first-time use, so always keep a close eye on your pet when administering melatonin for the first time.

melatonin side effects

What to do When Your Dog Shows Negative Melatonin Effects!

If your pet shows any worrying signs, always seek medical attention as soon as possible. Remember, melatonin is unlikely to cause serious side effects. However, but it is always best to seek the medical attention of a vet if you are concerned.

Melatonin Dosage for Dogs!

We know melatonin for dogs is an excellent way to alleviate a number of unpleasant conditions. But what about melatonin dosage?

You should always work out the perfect dosage for your dog with your veterinarian. The dosage differs depending on whether it is treating anxiety, sleep or another condition.

As a general guide, dogs that are less than 10 pounds should be given 1 mg, dogs that are 10 to 25 pounds given 1.5 mg, dogs from 26 to 100 pounds should be given 3 mg and dogs that weigh over 100 pounds between 3 to 6 mg.

Don’t give your dogs melatonin more than 3 times per day.

Given Your Dog One Dose Too Many?

If you are worried that the dose you have given is too much and your dog is experiencing adverse side effects, take your dog to your vet immediately. However, if your dog is not experiencing adverse side effects, it is safe to monitor them closely.

Melatonin Overdose or Allergic Reactions are Few and Far Between!

Don’t let your anxiety get the best of you! Remember, melatonin for dogs is a safe supplement and it is extremely rare for an overdose or allergic reaction to occur.

If you work out a dose plan with your vet you should not have a single problem, only a happier pooch!

Alternative Option: Honest Paws

Honest Paws offers CBD oil for dogs as well as CBD dog treats that are a great option as an alternative to melatonin.

CBD can promote relaxation in dogs, assist the immune system, promote long-term health, and help with occasional discomfort. CBD is also a safe option for dogs since it’s all-natural and derived from plants.

Check out Honest Paws products to see if CBD may be right for your pup!

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3 Tips on Buying Melatonin for Your Dog! 

Melatonin is a safe treatment, but follow these tips and it will be completely foolproof (and cheaper!)

1. Ensure the melatonin product does NOT contain xylitol.

2. Work out the correct dosage with your vet.

3. Buy in bulk online to save money!

Rated 4.00/5.00 by Certapet
NaturVet Quiet Moments Calming Aid Plus Melatonin Dog Tablets$16.99
Tasty chewable tablets recommended to help support the nervous system in reducing stress and tension. Also recommended for dogs when traveling by car, plane or boat.

Disclaimer: This post may contain references to products from one or more of our partnered sites, Honest Paws and Vets Preferred. However, CertaPet content is to be used for educational and informational purposes only. Please seek veterinary advice for your own situation. For more on our terms of use, visit this page

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