If you find yourself tossing and turning at night and you’re eager to get some decent sleep, you might turn to melatonin as a gentle and natural way to promote better rest.
What happens when your dog doesn’t seem to be getting enough sleep, or when your dog won’t sleep through a stormy night? Is melatonin a safe solution to the issue?
Before you give your dog melatonin, here’s what you need to know about this supplement. There may be a better solution that you should consider before turning to melatonin.
What is Melatonin?
Melatonin is a hormone produced by humans and animals as a part of the body’s natural process for managing a balanced sleep-wake cycle. When the brain senses it’s getting close to the time to sleep (i.e. when it starts getting dark outside), the pineal gland releases melatonin to send cues to the rest of the body.
Melatonin is popular among people dealing with temporary insomnia or issues like jet lag, where their circadian rhythm isn’t functioning as usual. Although melatonin is generally regarded as safe for humans, it’s typically intended to be used as a short-term solution. Once the brain and body sync back up into a productive and functional sleep schedule, most people stop using melatonin.
Is Melatonin Safe for Dogs?
While many authorities recognize melatonin as generally safe for most dogs, there are a few caveats.
Dissolvable, chewable, or liquid forms of melatonin are flavored and sweetened to make them more palatable. They may be sweetened with xylitol, a plant-derived sweetener that is inherently harmless to humans but highly toxic to dogs.
Stick to plain, unsweetened, unflavored melatonin tablets when giving melatonin to your dog.
Dogs can have up to 6 milligrams of melatonin a day, but oftentimes, 3 milligrams will be an appropriate dose.
Dogs are seldom willing to ingest tablets. It may be necessary to crush up the melatonin and mix it with something like mashed banana or unsweetened plain yogurt in order to disguise it.
Here’s Why You Should Reconsider
Although melatonin is safe for dogs, you may not want to grab the bottle just yet. Before you consider giving your dog melatonin, there are a few important things you need to contemplate.
Melatonin may not be the perfect solution it would appear to be on the surface, and it may be possible that your dog’s sleep disturbances can be resolved another way.
Melatonin May Have Side Effects
Melatonin’s side effects are the same in both humans and dogs, with next-day lethargy presenting the largest inconvenience. Your dog may wake from a melatonin-induced sleep only to be groggy and lethargic throughout the entirety of the next day. Dogs need plenty of exercise, and melatonin may leave your dog down for the count.
Your Dog’s Sleeping Patterns Aren’t the Same as Yours
If your dog gets up and walks around in the middle of the night, this isn’t necessarily a problem. Adult dogs usually spend between 12 and 14 hours a day sleeping, and they may not take all that time at night. It’s not abnormal for a dog to get up a few times during the night and seem perfectly alert.
This is because the sleep process works very differently in a dog’s brain. While you may have to argue with yourself and hit snooze a few times before you make it to the coffee pot, your dog can go almost immediately from sleep to a fully alert state of wakefulness.
If you notice that your dog is up and active when you wake up to use the restroom at 2 AM, this doesn’t necessarily mean your pet is having trouble sleeping. Your dog could have been woken up by the sound of you getting up and sprung immediately into action. Your dog may likely go right back to sleep as soon as you do.
Melatonin Won’t Always Be the Appropriate Solution
Melatonin is only an appropriate choice for dogs with sleep disorders. A sleep disorder is a condition that requires diagnosis by your dog’s veterinarian. Although it is used off-label for conditions like separation anxiety, it won’t work as well as proven and targeted methods of treatment for specific conditions.
Unless and until you know for a fact that your dog is living with a recognized condition or disorder that may have long-term effects, you shouldn’t treat your animal as though they do. Your dog’s sleep disturbances may require professional intervention, especially if they’re ongoing.
Your vet will let you know if melatonin can play a role in addressing the symptoms your dog is experiencing. Your vet will tell you what kind of melatonin your dog should take, as well as how much melatonin and how long you should provide melatonin to your dog.
CBD May Be a Better Alternative
Before you give your dog melatonin, consider using CBD. CBD assists with a much broader set of wellness concerns. It acts as an all-natural multi-tasker for many mood and vitality concerns that dog owners have for their pets.
CBD Naturally Supports Relaxation
If your dog seems high-strung all the time, you need to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. If your dog is just occasionally a little antsy, CBD may do the trick. It works to support the body’s own mood regulation processes, providing a general soothing effect that can minimize emotional discomfort.
CBD Combats the Symptoms of Environmental Distress
If your dog has trouble sleeping at night because your neighbors are loud and often have company into the wee hours, the problem isn’t with your dog. It’s with the people next door. It may be time to seek a peaceful resolution to the issue.
Fireworks and long thunderstorms may also put your dog on edge. Dogs who don’t like to travel may be upset about a long overnight car trip. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do in those situations.
CBD is helpful in soothing dogs during temporary bouts of environmental distress. You can’t stop a storm for your pet, but you can give your dog some CBD to take the edge off of the way they feel until the storm inevitably passes.
CBD Isn’t a Sedative
While CBD’s relaxation benefits can make it easier for your pup to get some sleep, it doesn’t work like a sedative. There’s nothing about CBD that will send sleepy signals to the brain or body like melatonin will, making your pet less likely to wake up feeling drowsy or lethargic as a result of the supplement.
VETCBD Hemp is Made for Your Pets
VETCBD Hemp uses American-grown hemp and extra virgin olive oil to create a tincture specifically for supporting the holistic wellness of your pets. Our CBD is thoroughly lab tested for quality and purity.
If your pet’s irregular sleep patterns have persisted long enough to become concerning, talk to your vet. While you’re there, ask your vet if CBD may be a valuable part of naturally promoting relaxation for your pet.