Melatonin For Dogs With Hair Loss

The information in this article includes the correct dosage of melatonin for dogs, safety guidelines, side effects and more. Please read carefully before giving this drug to your pet.

Melatonin is a drug commonly used to treat alopecia (hair loss) in dogs, of which the condition “cyclic follicular dysplasia” is most common. Aside from the treatment of alopecia, melatonin has several other uses such as the treatment of anxiety and insomnia. Anybody who has dealt with insomnia at some point knows what a nightmare the condition can be, and it’s every bit as disruptive when it affects our pets. Insomnia prevents our body from getting the rest that it needs for recovery and growth, and can severely limit our abilities in day-to-day life. So how do you treat a dog with insomnia? It’s not a simple case of walking into the nearest pharmacy and picking up the first sleep aid you see, because many medicines which are used to treat humans contain ingredients which are highly toxic to dogs. This means that a great deal of care must be taken, as well as research, to ensure that what you’re giving to your dog is helpful rather than harmful.

Melatonin dosage for dogs

Unlike most other substances, the dosage of melatonin isn’t notated in an X mg per lb format, but splits into three distinct dosages. These dosages are as follows:

  • 0-30 lb dog – 1.5 mg
  • 31-99 lb dog – 3 mg
  • 100+ lbs – 6 mg

To be administered up to three times a day at 8 hour intervals. Do not exceed these amounts. Consult with a vet before giving melatonin to your dog so that he or she can recommend to you the correct dosage for your pet depending on their circumstances/medical history, and advise whether or not this substance is the best solution for your dog.

Is melatonin safe for dogs?

Yes, melatonin is a safe drug for use in dogs, it is often thought of by experts as being as safe for use in dogs as it is for use in humans. However, like with most drugs, if it is the first time you have ever administered melatonin to your dog, you should be extra vigilant in case of any (extremely rare) unanticipated side effects. Before using this substance, consider whether your dog’s problems are caused by physical or emotional distress, as in cases of emotional problems the use of substances may be entirely avoided in favor of helping your dog to work through whatever it is that’s bothering him. In older pets afflicted with insomnia you can also try providing a light snack before bed, using a night light, putting the radio on (low volume) and ensuring a warm, comfortable bed for him/her. If the problem persists then using substances such as melatonin may be your best option.

Safety precautions

Before giving melatonin to your dog, make sure you understand the following safety precautions:

  • Do not give to pregnant dogs
  • Be careful not to overdose your pet
  • Consult with a vet before using the drug to discuss the correct dosage for your dog
  • In cases of hair loss, get your dog checked for thyroid disease, parasitic or bacterial infections and Cushing’s disease

Typically melatonin is a very safe drug for use in dogs, however an overdose may lead to problems, which is why it is important to be careful with the dosage you administer and also the frequency of administration. Remember that human medication is often supplied in dosages much higher than the safe amount for dogs. Signs of an overdose include diarrhea, vomiting, loss of coordination and in bad cases, seizures. However you should be aware that gastric upset may also be present in cases of safe usage. If serious side effects present themselves you should always seek professional veterinary attention right away though it is unlikely you will encounter issues.

Uses of melatonin for dogs

Melatonin has many uses in dogs, most commonly for the treatment of:

  • Hair loss
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia

The most notable use of melatonin is for treating insomnia and anxiety, though it is indeed an effective treatment for a pup suffering from alopecia (hair loss). There are several alternatives when dealing with a sleepless pet including the popular anti-allergy medicine Benadryl (active ingredient diphenhydramine). In cases of severe or long-term anxiety benzodiazepines such as Xanax for dogs may be a more suitable choice, though such medications are known to cause physical dependence.

Side effects of using melatonin

There are often very few side effects in dogs who are given the drug as per the recommended melatonin dosage for dogs. However, you may notice stomach upset and lethargy. Lethargy is very common and often a desired side effect for pet owners dealing with a restless pet. If your dog suffers from some unforeseen sides when on melatonin for dogs you should seek veterinary help right away.

Information about the substance melatonin
Benadryl for treating dogs with insomnia