Is Melatonin Safe for Dogs?

Melatonin is that kind of supplement that most people talk about but know not a lot about. Most people associate melatonin with sleep and have even used it to promote sleep—for themselves or for their children. There are times when melatonin gets a bad reputation, and there are times when melatonin is praised for what it can do. The truth is melatonin can be extremely helpful when used properly, and even furry friends can benefit from that usefulness. Yes, melatonin can be used for dogs, but many dog owners have wondered about its safety. Is melatonin actually safe for dogs? Let’s find out.

What is melatonin?

The first way to answer this question is to get educated on what melatonin actually is. Melatonin is a natural hormone that is produced in the body. The production and release of melatonin happens in conjunction with the time of day. This is primarily the reason why melatonin is associated with sleep. It’s commonly used in humans, as a way to alleviate sleep disorders, and the type of melatonin for this use is the supplements manufactured in labs and sold over the counter. There are melatonin supplements made specifically for dogs, and these should be the only ones you use for them—if you decide to do so.

Is melatonin safe for dogs?

So the question still remains: is melatonin safe for dogs? The short answer is yes, melatonin is safe for dogs. But much like any other drug or supplement, melatonin should be administered properly with the recommendation of your veterinarian. The use of melatonin for dogs can be life changing. The way it works for canines is slightly different from the way it works in humans. Melatonin has been found to be helpful in many other ways for dogs. But before we talk about its uses, it’s important to discuss its side effects.

Side effects

Melatonin is safe for dogs, but you have to follow dosing guidelines in order to minimize any possible side effects. Dosing will rely largely on the size of dog you have, so it’s important you consult with your veterinarian for the proper melatonin dosage. Side effects for humans aren’t much of a concern when it comes to melatonin, but it’s a different story for dogs. The biggest side effect for canines would be drowsiness, but it can also cause an upset stomach in some dogs ( Melatonin has been known to increase heart rates in dogs, which is quite uncomfortable to say the least. As far as long-term side effects, melatonin use can affect the reproductive cycle of female dogs. It can also cause insulin resistance, which can be particularly dangerous for dogs with diabetes. In addition, look out for possible allergic reactions to the supplement. It’s rare, but it could happen.


After you’ve conferred with your veterinarian about the proper dosing of melatonin, you can take advantage of the benefits of melatonin for your dog. Melatonin has many uses for canines, but these are only some of the benefits it’s most known to help.


This is the most common use of melatonin for humans. Dogs can suffer from insomnia as well, which can be triggered by different things. Insomnia in dogs can be greatly helped by the use of melatonin. A melatonin supplement can help regulate a dog’s internal processes involved in the telling of time. Some dogs may even have cognitive dysfunctions that affect their biorhythms. Melatonin supplements can help regulate those as well.


Separation anxiety is a serious issue for many dogs—regardless of breed, and it’s a cause of concern for many pet owners. Separation anxiety happens when dogs are left alone for long periods of time. It’s a common occurrence for pet owners that have to work long hours or for dogs without other animal companions at home. Separation anxiety can be dangerous because it can lead to other disorders such as depression.

Melatonin has been used to help lessen the symptoms of separation anxiety. In addition, melatonin has also been known to help other forms of anxiety—whether it involves stress during thunderstorms, anxiety during travel, or even the normal anxiety involved with going to the groomers. Melatonin produces an overall calming effect in dogs, and it can help dogs have more pleasurable experiences in even the most common daily activities.

Cushing’s disease

Cushing’s disease in dogs happen when their bodies produce too much cortisol. This results to hyperadrenocorticism, which is characterized by various symptoms including excessive thirst and panting, excessive urinating or accidents, obesity, loss of hair, lack of energy and muscle weakness, and so forth. If your dog has Cushing’s disease, you’ll likely find patches of hard, white scales on its skin. Cushing’s disease is mostly caused by a benign pituitary tumor.

Many veterinarians use melatonin for the treatment of Cushing’s disease. Melatonin helps the dog’s body to block any increase in cortisone uptake. Melatonin is milder compared to other treatments normally used for the disease.


If you ever see bald patches on either side of your dog’s abdomen, it’s likely that your dog is going through flank alopecia. This condition is also known as seasonal alopecia, and not a lot is known about why it happens or what causes it. While there are currently no scientific proof that melatonin works for alopecia, many dog owners have seen improvements due to it use. While melatonin could help alleviate seasonal alopecia conditions, it’s not known whether the supplement could help it for the long-term. In the meantime, dog owners along with their veterinarians are at the very least glad just to be help their dogs in any way. Melatonin for alopecia doesn’t have any serious side effects, and if anything, it helps to calm dogs and their owners along the way too.

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