When the human body becomes deficient in producing necessary chemicals and hormones, we resort to the extra help offered by supplements and vitamins. The same is applicable to animals, particularly dogs. Although not all supplements are safe for dogs to consume, melatonin is one supplement that can benefit dogs in a variety of ways. Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone secreted by the pineal gland in both humans and dogs. It is helpful in regulating the body’s sleep cycle and also in other aspects of your pet’s health.
If your dog is exhibiting signs of distress or if you are looking to explore melatonin as an effective supplement for your furry friend, this article will help you understand it better. Let’s talk about the four main uses of melatonin for dogs.
Treatment of Cushing’s disease
Cushing’s disease occurs due to the malfunctioning of a dog’s endocrine system, which causes an overproduction of the cortisol hormone. Regular cortisol levels are important to maintaining the body’s stress response and overall immunity; however, higher hormone levels are harmful. Elevated cortisol levels cause a range of problems such as weight loss, hair loss, lethargy, and increased urination.
Both lignans and melatonin for dogs not only help to ease the symptoms caused by Cushing’s disease but also inhibit enzymes that are used in the production of cortisol. If your dog is suffering from Cushing’s disease caused by a tumor on the adrenal or pituitary gland, melatonin also acts on those tumor cells. In most cases, melatonin is often used as the first line of treatment by vets before they turn to other medications that may have much more severe side effects.
Remedy for anxiety and stress
Anxiety is a common ailment that several dogs suffer from. This could be exhibited through various signs and symptoms that are often hard to diagnose and could be characterized as behavioral issues. Once anxiety has been identified as the underlying issue, melatonin can act as an excellent supplement for such dogs.
For example, some dogs may have separation anxiety, which is demonstrated in the form of either aggressive or disruptive behavior every time the owner leaves the house. Dogs end up chewing furniture or compulsively cleaning themselves. Other than this, dogs often respond to certain situations by feeling high levels of stress and anxiety, such as loud thunderstorms or if there are fireworks nearby. They could also develop phobias in such situations or even in other moments such as car rides.
Melatonin is a powerful remedy in helping dogs calm down and feel more relaxed in such situations. Because it has sedative properties, melatonin helps dogs stay calm and not develop difficult coping mechanisms.
Treatment for Alopecia
If a dog is showing signs of partial or complete balding, then this is known as a condition called alopecia. It might start shedding hair around the lower back and tail around certain times of the year.
If you are noticing hair fall in your dog in the winter season, it could be a condition called seasonal flank alopecia. Because this type of hair fall is not associated with any other skin disorder, it might become challenging to diagnose.
Melatonin is administered to dogs with such types of alopecia because it assists in combating hair loss. After the course of prescribing dosage and treatment, dogs are seen to have grown back their fur. While research around this topic continues to take place to reach more conclusive evidence, melatonin is still a useful remedy with little or no side effects.
Cure for Insomnia
While insomnia is a common problem that plagues humans, many are surprised to learn that dogs, too, can suffer from a lack of sleep. As dogs grow older, they may start to experience disturbance in their sleep patterns, which can cause quite a bit of trouble for them as well as their owners.
One reason why dogs may find it difficult to maintain healthy sleeping patterns is blindness, which makes it difficult for such dogs to differentiate between night and day times. However, for dogs with complete eyesight, insomnia could be caused due to a low level of melatonin in their bodies.
When the body has the right levels of melatonin, it is able to regulate the sleep-wake cycle properly, synced to the circadian rhythm. If there is a drop in the melatonin levels, then a dog will find it difficult to fall asleep at the right time and for the needed duration. This is where melatonin supplements can help by giving that extra dose of melatonin that is needed by the dog’s body. This will help regulate its sleep cycle so that it can fall asleep easily and for a longer period of time.
While there are several ways to maintain a dog’s health and wellbeing, sometimes the best course of action is to administer supplements such as melatonin before turning towards aggressive treatments. Before starting your dog on melatonin treatment, always consult with a veterinarian who can properly guide you on the dosage and side effects of the supplement.
Once the vet has prescribed the right dosage for your dog, you can safely begin treatment while watching out for side effects such as upset digestion, rapid heart rate, or increased lethargy. Usually, there are hardly any severe reactions, which is why melatonin is safe to use; however, always be careful, start with a low dosage, and monitor your dog’s behavior patterns.