Melatonin as Rx for stress
Dr. Linda Aronson of PetShrink in Norfolk, Mass., said that melatonin works for about 80 percent of her patients and can turn their fears into acceptance or indifference in 10 to 15 minutes. Aronson said that melatonin is safe to use as long as necessary as there appears to be no habituation.
An article with references to the use of melatonin in dogs can be found in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, Volume 215, No. 1, July 1999. “Vet Med Today: Animal Behavior Case of the Month” was written by Linda Aronson, DVM, MA; from the Department of Clinical Studies, School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, North Grafton, MA.
“The dose for dogs is 1 milligram for dogs under 10 pounds,
1.5 milligrams for dogs 10-25 pounds,
3 milligrams for dogs weighing 25-100 pounds
and whereas 3 milligrams is often enough for dogs over 100 pounds, you can give them up to 6 milligrams,” Aronson said.
Aronson cautions people to use plain melatonin tablets, not sublingual, time release or capsule forms.
Some dogs do well with melatonin in their system before noises begin. ..experts advise giving the first dose at least 30 minutes before you expect fireworks to begin. Aronson said you can give up to three doses a day, so if you live in a very unpredictable neighborhood, you can give it to your pets when you get up and repeat as necessary.
Unlike people on melatonin, most dogs don’t sleep.
from an article at: http://lists.envirolink.org/pipermail/ar-news/Week-of-Mon-20030630/002814.html more on melatonin from
“To date out of 1000s of dogs taking melatonin (some taking it daily for months and even years) this is the sum of reported side effects: 3 dogs were reported to be hyper. However, two of these belonged to the same owner, who said melatonin had the same effect on her. One dog seemed to become disoriented. He drank copiously and peed in the house (something he’d not done in nine years). The description sounded as if the dog might be mildly Cushingoid, and I recommended this be explored. The owner really just wanted to go ahead and use melatonin but maybe at half the dose, as he was very thunderstorm phobic and on melatonin totally unreactive. All signs of disorientation, and increased drinking and peeing had resolved within 4 hours. One owner reported that her dominant aggressive, dog-aggressive cocker spaniel lay down between obedience exercises, she thought this indicated sleepiness, I think it just meant he was a lot less reactive around the other dogs.
I have had search and rescue dogs successfully given melatonin to combat their fears of flying in turbo prop planes. It was the only treatment that allowed most of them to relax and yet let them perform their duties at the end of the flight.
Success is still running about 80%. Most useful for noise phobias, including thunderstorms, fireworks, gun shot, planes, helicopters, hot air balloons, show site noises, bird song, truck and other road noises. It also seems to help some cases of lick granuloma and separation anxiety.
Please feel free to cross post this information. It seems that melatonin is one of the safest products. Some of the failures I believe result from phobia induced seizure behavior. Others I’m not sure of the reason. Some dogs need to be dosed before the fear is established, others respond even if they are already reacting fearfully to the noise.” — Linda Aronson, DVM
also, http://www.ygrr.org/doginfo/behavior-phobia.html from Yankee Golden Retriever Rescue
Noise phobia, often manifested as excessive fear during thunderstorms, is a relatively common affliction of dogs. Sadly, it is a problem that leads some frustrated owners to euthanize or give up their dogs. Each Summer YGRR receives many calls from families who feel that they can no longer deal with their Golden’s fearful and sometimes destructive response to thunderstorms. If your dog suffers from fear of loud noises, you may want to share this article with your veterinarian. Hopefully the possibility of new treatment options for noise phobia may save some dogs from euthanasia or abandonment. This article includes information on various treatment therapies.
For Melatonin use in Dogs as well as other animals see : http://www.melatonin.com/melatonin-animals.php
Finally, see Making 4th of July safe for your dog at : http://www.wagntrain.com/independence_day.htm
Melatonin as Rx for stress