Dog Fear Thunderstorm
Does your dog fear thunderstorm and noise? These phobias may be cured by an over-the-counter hormone used by humans to prevent insomnia. Melatonin, helps set the body’s internal clock in response to exposure to light. In studies using humans, melatonin has been shown to calm the nerves, reduce anxiety, relieve panic disorders, prevent migraine headaches and help you sleep better.
If you use melatonin for dogs your dog can go from being very anxious to only slightly bothered with thunder or other loud noises such as fireworks and gunshots. Melatonin is not a tranquilizer so you don’t have to worry about it having a sedative effect. Instead of your pet getting upset during a thunderstorm, your dog or cat will behave normally.
One vet said about 80% of her patients showed results in 10-15 minutes and, some dogs no longer needed melatonin because they learned to overcome their fears while taking it.
Though vets are not quite sure how melatonin for dogs works, they know that it has an acute effect on the central nervous system’s neurotransmitters, which are chemicals that transmit nerve impulses. It seems to work somewhat like antidepressants by increasing serotonin production – the stuff that makes us feel good.
You can get Melatonin for dogs in health food stores, pharmacies and some supermarkets. Check the label and make sure there are no other herbs or nutrients added. The standard dosage is 3mg for a dog that weighs over 30 pounds. Large dogs weighing well over 100 pounds may need 6mg, but start with 4 or 5 mg and see how they do. For dogs that weigh less than 30 pounds, give 1.5mg. For a tiny dog, reduce the dosage even further.
Whenever a thunderstorm is forecast, give the dog melatonin before you leave for the day. The supplement remains effective for several hours. If you are at a home and see the signs of a storm coming go ahead and give the melatonin. You can give melatonin to an already anxious dog and it may keep them from becoming more panicked. Melatonin’s benefits may be cumulative with a maximum benefit occurring by the third day.
If your pet is suffering from any other medical problems make sure you consult your vet before giving the supplement. The long term safety of melatonin supplementation has been a topic of debate by physicians and holistic health practitioners. They advise taking it for occasional, short term use. However, no clinical trials have been conducted on its actions in dogs.
Melantonin for dogs apparently only helps with thunderstorm fear. If your pet has other kinds of anxiety such as separation anxiety or fear of going to the vet, see our post Anxiety in Dogs and find an easy natural way to relieve your pet’s fears.