Melatonin as a known supplementary treatment for Cushing's disease in dogs | iPetCompanion

Melatonin as a known supplementary treatment for Cushing’s disease in dogs

Melatonin is a chemical that plays an essential role in the body. Throughout their life, many dogs, same as us human beings, get certain health issues that can be easily alleviated by adjusting the amount of melatonin present in their bodies. This vital chemical helps dogs with their anxiety, insomnia, alopecia, and Cushing’s disease and is often used by veterinarians as a natural and holistic treatment. 

Below, we will take a closer look at what Cushing’s disease in dogs exactly means and what natural remedies can help alleviate the symptoms. We will try to provide a better understanding of how melatonin for dogs helps in treating this disease and the ways of administering it properly so that your pet can feel healthier and happier.

Cushing’s disease in dogs and natural remedies that help in the treatment

Cushing’s disease is a condition that seriously affects your dog’s health, well-being, and appearance. Cushing’s syndrome, or hyperadrenocorticism, is one of the most common endocrine diseases affecting middle-aged to older dogs. Dogs with Cushing’s disease produce excessively large amounts of cortisol, an important hormone that, among other things, helps regulate the body’s metabolism.

Common symptoms include the dog drinking much more water than usual and constantly being hungry. The dog can lose a lot of fur and even muscles. Obesity and tension in the abdomen can also be felt in dogs that have it. Symptoms such as lethargy and increased respiratory rate also occur. Cushing’s disease affects energy levels and the consequences can be damaging to the body’s organs. 

It can be treated medically, and it can also be treated with a natural diet and herbal supplements, as described below:

  • Raw meat: Raw meats like beef, chicken, or turkey as part of a natural diet can help treat Cushing’s disease.
  • Vegetables: Vegetables can also help your dog fight Cushing’s disease by providing the necessary nutrients and antioxidants to fight the tumor. These can include carrots, broccoli, squash, and Brussels sprouts, raw or cooked.
  • Herb supplements: Herbal medicines can also help. Herbs that promote adrenal and pituitary health such as dandelion, arsenic, and Mercurius solubilis (Merc. sol) are recommended.

Unfortunately, diet alone may not be enough for your dog to overcome Cushing’s disease. Surgical removal of all known tumors is common, and treatment is also available.

Melatonin as a remedy in treating your dog’s Cushing’s disease

Melatonin is a neurohormone secreted during the dark hours of the night by the pineal gland in the middle of the brain. It is also an antioxidant, which helps in fighting free radicals – particles that are associated with brain deterioration. Melatonin plays an important role in controlling reproductive cycles and body rhythms, ensuring their effectiveness. As a medicine, melatonin also has anticonvulsant and sedative effects. Veterinarians regularly recommend melatonin for use in dogs that exhibit behavioral problems. They also regularly recommend the use in dogs suffering from intense anxiety triggered by noise (such as fireworks and thunder). Melatonin is sometimes given to dogs with hair loss as a result of Cushing’s disease.

When a dog suffers from Cushing’s disease, a melatonin supplement can help block the uptake of the high level of cortisone into the body, which is caused by a tumor on the adrenal gland. Other drugs used to treat Cushing’s disease can have severe side effects while melatonin is a safer and more natural treatment.

What is the proper dosage?

Your dog’s veterinarian should determine the correct melatonin dosage, but the dosage also depends on your dog’s size. Individual dogs have different needs based on a variety of conditions. Many veterinarians recommend introducing melatonin gradually, increasing the dosage slowly and as needed. 

As a loose guideline, dogs weighing less than 10 kilos should take 1 milligram of melatonin, 10 to 25 pounds can take 1.5 milligrams while dogs weighing between 26 and 100 pounds should take about 3 milligrams. Dogs over 100 pounds can take anywhere from 3 to 6 milligrams of the supplement. Your dog should be given the appropriate dosage no more than three times a day, as the effects usually last about 8 hours.

How to take melatonin

Melatonin comes in many forms. The supplement is available in tablets, capsules, powders, and liquid varieties. Some can be given with food while others should be taken without eating. The melatonin starts working somewhere within 10 to 15 minutes after the dog has taken it and its effects, as we mentioned above, last for about eight hours, so it is best to give it to your dog before bedtime for it to get a full night of proper sleep.

Take precautions and know the side effects

Since melatonin is a hormone that regulates sleep, the biggest side effect is drowsiness. The supplement can also cause irritated digestion. In some animals, melatonin has been linked to an increased heart rate. Melatonin can affect the reproductive cycle of female dogs or lead to insulin resistance. As with any supplement or medication, melatonin can also cause an allergic reaction in your dog.

Other than the abovementioned side effects, here are some other things to consider before giving your dog a melatonin supplement. Always read the labels on melatonin products. Some may contain other ingredients such as xylitol, which is an artificial sweetener that is toxic to dogs. Make sure that the melatonin you buy for your dog does not contain xylitol or any other compound that is harmful to dogs. Some other medicines may also interact with melatonin. Melatonin can adversely affect previous medical conditions, so keep this in mind when considering whether melatonin is a good choice for your dog.

Final thoughts

We all want our pets to live a satisfying, long, and healthy life. When the diagnosis of Cushing’s syndrome is established, there are various ways to restore your dog’s health and quality of life. You can improve your dog’s health by trying out different natural remedies, altering the dog’s diet, and introducing dietary supplements. 

Melatonin has proven to be an effective remedy against Cushing’s disease as it decreases steroids such as cortisol and it can have a calming effect on dogs, even if they are not treated for sleep disorders. With proper treatment, your dog’s quality of life can be enhanced and the risk of other diseases reduced. Improved quality of life for your dog means a stress-free and content life for you as a dog owner as well.

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