Melatonin for situational anxiety??? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-15-2016, 10:17 PM Thread Starter
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Melatonin for situational anxiety???

Has anyone used or have experience with using melatonin for travel anxiety?

We recently made a 3.5 hour car trip that was less than pleasant. Whining, yawning, lip licking and general inability to settle. I resorted to a dose of Benadryl after more than and hour of this behavior. I would have given it sooner had I known I was going to have such an issue (and realized I had some with me). On the return trip I gave Benadryl 30 minutes before we left. While it helped it didn't last the whole trip. Effects wore off after about 3 hours.

Benadryl isn't my idea of an ideal solution for several reasons. I know that the vet has an arsenal of rx drugs but I would like to try something kinder and gentler with the least side effects if I can.

We'll be making this same trip again and would like to help everyone have a more pleasant ride.

Ziva 03.07.2013
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-15-2016, 10:27 PM
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Quite some time ago my vet suggested it for thunderstorm stress in one of my dogs. You have to give it according to the weight of the dog and get the type that is not mixed with anything else. It might be a good idea to give your vet a quick call and ask their advice.

Fallon (WLGS) b 5/23/14 & Mira (Aussie) b 8/31/04
RIP: Katie (Bel.Shp.Mix)-CGC; Shadow (WLGS); Monty (GSxAkita); CH. Windy Citys Sweet Talker (Shannon);
Cheli; WC's Home Alone (Kevin); CH. WCs Dancing with Wolves (Tish); Ragnar-CGC; Tammy (GSmix)
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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-15-2016, 10:36 PM Thread Starter
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Quite some time ago my vet suggested it for thunderstorm stress in one of my dogs. You have to give it according to the weight of the dog and get the type that is not mixed with anything else. It might be a good idea to give your vet a quick call and ask their advice.
Did it help your dog with storms? We also have storm issues as well. We've tried Rescue Remedy. That didn't help at all. The Thunder Shirt helps a bit. Her storm phobia isn't so bad. She seems to do okay if she has access to the bathroom or the desk footwell.

I plan to ask my vet. I've been reading a good bit about it and was hoping to find others who might have experiences to share.

Ziva 03.07.2013
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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-15-2016, 10:50 PM
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What does Melatonin have to do with stress/anxiety? I believe that in humans it is used to help stabilize our body's sleep cycles; does it have a different effect on dogs?
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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-15-2016, 10:52 PM
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Did it help your dog with storms? We also have storm issues as well. We've tried Rescue Remedy. That didn't help at all. The Thunder Shirt helps a bit. Her storm phobia isn't so bad. She seems to do okay if she has access to the bathroom or the desk footwell.

I plan to ask my vet. I've been reading a good bit about it and was hoping to find others who might have experiences to share.
If I knew we were going to have a bad t-storm and gave it to him ahead of time (maybe an hour, I don't remember exactly) it would reduce his stress enough that he was able to lay still but he still had stress panting and would sometimes jump if the thunder was very loud. I had another dog that actually needed Valium. She would get so stressed, you actually expected her to lift off the ground, she shook so hard she vibrated. I've never had a dog shake that much before. Another was fine if she could hide in the closet and another in the bathtub ! I hope you find a solution.

Fallon (WLGS) b 5/23/14 & Mira (Aussie) b 8/31/04
RIP: Katie (Bel.Shp.Mix)-CGC; Shadow (WLGS); Monty (GSxAkita); CH. Windy Citys Sweet Talker (Shannon);
Cheli; WC's Home Alone (Kevin); CH. WCs Dancing with Wolves (Tish); Ragnar-CGC; Tammy (GSmix)
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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-15-2016, 11:01 PM
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What does Melatonin have to do with stress/anxiety? I believe that in humans it is used to help stabilize our body's sleep cycles; does it have a different effect on dogs?
It can sedate them enough to help with stress anxiety and yes it can also be used to adjust a dog's sleep patterns if necessary. It may not always work for a dog and can have side effects which you should be familiar with before using it. As with everything though, it is wise to check with a vet, especially if your dog is taking a prescription. I just recently found out that it can also be used to treat alopecia which I thought was weird but apparently true.

Fallon (WLGS) b 5/23/14 & Mira (Aussie) b 8/31/04
RIP: Katie (Bel.Shp.Mix)-CGC; Shadow (WLGS); Monty (GSxAkita); CH. Windy Citys Sweet Talker (Shannon);
Cheli; WC's Home Alone (Kevin); CH. WCs Dancing with Wolves (Tish); Ragnar-CGC; Tammy (GSmix)
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-15-2016, 11:27 PM Thread Starter
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What does Melatonin have to do with stress/anxiety? I believe that in humans it is used to help stabilize our body's sleep cycles; does it have a different effect on dogs?
From what I have read so far it is used for canine phobias/anxiety, alopecia-x, insomnia, epilepsy and anorexia. It has few to no adverse side effects and is natural. It's said to calm without causing drowsiness.

It can be given regularly or as needed, which is a plus as I would only need it when we travel or we have a storm. An added benefit is it's known to increase appetite. My girl won't eat when she is stressed.

Ziva 03.07.2013
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-16-2016, 12:13 AM
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Springbrz, look into tryptophan supplements. It comes in treats, capsules, and paste. I had a sample of some trypophan-laced chicken-flavored something or other. I gave it to a foster dog who had car issues before driving her to a far-away adoption event. She slept ALL AFTERNOON. I was stunned by how strong it was. She was happy, cuddly, and sleepy with no trace of travel problems.

Some don't seem as affected by it, but it's worth looking into.
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-16-2016, 01:14 AM
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I think you should desensitize the dog to the car and then build up the time you go for a drive.

Desensitizing and Counter-Conditioning: Overcoming Your Dog?s Issues

Using medication is not gonna cure the cause of the dogs discomfort in the car

If really stuck on a solution why not try to cover area where dog is like in a crate covered with a blanket or fabric. Ensure dog can't over heat and if heat is an issue have him lying on a wet towel.

Personally I'd try many things before thinking a med is a good option

Last edited by MadLab; 01-16-2016 at 01:16 AM.
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-16-2016, 02:16 AM Thread Starter
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[QUOTE=MadLab;7564721]I think you should desensitize the dog to the car and then build up the time you go for a drive.

Desensitizing and Counter-Conditioning: Overcoming Your Dog?s Issues

Using medication is not gonna cure the cause of the dogs discomfort in the car

If really stuck on a solution why not try to cover area where dog is like in a crate covered with a blanket or fabric. Ensure dog can't over heat and if heat is an issue have him lying on a wet towel.

Personally I'd try many things before thinking a med is a good option[/QUOTE

She rides daily. She does well for about 15-20 minutes. We have tried counter conditioning to no avail in the past. I had hoped on this trip she would do ok as we had exercised for 1.5 hrs just prior to the trip in hopes that sheer fatigue would help her settle.

I can't get a crate big enough to fit her comfortably through the door opening. i also feel crating her would actually make her more anxious.

She has general anxiety issues. To put it bluntly, she's a nerve bag. In most areas we have been able to work through these issues with patience and working to build up her confidence and threshold. That said she is still a nerve bag. So, yeah, I think meds are the way to go.

It's not just in the car. When she is stressed she also won't eat. So on trips where we are away for days she will eat little to nothing. We were away from home for 3 days and she barely ate 1 days worth of food and that was on the last day. She doesn't do stress well. And boarding her is not an option.

I really didn't want to get into all this and have a long winded post. I was just looking to see if anyone had used melatonin for anxiety and if it worked.

That said, I do have appreciation for your position.

Ziva 03.07.2013
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