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Hi everyone,

This is my first time posting, although I've visited and read the senior forum many times before. This is a wonderful place for support and help. :)

I'm wondering if anyone here has any advice on giving a senior Melatonin to help them calm down at night. Our 13 year old WGSD/Malamute mix has always been a VERY active girl. Which has kept us active, too! :) The problem is, now that our baby is 13, she's not able to get the amount of activity that she's used to and that she craves. She still is quite active, though, with 3-4 slowish walks per day (sometimes she'll even feel good enough for a little trot). We walk her in different parks and neighborhoods each time, so that she has "new" smells and things to see each walk. She also gets the added bonus of her nose out the car window as we drive to our destination. We also play games with her (hide the treat, guess which hand the food is in, etc.) for mental stimulation. We wrestle with her, and let her lay in the front yard (leashed) to watch the neighborhood activity. She also goes on errands with us most days. There's more, too, but I could type forever listing all we do with her. Over all, she has HOURS of activity, but still has trouble settling down at night.

She's on Rimadyl for pain (she has some arthritis and has had a TPLO on each knee when she was about 2 or 3).

I've searched the internet for advice, and all I can find is that dogs who are restless at night might be in pain or discomfort. Being on Rimadyl, and not seeing any other signs of distress, and our vet not seeing anything wrong overall, I don't think she's in any pain. I truly think she just doesn't quite know how to relax unless she's absolutely exhausted. She's not a big snuggler, so it's rare for her to allow me to just sit next to her and stroke her to sleep.

So, the only other thing I've seen online, is to try Melatonin, or some people have even said they use Hyland's Calms Forte 4 Kids to help their dogs relax. I just don't know how I feel about this, even if these are natural/homeopathic supplements. Am I horrible for even thinking of trying this? Thank you in advance for your thoughts!
 

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I would look into laser therapy. Rimadyl has side effects with long term use, and the melatonin may affect it. I wouldn't want to add more chemicals(even though melatonin is supposedly safe) to a seniors body.

Have you seen how Shoep is doing after his treatments? A person who trains with me also has her senior on laser treatments and great results are showing. Schoep's Laser Treatment | Life With Dogs
 

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Laser therapy is great and so is acupuncture. There are also some really good anti-inflammatories that are herbal or homeopathic and work as well as NSAIDS without any of the possible side effects.

Also, what about some low to no impact games that will work her brain? That might tire her out, if that is really the problem.
 

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I wouldn't have a problem with a little melatonin, depending on why she isn't sleeping. I wouldn't go above 2.5mg a night for that reason.

Better though is to double check on the pain management, and also maybe the food isn't right, and amping her up.
 

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I agree with Lisa,,I give melatonin to my aussie who is thunderphobic, and it does chill her out, tho not knock her out.

I myself tak 2mgs a night because I can't sleep.

Start off with 1 mg and go from there, but as lisa said I wouldn't go to high..
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you all for your responses.

We're still having trouble with our baby being quite restless. We can't do laser therapy with Grizzly (I did watch the video...thank you onyx girl). The beeping and the other high-pitched sound it makes would freak her out. She's never liked beeps like that, and in the past 6-9 months, she's gotten very sensitive to certain other sounds, so that's a no-go.

We've been trying to change up her schedule some, which hasn't seemed to help. We've tried every type of "brain-game" we can think of. She's never been very interested in that type of thing. So it's not catching her attention now, either.

Her entire life has been about wrestling with dogs, and taking looong walks and runs with us. She just can't do much of that anymore, and she won't even chew her bones anymore, which used to be a favorite activity daily for her. We've tried softer bones, since her teeth might not be as strong as before, but she isn't interested.

She isn't even interested in taking her walks much anymore, even slow ones with lots of sniffing. We get in the car, go to a park or neighborhood, and then she just basically stands there now. She's just not interested in really anything at all anymore, but then she's stares at us like "So, what are we gonna do now?" so I don't think it's "time" for her to be put to sleep.

We started giving her 2.5 mg per night of melatonin, and it seems to have no effect.

I still truly don't feel like it's any type of health thing, either. And we're just so frustrated at this point. She's old, but her mind still seems mostly there, and her body is doing pretty well considering her age. I really just don't know what to try/do anymore to make her happy. I want to cry every day, because I want the rest of her life to be happy like these other 12+ years have been. It's very upsetting to not be able to "read" Grizzly anymore. I always knew in the past what she wanted, and I just don't know anymore. And I feel sooo guilty for feeling so frustrated with the baby we love so much. :(
 

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Your dog may be showing signs of Rimadyl toxicity.

Important Safety Information: RIMADYL is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication available only by prescription through your veterinarian. As with other NSAID-class medications, signs of RIMADYL intolerance may include appetite loss, vomiting and diarrhea, which could indicate side effects involving the digestive tract, liver or kidneys. Some of these side effects may occur without warning and, in rare situations may be serious, resulting in hospitalization or even death. If these signs occur, discontinue RIMADYL therapy and consult your veterinarian

This IS from the Rimadyl site...the restlessness, loss of interest in things, looking to you like what's next - more so looking to you like "how can I tell you that I am not feeling right, I'm not in pain...BUT"

https://www.rimadyl.com/default.aspx

Now I am not going to post a bunch of sites to back up what the very comapny says...but you can search signs of toxicity...you cannot determine kidney failure or liver failure by observation, although w/liver you can check eyes for jaundice.

Howver - despite (why I do not understand IMO:):wub: you don't trust natural), it is proven time and time again that pharma drugs kill millions per year - that is broad spectrum, not rim. specific, and by their own admission re: disclaimer...well, time to take dog of toxins and introduce what is inherent in nature...I mean this from the bottom of my heart...your dogs actions are telling you...take heed

Google Rimadyl toxicity...and what kind of drug company offers drug "rewards" anyhow???
 

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I did some research and even purchased some melatonin for my Tristan (who has some anxiety issues).
Before I opened the bottle I checked some internet sites again and found that melatonin administered to animals can cause a rise in blood pressure.
Since he has a heart murmur already, we're going to skip it here, and keep him on the prozac.

Just wanted to throw that in there, especially since you said you didn't see any difference when you gave your girl melatonin.
 

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I did a search a few days ago and saved this - about anxiety disorders and found this about anti-depressants

Antidepressants, which may cause vomiting and, in more serious instances, serotonin syndrome - a dangerous condition that raises temperature,heart rate, and blood pressure, and may cause seizures.

Just a friendly FYI for your Tristan.

Was going to pass this along to you, know that I have reminder...under top 10 dogs poisons

10 Dog Poisons: Plants, Foods, Medicines, and More

I hope Tristen is doing well...like the name, suits him
 

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We are aware of the side effects to watch for - and he's under the care of a very good and trusted veterinarian, thank you very much for your concern, though, GB :)

PS. He's not vomiting, and all his other systems are "go" ;)
 

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Thank you, msvette, I think we'll just skip the melatonin, since it doesn't seem to calm her down at all anyway. My friend actually tonight suggested maybe trying doggy prozac...she knows a dog who is on it due to past abuse and issues from that. :(

And GatorBytes, thank you, too! I have always been aware of the dangers of Rimadyl to the liver/kidneys, and we've watched for jaundice, lethargy, etc. while also getting Grizzly's blood checked yearly, and now every six months since she is quite a bit older. But I hadn't thought about the behavioral changes/restlessness/hyperactivity warnings associated with this. (Yes, I guess I should have...I did read the package insert way back when she started taking it, but that's not the "big" danger that I've always been aware of, so I guess that part went out of my mind...always just looking for signs of renal failure.)

I will definitely talk to my vet tomorrow and see what he says. She was tested 4 months ago, and things were fine, but maybe she is starting to have a negative reaction now. I don't want her to have to stop taking it, but if she's having trouble with it now, then no more Rimadyl for her! But it would be a relief to have an answer to her behavior.

Thank you everyone! Good night...sleep tight with your furbabies. :)
 

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FYI - They just had a Dr Oz show on the dangers of Melatonin. Most people OD on it, causing a lot of issues and almost feeling hungover in the morning. You (humans) are supposed to take a MAXIMUM dose of 1mg (recommend 1/2 mg) per day, 1-1/2 hrs before bed and only for a couple of weeks to reset your sleeping patterns.

That is my PSA for the day! :D
 

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black, that was also my concern w/melatonin plus not being able to regulate it, plus he's anxious at two primary periods in the day, not just one for a few hrs.
Which is why (after discussing at length) our vet said Prozac would be the most sensible solution -it's longer acting than melatonin for sure.
We have seen no negative side effects from the prozac - yet - but it takes 4-6 weeks to really see a change, I'm told.

That said, he's not mangling his nail or ear any longer so that's good!
 
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