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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.
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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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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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.
 

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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.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
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.
 

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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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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
 

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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[/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.
 

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Look into composure pro calming treats. You can get them off of amazon. That seems to be the only thing that consistently does what it needs to for us.
 

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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.
Mine has similar issues in the car. He whines, pants for hours on end. We have a 5 hr trip we go on several times a year, and I want to take a screwdriver and stick in my ears so I don't have to hear him. I sent him to a professional trainer for board and train mainly for this issue. The guy said the only way he could get him to be acceptable in the car was using a bark collar. It works, but he is still uncomfortable, pants, and whines just low enough so he doesn't get shocked. Benadryl (@ 1 mg/lb) did nothing for us. Xanax didn't work since he had a massive reaction to it and we stopped using it. I tried to figure out a way to make him "be good". Long rides, frequent stops and go, ecollar, treats.....nothing worked for him. I hate how he pants and circles, and won't settle down. Every time we get close to the car, he tries to jump in, he doesn't avoid it, but he has this reaction. His whines are so loud and high pitch...its more like screaming.

Next dog has to be a mute....maybe someone can start breeding for that...:D
 

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Mine has similar issues in the car. He whines, pants for hours on end. We have a 5 hr trip we go on several times a year, and I want to take a screwdriver and stick in my ears so I don't have to hear him. I sent him to a professional trainer for board and train mainly for this issue. The guy said the only way he could get him to be acceptable in the car was using a bark collar. It works, but he is still uncomfortable, pants, and whines just low enough so he doesn't get shocked. Benadryl (@ 1 mg/lb) did nothing for us. Xanax didn't work since he had a massive reaction to it and we stopped using it. I tried to figure out a way to make him "be good". Long rides, frequent stops and go, ecollar, treats.....nothing worked for him. I hate how he pants and circles, and won't settle down. Every time we get close to the car, he tries to jump in, he doesn't avoid it, but he has this reaction. His whines are so loud and high pitch...its more like screaming.

Next dog has to be a mute....maybe someone can start breeding for that...:D
HahahahA! I know what you mean about the screwdriver in the ear, Newlie is so vocal all the time that sometimes I feel the same way....
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Mine has similar issues in the car. He whines, pants for hours on end. We have a 5 hr trip we go on several times a year, and I want to take a screwdriver and stick in my ears so I don't have to hear him. I sent him to a professional trainer for board and train mainly for this issue. The guy said the only way he could get him to be acceptable in the car was using a bark collar. It works, but he is still uncomfortable, pants, and whines just low enough so he doesn't get shocked. Benadryl (@ 1 mg/lb) did nothing for us. Xanax didn't work since he had a massive reaction to it and we stopped using it. I tried to figure out a way to make him "be good". Long rides, frequent stops and go, ecollar, treats.....nothing worked for him. I hate how he pants and circles, and won't settle down. Every time we get close to the car, he tries to jump in, he doesn't avoid it, but he has this reaction. His whines are so loud and high pitch...its more like screaming.

Next dog has to be a mute....maybe someone can start breeding for that...:D
Oh dear! I think you have it worse than we do. Ziva doesn't scream. Just whine, pant, yawn, licks lips...rinse and repeat with some fidgeting thrown in for good measure.

I was able to talk to one of my vets techs today (we see each other at the park sometimes). She said to check in with the vet but that they do prescribe melatonin for anxiety and other issues and it has nearly zero side effects. So I think it will be worth a try. And it's inexpensive as well, so if it doesn't help we aren't out a bunch of cash. I'm hoping it works. Fingers crossed.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Update:
I did a trial run on a 40 minute ride giving 3 mg. of meletonin an hour before departure. It didn't help at all :(

I did consult with our vet before hand and she gave me a script for Xanax(not the way I really want to go) to try if the meletonin didn't work and I wanted to try it before our longer trip. So while on our outing I gave 1 mg. of Xanax to see if it would help on the ride home. We walked around for an hour before heading home. It was a disaster to say the least. Poor girl just couldn't get hold of herself. She was so stressed and couldn't seem to comprehend a simple sit command and seemed frantic just walking around. I attributed it to the Xanax :( Trip home was a very long 40 minutes.

I decided to give the Xanax a second try when she was in a calm state and then ride. It didn't help. Xanax also seemed to make her very uncoordinated as well.

Ended up going with 50 mg. of benadryl and sitting in the back seat with her while the hubs drove. It wasn't perfect but it was doable for the 3.5 hr. ride. On the return ride home we upped the benadryl to 75 mg. (vet approved dosage) and I again sat in the back with her. It went well. We had a calm dog with no whining, panting, lip licking or yawning. :)

I really wish the meletonin had worked. But, as much as would like to not use drugs. It seems if we need to travel any distance it will be benadryl for my girl.
 

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Many of the pet dogs I get in exhibit this issue. The best solution. Crate training.
In the house and in the car. Its ideal for dogs prone to anxiety or excessive eruptions of energy around the house.
a) Teaches the dog to settle
b) Prevents many symptoms of anxiety related behaviors including noise and destruction of property
c) Teaches the dog to handle long periods of time out of sight and contact with the handler and remain calm / balanced
d) You end up with a dog that travels well and can stay in strange places without destroying property or making messes.


For the car I like a nice tight airline style crate. For GSD size dogs a Large works fine and can fit in the back seat of most sedans.
The tight confines and feeling of being in a hole will actually create a sense of security and enforced calm.
Initially your dog may offer protest behaviors like whining and or barking. Ignore or punish these behaviors. I prefer punishment as its less ambiguous and erradicates the behaviour faster.

If you want to try some warmup exercises put the dog in the crate in the car and just leave her there for an hour or so without going anywhere while you work around the house or whatever.
 

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Mine has similar issues and nothing has worked. Bark collar was working until recently and all of a sudden his is blowing it off and he continues to whine. Mine can sit in the car for hours and be fine. Once the car starts to move, all **** breaks loose.

I tried Xanax and it gave him the runs. I'm working on a couple of things and will update if I get good results.
 

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One of my dogs has anxiety in the car too. Haven't tried a crate yet, I don't think I can get one in there lol! Worth a try though, he's so upset in the car. Please update if you find anything that works for you!
 

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One of my dogs has anxiety in the car too. Haven't tried a crate yet, I don't think I can get one in there lol! Worth a try though, he's so upset in the car. Please update if you find anything that works for you!
I have an Accord and a soft sided crate fits in there fine. Definitely try a crate, it may take care of your issues. Mine has some deeper issues that the crate isn't helping with.
 
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