10 quick facts about Melatonin: Will it grow hair?
Karen Helton Rhodes, DVM, DACVD
Canine Skin Solutions, Inc.
Terri Bonenberger, DVM, DACVD
“Dermatologists for your Dog”
Melatonin is a common supplement used as a sleep aid in people. It is also being used to stimulate hair growth in dogs. Let’s explore some facts about this hormone.
#1 Melatonin is a hormone synthesized from L-tryptophan. Tryptophan is a component of turkey and has been implicated as a reason we all get sleepy after a big turkey dinner! This may be a reason that melatonin is used as a sleep aid in people.
#2 Melatonin may act directly on hair follicles to stimulate growth or it may influence the nervous system to stimulate factors that initiate growth. We are not sure!
#3 Melatonin has been implicated in the seasonal growth of winter haircoats
#4 Melatonin has been trialed, with varying success, in a number of disorders characterized by alopecia: Cyclic Flank Alopecia (Canine Recurrent Flank Alopecia), Canine Pattern Baldness, Alopecia X (hair cycle arrest), “post clipping alopecia”, and follicular dysplasias
#5 Melatonin is available as an non-prescription “OTC” oral pill OR a long acting subcutaneous implant. Rarely, some dogs receiving implants will develop sterile granulomas at the site of implantation, necessitating removal.
#6 Melatonin is a very safe therapeutic trial. That said….it may not work to grow hair.
#7 The dose of oral Melatonin is variable but is typically used at 3-6mg/dog every 8-12 hours. Another way to dose is by the weight of the dog @ 0.5mg/kg every 8-12 hours.
#8 Use a reputable brand of Melatonin. Examples include: Nature’s Bounty, Webber, GNC, etc)
#9 Most veterinarians will advise that you use melatonin for at least 2-3 months before evaluating the response.
#10 Melatonin is NOT a guarantee of hair growth….but it can’t hurt to try!
Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) are another safe therapeutic trial to consider. For info on EFA’s click here: http://www.healthyskin4dogs.com/blog/2015/1/24/essential-fatty-acids-fish-oil-supplementation-for-dogs?rq=efa