The question at the beginning of this post can be answered briefly and quickly. Serotonin and melatonin have the same role in animals as they do in humans. Why are these two hormones so important for the proper functioning of our four-legged friends? Here is some valuable information.
REGULATION OF THE DIURNAL RHYTHM
Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland and is popularly known as the „sleep hormone” because its concentration increases in the evening and decreases early in the morning. This makes it a natural regulator of our circadian rhythm in humans and animals. However, more and more often we artificially extend our day and thus affect our pets. Working at night, watching movies late at night or any other activity causes our dogs to accompany us, which leads to disturbances in the daytime rhythm.
In addition, melatonin is a powerful antioxidant, i.e. a substance that eliminates free radicals that damage healthy cells, accelerating the ageing process and promoting the formation of cancer. People who lead a nocturnal lifestyle or work night shifts with strong lighting generally have low levels of melatonin and are more likely to develop breast, prostate and colon cancer. The same is true for animals. Disturbances in the normal secretion of melatonin can manifest as fatigue, sluggishness, sleep problems or apathy. How to take care of the proper functioning of our pet? As always, what works best is what is natural – let’s take care of our health by following the principles of sleep hygiene in the first place.
SEROTONIN AND ANIMAL BEHAVIOURISM
Serotonin is popularly known as the happy hormone. It belongs to the group of biogenic amines, a tissue hormone and a neurotransmitter in the nervous system. It is secreted in, among others: intestinal cells, adrenal glands, ovaries, platelet cells and the brain. It is serotonin that is responsible for maintaining balance in the body and is necessary for the production of melatonin, which has already been mentioned.
Serotonin has a significant impact on the emotional behaviour of our pets. Studies have been conducted in which it turned out that animals with lower levels of serotonin showed anxiety, and aggression, were less active cognitively and motorically and had appetite disorders. This is why it is so important to ensure that your dog has the correct level of this hormone.
WHAT INFLUENCES YOUR DOG’S BEHAVIOUR?
Neurotransmitters play a critical role in the control of behaviour in humans and animals. Neurotransmitter function is significantly affected by our dog’s lifestyle. Chronic stress, a poor diet (poorly balanced), pain, fear or anxiety will cause an imbalance in the transmission of signals between nerve cells and thus result in our pets’ dysfunction.
Another hormone that significantly affects the functioning of both humans and animals is cortisol. Commonly known as the stress hormone, it should be kept at the right level, i.e. its concentration in the morning should be twice as high as in the evening. When its levels are too low a dog can be weak, tired or lose weight, while when they are too high they can manifest as obesity or problems with sleep and memory, i.e. learning.
The weight quilt, due to its gentle pressure, causes serotonin and melatonin levels to rise and cortisol levels to fall, allowing the dog to relax, unwind and sleep freely. It’s a great way to support our pet against a variety of ailments and support the proper functioning of neurotransmitters.
Anxiety, fear, sleep disorders and failure to meet our dog’s basic needs have a significant impact on his functioning. Let us remember that a healthy, happy dog can learn new behaviours, play and accompany us every day. Adequate levels of serotonin and melatonin will allow your pet to enjoy each day, ensure its well-being and allow you to appreciate each day with your beloved companion.