Alternative Therapies for Dogs

Alternative Therapies for Dogs

Acupuncture, Massage and Chiropractic Care Are Popular Options

With the increase of natural healthcare options and alternative therapies for animals over the past couple of years, many pet lovers are seeking natural approaches for their fuzzy friends.

Here, we explore more of the common alternative therapy treatments for dogs:

Acupuncture and Acupressure


Both acupuncture and acupressure are based on the ancient Chinese theory of energy flow through channels of the body that are linked to specific internal organs.

Acupuncture is used to help reduce pain and inflammation in dogs by stimulating the energy within their bodies to help jump-start the healing process. Modern veterinary acupuncture actually uses a number of systems to help treat your dog’s problems, including standard acupuncture needles, needles and electric stimulation or lasers as a source of stimulation.

Similar to acupuncture, acupressure follows the same idea of stimulating the body’s energy—without the needles. Normally, fingers and/or thumbs are used to apply pressure to specific areas on your dog’s body to help reduce aches and pains.

Dog owners may be surprised to learn there are organizations dedicated to acupuncture for animals, such as the International Veterinarian Acupuncture Society. A non-profit organization dedicated to promoting excellence in the practice of veterinary acupuncture, their goal is to incorporate acupuncture as an integral part of the total veterinary health care delivery system. Dog owners interested in exploring acupuncture for their furry friend can log on to their site and locate a certified veterinary acupuncturist in their area.

Massage Therapy

Like humans, as dogs age they develop bone and joint problems and can overwork their muscles. And like humans, dogs enjoy a good rub-down—and can even benefit from it.

There are various techniques to massaging your dog. The most common forms of massage include kneading, rolling or rubbing your dog’s skin; and stroking, more of a prolonged petting that helps calm your four-legged friend. Any form of massage can be therapeutic to Fido if performed correctly and with a gentle hand.

Massaging your pet helps promote flexibility, stretches and relaxes his body, and reinforces the human-animal bond. Additionally, when rubbing your pet’s body, you may possibly come across lumps or masses that are hidden under your dog’s fur, which can help you detect potential problems you may not have encountered otherwise.

Canine Chiropractic

Canine chiropractic is a manipulation and adjustment of the bones in the spine to position the vertebrae correctly. It helps correct your pooch’s body alignment and restore flexibility and range-of-motion to an affected area. Chiropractic therapy may benefit any animal having joint, muscle and nerve problems, and can be performed by a veterinarian or a certified veterinary chiropractor. Most state laws prohibit chiropractic treatment of pets unless it is done by a certified veterinary chiropractor or under the direct supervision of a veterinarian.

Owners can seek chiropractic care for their pets for any number of reasons, including difficulty getting up and down, recovery from an illness or injury, or even for upcoming athletic competitions. Pet owners interested in chiropractic care can search for a doctor certified by the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association, an organization formed in 1989 by a group of veterinarians and chiropractors interested in furthering the profession of animal chiropractic.