Have you ever let anyone turn you into a living pincushion? The concept of acupuncture is a little strange. Who really loves the idea of sticking a whole bunch of needles into their bodies?
However, if you’ve ever tried it, you know how effective acupuncture can be. Acupuncture is used for treating everything from chronic pain to asthma. Sometimes, the results are so good they are almost unbelievable.
So if it works for you, why wouldn’t it work for Fluffy? This is a question you may have started to ask yourself if your dog is suffering from chronic pain or other issues that acupuncture may help with.
Are you considering acupuncture for dogs and wondering if it could help ease your beloved pet’s struggles? Learn all about this alternative yet effective treatment here.
Acupuncture for Dogs
Acupuncture is an ancient form of healing and pain relief that has been used for centuries to improve the health and well-being of humans. During the procedure, very thin needles are inserted into specific points on the body.
Acupuncture originated in traditional Chinese medicine. In this perspective, it is thought that the procedure helps restore the flow of chi or energy in the body.
In Western medicine, it is thought that the process works by stimulating the release of hormones that can reduce pain and inflammation in the body.
Acupuncture has been found to be beneficial in treating a variety of conditions. These include chronic pain, arthritis, digestive issues, skin allergies, neurological problems, and more.
Dogs are mammals and their bodies work very similarly to ours. Thus, it isn’t much of a stretch to see that acupuncture can be helpful for them as well. When performed by a qualified veterinary acupuncturist, acupuncture is a safe and effective form of treatment for many dogs.
The treatment can provide relief from certain conditions such as chronic pain or mobility issues due to old age or injury. Plus, it can also boost overall wellness when combined with other forms of therapy such as massage or physical rehabilitation exercises.
Can your furry friend benefit from seeing a veterinary acupuncturist? The best way to find out is to talk with your veterinarian and discuss the options available in your area.
Conditions That Dog Acupuncture May Improve
There is quite a list of ailments for which acupuncture can help provide relief. If your dog is struggling with any of the following issues, it doesn’t hurt to talk with your vet about your options.
- Arthritis: Acupuncture is excellent for treating chronic pain and inflammation. Thus, arthritis and other degenerative joint diseases are probably the main reasons pet owners seek out veterinary acupuncture. The treatment can greatly ease your pup’s suffering over time.
- Cancer side effects: It’s hard to watch your pup suffer from the side effects of cancer treatments. Acupuncture can offer relief by improving energy and appetite and reducing pain.
- Spinal issues: Acupuncture can offer pain relief due to bulging discs, spinal arthritis, or even from a pinched nerve.
- Surgery: Acupuncture treatment can help ease pain and anxiety after surgery.
- Anxiety relief: Whether due to trauma from surgery or injury, or mental issues such as fear aggression or compulsive behavior, acupuncture can help calm your pet’s anxiety issues. Treatment for these types of issues works best when performed in a familiar, stress-free environment.
- Skin problems: Acupuncture is sometimes used alongside other treatments for skin conditions caused by allergies or lesions caused by excessive licking.
- Epilepsy: Acupuncture may help reduce the occurrence of seizures in epileptic dogs.
- General health and well-being: As dogs age, they can struggle with stiffness and mobility issues or just not feeling too good in general. Acupuncture can help treat these issues and extend your dog’s happy life.
Acupuncture can be a great help if you’re working with a rescued dog or another dog that has received some sort of trauma. The treatment can help them relax and adjust to a new life that is not quite so filled with fear.
The relaxing and stress relief benefits of acupuncture help a dog relax both mentally and physically. This makes it easier for dogs to learn new behaviors without being overwhelmed by fear.
How Often Should My Dog Receive Acupuncture?
How often your dog should receive acupuncture treatments will depend on the type and severity of their condition. During your initial evaluation, your veterinary acupuncturist will suggest a treatment plan and frequency.
Acupuncture generally works better over a period of time, so expect to take your dog for several sessions. Acute conditions such as an injury or surgery may only require a few sessions to treat the pain. Chronic conditions usually require ongoing treatment to keep your pet more comfortable.
Initial treatment often requires more frequent sessions. As the dog’s condition improves, the frequency of your visit will usually diminish.
Are There Dog Acupuncture Side Effects?
In general, acupuncture doesn’t have any notable side effects. There are no systemic side effects, which is why the procedure can safely be used in conjunction with other medications and treatments. There is no need to worry about drug interactions, etc.
There is a small chance your pet could develop an infection at a needle site. However, this is very unlikely and the risk drops to almost zero when your pet is being treated by a qualified veterinary acupuncturist who uses sterile equipment and follows proper sanitary procedures.
Some dogs may experience a bit of soreness, bruising, or bleeding at the needle sites after treatment. And some dogs may seem tired for a couple of days following their visit. However, these effects are quite rare.
To minimize any potential risks associated with dog acupuncture, it’s important that you find qualified veterinary professionals who specialize in this form of healing. Plus, it’s best to find a practitioner who only uses sterile needles specifically designed for animal patients whenever possible.
What if you notice any signs that your pup may not be responding well — such as excessive swelling, bleeding, or vomiting? Then contact your veterinarian right away so they can assess whether further medical attention is required
Finding a Veterinary Acupuncturist
Though its popularity has been picking up, dog acupuncture is not yet widely practiced. You won’t find a veterinary acupuncturist quite as easily as you would find a regular veterinarian. However, interest in this alternative treatment is growing and you shouldn’t have trouble finding one in your area.
The main thing is to find a qualified practitioner with formal training in veterinary acupuncture so you know that your dog will be in good hands.
Start by talking with your regular veterinarian. They are a great resource to find out if acupuncture could benefit your vet’s situation as well as who offers treatment in your area.
You’ll find a great online resource from The International Veterinary Acupuncture Society. You can search this database of qualified veterinarians with formal acupuncture training by city and state.
As you might imagine, not every dog will quietly sit still while an acupuncturist turns them into a living pincushion. It’s not like you can explain to them that this will help ease whatever pain they’ve been experiencing.
For those pets, acupressure can be a good alternative.
Acupressure also involves stimulating specific points along the body’s meridians. But instead of inserting needles, the professional uses their hands or massage tools (such as massage balls) to put pressure on these points.
This form of treatment can be nearly as effective as using needles. This makes it a great alternative for anxious pets who would struggle to sit still for traditional acupuncture. It is also sometimes used on any dog in hard-to-reach areas
The Safety and Comfort of Your Dog
Are you feeling frustrated by watching your beloved pet suffer? Whether it’s because of a chronic condition, an acute injury, or even just old age, it’s always hard for owners when their dogs are hurting.
Acupuncture, thankfully, is a safe treatment that can bring them relief and ease your concerns.
Of course, choosing the right veterinary acupuncturist is paramount to your dog’s safety and comfort. Not a lot of veterinarians have been formally trained in this type of treatment and you want someone with experience working on your pup.
Once you find a qualified professional, it’s also important to choose a comfortable atmosphere for your dog.
Some dogs may be perfectly fine to receive treatment at the veterinary acupuncturist’s office. Anxious dogs who struggle with the treatment (or just trips to the vet in general) may respond better if they receive treatment at home in a familiar environment.
Regardless of the way you choose to do it, the main thing is that you have a great option for helping your dog deal with their pain. And that is priceless!
For more helpful articles about pet-parenting tips, check out the Off Leash blog at TryFi.com.
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