Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese way of pain management. Its efficacy led to the technique being adored as an alternative or complementary treatment for many chronic health issues. Though owners are often skeptical about acupuncture for dogs, many attest its benefit for their pets.
Acupuncture for dogs is a treatment option when your pet has health issues, such as
- Urinary problems – inability to completely empty the bladder, incontinence, cystitis
- Respiratory problems – allergies and asthma
- Musculoskeletal problems – hip dysplasia, osteoarthritis, and IVDD
- Neurological issues – epilepsy and disc disease-related paralysis
- GI problems – chronic diarrhea, colitis, rectal prolapse, lack of appetite
Acupuncture is not painful and many dogs tend to relax and even fall asleep during the procedure. The administration process of acupuncture for dogs involves the sticking of needles into certain points of the body. The needles are inserted into some points of the dog’s body, specifically along the energy channels where blood vessels and nerve bundles meet.
The number of needles needed for acupuncture depends on the problem your pet has. The procedure may last from 10 to 50 minutes.
Here are some benefits of acupuncture for dogs.
Acupuncture Relieves Pain, Relaxes Dogs
Relieving pain is the most sought-after benefit of acupuncture for dogs. Acupuncture stimulates the body to release a natural pain-relieving substance called adenosine. This substance is also a muscle relaxant.
For this reason, dogs with bone and joint problems, such as arthritis and hip dysplasia, are the most common pets to have acupuncture. In conjunction with conventional treatment plans, acupuncture helps dogs feel less pain and discomfort.
Acupuncture Increases Blood flow
Increased blood circulation is also one of the benefits of acupuncture for dogs. Acupuncture has been found to dilate blood vessels and therefore promotes better blood circulation. This effect leads to improved oxygen delivery to the organs and better waste removal.
Low Risk of Acupuncture Side Effects
Unlike taking oral medications, acupuncture for dogs has a very low risk of damaging internal organs. For this reason, acupuncture can be used to help treat – or attempt to treat – different diseases in conjunction with other modes of treatment.
Acupuncture Improves Skin Health
Dogs who suffer from skin issues, such as skin granulomas, hot spots, and dermatitis, can benefit well from acupuncture. Because acupuncture increases blood flow, it helps heal the skin infections near areas where the needles are inserted.
Acupuncture Improves Digestion
Acupuncture can help dogs who suffer from tummy problems, lack of appetite, and diarrhea. The procedure stimulates digestive secretions and helps normalize digestive functions.
Acupuncture for Reduces Allergic Reactions
In traditional Chinese medicine, allergies are considered the body’s failure to adjust to the environment, causing the immune system to overreact.
Acupuncture has anti-inflammatory properties and helps calm the immune system. This effect is beneficial for dogs who suffer from respiratory problems, such as asthma and allergies.
There are different acupuncture techniques to choose from. Your veterinarian may recommend one or more procedures depending on the disease or condition your pet is suffering from.
- Manual – This is basic acupuncture wherein dry needles are inserted into your dog’s skin.
- Moxibustion – This technique involves the use of both needles and warm Chinese herbs. In Moxibustion, the needles are heated using dried herbal incense.
- Aquapuncture – In this acupuncture technique, vitamins and medicines are injected into your pet’s body through the tips of the needle.
- Electroacupuncture – This acupuncture technique involves hooking up electrodes to the needles – stimulating your pet’s nerves. Electroacupuncture is often used to treat dogs paralyzed or injured due to accidents.
- Acupressure – Needles are not used in this technique. In acupressure, gentle pressure is applied to acupoints to release blocked blood and help distribute nutrients and oxygen to different parts of the body.
Precautions When Considering Acupuncture for Dogs
Acupuncture is not a miracle treatment. It cannot cure diseases but it can help alleviate pain and discomfort in your dog. The procedure is also not appropriate for dogs who need treatment for canine distemper, canine parvovirus, chocolate poisoning, other viral or bacterial diseases, and emergency situations.
Although acupuncture is generally safe, it can come with minimal side effects. On very rare occasions, an acupuncture needle can break or cause an infection in the area where the needle was inserted. For this reason, we recommend that you only allow certified veterinary acupuncturists to perform the procedure on your pet.