Acupuncture for Dogs

Why You May Want to Consider Acupuncture for Dogs

Acupuncture for people is becoming increasingly popular, but what about acupuncture for dogs? Evidence is mounting that suggests that acupuncture can treat a number of conditions in dogs and significantly improve quality of life for your canine companion. Here's what you need to know about acupuncture for dogs and why you may want to consider this treatment for your pet.

What is Acupuncture for Dogs?

Acupuncture is an ancient technique that has been used for humans and animals in the East for hundreds of years, but it has only recently become a popular treatment in the West. Acupuncture for dogs works in the same way as acupuncture for people.

OKC Vet Campus - we offer acupuncture for dogs to help with symptoms of pain, anxiety, neurological disorders, and more.

Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine, of which acupuncture is a part, is based on the restoration of a balance of body energies. In this tradition, it is believed that an imbalance of energies causes ailments and that correcting this balance can correct the ailment.

Therefore, acupuncture can be a treatment for just about anything, since an incorrect balance of energies is responsible for all maladies. Extremely thin needles are put into the dog's body at very specific points. These are called acupuncture points. They are typically areas where blood vessels and nerves meet. The needles are placed in specific places depending on what malady the dog has.

In Western terms, it is believed that needles enhance blood circulation, which enables healing in the area. The needles may also cause signals to be released that reduce inflammation and pain while simultaneously stimulating the nervous system in beneficial ways.

* Acupressure works under the same concept as acupuncture, but pressure is used instead of needles.

What Happens During Acupuncture Treatment?

  1. Your dog will be made comfortable, typically on a mat, but sometimes on a lap in the case of smaller dogs.
  2. Various techniques may be used to help your dog settle down, such as being petted for some time before treatment begins or being fed treats.
  3. Needles are inserted by a trained acupuncture professional in the specific locations required to treat whatever condition your dog has.
  4. Needles are left in for some time. The amount of time varies depending on the treatment protocol and the temperament of your dog.
  5. The needles are carefully removed and the area is gently rubbed

Acupuncture For Dogs Benefits

According to traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture for dogs can treat just about any malady. However, it is most commonly used for a couple of conditions in the West:

Chronic Pain

Acupuncture has been found to be effective for the treatment of chronic pain associated with musculoskeletal disease as well as neurological disorders. Unlike pain medication which often comes with serious side effects including sedation and negative effects on the kidneys and liver, acupuncture appears to have no negative side effects at all.
It is very useful either in combination with medication or by itself. Acupuncture is very often used as a treatment for arthritis in dogs. Since arthritis is fueled by a vicious cycle in which joint disease causes inflammation which furthers joint disease, a treatment like acupuncture which can reduce inflammation can not only reduce pain but may actually treat the disease.

Wound Healing

Acupuncture can help wounds to heal, particularly wounds that otherwise don’t heal easily. In fact, when acupuncture is used, frequent bandaging and surgery may not be necessary. It is likely that acupuncture helps wounds to heal by increasing blood circulation in the area so that the body can heal itself more effectively. The reduction of inflammation associated with acupuncture can also be very effective for healing wounds.

Neurologic Disorders

Neurologic disorders like Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) are, unfortunately, very common in dogs. They are particularly prevalent in small breed dogs and dogs with long backs and short legs, like dachshunds. IVDD can be both painful and disabling and can even lead to paralysis. Surgery is expensive, highly invasive, and not always effective.

Acupuncture for dogs with neurological problems such as IVDD can be quite successful. It can help dogs to move normally again, even enabling dogs that could previously not walk without assistance to walk on their own. Needless to say, this level of improvement enables a huge difference in the quality of life for both dog and owner.

Gastrointestinal Disorders

Stimulation of certain acupuncture points can control nausea and vomiting in dogs, apparently regardless of what the cause for the nausea and vomiting is, since the acupuncture points affect the brain region that is responsible for gastric activity. It can be very effective in helping dogs who have trouble keeping food down to gain weight. Acupuncture can also reduce the nausea and vomiting that often go along with certain medications.

Ophthalmological Disorders
Reports of acupuncture being beneficial for vision have existed for a very long time, but these reports are now being corroborated by the scientific community. Acupuncture can enable optic nerve functioning and vision to improve, enabling dogs to see more clearly.
It appears that acupuncture increases the blood flow to improve optic function. It can also be beneficial for disorders like glaucoma by reducing the pressure within the eye.

Cardiorespiratory Disorders
Acupuncture can reduce blood pressure, which may be able to reduce the risk of cardiac issues such as cardiac arrhythmia. Furthermore, acupuncture appears to have benefits on respiratory apnea and depression. Acupuncture restores respiration to normal or nearly normal rates and reduces the incidence of cardiac arrest significantly.

Anxiety and Aggression
Many people are surprised to learn that acupuncture may have positive effects for psychological issues in dogs, not just physical issues. Acupuncture for dogs with anxiety may reduce the amount of anxiety that dogs experience and the behavioral aggression that results from this anxiety. Owners of dogs that receive acupuncture for anxiety found that their dogs seemed more relaxed as a result of the treatment.

Benefits of Acupuncture Compared to Other Treatments

There are more traditional Western alternative treatments for everything that acupuncture treats, so why choose acupuncture over another treatment? Here are a few reasons why acupuncture should be a serious consideration:

  • Free of side effects. There don't appear to be any downsides to acupuncture. It doesn't cause side effects, and the majority of dogs seem to tolerate it extremely well.
  • Dogs appear to enjoy it. The hardest part of acupuncture therapy for most dogs is the restraint that is required. However, if dogs are willing to stay still during therapy, they appear to enjoy the treatment and most fall asleep while being treated.
  • It can go along with other treatments. You don't have to forego more traditional Western treatments in order to try acupuncture. It works very well when used in combination with other therapies. In fact, it may help dogs tolerate other treatments better by reducing anxiety or nausea that may be associated with other treatments.
  • It is reasonably priced. Acupuncture may be much more affordable than other treatments, especially when compared to very expensive treatments such as surgery.

What to Look for in Acupuncture for Dogs Near Me

When you’re looking for acupuncture for dogs, it’s absolutely essential that you are discerning. This relatively new treatment is a hot topic in veterinary medicine, and less than scrupulous providers may offer it even if they aren’t qualified to do so. Here are a few things to look for when searching for a provider for acupuncture for dogs:

Training. You want someone that has specific training in acupuncture, preferably from a highly acclaimed training course like the Chi Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine Small Animal Acupuncture course. Acupuncture is an extremely precise science. Needles must be asserted in exactly the right way in order to have the desired effect.

Primary veterinary care. While it isn't always possible, it's best if the provider of acupuncture is also your dog's primary veterinarian. The same doctor doesn't have to do both, but it's nice if they're in the same practice. That way, a complete course of care can be developed in which acupuncture and more traditional treatments complement one another.

Convenient location and/or daycare. Acupuncture typically takes some time. It’s often best if needles can be left in for a longer period if possible. Therefore, it's nice if you can drop your dog off and pick them up, either because the location is near your home or work or because the practice can also provide daycare so your dog can play until you are ready to pick them up.

Consider OKC Vet Campus for Acupuncture for Dogs

OKC Vet Campus offers a comprehensive approach to pet care, including acupuncture for dogs. We are a fear-free certified practice so you can be confident that your dog will be at ease while in our care. We emphasize both education and engagement to provide superb care for the entire dog: physical and behavioral.

OKC Vet Campus offers not only innovative and integrative therapies like acupuncture for dogs, but also training, grooming, daycare, boarding, and traditional western primary care treatment. Whatever your dog needs, you can find it at OKC Vet Campus - contact us today!