What’s The Point Of Dog Acupuncture?
Just as human medicine has made significant advances in the last few decades, so has veterinary medicine. Veterinary health specialists and researchers have not only learned more about the diseases affecting cats and dogs but they have also made advances in treatment options. One interesting recent development in veterinary medicine is the use of acupuncture for dogs. This treatment may seem unconventional, but it may help with a number of health problems. In this article you will learn the basics about what dog acupuncture looks like and how it might help your pooch.
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is an ancient form of traditional Chinese medicine that involves stimulating certain acupoints along the body with the penetration of thin needles. According to traditional Chinese medicine theories, you can correct imbalances in qi flow by stimulating certain acupuncture points (acupoints). Whereas traditional medicine often utilizes drugs and chemicals to heal the body, the goal of acupuncture is to help the body heal itself by correcting imbalances of energy flow. When properly used, acupuncture can help to increase blood circulation, stimulate the nervous system and relieve pain and inflammation.
Though the most oft used form of acupuncture is needle insertion, there are other methods as well. Acupressure involves applying pressure to acupoints on the body, and it is good for hard to reach locations and for dogs that do not want to sit still for needle insertion. Aquapuncture involves the injection of liquids like diluted vitamin B12 or homeopathics to move tissue out of the way so energy can flow properly. Moxibustion involves the application of a heated herbal compound, often in conjunction with needle insertion. This type of therapy is particularly beneficial for older dogs and those suffering from joint pain or stiffness.
What can Acupuncture do for my Dog?
The wonderful thing about acupuncture is that it doesn’t involve the use of drugs and that it can treat a wide variety of conditions. Some of the conditions for which acupuncture has proven effective include:
- Pain relief
- Reduction in inflammation
- Improved blood flow to tissues
- Removal of metabolic wastes
- Chronic respiratory conditions
- Dermatological (skin) disorders
- Reproductive disorders
- Cervical disc disease
Should You Use Acupuncture on Your Dog?
Because acupuncture is still considered a form of alternative medicine, you may be skeptical about using it on your pet. It may help you to learn the benefits of acupuncture over more traditional forms of medicine. For example, acupuncture does not require the use of drugs so there is no risk for allergic reactions or drug interactions. Second, acupuncture results in few to no side effects – in fact, your dog is unlikely to experience anything other than minor discomfort during the first session or two until he gets used to it. Scientific studies regarding acupuncture in both dogs and humans have found that the practice is beneficial in cases where pain medications and anti-inflammatories have proven ineffective. In short, acupuncture is a versatile treatment option that has great potential for benefit and little risk.
If you decide that you want to try acupuncture for your pet, be sure to find an experienced acupuncturist who has worked with pets before. You should expect to take your dog in for treatment up to three times per week for the first four to six weeks and then less often after initial progress has been made. If nothing else is working for your dog, or if you are simply looking for a natural alternative to drug therapies, consider dog acupuncture.
Kate Barrington is the loving owner of two cats (Bagel and Munchkin) and a noisy herd of guinea pigs. Having grown up with golden retrievers, Kate has a great deal of experience with dogs but labels herself a lover of all pets. Having received a Bachelor's degree in English, Kate has combined her love for pets and her passion for writing to create her own freelance writing business, specializing in the pet niche.
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