What is Light Therapy for Dogs?
Even though dogs don’t live as long as people, their joints still take a beating over the course of their lifetime. Arthritis and joint pain are very common in dogs, especially senior dogs, and the options for effective treatment seem limited.
If your dog suffers from frequent joint pain or arthritis, consider a new form of therapy – light therapy. Keep reading to learn more about what light therapy is and how it works.
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How Does Light Therapy Work for Dogs?
Light therapy has been used in alternative medicine for decades, but it has only recently entered the veterinary world. Low level light therapy or LLLT can be used for a wide range of conditions including inflammation, infection, and arthritis to speed the healing process.
According to Christina Reguli, the owner of Canine Light Therapy, light therapy helps the body heal more quickly. When cells are damaged by trauma, inflammation, or infection, they have the ability to heal themselves but the process requires energy. Due to the damage, these cells are less efficient at producing the energy they need to heal – that’s where light therapy comes in.
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Using LEDs or laser diodes, light therapy penetrates the dog’s skin, muscle, and bone using photons of specific wavelengths. The photoreceptors in the dog’s body absorb the energy from the light and use it to boost the healing process. Different wavelengths are used to reach different layers of tissue and the most effective treatment is a combination of red and near-infrared light.
Should You Consider Light Therapy for Your Dog?
Light therapy is effective for a wide range of conditions in dogs and cats, especially arthritis. If your dog has joint pain, light therapy is a gentle form of treatment that could help his joints heal and recover. Light therapy can also be used for general maintenance, to help your dog life a happy and pain-free life. When used regularly, light therapy can help with daily aches and pains as well as stiff joints and muscles.
Light therapy can benefit the following conditions and health problems:
- Soft tissue injury
- Ligament injury
- Tendon problems
- Stiff joints
- Sprains and strains
- Shoulder pain
- Back pain
- Cuts and scrapes
- Open wounds
- Post-surgical pain
- Joint maintenance
To use light therapy on your dog, you have two options. One is to have your dog complete the therapy at a vet clinic where you’ll pay between $75 and $125 per session. Another option is to purchase your own light therapy device which could cost anywhere from $150 to $2,000. These devices take several forms including handheld devices and wraps you can strap onto your dog’s body.
If you’re considering light therapy for your dog, take the time to talk to your veterinarian about the options. Your vet will be able to tell you whether light therapy might benefit your dog’s condition and, if so, which type of light is best and how to administer it. Just remember, that every dog will respond differently, and no therapy is a cure-all.
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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