Does Acupuncture for Dogs Really Work?

Does Acupuncture for Dogs Really Work?

We love our canine companions, and we’d do just about anything for them – when they’re stressed out, upset or in pain more so than ever. We’ve all heard about weird and wonderful treatments, to varying degrees of efficacy, but does acupuncture for dogs really work? Let us talk you through the process and explain why this canine treatment falls into ‘wonderful’ rather than ‘weird’! 

What is acupuncture?

In simple terms, it’s the use of needles inserted at certain points in the body in order to alleviate the pain or discomfort the patient is experiencing short and long-term. The needles are always new and sterile, which makes the process safe and they’re incredibly fine, so the  experience is painless too. An acupuncturist is the person who delivers the treatment, and they’re an experienced professional who’s undergone years of specialist training. 

Just like many humans receive acupuncture treatment, it is well established that veterinary acupuncture treatment can have the same benefits for our beloved animals and make them more comfortable, calmer, and healthier through our careful, bespoke holistic care. It is against the law for anyone other than a veterinary surgeon to administer acupuncture to an animal

Why do dogs require acupuncture?

Why does anyone require acupuncture? The answer is the same. 

The goal of acupuncture is to provide relief and make the patient more comfortable as a result of the treatment. So, if your dog is suffering from stress or anxiety, acupuncture can help remove these feelings; if your dog is suffering from pain as a result of an accident or medical condition, acupuncture acts as a pain relief therapy. If your dog is experiencing an illness or disorder or is in a situation requiring palliative care, acupuncture makes your pet more comfortable and help their days be calmer and less painful, to enable you both to get the most out of your time together. Acupuncture can run alongside conventional medicine or on its own depending on the circumstance. 

How does acupuncture help dogs?

Acupuncture is part of a holistic treatment, which means that it takes into account the entire situation and can have a more impactful effect as a result of looking into the lifestyle and environment of your dog as well as the symptom. 

How does acupuncture itself work though? The scientific theory behind the process can be briefly explained like this: inserting a small, fine metal needle into carefully chosen locations stimulates a hormonal and cellular response. Don’t worry, it’s not painful! As the needles are not part of the body, they trigger the body into action.  The neurological response and hormones released make the patient feel calmer, less pained and more at ease- the result of acupuncture is a happier, healthier animal. 

What conditions can acupuncture for dogs treat?

Acupuncture can help a very wide-ranging list of ailments, both mental and physical. The possibility for a targeted approach to specific body parts and types of pain mean that veterinary acupuncture can make a significant difference to injuries and nerve pains, as well as skin conditions, dysplasia and arthritis, among other things. It’s also been seen to have significant effects on the comfort of cancer patients and palliative care patients – both human and animal, and if it’s good enough for us, it’s good enough for our dogs too!  

What does a typical acupuncture treatment look like?

You and your dog will meet our veterinary surgeon and the appointment will last around 45 minutes. We’ll talk about environment, feeding, management and behaviour, concerns and goals and give your dog a physical examination. If this isn’t your first appointment  we’ll note down any changes from the last time we saw you both. 

The acupuncture needles are inserted into the carefully chosen points, and they’ll stay there for between 2 and 20 minutes. If your dog is particularly anxious, it’s possible to use an acupuncture laser instead of dry needling, although even the most anxious dogs are usually fine with the treatment. The duration is dependent on the age of your dog, the acupuncture points and the condition(s) in question. Again, this won’t cause your dog any pain – actually, most dogs find it very relaxing, and sometimes even sedative! 

Are there side effects of acupuncture for dogs?

Any treatment can have side effects, naturally. Fortunately, in this case, the side effects we usually encounter are a calmer disposition, less pain and a happier attitude! 

As a result of taking into account the wider situation, we’re able to use acupuncture treatment for dogs in the most effective way, and the needling itself helps by specifically targeting areas using acupuncture points to elevate the effectiveness and impact of the treatment. In just the same way the NHS often recommends acupuncture to their human patients for its positive impact on pain relief and comfort, we recommend it for dogs for the same reasons!