Can Chiropractic Help My Dog?

When humans experience back pain, they will often see a chiropractor, but did you know that there are chiropractors that will treat your pet too? Yes, animal chiropractic is a real veterinary practice that is backed by the Animal Veterinary Chiropractic Association (AVCA). Many pet owners are sold on chiropractic – and it isn’t necessarily new.

Race horses, jumpers, and barrel race horses have been benefiting from chiropractic for years. Now the practice has expanded to include dogs, cats, and other animals. The results are amazing.

How does pet chiropractic work?

Just as with chiropractic on humans, animal chiropractic focuses on bringing the body into balance by aligning the spine. The spine is responsible for supporting the body and it houses the central nervous system which transmits messages from the brain throughout the body. Each vertebra is precisely positioned and when there is even a subtle change in the position (called a subluxation), it can cause pain, limit range of motion, and decrease flexibility. Subluxations can affect not only the spine, but also local muscles, the nervous system, joints, glands, and organs.

“It wasn’t until I was an adult, and had adopted my own dogs and cat, that I completely understood the person that I am.”

Is Animal Chiropractic Uncomfortable for my Pet?

Most animals do not show any signs of pain during the exam as well as the chiropractic adjustment. Quite often, they respond very favorably, showing that they enjoy it. In fact, some pet owners report that their animals get excited when they realize they are going for their adjustments. During the exam, the chiropractor will gently manipulate the spine, checking for soreness and misalignment. When they identify a spot that is painful, they will use the gentlest technique possible to address the pain and relieve it before making the adjustment. When the animal is in severe pain, all or part of the adjustment may be delayed until it can be more relaxed. However, quite often an adjustment can bring about pain relief.

What Happens After the Adjustment?

Usually, the animal will show improvement immediately after the adjustment, although they may be a little tired for a day or two afterwards. In the case of injury or chronic health conditions, the chiropractor may recommend several sessions. Many owners incorporate chiropractic care into their pet’s wellness plan.

What are Best Practices for Treatment?

When you take your pet to an animal chiropractor, make sure that you provide them with all of your pet’s health care information including veterinarian records, diet, medications, and supplements. That way they have a clear picture of your pet’s lifestyle and health. After the adjustment, the chiropractor may recommend home therapy or special exercises. Make sure you understand the instructions. If you don’t understand, ask. Also pay close attention to any recommendations the doctor makes about collar or harness fit, exercise, and other advice. Our pets are family and we want what is best for them. A pet chiropractor can help make your pet healthier and happier.

Search for an AVCA Animal Chiropractor here.

Photo by foreverdigital on CC BY-NC-SA

If you enjoyed this post, you should read Personal Story: A Dog Called Ringo here.

Have you ever used an animal chiropractor? Share your experience below!

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