Acupuncture for dogs: What you need to know first

by Kira Garrett | December 19, 2013

Acupuncture is one branch of traditional Chinese medicine that has been steadily gaining popularity as a holistic treatment modality for pets. It involves placing extremely thin needles in the skin along energy meridians to balance or restore the flow of energy. The practice has been used to treat an extensive variety of conditions in humans for thousands of years. For pet owners interested in holistic treatments, as well as those frustrated with poor results from conventional medicine, acupuncture is absolutely worth exploring.

First, it’s important to talk to a holistic vet about how acupuncture might benefit your dog. Whether your pup has a chronic issue or you just want to maintain optimal health, your holistic vet should be able to help give you an idea of which steps to take next. If your holistic vet doesn’t practice acupuncture, ask him or her for a reference to someone who does, or check the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association’s vet finder page. It’s still important for your regular holistic vet to communicate with an acupuncture practitioner; acupuncture can cause interactions with other treatments your pet might be undergoing.

Though acupuncture does involve needles, it should not be painful. There might be some discomfort when the needles are inserted, it typically goes away – some canine patients become so relaxed that they even fall asleep during the treatment!

Treatment time varies, depending on your dog’s symptoms and needs – it might be very brief, or could last up to 30 minutes or more. It might take time before you start seeing results, and treatment often requires more than just one session, so it’s important to be aware that you might need to make several trips to your dog’s acupuncturist.

While many pet owners turn to acupuncture as a last resort, it’s a treatment that should be considered as a primary, holistic option. Its longevity among human practitioners and patients speaks volumes about what it can do for your pet.