A dog attending a veterinary practice for an acupuncture session

Acupuncture for dogs: will my dog benefit from veterinary acupuncture?

Did you know that acupuncture can treat various conditions in dogs?

There’s some debate about whether it's effective – but with so many owners convinced that acupuncture has helped alleviate their pet's symptoms, it’s always worth finding out more.

What is veterinary acupuncture?

Acupuncture has been performed on animals for thousands of years in the Far East, and is growing in popularity in the West too. 

It's often used to treat pain and relieve muscle spasms in dogs, and to aid rehabilitation and recovery after injury.

There are two types of acupuncture available for dogs: traditional Chinese medicine and the Western scientific approach. Traditional Chinese acupuncture believes that needles release the energy that flows through the body, with the aim of restoring health and balance.

Western scientific acupuncture believes the needles stimulate the release of the body’s neurotransmitters, which cause the dog’s body to release its own pain-relieving substances and aid healing. 

What can it treat?

Acupuncture has been known to treat:

  • Chronic pain or muscle spasms
  • Arthritic pain

On occasion, it can also aid with the treatment of:

How does veterinary acupuncture work?

The acupuncturist will insert fine, sterilised needles into the relevant areas of your dog’s body - usually where blood vessels and nerve bundles intersect. This is believed to benefit nerve function, stimulate the release of hormones and improve the circulation – all of which can help aid pain management and healing.

Acupuncture needles can stay in the body for 5-20 minutes, and the treatment is both safe and painless. Some animals feel a gentle tingle; others don’t feel anything at all - they may even find acupuncture relaxing!

How to find an acupuncturist?

Veterinary acupuncture can only be carried out by a registered professional. If your vet believes that acupuncture may benefit your dog, they'll happily recommend a qualified acupuncturist.

Need more info?

For expert advice on the benefits of veterinary acupuncture, get in touch with your local vet. To find your nearest recommended vet or pet clinic, use our Find a Vet page.

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