Which are the most common alternative therapies for dogs?

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Answered by: Tabitha, An Expert in the Care for Dogs and Puppies Category
Are you a pet owner who is at the end of their rope? Dogs, like humans, suffer from various debilitating chronic conditions. While many treatment options are available for most of these conditions, not all dogs respond to them. Your veterinarian might suggest some alternative therapies for dogs if conventional medicine doesn't produce the desired results. Therapeutic treatments for pets are becoming increasingly popular due to their high rates of success. The goal of alternative treatment is to heal pets using a holistic approach. The most common alternative therapies include;

Chiropractic/ massage therapy

Malaise can be alleviated by balancing and realigning your dog's body. According to some animal doctors, subtle changes can be felt when applying massage or chiropractic therapy on pets. During the procedure, a veterinarian uses manipulation to adjust the bones. An immediate change will be evident as the pet becomes livelier. For this treatment to work, the veterinarian should have a broad comprehension of animal anatomy. Once the body's circulation is restored, its innate potential to heal itself will be unleashed.


A certified acupuncturist uses thin needles in certain key points to alleviate pain. Dogs with a limp, muscle spasms or arthritis benefit greatly from this therapeutic treatment. Veterinary acupuncture encourages the body to heal itself by correcting bodily imbalances and enhancing blood circulation.


The wonderful smell of essential oils is a great stress release reliever for pets. Because dogs have a stronger sense of smell than humans, their owners should use essential oils sparingly. Consult your veterinarian before administering this treatment to your pet. Aromatherapy doesn't treat pain directly but it encourages your pet to relax thus preventing painful movements.

Canine hydrotherapy

Hydrotherapy is beneficial and can be used in place of high impact exercise for canines with crippling injuries and cruciate ligament trauma. Your dog should be helped in and out of the pool to prevent injury and body stress. To make sure that your pet stays above water, use a harness. Heated water is preferable as it relieves muscular pain and discomfort. In some treatments, underwater resistant jets are used to create stronger currents for your dog to swim against.

Almost every alternative therapy used on humans can be used on dogs. If your pet suffers from chronically painful and degenerative conditions, it can be treated using alternative therapies for dogs. They speed up the process of recovery and assist pets in getting their mobility back. Some vets do not believe in alternative treatments because unlike conventional medicine, their worth has not been proven. However, this does not necessarily mean that they are innefectual.

Nowadays, veterinary schools offer courses in holistic medicine. If you are looking for a qualified practitioner, talk to other dog owners. Vets who practice alternative therapy must be certified by the organizations that govern the therapies. For instance, a veterinarian who does acupuncture should be certified by the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society. Don't risk your dog's life. If you are not sure about a certain therapy, do some research first. Then you can make an informed decision.

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