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Acupuncture for Dogs: What is it and how does it work?

Acupuncture for Dogs: What is it and how does it work?

Are you wondering if acupuncture may be the right therapy for your canine companion? Here, our Avon vets explain veterinary acupuncture in dogs, including the treatment process, its benefits and the conditions that it may be used to address.

What is acupuncture for pets?

Acupuncture for dogs, like the same treatment for humans, is a form of alternative medicine that is intended to treat and manage the symptoms of a number of different diseases and disorders. It should be performed by a veterinarian specially trained in traditional Chinese Medicine also referred to as TCVM).

TCVM can also include the use of other therapies and can be combined with conventional medications and care practices, resulting in a more holistic and full-bodied approach to treatment. Acupuncture can be beneficial at all stages of life and for a range of conditions, from puppyhood to adult pooches and even senior dogs. Acupuncture is considered to be a safe and effective therapy that can provide long-lasting relief from pain and discomfort in your dog associated with illness or injury.

The Process

First, your vet will determine the underlying reasons for the signs and symptoms that your dog is experiencing. A proper diagnosis can result in improved health and quicker recovery since the treatments that your vet administered will be targeted at your pup's specific health issues. If suitable, your vet will recommend acupuncture as a therapeutic treatment for your dog's condition.

The use of veterinary acupuncture is intended to help your pet's body heal itself by resetting the balance of energy throughout the body, known as "chi". This is done with a series of fine needles being inserted at specific points in the body where blood vessels and nerves convene. Endorphins, which are the body's natural pain-killers, are released, helping to relieve acute and chronic pain and discomfort.

This technique also stimulates the release of a chemical called serotonin, which can positively impact your happiness, mood and anxiety levels.

Other forms of TCVM can include acupressure, aquapuncture, laser energy, electrostimulation, and other alternative therapies.

Benefits of Veterinary Acupuncture

There are a number of benefits to be gained by using TCVM treatments such as acupuncture for your dog's symptoms, including the following:

  • Stimulates the release of endorphins, which are the body's natural pain relievers, and anti-inflammatory substances.
  • No negative side effects on internal organs, unlike some prescription medications.
  • There is no possibility of adverse interactions with other medications or supplements, making it a safe treatment for a range of illnesses and disorders.
  • The process of acupuncture creates elevated blood flow and increased oxygenation as well as improved metabolic and toxic waste removal.
  • The needle insertion site benefits from localized pain relief due to the relaxation of the muscles in that area.

Conditions That Can be Treated

A wide variety of illnesses and conditions may be treatable or manageable through veterinary acupuncture in conjunction with other medical interventions. Conditions that cause or include chronic pain or inflammation tend to be especially responsive to this kind of treatment. Make sure you ask your vet whether or not they think acupuncture is an appropriate treatment option for your dog's illness.


Acupuncture can help to stimulate the flow of blood to certain parts of your pet's body and supports the activity of their immune system. These both improve your dog's natural healing processes. It can be used to help relive the symptoms and side-effects of both cancers and some cancer treatments, including improved comfort and pain relief.


The pain caused by arthritis in your dog may be relieved with acupuncture by the release of endorphins. This treatment can reduce your dog's need for pain medications and lower the chances of side-effects or unwanted interactions between different kinds of medications.

Degenerative Joint Disease

Common in dogs, joint diseases can cause stiffness and pain with movement. Acupuncture can help to increase mobility while decreasing pain and tension, making movement easier for your pooch.

Metabolic Diseases

Acupuncture can assist with metabolic disorders through the regulation of your pet's endocrine system, improving their digestion and relieving their oxidative stress. This treatment will also improve the blood flow through their body to their issues, boosting oxygenation and removing toxins and other metabolic waste products. 


If your pet has suffered from injury or trauma, such as an accident, fall, or fight, inflammation and pain may result. TCVM can be used to treat these symptoms and help your dog recover from their injury.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is your dog suffering from a painful inflammatory condition, an injury or some other illness? Contact Animal General today to learn more about how acupuncture may be able to help your companion. We may be able to provide you with a referral.

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