Acupuncture For Dogs: Can It Heal Your Dog?

Dog with acupuncture needlesWondering if dog acupuncture is a good idea for treating what ails your pup? The only one who can answer that question is a vet trained in traditional Chinese veterinary medicine. However, we can teach you a little bit about TCVM, canine acupuncture and why you might want to consider it to help improve your pup’s health.

The application of TCVM treatments (including acupuncture) can be integrated into western treatments. This results in a more thorough evaluation of a pet’s full body which means a plan of prevention and treatment can be presented. Acupuncture can help with your dog’s different life stages and an array of health conditions. The goal is to help the body heal itself by correcting energy (or chi) imbalances.

What Does Animal Acupuncture Do?

Pet acupuncture can help with many things. Some of the possibilities include its ability to:

  • Stimulate the body to do its own pain relieving and release anti inflammatory substances
  • Relax muscles where the needle is inserted which results in relieving local pain
  • Improve blood flow and oxygenation
  • Remove metabolic wastes and toxins

Additionally, there are no side effects for your pet’s internal organs (unlike over the counter medicine). So, medications and acupuncture can be used together without any bad side effects (from the acupuncture).

How Does Pet Acupuncture Work?

Acupuncture helps improve blood circulation, stimulates the nervous system and releases hormones that aid in pain relief. So how do you achieve these things? By inserting very thin needles into your pets body. Well, not you but a professional. The needles are inserted where nerve bundles and blood vessels meet known as acupuncture points.

Watch this video to see how this procedure helped this pup and why this vet finds it so important!

They are tiny and your dog will barely feel anything but if you are not comfortable with needles being put in your dog’s body, there are other forms of acupuncture your dog could benefit from.


Acupressure is administrating pressure to acupuncture points and is comparable to inserting needles. This works well for locations that are hard to reach and is used commonly on behaviorally challenged pets.


Aquapuncture is injecting liquids (i.e. diluted vitamin B12, homeopathetics, etc.) under the skin. This pushes tissue out of the way.

Electrostimulation aka Estim

Estim is putting an electric current into the body between needles. It relaxes muscles that spasm and aid in healing nerve damage.


Laser energy is used to stimulate the acupuncture points. The lasers are not hot in fact, they are actually cool so there is no burnt skin or hair. This needle-less form of acupuncture is great for pets who aren’t good with needles.


Moxibustion is the application of a heated Chinese herbal mixture to the treatment needles. The heat helps older or suffering pets with joint stiffness or muscle soreness.

What Can Acupuncture Help With?

Acupuncture is typically administered about 3 times a week during the initial weeks. It is best to administer in a place where your pet is comfortable, most likely at home. Many pets experience stress when taken to the vet, so be sure to administer the procedure in a stress free environment. Acupuncture is commonly used on dogs suffering from arthritis, degenerative joint disease, traumas (i.e. surgery, falls, etc.), cancer or metabolic disease.

Some pet insurance providers offer coverage for acupuncture, click here to learn more.

Have you ever tried acupuncture for dogs? If so, what did you treat?