Should You Consider a Dog Chiropractor?

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Dog at veterinarian: Should You Consider a Dog Chiropractor?Are you tired of seeing your dog in pain or struggle with his loss of agility? Have you tried surgery or other veterinary interventions to help relieve his discomfort but haven’t seen the results you seek? It may be time for you to consider a dog chiropractor. Although not universally accepted as a standard treatment for some common ailments, dog chiropractic is gaining a more solid footing — similar to the state of human chiropractic. And more and more veterinarians are getting the training and certification needed to practice this holistic approach to treatment. We’ll help break down what dog chiropractic is all about, when it can help, where to find help, and more.

How Does Dog Chiropractic Work?

Dog chiropractic is a holistic, all natural approach to treating a number of joint, muscular and skeletal problems that are common in some dogs and certain breeds. The principles and practices behind veterinary chiropractic are nearly identical to those used with humans.

The most common way both human and animal chiropractors treat subluxations (misalignment of the vertebrae) and other problems is through chiropractic adjustment, which involves low force manual manipulation of the spinal column, joints or other affected areas. These adjustments help improve mobility and function and alleviate physical stress, strain and pain by removing the source of the symptom and letting the body heal itself.

If you and your vet have ruled out other options for relief and treatment, dog chiropractic is a good alternative – all without the use of medication or surgery.

What Conditions Can a Dog Chiropractor Help Treat?

Dog chiropractic can help treat a long list of disorders, injuries and ailments, and as the practice of veterinary chiropractic continues to evolve, this list will certainly grow. The following are some of the more common conditions dog chiropractors treat.

  • Subluxations
  • Repetitive use injuries
  • Neck and back injuries
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Osteoarthritis relief
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Forelimb lameness
  • Stiffness
  • Post-surgery recovery

What Are the Signs and Symptoms?

If you notice any of these signs in your pup, it could mean that he suffers from a condition that chiropractic treatment could help. Of course, you should consult with your vet first and foremost if you’re concerned about any of your dog’s symptoms.

  • Having trouble climbing stairs
  • Walking with a limp or dragging his back legs
  • Weak front legs with no specific site of pain
  • Trouble standing or lying down
  • Reluctancy to move or decreased mobility
  • Inability to jump
  • Sitting or standing in an abnormal position and tilted to the side
  • Abnormal gait and a shorter stride
  • Hunched back
  • Yelping when you pick him up around the chest area or general sensitivity to touch

What Can You Expect From a Dog Chiropractor?

Your dog will have an initial evaluation to gauge his overall health and healthcare needs. This assessment can take place over the phone, email, or in-house, depending on the practice. But before any hands-on care, your dog chiropractor will need to consult with your veterinarian to get your pup’s medical history and other information, including x-rays, surgeries or medications he’s currently taking or has taken in the past. It’s crucial for you to work hand-in-hand with your regular veterinarian and dog chiropractor to ensure the safest course of treatment.

The following video shows you just what to expect from a hands-on adjustment, and you’ll see how painless (and even enjoyable) it can be for your pooch.

How Soon Will You See Improvement?

So, when will your pup see relief after a chiropractic adjustment? It really depends on the nature of his condition, injury or ailment. After a single adjustment session it could take up to five days for your dog’s body to repair itself, and for some conditions that may be all that he needs. For others, relief could take anywhere from a few sessions to months of sessions.

How Can You Find a Certified Chiropractor for Dogs?

Professional canine chiropractic has only been recognized for about 25 years with the founding of the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association (AVCA) in 1989. The AVCA provides the premier certifications for animal chiropractors in the U.S., and the AVCA website has a link to help you locate an AVCA certified dog chiropractor in your area, as well some excellent resources about animal chiropractic.

Does Pet Insurance Cover Animal Chiropractic?

Yes! Believe it or not, some pet insurance companies actually do cover dog chiropractic, massage, acupuncture and other alternative treatments. Pet insurance has come a long way baby! If you already have pet insurance, check with your provider to see if dog chiropractic is covered. If you don’t have pet insurance or you’re not covered by your current provider, see our article Pet Insurance Reviews to find a company for you. Healthy Paws, our pick for best pet insurance, does indeed provide coverage for dog chiropractors and other alternative treatments!

When A dog Chiropractor is the Right Choice For Your Pup

Chiropractic care isn’t necessarily suitable for every dog, just as some medications, surgery or other treatments aren’t a one-size-fits-all answer. It’s crucial to keep in mind that chiropractic for dogs isn’t a substitution for standard veterinary care. So when should you consider a canine chiropractor? If your dog hasn’t responded well or has had negative side effects from medications or other standard treatments, or if your dog isn’t a candidate for surgery, a dog chiropractor can be a huge help.

Have you found relief for your dog through a dog chiropractor, and how did it help?

Sally grew up in a feline-only home, but cat allergies in her early 20’s made it an easy transition to dog ownership. And she couldn’t be happier with her canine shadow, who’s been at her side (literally) for years. No longer a cat person for obvious reasons, Sally is now a true bone-ified dog lover.

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