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?

About The Author:

Sally holds a BA in English from James Madison University and began her 25-year writing career as a grad student at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Journalism & Mass Communications. She’s been a pet parent since college years (and spent her whole childhood with pets). Her work has appeared in many notable media outlets, including The Washington Post, Entrepreneur, People, Forbes, Huffington Post, and more.

Now as a parent of two teenagers, she’s made sure to raise her daughters to learn how to love and care for pets (and other animals) in the most responsible and loving ways. As a result, she and her daughters now have 5 rescued dogs and cats who essentially rule their home! Sally has also volunteered over the years to help raise funds for various animal nonprofit organizations.

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Kate Hansen
December 11, 2019 2:13 pm

It’s good to know that chiropractic care can help dogs who walk with a limp. For a couple of weeks, my golden retriever has been walking with a limp and I was wondering what would be the best treatment for her to feel better. I’ll have to look into finding a dog chiropractor so my dog can walk normal again.

April 6, 2019 12:36 am

I brought my pup to the chiropractor when his potty skills suddenly declined, along with noticing that he was walking somewhat stiffly. He was tested to have his 7th vertebrae out, which corresponds to the bladder and bowel nerves…immediate difference!

January 8, 2019 11:45 am

I cant tell you how many a dogs I have seen saved by a Chiropractor! One vet wanted to put my parents dog down, they decided to go to a Chiropractor and found all she had was a dislocated jaw! My coworkers vet wanted to amputate his dogs foot and he decided to try the Chiropractor first and the issue was solved in 1 visit. My own dog hurt her back and would shake and cry and could not twist. She kept her tail tucked and would bite when I would try to investigate. The vet took xrays and said she had buldging discs sliped discs snd degenerative disk disease and that said was suprised my dog was even walking. They supplied me with 3 strong drugs and said shed be on them for the rest of her life and likely need orthopedic surgery in the future. Well I knew about the Chiropractor. I went for 1 visit. 1 visit people! And she was better right away. Her pelvis was out of place a she other adjustments. It has been a month and my dog is running and jumping off of her meds. Im telling you, try Chiropractic work on your fur babies its been a life saver!

Kathleen Rojas
December 30, 2018 11:01 pm

Having had great success with chiropractic treatment at the age of 21, and my mom’s very successful chiropractic treatment for sciatica in her late 70’s (both cases were causing severe pain and incapacity), I have great faith in chiropractic treatment for humans. My daughter’s Basset Hound recently injured her back and was diagnosed with slipped disks. It hurts to see her suffer, especially knowing she hurt her back the same as I did in my teens. So I’m considering taking her to a veterinary chiropractor.

January 8, 2019 11:51 am
Reply to  Kathleen Rojas

Do it! Im telling you it will help. Ive seen it work. The chiropractor myself, my friends, and family go too is amazing. I have never had Chiropractic work done on myself, but this animal one is a miracle worker.

Kimberly Barcy
July 26, 2019 8:09 pm
Reply to  Jaime

My boy who is a Cavalier King Charles and is only 3 went from running and playing to his nose down and hurting. We have had him on 3 meds and at one point saw improvement but not anymore. The vet feels he has possible IVDD or a pinched nerve. We have decided to bring him to a chiropractor and I am hoping my boy will feel some relief.
Did you muzzle your dog when you brought him as I’m concerned with already having pain and then the chiropractor manipulating him is not going to feel good.
Fingers crossed this works for my boy

August 15, 2019 2:33 pm
Reply to  Kimberly Barcy

Did the chiropractor help? My beagle has the same diagnosis and it kills me to see him in so much pain.

September 17, 2019 3:34 pm
Reply to  Chelsey

I would like to know if it helped as well. My dog has IVDD and it is killing me to see him in pain.

August 4, 2018 2:55 pm

Chiropractice is pure quackery, nothing more.
Recommending this to be done to your pets is absolutely reprehensible IME…

Cyd Huston
January 23, 2019 3:53 pm
Reply to  Aad

I have had great personal success with chiropractic care. If not for my chiropractor I would continue to suffer with debilitating headaches and severe hip pain due to a vehicle accident. If you have tried it and didn’t like it I encourage you to find a different chiropractor, it may be that the one you had didn’t have as good of a read on your body. I can walk in and my chiropractor can tell me what hurts before I say a word.
I’ve just set our rescued pup up with his first Chiropractic Visit for next week.
If it helps my beautiful baby the way it helped me and he can run again and play without pain, I’ll do it. And no one can shame me for trying to do what’s best for my pups.

Scott Hyland
November 5, 2018 4:31 pm
Reply to  Aad

BS. I’ve been helped greatly by chiropractic adjustments.

June 17, 2018 1:15 am

I adopted an older dog and noticed she had a bit of a shakey hind leg. I pointed it out to the vet on a routine visit and she prescribed carprophen tabs. After three months, I again asked the vet about the leg as it was beginning to worry me. She then prescribed tramadol in a small dose. Not helping I began searching for alternative treatments. I tried dry needling with laser for a couple of sessions but didn’t see much improvement and it was very expensive. Then I hunted down a Chiro vet. The dog has had three dilute cortisone injections into the place where the dog was sore. Nothing to do with bones or arthritis, and although she will never be a young dog again, my 8-year-old darling is much happier.
It is tricky when you adopt a dog because you often don’t know the age of the animal or any history of injury. You just make the decision to do your best for your doggo. She’s a delight.

lopi goldio
November 30, 2017 3:21 pm