Alternative Medicine For Your Pet

If you love alternative medicine, why can't your pet get a little love too? Here are three types of complimentary therapy and what they can really do for your furry friend.


There are very few side effects from acupuncture, so it can be used in conjunction with a number of different therapies. Acupuncture may be effective for chronic conditions such as arthritis, back pain, and neurological conditions.

While research is promising, it’s hard to measure the success of treatment because the cute, furry patients can’t describe how they’re feeling. There’s also a “caregiver placebo effect,” in which owners (and even vets) may perceive a treatment to be helping when it’s actually not. That’s one reason why it’s important for vets to do a thorough examination to determine the effectiveness of the treatment.

Acupuncture, like other alternative therapies, can supplement but shouldn’t replace conventional diagnostic and treatment methods, such as X-rays, medication, and surgery.


Like chiropractors who treat humans, veterinary practitioners face skepticism from the mainstream medical community, since their evidence of success is overwhelmingly anecdotal—and many neurologists don’t recommend spinal manipulative therapy. Supporters argue that chiropractors can produce results when conventional diagnosis and treatment come up short.

Chiropractors can really help with older dogs. They don’t just manipulate the spine; they handle the digits and the hips and do tail and jaw traction. If you want to give this treatment a try, look for a practitioner who’s certified by the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association.


Will a good rubdown do more than leave fluffy feeling super relaxed??

Massage – or the use of fingers, hands, and machines to manipulate soft tissues - - can address pain from injuries and surgery, provide relief from inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, and help rehabilitate animals like dogs and horses that have been sidelined from sports.

As with other therapies, be sure to check first with your pet’s primary care doctor. If your vet seems to not be open to it, you can say, “Well, I’d like to see somebody who is.”


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