Acupuncture for Dogs: Acupuncture Is Not Voodoo

Have you ever heard about acupuncture for dogs?

Even though throughout modern history acupuncture had many opponents, it held its own. In veterinary medicine, acupuncture is gaining ground. We are fortunate that our local veterinarian includes acupuncture in her services. It was one reason she was high on my list when I was looking for a veterinarian.

Theoretically, acupuncture can help with just about anything, including:

  • degenerative joint disease
  • arthritis
  • IVDD
  • traumatic nerve injuries
  • allergic skin condition
  • endocrine disorders
  • immune disorders
  • inflammatory disorders
  • seizures

Further information: Mercola Healthy Pets

Acupuncture for Dogs: Acupuncture Is Not Voodoo

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture uses small needles to stimulate special points on your dog’s body to encourage healing and relieve pain. Acupuncture points correspond with specific internal organ systems and regulate energy and blood flow throughout your dog’s body.

Other techniques, such as acupressure or laser acupuncture, share this strategy.

There are different ways to stimulate acupuncture points, such as

  • simple needles
  • aquapuncture (injection of a solution with herbs or vitamins such as B12)
  • electroacupuncture
  • stimulating acupuncture points with a laser
  • and other methods with a mixed reputation

Further information: 5 Ways Acupuncture Can Help Dogs

Acupuncture points

Acupuncture points are anatomically defined areas along defined pathways called meridians. There are hundreds of acupuncture points running along the meridians. While this concept seems obscure, CT scans revealed micro-vessel cluster points correlating to acupuncture points locations. These channels correspond to nerves, blood vessels, and myofascial connections.

Stimulating these points is meant to open blockages in flow of energy which are behind disease.


According to the theory behind acupuncture, a meridian is an energy channel. South Korean researchers believe that they discover the physiological explanation to what meridians are and they call it the primo-vascular system. When the scientists injected die onto acupuncture points, which highlighted the meridian lines.

Whether that explanation is accurate remains to be seen. However, just because science cannot explain something it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

I will not pretend to understand the theory well, but more research confirms the benefits of acupuncture all the time. I think it’s one of the things science is still catching up to. After all, only recently scientists discovered things such as that.

  • adipose tissue is more than just a lump of lard
  • the brain has its own lymphatic system
  • fascia is more than just a lump of fiber

Acupuncture for dogs?

Acupuncture in veterinary world made its debut around 1975 with the foundation of the International veterinary Acupuncture Society (IVAS). That established standards and accreditation program. Most dogs tolerate the treatment very well.

Further information: Veterinary Acupuncture

I am aware of many examples of dog who benefited from acupuncture treatment. Often people resort to alternative approaches as a last resort–I consider them first.

One of my friends has an arthritic dog who cannot tolerate NSAIDs. The dog responded to the treatment exceptionally, and it is safe to say that the results are more than comparable.

Example story: Alternative Treatment Of Dog Arthritis: Viva’s Acupuncture Treatment Update

Dogs with arthritis and hip dysplasia can find relief through acupuncture treatment. Acupuncture can treat musculoskeletal disorders, immune-mediated disorders, cardiovascular and respiratory disorders, neurological disorders, and more.

Unlike NSAIDs or other drugs, acupuncture is very safe when performed by a qualified professional.

I have used acupuncture for my dogs for variety of issues.

A safer alternative to drugs

While drugs are an easy and convenient form of treatment, they can often cause more problems than they solve. We certainly had some terrible experiences with drugs. Today, I consider drugs the last resort.

The one caveat with such treatments is that the results can be only as good as the practitioner. Therefore, finding a skilled practitioner is key. But if you can find one, you will find it can be an amazing modality.

Your veterinarian might often combine acupuncture with other treatments such as herbs, supplements, physical therapy, and others. Usually, a multi-prong approach gives the best results.

On the other hand, some treatments are best separated by a period of time. For example, when Jasmine’s therapist treated her neck, she would either perform chiropractic adjustment or acupuncture but never both on the same day. It is not a good idea to throw too much at the body at the same time.


Naturally, you cannot perform acupuncture on your dog at home. However, with the help of your veterinarian, you can help your dog by stimulating the relevant acupuncture points with simple pressure of your finger.

Further information: Dr Mahaney Gives Pet Owners Tips on How to Perform Canine and Feline Acupressure


Acupuncture is high on the list of my go-to treatment options for my dogs. There are other modalities I love, such as cell therapy. Acupuncture is more affordable and accessible which makes it one of the first things you might want to consider.

Related articles:
Four Paws, Five Directions

Further reading:
Acupuncture May Be a Total Godsend for Your Suffering Pet

Categories: AcupunctureAlternative treatments

Tags: :

Jana Rade

I am a graphic designer, dog health advocate, writer, and author. Jasmine, the Rottweiler of my life, was the largest female from her litter. We thought we were getting a healthy dog. Getting a puppy from a backyard breeder was our first mistake. Countless veterinary visits without a diagnosis or useful treatment later, I realized that I had to take Jasmine's health care in my own hands. I learned the hard way that merely seeing a vet is not always enough. There is more to finding a good vet than finding the closest clinic down the street. And, sadly, there is more to advocating for your dog's health than visiting a veterinarian. It should be enough, but it often is not. With Jasmine, it took five years to get a diagnosis. Unfortunately, other problems had snowballed for that in the meantime. Jasmine's health challenges became a crash course in understanding dog health issues and how to go about getting a proper diagnosis and treatment. I had to learn, and I had to learn fast. Helping others through my challenges and experience has become my mission and Jasmine's legacy. I now try to help people how to recognize and understand signs of illness in their dogs, how to work with their veterinarian, and when to seek a second opinion. My goal is to save others the steep curve of having to learn things the hard way as I did. That is the mission behind my blog and behind my writing. That is why I wrote Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog, which has turned out being an award-winning guide to dog owners. What I'm trying to share encompasses 20 years of experience.

Share your thoughts