Can a Chiropractor Help Dogs?

by Melissa McNamara Google
    Long-spined breeds can get relief from chiropractic care.

    Long-spined breeds can get relief from chiropractic care.

    Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

    Chiropractic care can be just as beneficial for your canine friend as it can be for you. A dog may benefit from this holistic health-care approach that promotes optimal body functioning. Chiropractic adjustments are widely successful, but they should not take the place of primary care given by a veterinarian.

    A canine chiropractor provides treatment for spinal subluxations that interfere with the nervous system and motor function. Subluxations are subtle misalignments of joints. But over time, these misalignments result in stiffness, muscle spasms, pain, poor coordination, altered movements, difficulty lying down or getting up, and even behavior changes. Trauma, extended car rides, crating, continuous vigorous activities and poor handling are all potential causes of subluxations.

    Innate intelligence is the body's ability to heal itself if the spine is free of subluxations. This is the basis for chiropractic care. The vertebrae of the spine protect the nervous system, which controls all organs and functions of your dog's body. Any misalignment or restriction in the dog's vertebrae can cause problems for your dog's body. Through manipulation of the misaligned joints by a canine chiropractor, the dog is able to reach his full health potential without medicines and surgery.

    Adjustments use gentle and quick thrusts on specific bones to align the spinal column so it functions to its maximum potential for the dog's nervous system. Most dogs show improvement after one to four chiropractic sessions, which range in duration from 30 minutes to 60. If the misalignment has been present for a long period of time, it may take more sessions before the dog's spine is aligned and all muscles and ligaments are able to maintain proper spinal position. Other factors that determine how many sessions are necessary are the dog's age, the condition of the spine, the amount of damage that has already occurred and the owner's cooperation with keeping the dog's appointments.

    Chiropractic adjustment of areas of subluxation allows your dog efficient movement of his joints, bones, muscles and ligaments. These adjustments offer your dog pain relief, increased flexibility, optimal coordination and increased performance abilities. Dogs with longer backs, such as dachshunds, and dogs prone to hip dysplasia, such as German shepherds, benefit from the reduced spinal strain offered from chiropractic adjustments.

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    About the Author

    Melissa McNamara is a certified personal trainer who holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and communication studies from the University of Iowa. She writes for various health and fitness publications while working toward a Bachelor of Science in nursing.

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