Stress Modules & Acupressure for a Dog

by Betty Lewis
A holistic veterinarian will know which acupressure points will work for your pup.

A holistic veterinarian will know which acupressure points will work for your pup.

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If you're considering acupressure for your pup, you're looking at a health practice that's rooted in more than 3,000 years of history. Considered part of traditional Chinese medicine, acupressure helps the body heal by using pressure points, or acupoints, to restore blood flow to areas of the body that need healing. A holistic vet can guide you to the correct acupoints for your dog.

The Premise of Acupressure

Practitioners of acupressure believe chi, a life-fostering energy, and the body's blood and other fluids work together in harmony to keep the body healthy. In the event of injury or illness, the flow of blood and chi is disrupted, throwing the body out of balance and impeding recovery. Acupressure, the gentle stimulation of specific acupoints, promotes the circulation of chi and blood to foster healing. This ancient medicine isn't just for people; it's for pets too. If your dog suffered an injury or illness, or he's getting aches and pains that are part of old age, acupressure may give him the relief he needs.

Surrounding the Dragon

If your dog has a specific part of his body that's giving him pain -- maybe a spot of arthritis, or some old scar tissue -- he may benefit from a little "surrounding the dragon." In this case, the dragon is the site of the injury where his blood and chi aren't flowing properly. Acupoints near the injured area are stimulated in this strategy. Surrounding the injury accomplishes two things: It avoids aggravating an already painful injury while encouraging healing blood flow to nourish tissues and remove toxins. After you've identified the proper pressure points, you can stimulate them one at a time or simultaneously.

Stress Reduction

Everyone has an idiosyncrasy of some type, but if your dog has reached a point where his odd little quirk has turned into an anxiety disorder, he may benefit from acupressure. Compulsive licking, spinning, continuous barking and nail chewing are all signs of canine compulsive disorder. If the vet has declared your pup physically healthy, incorporating acupressure into appropriate lifestyle changes may help relieve some of his stress. An anxious pup may find relief with a session every three or four days over a six-week period.

Seizure Mitigation

Occasionally, some dogs experience seizures. It can be difficult -- and sometimes impossible -- to pin down the cause of a seizure, which is frightening for you and your dog. Veterinary attention is mandatory for a dog who suffers seizures, however, acupressure may help minimize their severity and duration. Performed about every five to six days, acupressure for seizures seeks to strengthen the liver's chi, clear the mind and balance the autonomic nervous system.

Elder Care

He'll always be your pup, even if he's considered a senior citizen. If your senior dog has lost a bit of the spring in his step, acupressure may liven him up a bit. Some of the potential benefits include a stronger immune system, improved mobility and blood circulation, reduced inflammation and released endorphins to reduce pain and to encourage comfort. Senior dogs may benefit from this treatment every three or four days.

The How and Where of Acupressure

The method for acupressure on your dog is always the same. Using the fleshy part of your thumb, position your thumb on the appropriate acupoint at a 45- to 90-degree angle at your dog's body. Apply very light pressure on the point, thinking loving, healing thoughts. Do a slow count to 30 and release to move on to the next appropriate point. If your dog moves, yawns, licks, rolls over or gives some sort of signal he's had an energy release before the 30-count is complete, release the pressure and move on. When it comes to acupressure, there's no one magic spot that will magically heal your pup. You should consult a holistic vet to determine where your dog's treatment should focus. In some cases, the points will be near the affected area, such as hip or shoulder problems. However, in other cases, such as many organ conditions, the correct pressure points are in the legs and elsewhere on his body.

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