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Canine Acupuncture and Dog Massage Techniques

Natural healing, complementary and alternative medicine are increasing in popularity both for humans and animals. Dogs may benefit from natural healing approaches, including various forms of acupuncture and massage.

What is Canine Acupuncture?

Canine acupuncture is basically the same as regular acupuncture, although acupuncture for dogs is carried out by a vet who is specially trained in this area. Before receiving acupuncture, your dog will undergo a full physical examination. During canine acupuncture, needles are inserted at specific points, which are able to alter energy flow. The treatment session may last up to a maximum of 30 minutes, should be painless and follow-up sessions will depend upon your dog’s health issues.

Five Different Types of Acupuncture for Dogs

There are several different types of acupuncture which may be used to help treat multiple health problems, such as arthritis, allergies, heart problems, kidney disease, digestive problems and respiratory illness. In The Everything Natural Health For Dogs Book, Gewirtz & Nuccio (2009) highlight five different types of acupuncture for dogs, to include the following:

  • electroacupuncture – electric current sent through acupuncture needles
  • laser acupuncture – infrared lasers stimulate pressure points
  • aquapuncture – saline solution of vitamin B12/distilled water
  • moxibustion – mugwort herb burned over acupuncture points
  • sonapuncture – ultrasound stimulates difficult to reach acupoints

While electroacupuncture may help dogs experiencing severe pain, laser acupuncture may benefit sensitive dogs and aquapuncture provides an alternative to using traditional acupuncture needles. A key advantage of using moxibustion is that it is particularly useful for treating with conditions requiring warming.

What are Dog Massage Techniques?

In addition to treating dogs with various types of canine acupuncture, massage is a popular way to help relieve muscle tension and boost circulation. Learning how to massage your dog will also make it easier when grooming is required and gets dogs used to touch. Key dog massage techniques, as identified by Gewirtz and Nuccio (2009), include as follows:

  • connective – medium to full depth, gently pushes into connective tissue
  • effleurage – light, gliding strokes, targets nervous system
  • petrissage – gently kneading/compressing, reduces muscle tension
  • skin lifting – lifting skin fold with fingers/thumb, helps sore joints
  • vibration – electric hand massager provides relaxing, high frequency waves

As highlighted above, two popular approaches to natural treatment for dogs, include canine acupuncture and dog massage. While canine acupuncture requires a trip to a specialist, dog massage skills can be learnt and used within the home. If you think your dog may benefit from either acupuncture or other alternative treatments, seek advice from your vet.

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