Christy Caplan

5 Reasons I Love Acupuncture for My Senior Dog and Why Yours Might Love It, Too

Why is acupuncture a wonderful option for seniors? For starters, you can ask my 14-year-old senior dog, BruiserBruiser has heart disease and bowel issues. These two issues are also related in many ways. The medication that is taken for his heart disease causes inappetance. Acupuncture helps him regain his appetite.

We see an acupuncturist every two weeks so Bruiser continues to eat well and gain weight! All three of my dogs fall asleep during sessions and after the needles are in the magic happens.

What is acupuncture? tells us, 

"Ancient Chinese medicine is based on the philosophy that illness is caused by an imbalance of vital energies in the body. The technique requires the insertion of fine needles into the dog's body at specified points, called acupuncture points, where nerves and blood vessels converge. These points are located in sites called meridians, which are energy channels that transmit energy throughout the dog's body."

To learn more about acupuncture, check out this video.

I wrote about acupressure for dogs here, where you can learn more about the facts. There are five major conditions impacting senior dogs that acupuncture helps with and some of these I've already mentioned above!

There are not many side effects following a session. From time to time, Bruiser is tired the following day but after 24-48 hours, he's back to doing zoomies around the house. Some experts say their dog experiences some stiffness the next day, which also resolves within 48 hours. The only major downside is the cost. For our seniors, it has made a world of difference.

1. Disc Disease or IVDD explains, 

"Acupuncture has successfully saved animals from a lifetime of paralysis, and in many cases from euthanasia as well. Among veterinarians who offer it to their patients, there's a growing body of documented cases of animals with full or partial paralysis recovering their ability to walk thanks to acupuncture."

2. Appetite and nausea

There are specific needle points that address appetite. Many senior dogs take pain medications like Cerenia to stimulate them to eat. A veterinary acupuncturist will tell you how effective a few sessions can be for a dog turning up their nose at food.

Experts explain that the effects of acupuncture help with nausea.

3. Gastrointestinal issues 

Gastrointestinal problems are a common health problem for seniors. Some holistic vets use Chinese herbal methods and some will use the insertion of needles to calm chronic GI issues. Vets that care for hospice patients use traditional Chinese veterinary medicine (TCVM) to address GI issues with cancer patients.

4. Arthritis

Acupuncture helps reduce inflammation. There is a mechanism that improves blood flow. This allows anti-inflammatory substances to move in the body. Typically dogs that are on a number of pain management medications for arthritis can reduce the number of drugs they've been taking (steroids are used in these cases and have nasty side effects).

5. Post-surgical issues 

Acupuncture promotes muscle relaxation which is important for seniors recovering from surgical procedures. Acupuncture treatments are important when improving blood circulation needs to be part of the treatment plan. This will inherently increase recovery.

What is e-stim or electro-acupuncture?


Christy Caplan

Electro-acupuncture (EAP) or e-stim has been found to increase the body's response to acupuncture. Needles are connected by metal clips and electro-impulses move between the clips and into the needles.  

Does your dog see an acupuncturist for any issues? Please leave us a comment below!

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