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  • Writer's pictureColleen O'Brien, DVM, CVA

Getting the most out of your pet’s acupuncture session

If your pet has arthritis, allergies, skin condition, digestive issues, hip dysplasia or separation anxiety, don’t be surprised if your vet recommends acupuncture.

The use of pet acupuncture to complement traditional treatments such as medicine and surgery, has been steadily increasing as more people recognize the value of holistic medicine for both their own health care as well as their beloved dogs and cats.

Here are a few things to help make your pet's first session go as smoothly as possible.

1. Let your regular veterinarian know you are considering acupuncture as a treatment option.

When I have a new patient I am treating, I consult with you the owner, AND your regular vet. It’s important that your veterinary acupuncturist have a full history on your pet so we can plan the best treatment possible. If your vet knows ahead of time that you are seeking acupuncture, they may be able to give me a more detailed description of your pet’s problems in a way that acupuncture may help.

2. Choose the environment that will work best for your pet.

For a lot of animals, a visit to vet will trigger behavioral stress and anxiety. At-home treatment lets me observe your pet in their home environment and provides a more relaxing and enjoyable experience for your pet (and you).

3. Pick your pet's favorite spot for them to have their first session.

This may be on the couch, on the bed or on the floor in front of the fire. The most important thing is that they are comfortable.

4. Try to keep distractions at a minimum.

Your pet will have needles in them and may even have some wires attached to them if they are getting electro-acupuncture. If delivery drivers, visitors, or other pets are distracting your pet, they will be more tempted to get up and move around displacing the acupuncture needles.

Most pets tolerate acupuncture very well. The first session is always the strangest to them, but once they get over the initial oddity of it, the majority of pets actually enjoy it.

Pet acupuncture can remarkably improve your pet’s quality of life, but will only be felt when the acupuncture is practiced by an experienced and trained acupuncturist.


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