Acupuncture is the practice of inserting thin solid metallic needles under the skin by a professional veterinary acupuncturist.

Needles are placed in specific areas to promote the natural healing process in your dog’s body. They do this by stimulating the body’s own pain relieving and anti-inflammatory substances.

Veterinary acupuncture improves oxygenation, tissue blood flow and the removal of metabolic wastes and toxins. It can be used (with veterinary guidance) to treat a variety of illnesses and pain.

You might be thinking – needles?? Relieving pain?? But yes, it’s true (just ask Tayto)!

Tayto is a lovely 3 year old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. We met him at a dog show a few years ago and have been cooking for him ever since. His human Becca is now part of the Different Dog team and we are so lucky to have her.

Tayto is a real poster pup for acupuncture and the benefits it can have for our 4 legged friends…

Tayto had been showing signs of pain – panting, walking stiffly, not wanting to climb stairs or jumping up on things. After veterinary investigations including an MRI and lumbar puncture were inconclusive, he was referred to a pain clinic.

Here, they discovered the pain was actually muscular – and an area of muscle was spasming in Tayto’s back. They offered to do acupuncture to ease the pain and relax the muscles.

Becca tells us about how the first session went:

“I wasn’t sure how Tayto would react to the needles but he was positioned on the table, where Jacques inserted 8 needles in various areas (back, rump, shoulder, neck, flank) and explained what each area targeted in terms of pain relief.  

Tayto barely reacted to the needles and certainly showed no pain.  He then lay down on a large cushion on the floor with me and dozed for 20 mins, after which the needles were removed.  

I used to take a Kong stuffed full of food (Different Dog food of course) for Tayto to keep him busy, but, every week as soon as the needles were in – between 8 and 14 needles per session, Tayto would lie on my lap and fall asleep for the 20-30 mins until the needles were removed.  For Tayto to choose sleep over food just shows how chilled he was!”

After such a successful first session Becca saw an immediate improvement in his gait and stiffness, which continued to improve over several sessions!

If you think your dog could benefit from acupuncture, a great place to start is by chatting with your vet. They can then point you in the right direction of a professional veterinary acupuncturist.