Holistic Care and Alternative Therapies


You want the very best for your dog, meaning sometimes both you and your veterinarian have to think outside the box of traditional veterinary medicine. Increasingly, vets are looking to alternative therapies and holistic care options to supplement fliers and business cards. The American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) policy states “all aspects of veterinary medicine should be held to the same standards, including complementary, alternative and integrative veterinary medicine.” Many dog owners are unaware of the options of alternative treatments, so we’ve gathered together the top six therapies that might help your pet get back to feeling himself.


Acupuncture is the procedure of inserting small needles in to the skin at defined points to simulate the nervous system. The American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncture (AAVA) explains the application of small needles in specific points of the body result in the discharge of chemicals in the brain, spinal-cord, and muscles. These stimulated chemicals behave as natural painkillers which will help to alleviate discomfort.

Research into the benefits of acupuncture have determined that it may cause a discharge of hormones, a rise in blood flow, the stimulation of nerves, and relief of muscle spasms. Acupuncture can help in managing pain of musculoskeletal conditions for example arthritis and intervertebral disk disease (IVDD). Additionally, it may help with gastrointestinal issues by stimulating digestive secretions that normalize digestive activity. Many skin conditions for example locations or allergies may also be helped through acupuncture.  


Chiropractic treatment is among the fastest growing segments in animal healthcare. According to the International Veterinary Chiropractic Association (IVCA), veterinary chiropractic care is the “restoration and upkeep of an adequately functioning neuromusculoskeletal system”. Through on the job manipulation of the body, corrections can be created to improper alignment from the spine and joints to treat a number of conditions.

Chiropractic treatment has been shown to aid in injuries or diseases for example hip dysplasia, luxating patella, joint/spine health, neck/back pain, and urinary incontinence. For highly active dogs, the option to provide chiropractic care as a maintenance measure can help to keep them in top condition.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy could be prescribed for various reasons. Veterinary physical therapy uses several techniques including flexibility, hydrotherapy, massage, and active exercises which help with strength, balance, and adaptability.

Veterinarians often prescribe physical rehabilitation for dogs who have a problem with issues for example joint damage, musculoskeletal injury, arthritis, paralysis, or painful mobility.


Hydrotherapy is better described as physical therapy that's performed in the water, usually either in a swimming pool or on a water treadmill.  Hydrotherapy should be performed inside a specialized facility with a licensed veterinarian or specialist who is trained in water rehabilitation. Performing therapy in an aquatic setting allows for dogs to enhance fitness inside a non-weight-bearing environment. Dogs who may have mobility limitations on land can gradually build strength and muscle with no force on their limbs. Dogs who are recovering from injuries, such as an ACL tear (or cruciate rupture), or who suffer from arthritis often benefit greatly from hydrotherapy. Hydrotherapy might help improve mobility, increase circulation, and reduce stress. On top of that, most dogs love being in the water!

Cold Laser Therapy

Laser therapy in dogs, sometimes called Low-level Laser Therapy (LLLT) has been utilized on people for more than 40 years. Using short, continual movements over an affected area, noninvasive light stimulates cell regeneration and increases blood circulation. Cold laser therapy causes a rise in cell function which helps to alleviate chronic or acute pain, reduces inflammation, accelerates healing, and releases endorphins. Cold laser treatments are often accustomed to treat joint, ligament or tendon injuries in addition to fractures, post-surgical incisions, arthritis, musculoskeletal diseases, and muscle sprains/strains.

Behavioral Therapy

Behavioral therapies aren't for poorly trained dogs, but rather for dogs suffering from serious conditions for example separation anxiety or compulsive behaviors, for example obsessive licking or chewing. Some behavior changes would be the consequence of a fundamental medical condition which the vet can find upon evaluation. If your veterinarian rules out a fundamental medical problem, she may recommend behavioral therapy.

The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) includes a resource to discover Certified Applied Animal Behaviorists who work with dogs struggling with behavior problems that pose a threat to the dog owner or the dog’s well-being. These trainers make an effort to determine the main from the behavioral issues and then use methods of training for example counter conditioning, desensitization, and shaping.

Pet Insurance Provides Coverage Choices for Alternative Therapy Treatments

Pet Insurance realizes that the combination of non-traditional veterinary medicine and conventional therapies is often the best treatment method for many illnesses and injuries. Understanding that such alternative and complimentary therapies are becoming more widely practiced in the United States, Pet Insurance’s new plans offer coverage for alternative and holistic care. *