Last Updated on September 6, 2023 by Dr. Alisha Barnes

dog back pain: 4 signs your dog is in painIn the age of modern medicine, there is much debate about whether complementary and alternative medicine is valuable for both humans and animals. Veterinarians and veterinary-prescribed instructions and medicine are considered the gold standard for pet care—but is this because of the effectiveness of the treatment, or because veterinary care is the default and most common form of treating pets? Oftentimes, pet owners want to know if their pets can benefit from complementary and alternative medicine because they have not had success with traditional medicine, or because they want to supplement the traditional veterinary treatment their pets are receiving with something that will bolster their efforts in supporting their pet’s health and wellbeing. Because information about complementary and alternative medicine can be more difficult to find than information about standard veterinary treatment, pet owners can feel hesitant about trying something new without knowing exactly what it is or how it works.

What is complementary medicine for dogs?

Complementary medicine for dogs is very similar to alternative medicine, but although the terms are commonly used interchangeably, they are not the same. Complementary medicine is any form of holistic treatment that works alongside traditional medical interventions for your dog, not in place of it. Chiropractic care for dogs is an excellent example of complementary medicine. While chiropractic care helps to support your dog’s well-being, an expert chiropractor would never recommend forgoing your dog’s visits to a traditional veterinarian. Veterinary care fills a very specific need for your dog, including monitoring their health, treating disease, and some protective and preventive care. Chiropractic care offers protective and preventive benefits, but treats different aspects of your dog’s health and overall well-being: increasing mobility, decreasing discomfort, improving circulation and overall vitality, and raising your dog’s baseline of health.

In short, complementary medicine for dogs is treatment that accompanies traditional veterinary and vet-recommended treatment for holistic, complete results.

What is alternative medicine for dogs?

Alternative medicine for dogs can be used in tandem with traditional medicine, but the treatments offered by alternative medicine are often substitutes for tools or prescriptions that may be offered by a traditional veterinarian (unless they are a holistic or alternative vet). For example, calming flower essences or essential oils may serve as alternative medicine in the place of pet tranquilizers or over-the-counter anxiety medication for pets. These two forms of treatment would not be used simultaneously; alternative medicine would serve as a substitute for another form of more traditional medication or treatment. Other examples of alternative medicine for dogs include herbal treatments, aromatherapy, homeopathy, and naturopathy.

Note that alternative medicine can be considered complementary medicine if used in conjunction with traditional veterinary medicine, but care should be taken to ensure that treatments are not redundant, excessive, or overpowering for your dog!

Can dogs experience positive results from complementary and alternative medicine?

In short, the answer is—yes! Dogs often experience very positive results from complementary and alternative medicine. In fact, because dogs don’t have a pre-existing cognitive bias toward specific kinds of treatment, they often experience the benefits of many kinds of treatment with relative ease, depending on the severity of their symptoms and imbalance. Dogs can have great success with herbal treatments, homeopathy, naturopathy, aromatherapy, flower essences, essential oils, canine acupuncture, hydrotherapy, canine massage, acupressure, sound therapy, and more. Many complementary and alternative forms of medicine can translate effectively from humans to dogs, as long as great care is taken to ensure that dosage is appropriate, the ingredients being used are safe for pets, and your dog is closely monitored and close to veterinary care should there be a need.

Complementary and alternative medicine can serve to enhance overall canine health, treat the symptoms of disease, ease anxiety and depression, improve circulation and vitality, increase quality of sleep, aid the process of physical therapy or recovery from an injury or accident, and boost general well-being. At Tails Animal Chiropractic Care where we serve the areas of Boulder, Windsor, and Fort Collins, Colorado, our favorite form of complementary medicine is chiropractic care!

How can complementary chiropractic care help my dog?

Chiropractic care is a fantastic supplement to traditional veterinary medicine. While traditional veterinary medicine focuses on avoiding and treating disease, chiropractic care is a great way of boosting your dog’s health baseline and ensuring they are experiencing the optimal state of well-being that is available to them. Chiropractic care is an ideal choice for reducing or eliminating back pain, restoring mobility, increasing cognitive clarity, easing immune response and inflammation, and improving energy levels. Whether your dog is experiencing disease and imbalance, or you would simply like to boost your dog’s health and experience of life, chiropractic care can help.

If you or a dog you love lives in the Boulder, Windsor, or Fort Collins area of Colorado, book your furry friend’s appointment today!

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