!Header Logo

Richmond Veterinary Clinic

!Call Today!

Acupuncture for Pets

October 1 2016

Did you know that acupuncture can be very beneficial for pets? This ancient practice is making some waves in the veterinary industry, and with good reason: it’s very safe, and can have wonderful results! Here, a McHenry, IL vet discusses acupuncture for pets.

Acupuncture – The Basics

Acupuncture, which originated in China, has been in use for thousands of years. As you may know, the practice centers around the use of small needles, which are inserted into the body at specific points. Traditional beliefs hold that these needles manipulate the flow of energy through the body. However, to describe it more clinically, the insertion points are typically nerve centers. Inserting the needles—which are very slim—at these specific spots can improve blood flow, and help the body release its natural pain-killing chemicals. This can help promote healing, reduce pain, and increase range of motion in both people and pets.

Benefits of Acupuncture

There are many reasons why acupuncture is becoming a popular choice for pain management in pets. The treatments do not require drugs or surgery, though they can be used in conjunction with more traditional treatments. There is no recovery time, although some of our furry patients are a bit drowsy after their sessions. Acupuncture can also be repeated as often as needed. Many times, pets continue to improve after each session. Side effects are extremely rare, which makes the treatment very safe. And, while getting pricked with needles may not sound pleasant, acupuncture is not painful.


There are some truly remarkable success stories about the use of acupuncture in treating pets. One of the most common uses is increasing mobility in older pets, especially those that are suffering from chronic pain due to arthritis, hip dysplasia, or other medical issues. For instance, a senior dog may be more playful after acupuncture, and may be able to move and climb stairs much more easily.


While acupuncture has some wonderful benefits, it isn’t necessarily going to be the right course of action for all of our furry clients. We always treat pets on a case-by-case basis, and suggest treatment options based on each furball’s individual needs. If you think that your four-legged buddy could potentially benefit from acupuncture, schedule a consultation with your vet.

Our Advice on Acupuncture for Pets in 2024

What is acupuncture, and how does it work for pets?

Acupuncture is an ancient practice from China that involves inserting beautiful needles into specific points of the body. In pets, it targets nerve centers to stimulate the body’s natural healing processes. This stimulation improves blood flow and triggers the release of natural pain-relieving chemicals. For pets, acupuncture can promote healing, reduce pain, and enhance mobility. It’s particularly beneficial for conditions like arthritis or hip dysplasia. The procedure is safe, minimally invasive, and often relaxing for animals, offering an alternative or complementary treatment to traditional veterinary medicine.

What are the traditional and clinical beliefs behind the effectiveness of acupuncture?

Traditional beliefs about acupuncture’s effectiveness center around balancing energy flow, or Qi, in the body by stimulating specific points. Clinically, this practice is understood differently. Modern veterinary medicine explains acupuncture’s effectiveness through the stimulation of nerve centers. Inserting needles at these strategic points triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers, and enhances blood circulation. This can lead to reduced inflammation, pain relief, and improved healing. Both perspectives, though differing in their approach, recognize acupuncture as a beneficial treatment, particularly for pain management and promoting overall well-being in animals.

What benefits does acupuncture offer for pet health and pain management?

Acupuncture offers significant benefits for pet health and pain management. It’s particularly effective for chronic conditions like arthritis, hip dysplasia, and neurological disorders. Acupuncture promotes increased blood circulation, muscle relaxation, and endorphin release by stimulating specific points in the body. This reduces inflammation and pain relief, improving pet mobility and quality of life. As a non-invasive, drug-free treatment, it is a safe option for long-term pain management in pets with minimal risk of side effects.

Are there any side effects or pain associated with acupuncture for pets?

Acupuncture is generally considered a safe pet treatment with minimal side effects. The procedure involves inserting thin needles into specific points on the body, usually well-tolerated by animals. Most pets experience little to no pain during acupuncture sessions; many become relaxed and may even fall asleep. While side effects are rare, some pets might feel slight discomfort or soreness at the needle sites or temporary drowsiness after the session. Overall, the risk of adverse reactions is low, making acupuncture a safe option for many pets.

What types of conditions in pets can be treated with acupuncture, and what are some success stories?

Acupuncture in pets is effectively used for various conditions, particularly pain and inflammation. It’s commonly employed for arthritis, hip dysplasia, chronic back pain, and neurological disorders. Success stories abound, with many pet owners reporting improved mobility and reduced pain in their animals, especially in older pets suffering from joint issues. For example, senior dogs with arthritis often show increased activity and comfort post-treatment. Acupuncture has also demonstrated positive outcomes in aiding recovery from surgeries and injuries and managing gastrointestinal disorders. These successes highlight acupuncture’s role as a valuable component in holistic veterinary care.

Do you think your pet could benefit from acupuncture? We can help! Call us, your local McHenry, IL animal clinic, today!