When it comes to managing health conditions, alternative treatment options for senior dogs can be particularly beneficial.
As pet parents, we do everything we can to make sure that our dogs’ senior years are as comfortable as possible. Sometimes that means dietary changes, sometimes it means medications, sometimes it means supplements, and sometimes it means unique exercise routines. One approach to senior dog health concerns that is frequently overlooked, however, is alternative medicine.
There are a surprising number of alternative treatment options for senior dogs available, but many pet parents don’t make use of them. Why? For some, it’s a matter of cost, but for most, it’s a matter of not knowing what is available.
So, today I want to talk about 6 alternative treatment options that you may want to consider for your senior pup.
5 Alternative Treatment Options For Senior Dogs
1. Alternative Treatment Options For Senior Dogs: Acupuncture
Acupuncture for dogs works similarly to acupuncture for humans. Small needles are inserted into specific locations in the body to relieve pain and stimulate the body to heal itself and reach a state of natural balance. Acupuncture is most often recommended for pain management and relief and reduction of inflammation.
Many people refer to the concept of acupuncture as correcting the flow of qi (or life energy) within the body to restore balance. It is believed that interruptions in the flow of qi are what lead to illness and restoring the normal flow of qi will relieve illness or symptoms associated with illness. Whether you believe in the concept of qi or not, however, medical research has proven that acupuncture can be beneficial. How does the scientific community explain acupuncture? They believe that the acupuncture needles stimulate nerves which send signals to the brain to release endorphins which relieve pain and also tell the body to release anti-inflammatory substances.
If you want to find a canine acupuncture provider near you, the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association provides a searchable database for the U.S. and Canada on their website here.
2. Alternative Treatment Options For Senior Dogs: Massage
Massage is an alternative treatment option that provides hands-on care for your dog. A canine massage can relax stiff muscles, relieve anxiety, loosen up stiff joints, improve circulation and provide pain relief by increasing blood flow and oxygen delivery to various parts of the body.
While many people offer dog massage, it is important that you select an experienced masseuse who is familiar with the canine anatomy and the medical implications of massage in veterinary medicine. What does that mean? It means that you should choose a holistic vet versus the girl down the street who says she “knows massage”.
If you want to find a trained dog masseuse for your senior dog, the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association provides a searchable database for the U.S. and Canada on their website here.
3. Alternative Treatment Options For Senior Dogs: Laser Therapy
Laser therapy uses a cold laser (multi-radiance MR4 cold laser) to deliver pain relief in a non-invasive way. Laser therapy does not require your dog to be sedated or anesthetized during treatment. The laser itself is safe and was developed for the U.S. space program.
Laser therapy is used for many health conditions including wounds that are slow to heal, arthritis, pain, and neurological conditions.
If you want to find canine laser therapy near you, the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association provides a searchable database for the U.S. and Canada on their website here.
4. Alternative Treatment Options For Senior Dogs: Ozone Therapy
Ozone therapy is a treatment where easily soluble oxygen is delivered to damaged or affected tissues of the body in order to promote self-healing. This healing takes place as a result of reducing inflammation, activating the body’s immune system, and inactivating viruses, bacteria, yeast, fungi and protozoa. There are many ways of implementing ozone therapy, but the most common is via IV administration.
Ozone therapy has been implemented in human and animal medicine for many years and can be used for a variety of illnesses including chronic inflammation associated with autoimmune disease, viral/fungal/bacterial infections, cancer, infectious diseases, dermatitis, and renal failure.
If you want to find canine ozone therapy near you, the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association provides a searchable database for the U.S. and Canada on their website here.
5. Alternative Treatment Options For Senior Dogs: Hyperthermia Therapy
Hyperthermia therapy uses the controlled application of deep heat and pulsed electromagnetic fields to increase blood flow and oxygen in an affected area to promote healing. Most often this therapy is used to target and destroy cancerous cells within the body, assist with arthritis, or assist dogs with paralysis.
Hyperthermia therapy can be used in combination with other treatments or therapies or it can be used alone. It is necessary, however, to ensure that a veterinarian is experienced with the use of hyperthermia therapy in order for it to be maximally effective.
Finding a veterinarian who is familiar with and who offers hyperthermia therapy (also referred to as molecular hyperthermia therapy or iTherm therapy) can be challenging. I am unable to find a searchable database of vets who offer this service, but your best bet in locating one is to search Google for your state name and “itherm for animals”.
You can read more about hyperthermia veterinary therapy here.
6. Alternative Treatment Options For Senior Dogs: Herbal Medicine
Herbal medicine utilizes herbal blends to treat a wide range of health conditions from arthritis to cancer. These blends are almost always based on natural herbal combinations that have been used in various cultures for centuries.
When seeking herbal medicine treatment options, it is important that you always consult a licensed holistic veterinarian. In the very least, you should always consult your regular veterinarian about any herbal treatments PRIOR to using them. Why? Because just like humans, our dogs can experience interactions between herbal treatments, prescription medications, non-prescription medications, and health conditions.
If you want to find a holistic vet near you, the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association has a searchable database for the U.S. and Canada on their website here.