Does animal chiropractic "work"?
Updated: Aug 12, 2022
It's estimated that over 80% of people consider their pet to be a valued family member. Behind the wagging tail and the wet nose, we see our pets as our children and often consider their needs above our own. So, if Fido starts getting old and isn't able to enjoy his walks like he used to, what are you going to do?
What is an adjustment??
The day has come where people are waking up: pet owners are asking questions and wanting to know all of their options for their pet. People are eagerly searching for holistic and complementary means to keep their pets feeling and functioning better. There's more out there besides just rest, medication, and surgery!
Owners are more and more often choosing to address their pet's health through natural means by getting their pets adjusted!
An adjustment is a hands on therapy that restores motion in joints that aren't moving properly (mainly, the spine). When joints don't move properly, it leads to an imbalance/miscommunication in the nerves of the body (specifically, in the receptors). Improper motion in a joint makes a nerve's pain receptors (called nociceptors) angry, and therefore, leads to pain, inflammation, and eventually arthritis.
An adjustment corrects motion in a joint and therefore resets the balance in these receptors (quiets the pain receptors) and in turn restores proper communication between the nerves and the brain.
Healthy joints make for a happy body! Pets that get adjusted heal faster, recover better, and have better mobility as the age. This can make a huge difference in their ability to enjoy their golden years. After all, they live about a tenth the amount compared to people. They deserve to have a full life while they are here on planet earth!
How do I know if my pet needs to be adjusted?? An adjustment is to the spine what a toothbrush is to your teeth. Everyday use of the spine lends itself to incremental wear and tear. Just like a cavity isn't painful until it's a HUGE problem, the same is true for joints when they aren't moving properly.
When a pet starts showing symptoms (weakness, limping, behavior change, postural change, etc) it's an obvious red flag that they need some extra love, but many pet parents would do better by their animal by noticing the subtle signs of early joint dysfunction. Loss of range of motion, loss of reflexes, pain on palpation, and postural asymmetry are my big four that I tell my owners to check at home.
I would say that 80-90% of the clients that call me for a consult already have a pet with a complaint that they want addressed.
Let me say for the record that I am always happy to help pets feel better. With adjustments, I get visible results rather quickly! However, just like a dentist, I find myself always preaching maintenance care is the way to go. Brushing regularly promotes healthy teeth just like getting adjusted regularly promotes healthy joints.
When pet parents ask me about why they should get their puppy treated, I always ask them, "Well, how early should you start brushing your teeth?" They seem perplexed at first, but, if you think about it, maintenance care could honestly mean the difference between a life of pain and immobility versus many years of a happy, healthy pet.
Who can adjust my pet??
When choosing someone to perform adjustments on your animal, it's very important you find someone that is trained properly so they know the animal anatomy they are working on and how to perform the adjustment. I recommend you choose a doctor (veterinarian or chiropractor) that has taken postgraduate courses that are approved by the AVCA or IVCA.
When inquiring about adjustments for your pet, be sure to ask where the provider went to school. This is the easiest way to know if your provider is qualified. They should have a doctorate degree and should have attended one of the following postgraduate courses:
1. Animal Chiropractic Education Source (ACES) [Texas]
2. Healing Oasis Wellness Center [Wisconsin]
3. Options for Animals [Kansas]
4. Parker University CE program [Texas]
5. Veterinary Chiropractic Learning Centre [Ontario Canada]
6. BackBone Academy for Veterinary Chiropractic and Healing Arts [Germany]
In many states, a human chiropractor also needs a veterinary referral to offer adjustments for your pet. The laws are beginning to change, but currently, there are only a few states that this is not the case.
You can look up qualified providers by state at animalchiropractic.org.
How do I get my pet started??
Before getting started, it's important to come to a realization: in the animal world, it's eat or be eaten. Animals will hide their pain and their symptoms for as long as possible as to avoid showing signs of weakness.
For this reason, the first step in your pet's wellness journey is always an exam with a veterinarian. Your vet needs to rule out the "big scary things" that could also be causing pain. Once your vet has determined that your pet is healthy enough for an adjustment, they must sign a referral form (if using a chiropractor).
If you're looking to move forward with my business, In Stride Chiropractic, I have made a video explaining more about my process here:
I very much look forward to working with you. Let's get your pet back to feeling and functioning better!
I want to let you know you came to the right place for integrative and holistic health for your pet!
We are certified by the AVCA which is a top notch and rigorous certification program of 200+ hours class time followed by a written and practical board exam. We take 10 yearly hours of continuing education because we value knowing the most in order to provide the best.
When choosing adjustments for your pet, choose someone licensed, trained, and certified.