top of page
  • Writer's pictureIN STRIDE

When should I take my pet to the chiropractor?

Why is this information important?

When you think about pets struggling with mobility, there is often a slow and gradual onset to their aches and pains. Many pet parents share with me that they don't know why they waited so long to get started once they see how much chiropractic care has benefitted their animal. Pets are not like people. A common survey amongst pet parents showed that over 80% of pet owners think an animal will vocalize or cry out when they are in pain. However, that is not reality. It's very common that a pet will hide their symptoms for as long as possible in an effort to "push through the pain" as they are hardwired for survival. In this blog post, I wanted to pull the curtain back and show you that chiropractic care can be a valuable add to any pet's health regimen to help with pain (or better, to address problems before they begin.)

Dysfunction VS pain

👉🏻It's important to recognize the slippery slope a pet enters on their way to showing pain.

In regards to the musculoskeletal system, the muscles and joints will first become restricted, which will lead to compensation patterns, which will lead to improper wear on the joints and muscles, which then could manifest as pain.

Important to notice here: Pain is actually the last symptoms we see as pet parents.

First, animals often will exhibit DYSFUNCTION such as a change in routine or change in behavior as a first sign of a problem. This could look like:

  • gait changes

  • decreased athletic ability

  • sensitivity to being touched

  • changes in posture

  • avoidance to do certain activities

  • and more

Later on, you pet might exhibit PAIN that could look like:

  • panting excessively

  • vocalizing

  • limping

  • avoidance to interact or play

  • avoidance to being touched

  • and etc

Most common reasons pet parents seek out an animal chiropractor? Changes in behavior!

Do remember, however, that every pet is an individual. Pain is subjective. There is no cookie cutter or one size fits all definition of what pain looks likes when it comes to animal patients.

What is animal chiropractic?

👉🏻 Animal chiropractors are specifically trained to assess and detect areas of dysfunction in your pet's joints, bones muscles, and nerves

Animal chiropractic is a non-surgical, drug-free approach that involves adjusting the vertebrae of the spine and/or joints of an animal in order to correct improper motion of the musculoskeletal system. Proper function in the joints and muscles can help restore normal neurologic function, which in turn allows the body to function optimally. Very often the restrictions in the musculoskeletal system will match up with the outward symptoms that pet parents are seeing. However, sometimes the areas that are most painful are not the primary problem, so you may notice that your animal chiropractor will choose to address the whole body in order to achieve the best possible outcome.

When choosing an animal chiropractic, be sure to choose a TRAINED PROFESSIONAL.

Only veterinarians or chiropractors are eligible to undergo post graduate education in animal chiropractic. Upon completion, they may also prove proficiency via examination such as the tests offered by the AVCA or IVCA.

A licensed, trained, and certified doctor is going to be the most responsible choice when moving forward with chiropractic care for your animal.

When should you take your pet to the animal chiropractor?

👉🏻 Simply put: as soon as possible. An animal chiropractor can be an extremely valuable part of your animal's health care team.

Here are the varied life stages and associated benefits with seeing an animal chiropractor:

  • Starting a puppy with routine care can help minimize alignment problems as they grow and mature.

  • Routinely getting your sport dog seen for performance enhancement can help decrease wear and tear on their system and support recovery.

  • If you start seeing behavior changes, having an animal chiropractor can help you rule out musculoskeletal causes of pain before progressing with more invasive management methods.

  • As your pet ages and you see signs of pain, it's a good idea to get your pet adjusted to minimize joint pain and help mitigate progression of symptoms.

It is recommended to see an animal chiropractor throughout your pet's life and on a routine schedule. I recommended pets get treated at minimum every 6-8 weeks to continue feeling and moving at their best.

Of course, there is always cases where animal chiropractic may not be the right fit for your animal. If you are curious when NOT to have your animal adjusted, please read our other blog post: when NOT to get your animal adjusted

Common reasons to press pause before getting your pet adjusted include:

-Unwarranted and/or unexplained aggression

-Sudden onset or rapid progression of severe symptoms with no clear cause -Sudden injury (ie: hit by car)

-Recent history of major surgery

-Unexplained symptoms and/or no clear veterinary diagnosis

-Complicating comorbidities and/or overall poor health status

In summary

It's important to remember that animals are not like humans. Since animals are hardwired for survival, they often hide pain. Animal owners should be on the lookout for changes or behavior or routine in order to properly assess their animal's health status.

Animal chiropractic can be a valuable treatment to help mitigate subtle misalignments before they become painful problems. It's important to choose a properly trained and certified provider in order to achieve the best outcome. I hope you consider adding an animal chiropractor to your animal's health team as soon as possible. Animal chiropractic can be a valuable add in many different stages of your pet's life.


About the author

Kaitlyn Lackey DC

Many people don’t know that I’ve sustained 3 very serious head injuries due to horseback riding. 


When I sought medical treatment for these injuries, traditional medicine "failed me."


I'm very fortunate to have found chiropractic. Getting adjusted gave me my life back after I was struggling every day with dehabilitating migraines.


After seeing what it did for me, I thought: why isn’t this available to animals, too?

I decided against vet school and instead pursued chiropractic education.  I graduated Parker University in April of 2017 with 2 Bachelors and my Doctorate then later received my AVCA certification in June of 2017.

I practiced for 2 years on humans and then shifted my focus to offering chiropractic care for animals full time in 2019.

I continue to do all that I can to practice evidence informed and patient centric chiropractic care to guarantee that my clients receive the best results.



We operate in full compliance with all laws and regulations. Our services are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any specific illness or condition and should only be used as a complement to routine veterinary and/or medical care. Chiropractic may provide support and encourage the body into its most optimal state of health. The content provided herein is informational only and is not to be construed as medical advice.


I want to let you know you came to the right place for complementary options 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 chiropractic for your pet, choose someone licensed, trained, and certified.

17 views0 comments


bottom of page