Dog Chiropractic: What It Is and How Can It Help Your Dog

Dog chiropractic is a form of alternative medicine that involves the manual adjustment of the spine and joints to help improve the overall health and well-being of dogs. It is a natural and safe way to help alleviate pain and discomfort caused by musculoskeletal issues, such as joint stiffness, muscle soreness, and spinal misalignments. We will go over what dog chiropractic is, how it functions, and how it may help your pet in this article.

What is Dog Chiropractic?

Dog chiropractic is a form of complementary medical practice that concentrates on the musculoskeletal system of dogs. To restore appropriate alignment and function, the spine and other joints must be manually adjusted. Chiropractic treatment for dogs aims to reduce stiffness and swelling, improve mobility and flexibility, and enhance overall wellness.

Dog-specific chiropractors are educated to recognize body parts that are out of equilibrium or not functioning properly. They use hands-on techniques to adjust the spine and other joints, often with a quick, gentle thrust. By fixing the appropriate position and function, this transition aids in the relief of discomfort and the improvement of the dog’s psychological and physical well-being.

How Does Dog Chiropractic Work?

Dog chiropractic works by concentrating on the musculoskeletal system, which includes the bones, joints, muscles, and soft tissues of the body. These structures can become crooked or constrained, which can lead to discomfort, pain, and other health problems. Realigning the spine and joints with manual adjustments can help to decrease inflammation, improve mobility, and alleviate pain and suffering.

A canine chiropractor will carefully look over your dog’s muscles and joints throughout a session to locate any areas of subluxation or restriction. The damaged areas will subsequently be altered using hands-on techniques, which may involve applying light pressure or thrusts to particular body spots These adjustments are designed to be gentle and non-invasive, and most dogs tolerate them well.

Preparing your dog for a chiropractic appointment can help ensure that the appointment goes smoothly and that your dog is comfortable and relaxed during the treatment. Here are some tips to help you prepare your dog for a dog chiropractic appointment:

Gather Relevant Medical Records

Before the consultation, collect appropriate imaging tests or pertinent medical data referring to the musculoskeletal condition of your dog. This will make it easier for the chiropractor to comprehend your dog’s medical history and formulate a suitable treatment.

Consider Your Dog’s Comfort

Choose comfortable attire for your dog that does not restrict movement. Avoid collars or harnesses that impose strain on the neck or back, as these can interfere with chiropractic treatment.

dog chiropractic care in Palos Heights, IL

Relaxation Techniques

Use relaxation methods like massage therapy, soothing music, or aromatherapy to help your dog feel calm and relaxed if they are prone to anxiety or nervousness.

Take Your Dog for a Walk

A brief walk before the scheduled session can help your dog feel snugger and more comfortable during the chiropractic treatment.

Inform the Chiropractor of Any Concerns

If you have any concerns about your dog’s health or behavior, be sure to inform the chiropractor before the appointment. This will help the chiropractor tailor the treatment to your dog’s individual needs and ensure that the appointment is as safe and effective as possible.

What Conditions Can Dog Chiropractic Help With?

Dog chiropractic can be helpful for a wide range of conditions that affect the musculoskeletal system. Some of the most common conditions that can benefit from chiropractic care include:

Back Pain

Back pain can be caused by a range of factors, including injury, muscular strain, or spinal misalignment. Chiropractic procedures can help to realign the spine and ease muscular tightness, which can relieve back pain in dogs.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a disorder that affects the hip joint and can cause pain and mobility issues. Chiropractic adjustments can help to improve hip joint alignment, which can reduce pain and improve mobility.

Limb Weakness

Getting chiropractic care can help dogs with limb weakness improve their locomotion and balance. Chiropractic therapy can assist to increase general mobility by enhancing joint alignment and relieving muscular strain.

Vertebral subluxation

This is when the vertebrae in the spine tend to shift out of place. Pain, stiffness, and reduced movement may result from this. The spine may be realigned, inflammation can be reduced, and agility can be improved with chiropractic modifications.

Joint Pain and Stiffness

Arthritis and ligament injuries are only two examples of the many disorders that can lead to joint pain and stiffness. Chiropractic manipulation can assist in increasing movement and alleviating pain and inflammation in troubled joints.

Muscle Soreness

Muscle soreness can be caused by overuse or strain and can lead to decreased mobility and discomfort. Chiropractic adjustments can help relieve muscle tension and soreness and promote healing.

Sports Injuries

Dogs involved in sports or other high-intensity activities are at risk for injuries, such as muscle strains or joint sprains. Chiropractic care can help speed up the healing process and promote better body mechanics to prevent future injuries.

Neurological Conditions

Neurological conditions, such as intervertebral disc disease or spinal cord injuries, can cause pain, weakness, and decreased mobility. Chiropractic adjustments can help reduce inflammation and pressure on affected nerves, which may improve symptoms.

Post-Surgical Recovery

After surgery, dogs may experience pain, stiffness, and decreased mobility. Chiropractic care can help speed up the healing process and improve mobility during the recovery period.

Benefits of Dog Chiropractic

Dog chiropractic can offer a wide range of benefits for dogs of all ages and breeds. Here are some of the most common benefits of this therapy:

  1. Pain Relief: Chiropractic adjustments can help relieve pain and discomfort caused by musculoskeletal issues, such as joint stiffness, muscle soreness, and spinal misalignments.
  2. Improved Mobility: Chiropractic treatments can increase your dog’s mobility and range of motion by restructuring the spine and joints.
  3. Better Performance: By encouraging better body mechanics and lowering the probability of injury, chiropractic therapy can assist working dogs or dogs participating in sports to perform better.
  4. Faster Healing: Chiropractic care can help promote faster healing by improving blood flow to affected areas and reducing inflammation.
  5. Improved Overall Health: By promoting better musculoskeletal health, chiropractic care can help improve your dog’s overall health and well-being.

Is Dog Chiropractic Safe for dogs?

Dog chiropractic is generally considered safe when performed by a trained and certified practitioner. Dogs with certain conditions, such as fractures, tumors, or severe arthritis, may not be good candidates for chiropractic adjustments. It is important to consult with your veterinarian before seeking chiropractic care for your dog.

Additionally, it is important to choose a qualified and experienced animal chiropractor who has undergone proper training and certification. Look for a practitioner who is certified by the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association (AVCA) or another reputable organization.

Diagnostic tests

A skilled canine chiropractor will do a complete physical examination to assess the dog’s musculoskeletal system before administering any chiropractic adjustments. A gait study, joint palpation, and assessment of muscle tone and range of motion. The chiropractor will also take a detailed medical history and review any relevant X-rays or other imaging studies.

To rule out underlying medical diseases that could be causing the dog’s musculoskeletal problems, the chiropractor may occasionally advise additional diagnostic testing, such as blood work or advanced imaging investigations. For example, if a dog is showing signs of joint pain and stiffness, the chiropractor may recommend X-rays or an ultrasound to evaluate the joint structures for signs of arthritis or other degenerative joint diseases.

Some potential complications of dog chiropractic care include:

  1. Discomfort: It is normal for dogs to feel some discomfort or soreness after a chiropractic adjustment. This is typically mild and short-lived and can be managed with rest and pain medications as needed.
  2. Aggravation of Pre-Existing Conditions: In rare cases, chiropractic adjustments may aggravate pre-existing conditions, such as spinal fractures or herniated discs. This is why the chiropractor needs to perform a thorough physical exam and review any relevant medical records or imaging studies before performing any adjustments.
  3. Nerve Damage: Chiropractic adjustments involve manipulating the spine and other joints, which can put pressure on nerves and other sensitive structures. While serious nerve damage is rare, it is important to work with a qualified and experienced dog chiropractor who has the necessary training and expertise to perform adjustments safely.


It is important to choose a qualified and experienced dog chiropractor who is knowledgeable about musculoskeletal issues in dogs and works collaboratively with other veterinary professionals. Before starting any chiropractic treatment, the chiropractor should perform a thorough physical exam and review any relevant medical records or imaging studies to ensure that the treatment is appropriate for the dog’s specific condition.

If you are looking for dog chiropractic care in the Palos Heights, IL area, Palos Animal Hospital is here to help and answer any questions you may have. Reach out to (708) 448-6600 today!