By Christy Mara

We love our dogs so much, and we can only thank modern technology for the medical procedures and pharmaceuticals that help us deal with the health conditions they go through throughout their lives.

Sometimes, however, many dog owners can’t help but be concerned about some of these conventional medical treatments. As with human beings, the drugs we administer to our beloved canines may produce adverse side effects. Certain medical procedures may also come across as a little too invasive for them.

Conventional treatments do help our pets live longer and healthier lives. Still, many people seek alternative therapies and remedies for their dogs simply because they can address their medical issues with very little or no side effects.

We do our best to care for our dogs. We bring them to a dog grooming spa regularly and shower them with all the love they deserve. Perhaps we should also start considering alternative treatments for their skin problems, digestive issues, arthritic pain, and other conditions.

Let’s take a look at some of these alternative therapies that will benefit your dog.

Herbal Treatments

You may have noticed that your dog eats grass from time to time. While science has yet to establish the reason for this behavior definitively, some veterinarians believe that dogs do that to treat an upset stomach.

Our dogs instinctively going for plant-based self-treatment says a lot about what herbal treatments can potentially do for their health.

Consider this: many conventional medications for dogs are already derived from plants. Flea control products, for example, contain pyrethrins, which are extracted from chrysanthemums. Medications for heart conditions in dogs may have foxglove among their ingredients.

Herbal remedies are natural and are often used to treat a wide range of conditions, from aloe vera for scrapes to goldenseal for eye infections. Still, it would be best to consult your vet first to make sure you use herbal preparations properly.

Editor’s Note of Caution: Some herbs can be toxic to dogs or may conflict with the treatment of existing conditions. Consult with your veterinarian before administering them to your dog.


Acupuncture has been around for thousands of years and is used as a way of promoting the body to heal itself. Originating in China, acupuncture has since been practiced in the Western world to relieve pain, inflammation, and other health conditions in humans. Acupuncture also turned out to be an effective treatment for dogs with neurological and musculoskeletal ailments, according to one study.

Today, dog owners can opt for acupuncture to treat their dogs suffering from arthritis, allergies, constipation, metabolic diseases like kidney and liver disorders, and even cancer.

Acupuncture is often thought of as simply the insertion of needles into specific points of the body. However, there are several variations of the technique such as acupressure, which requires applying pressure on the same points, but without needles. Some go for electrostimulation, which involves delivering carefully-measured electric current through the needles placed in acupuncture points. Other variations of acupuncture include aquapuncture, moxibustion, and laser stimulation.


Also referred to as aquatic therapy, hydrotherapy has become an integral component of physical rehabilitation for dogs.

If you have a dog suffering from arthritis or joint issues, recovering from surgery, or simply overweight, you might want to give hydrotherapy a try. They badly need cardiovascular activity, and physical therapy in water provides the most convenient and painless way to get it.

A typical aquatic therapy session will see your dog immersed in a pool of heated water, which also helps soothe their aching joints and muscles. For 15 to 30 minutes, your dog will be led to swim or walk on an underwater treadmill if they can. Don’t worry about your pet struggling to stay above water because harnesses and life jackets are available for dogs who are not very good swimmers.

With hydrotherapy, dogs get a good workout that will help build their muscles, improve their circulation, and boost their mobility.

Dog Massage Therapy

Whatever benefits humans get from regular massages, your dogs will receive them, too, if someone gently rubs and kneads their sore muscles and joints every so often.

Dog massages can:

  • Improve circulation
  • Relax tight muscles
  • Promote the release of endorphins, which helps with pain, stress, and anxiety
  • Lubricate joints
  • Improve range of motion
  • Hasten recovery from injury or surgery
  • Relieve tension
  • Improve athletic performance
  • Encourage the body to heal itself
  • Improve muscle tone
  • Ease pain

While you can massage your dog yourself, it’s always best to bring them to professional dog massage therapists, who are trained in a variety of massage and stretching techniques for canines.


A dog is 40 times better than humans at analyzing smells. With their superior olfactory abilities, dogs will tend to be even more responsive to aromatherapy, which revolves around the use of aromatic essential oils for improving one’s physical, mental, and spiritual health.

The stronger olfactory sense of dogs helps transport the effects of essential oils more quickly into their bloodstream. Aside from taking in the aromas, dogs can also benefit from topical applications of diluted essential oils.

Some essential oils considered safe and suitable for dogs include:

  • Lavender— Antibacterial, relaxing, anti-itch, deodorizing
  • Ginger—For indigestion, motion sickness, arthritis, sprains
  • Myrrh—To clear up patches of irritated skin; also a great cleanser
  • Helichrysum—Has anti-inflammatory properties, good for bruises, scrapes, and scars; also great for pain relief and eczema.
  • Chamomile—Has analgesic, anti-inflammatory properties that help with burns, skin irritations, muscle pains, and allergic reactions. Also calms the body and mind.
  • Geranium—For ear infections, irritated skin, and repelling ticks

If you intend to use essential oils for your dog, talk to your vet first. He or she will give you information about the best carrier oils to use when diluting essential oils, the right dosages, and which oils can potentially harm your canine.

Editor’s Note of Caution: Essential oils can be more toxic to some dogs or other pets, such as cats, rabbits and birds.

These are some of the most common alternative therapies for your dog. Whatever treatment type you go for, always consult your vet to ensure your canine companion’s safety.

Author Bio:
Christy Mara is the Content Marketer of Canine Preferred, an all-encompassing dog grooming service, serving Arizona’s furry friends since 1975. Her advocacy has always been proper animal care, but she fulfills her passion for creating dioramas in her spare time.


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