Do you have a family member that walks on four legs and is fluffy? Dogs bring great love can joy into the lives of their owners. 

But it’s not always wagging tails and good morning licks of happiness. Sometimes we watch our dogs, especially those in their older years, struggle with pain for different reasons, from arthritis to cancer to neurological and musculoskeletal diseases. 

Yes, vets can offer pain medications, but are there alternatives that can also help your dog feel better?

Have you considered acupuncture for your dog? 

Yes! There are many conditions that acupuncture is good for when it comes to your health and well being, but acupuncture can also be beneficial and effective in helping your dog. 

Ready to find out the research and effectiveness of acupuncture for dogs? Or to find out how it works? 

Let’s get started. . . 


Over time, there have been many studies that evaluate the effectiveness of acupuncture for depression. As more studies have been conducted around acupuncture for depression and the effectiveness of acupuncture for a treatment option of conditions, new findings havings, and evidence of the effectiveness of acupuncture are emerging.

For example, the IVAS or International Veterinary Acupuncture Society was founded in 1974 by a group of veterinarians in America, but some of the first research studies around acupuncture for dogs did not start until 2013. 

In 2013, a study was published in the Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine that looked at if acupuncture for dogs is effective for, and if acupuncture for dogs is beneficial. 

This study concluded and found the following based on the research of the study: 

Conditions Treated by Acupuncture for Dogs 

Here is a list of potential conditions that can be treated by acupuncture for dogs: 

While another study published four years later in 2017, focused on the impact of improving pain levels and quality of life in dogs with neurological and musculoskeletal diseases. It found that there was evidence to support the use of acupuncture for treating dogs with neurological and musculoskeletal diseases to improve their quality of life. 

This study was published in the Canadian Veterinarian Journal; it also found that acupuncture is: ‘important conservative therapeutic tool to be included in the multimodal treatment protocols of neurological and musculoskeletal diseases in dogs.’ 

So how does acupuncture work for dogs? Let’s find out. . . 

How It Works

How acupuncture works is not fully understood. In an acupuncture treatment, the acupuncturist inserts and manipulates fine needles at specific points or combinations of points on your body that relate to the energy flow in your body based on the traditional East Asian meridians and energy channels. 

This energy is also known as chi or qi. There is a relationship between these points and channels with organs and health and with the symptoms of disease and dysfunction a dog may experience, including pain, coughing, diarrhea, or other symptoms that can benefit from acupuncture for a dog.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does acupuncture for dogs really work?

Yes! Acupuncture for dogs does really work! Acupuncture for dogs can help your dog with symptoms associated with a variety of conditions. 

How long does it take for acupuncture to work in dogs?

Depending on the condition or symptom a dog is showing, acupuncture for dogs can take as little as 24 hours or less to start working. 

How often do dogs get acupuncture?

How often dogs get acupuncture will depend on what condition or symptoms an acupuncturist is trying to reduce or improve.  

A dog may see an acupuncturist as little as one session or as many as seven or more sessions at either a weekly or biweekly interval, depending on the needs of your dog. 

Does acupuncture work for dogs?

Yes! Based on the many research studies conducted, acupuncture does work for dogs and can be effective for a number of conditions and symptoms. 

Wondering what acupuncture points are used for dogs? Let’s find out . . . 

Acupuncture Points for Dogs

The acupuncture points used for a dog will depend on the condition and symptoms a dog is showing. 

In addition, it is recommended to check in with the acupuncturist about their level of training for treating dogs. 

A dog is not a human, and a human is not a dog. . .

All jokes aside, although similar in some ways, the placement of acupuncture needles and identification of points on a dog is based on two systems of veterinary acupuncture point classification, so the points used will depend on not just acupuncturist training but also what is being treated in a dog. 

Other Alternatives 

There are many complementary and alternative therapies that may help with dogs living with health conditions, including:

Getting Started

Before getting started with acupuncture for dogs, be sure to talk with your veterinarian or medical professional about getting a proper medical diagnosis and what treatment recommendations are appropriate for the dog’s condition. 

Work with a professional acupuncturist in your area to determine how acupuncture may best help you and the frequency of treatment that’s right for the dog. It can also be helpful to ask if the acupuncturist specializes in or has training treating dogs. 


Jeong, J., Song, J., Jo, H., Kim, J., Yoon, S., Park, C., . . . Kim, H. Y. (2013). Simple acupoints prescription flow chart based on meridian theory: A retrospective study in 102 dogs. Retrieved October 21, 2020, from 

Silva, N. E., Luna, S. P., Joaquim, J. G., Coutinho, H. D., & Possebon, F. S. (2017, September). Effect of acupuncture on pain and quality of life in canine neurological and musculoskeletal diseases. Retrieved October 21, 2020, from

Yang, T., Shmalberg, J., Hochman, L., Miscioscia, E., Brumby, M., McKenna, K., & Roth, A. (2017, August 12). Comparison of Point Placement by Veterinary Professionals with Different Levels of Acupuncture Training in a Canine Cadaver Model. Retrieved October 21, 2020, from