Acupuncture with Bruiser: National Dog Week


Healthy & Balanced Internal Physiology is key for all dogs according to Dr. Patricia McDonnell. I attended Dr. Patricia McConnell’s webinar last week on Building Resilience In Our Dogs.

So letting dogs spend time outdoors is super effective so ALL dogs even reactive dogs need to spend time outdoors. What does that have to do with Bruiser and Acupuncture? Well – to be honest, without Acupuncture Bruiser’s hiking days are limited. So I wanted to take a few bullets to talk about why Acupuncture and how it works for folks new to the topic. Being outdoors is one of the best ways to build resilience in our dogs so I cannot let anything get in our way!

How Does It Work: 

*I’m using an excerpt from Whole Dog Journal-this article is actually about Acupuncture supporting cancer but the general points apply.

  • According to Whole Dog Journal and a Doctor interviewed that had been using Acupuncture for many years with her clients explains it this way, “we see the systemic release of chemical mediators such as endorphins and serotonin.” They characterize these as the “feel good” chemicals of the body.
  • Acupuncture is used with Bruiser for pain reduction and has decreased the need to drugs like Tramadol. I am grateful for this!!
  • “Acupuncture affects blood pressure, body temperature, boosts immune system activity and causes the natural painkillers such as endorphins to be released.
  • About 3-4 days following his treatment, Bruisy is noticeably more comfortable. He goes every three weeks and has for the past two years.

Have you tried this yourself? Have you done this with your animals?

So not quite Wordless for Wordless Wednesday but I thought it was a fun topic…



The day after Bruisy has Acupuncture he’s killing it!



There are 42 Comments

  1. Jana says:

    We are big fans of such therapies and used acupuncture regularly.

  2. Kari says:

    Yes! Mia’s next acupuncture is Friday! Looks like you’re doing some electrostimulation with Bruiser’s?

  3. A neighbor’s dog underwent acupuncture because it broke a leg falling off the table! It can now walk, so yes, it does help!

    • OMG – that’s horrible! But amazing! I think there are so many ways animals benefit, I’ve learned a lot from our Acupuncture vet for sure – she has a lot of skin/derm cases too…

  4. piranha banana says:

    very happy for Bruiser. He is also very brave. I would not want those porcupine prickly things on my bottom!

  5. Emma says:

    We find chiropractic adjustment to be the best alternative therapy, acupuncture would be our second choice, but we have not tried it. Some people opt for massage. Massage doesn’t really change anything but if a dog is really suffering it is a good temporary feel good fix. Glad the acupuncture works so well.

    • I’ve heard awesome things about Chiropractic work and a friend uses that therapy with her horse. You’d like Acupuncture too — I agree about massage. I think there are certain cases where therapeutic post surgical massage can help patients but Acupuncture and Chiropractic therapies seem to go a LONG way…

  6. Lindsay says:

    He looks super comfortable and if any dog can be labelled as grateful, this is it right here. Thank goodness for modern medicine and what they can do for our four-legged babies. I was blown away by some of the things I saw at the rehab clinic we attended last year post-op for Charlie. If there’s a will, there’s a way. Anything is possible these days and if our furkids benefit from it, why the hell not! 🙂

    • He falls asleep!! yea – I know this sounds funny, but Brui literally thanks us afterwards. Thank goodness since Tramadol helps but it makes his stomach ill and I would hate to give that to him all the time. Totally agree – we did hydro therapy for our dog that has since passed and it was incredibly helpful. I bet Charlie really benefited from what they did with him. Agree!!

  7. We’ve heard such great things about acupuncture in pets. So happy to see it’s working! Happy WW! 🙂

  8. Sydney gets acupuncture and this post is a reminder for me to book an appointment. She loves it and gets so impatient for it to get started that she’ll practically crawl into her doctor’s lap.

    We’ve definitely seen a difference.

    • I’ve seen such a difference. We go now so frequently and honestly, I’m sure not how fluid his movements would be without it. He feels SO much better for about two weeks following appointments and then by the time we get to 3-4 weeks he’s kind of “grunty” and big walks are harder. So great to know that Sydney benefits too. It’s amazing!

  9. Jean Dion says:

    We used acupuncture to help one of our kitties who had been “bumped” by a car. His tail hung completely limp, even though nothing was broken, so we tried acupuncture as a last-ditch effort to stimulate nerve growth. He was never able to hold his tail up high, but after the treatments, he was able to move it out of the way so he could pee. That’s a win, in my book.

    Jean from Welcome to the Menagerie

    • Moving his tail out of the way to pee is a total win — I’m so glad that was the extent of the injury – that’s awful. Thank you for sharing this as I hop others benefit from knowing how it can help.

  10. Rebekah says:

    He’s a really good dog, to stay so still!

  11. I’m so glad Bruiser is doing better. Dexter had acupuncture treatments for about a year to treat his CM/SM. I think it helped a little, but not too much for us. I know it helps a lot of pets, so I certainly would recommend. 🙂

    • Thank you – I’m so sorry it only helped a little, I’ve tried it with Sherm for allergies and it’s hit or miss so I think these IVDD cases are a real WIN for it – how is Dexter doing?

  12. I haven’t started either of my Boys – but I want to. Thanks for sharing this information with us.

  13. Jan K says:

    We don’t have anyone close by that does this for dogs or I might try it for Cricket’s arthritis.
    We totally agree about the importance of dogs getting outdoors!

  14. Shadow and Ducky would spend all day, every day, outside if we could be with them. So, I try to spend as much time out there as I can. I’m looking forward to the day all the bugs go back underground to hibernate until next summer!! As for acupuncture, there is no one around here either or I would definitely consider it for Shadow. Right now, when her arthritis flares up, I give her Rimadyl, use ice packs to relieve the inflammation, and massage. It may not help as much as acupuncture would; but it’s certainly better than letting her suffer through the flare-ups. Massage always does wonders for me (when I can afford it), so I think it affords at least some temporary relief for Shadow as well.

    • Thank you for your comment! I’m also tired of the biting flies around here – I hear you! Rimadyl is great – we use Tramadol when needed. NSAIDs are awesome for achy joints. And massage is also really effective too. I’m sure it’s more than temporary relief as massage has long lasting effects! That’s great you’re doing all that. Appreciate your note.

  15. Alberto says:

    Hi there,
    Alberto here. That article was very interesting (after I got over the photo that made that poor dog look like the Canine of Frankenstein. ) My human was impressed too. She’s wondering if acupuncture would be helpful for our 16-pound Alpha of The Tribe of Five, Tucker. Tucker is still fairly spry but at 12 years old he’s slowing down a bit.

    • Thanks so much! LOL – yes, it does make him look like the dog of Frankenstein. 🙂 YES! Acupuncture helps senior dogs a lot -and especially with sore joints and mobility. It may help him as he ages and I would talk to your vet for sure and see what they say.

  16. Interesting post. It’s weird how so many people view “alternative” treatments as some how less civilized or advanced. But what works, works regardless of the why and how. And especially when it’s our furbabies, who we can’t bear to see in pain, we’ll take whatever works!

    • I know, right? What’s good about Acupuncture is a lot of research has been done and there are studies that show IVDD dogs benefit from Acupuncture and estim more than surgery in some cases so we have that going for us. Thank you for commenting!

  17. Jodi Stone says:

    I’ve used it for both my dogs. I feel like I actually saw the benefit more with Delilah’s pinched nerve, than with Sampson’s cruciate/muscle issues. I am trying different modality’s with him now, but wouldn’t hesitate to use it again.

    I’ve actually got an appointment myself for my first session too!

    • Thank you for commenting! I’m glad it helped Delilah as that sounds super painful. I feel like I’ve seen it work well with very specific issues like IVDD, allergies and joint pain with my guys. I also feel like you I’m sure as I’ve tried other modalities as well with other issues and you have to try a lot — massage didn’t work for Bruisy at all so this does. Others I know swear by Chiropractic work… I’m SO jealous – I always laugh with our vet and ask if she can do some needling on me too! Enjoy!

  18. […] Acupuncture with Bruiser by Christy Caplan at My Life with Dogs – I’m a firm believer in different modalities for treatment. For myself, I prefer to treat as naturally as possible and I carry that philosophy over to my dogs as well. Both of my dogs have had acupuncture and it has helped them both. If you’ve ever considered it, or wondered if it worked…wonder no more. […]

  19. Monika & Sam says:

    Originally saw your post on Jodi’s Heart Like a Dog site. I’m a huge fan of acupuncture for us uprights but have not yet had occasion to utilize it for the pups. Having seen first hand how well it works particularly for pain management, I definitely will seek a practitioner for the dogs.

    • Thank you! I was just talking to our vet about this – Bruisy does so well after appointments I worry about not being able to take him for these tune-ups. That’s how much I think it impacts pain for him – holler if you have any questions when you find someone!

  20. We haven’t tried Acupuncture but I’ve heard great things about it. My pups enjoy swimming in a heated indoor doggie pool, which is gentle on their joints and brings them so much joy. Love that you found a way to keep your pup active on hikes with you.

    • Thanks! I cannot say enough awesome things about Acupuncture – Bruiser had his appointment yesterday and we went to the beach today and he’s noticeably more fluid in his movement. Hydro therapy is also fantastic! That’s great you do that with your munchkin!

  21. Cathy Armato says:

    Wonderful post, Christy! I love when we can spotlight natural treatments, especially anything that reduces the need for medications. Thanks for sharing!
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

  22. […] Acupuncture: Well – to be honest, without Acupuncture Bruiser’s hiking days are limited. Being outdoors is one of the best ways to build resilience in our dogs so I cannot let anything get in our way! Bruiser has been receiving regular sessions once a month for over three years – more here in my post about the many benefits. We use Acupuncture mainly for pain reduction in Bruiser’s upper thoracic area. […]