Chiropractic care for pets

Tail Wagger

Rich Wallace
This content originally appeared on 

When we're in pain, we can usually identify what hurts and how to treat it. Pets try to tell us when they're hurting too, but it isn't always easy for us to pinpoint what's wrong. If you're seeing signs of discomfort in your dog or cat, manipulation of the pet's spine by a licensed chiropractor can help the body heal.

An animal in pain will often compensate by changing its gait or posture. That in turn can affect the joints and muscles, so the original source of pain might not be obvious. A veterinary chiropractor will determine if your pet would benefit from spinal treatment. Misalignment of the spine keeps the body from functioning efficiently.

Chiropractic care has been a common treatment for horses for many years, but it didn't become widespread for dogs and cats until fairly recently. It can be effective for arthritis, sprains, lameness, muscle spasms, and many other conditions.

Here are some signs that your pet might benefit from chiropractic care:

  • A sharp cry or yelp after a sudden movement.
  • Weak legs with no specific pain.
  • Hunched back or other awkward positions.
  • Dragging a foot or moving the head or tail strangely.
  • Difficulty climbing stairs.
  • Trouble standing or lying down.
  • Inability to jump.
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing.

Click to See Our Sources

“At the Chiropractor, Well-Adjusted Pets” by Abby Ellin, New York Times, 8/22/13

“Chiropractic Care: The ‘New’ Way to Relieve Your Pet’s Pain (Whatever Its Cause)” by Karen Becker, DVM,, 1/17/12

“Dog Chiropractic Therapy: An Option for Your Dog?”