So many people get surprised when I tell them one of my dogs goes to a chiropractor 3 or 4 times a year. Your dog goes to a chiropractor? Really? I didn’t even know we had dog chiropractors.
Yes, yes we do. If you have never heard of a Chiropractor for dogs I would take the time to look into it. If you have a senior dog or a dog who suffers from hip dysplasia, or your dog just seems a little sensitive all of a sudden a Canine Chiropractor may benefit you.
I learned about the importance of a Chiropractor for dogs about 5 years ago. I was working in a doggy daycare. This was after being on maternity leave with my oldest child. My husky x Trapper who was super sociable with dogs and people suddenly became aggressive. He attacked a dog in the daycare and wouldn’t let go. Obviously, I removed him from the daycare immediately and checked over the other dog who was fine. I felt horrible. I was confused and upset. After consulting with my colleagues we came to the conclusion that he needed to get checked out at the vet. Sometimes when a dog acts out of character like that it could be that something is physically wrong with them.
I called my vet and got Trapper in to see her that day. Turns out that Trapper had something wrong with his back leg. He was favoring it and apparently had been for some time. He wasn’t limping on it so it wasn’t something that was noticeable. He just wasn’t putting all of his weight on it. It was so bad that the muscles in the leg had atrophied. My vet told me that we may have to remove his leg altogether. This hit me hard. I thought maybe he was a little sore and would need anti-inflammatory or something. Never had I ever thought this would happen. My vet recommended me to a local Canine Chiropractor to double check. Since a chiropractor specializes in spines and muscles it made sense to get a chiropractor to be her second set of eyes. After I left the vet clinic that day I cried on the drive home. I felt horrible. Horrible for the dog that Trapper attacked out of the blue. Horrible for Trapper because this had obviously been going on for a while and I didn’t see it. I felt like I had failed.
Fast forward to my appointment with the Chiropractor. She got us in the next day. I remember the initial assessment wasn’t even $80(for those of you wondering). She checked him over and quickly diagnosed him with arthritis in the spine. She adjusted him around his neck, down his spine, and around his tail. She prescribed some muscle building exercises for him to try to build his muscle in his leg back up. He didn’t need any pain medication. She said to bring him back in a week so we can see how his body reacted to the adjustment.
I brought my boy home that night feeling emotionally exhausted. My dogs are like my children. I worry about them the same as I do my kids. When they are sick I get stressed and emotional. We got home and I let Trapper into the backyard with my border collie Rosie. I watched him zip around the yard like a crazy man. Immediately I got concerned and called the vet. Rekha laughed and said that’s good. That means the adjustment helped. This is the first time I felt myself feel relief since this whole thing started. She said to do the exercises with him and we’ll see how things progress. I smiled as I hung up the phone watching him chase his tail. He looked happy.
Fast forward another week and we are back at the Chiropractor. Trapper was so happy to see her. I was surprised because I know the adjustment had been painful for him. (For those of you wondering the follow-up appointment was around $45). Rekha checked him over and quickly did a few adjustments. Trapper just melted into her touch. He was literally a puddle on the floor when she was done. When she finished she looked up at me and smiled as she told me to breathe. I hadn’t realized I was holding my breath. She told me that his back was doing much better and the muscles in his leg were already coming back. His body was responding remarkably well to the adjustments.
I continued to bring him back weekly a few times and then monthly. His muscles came back completely and we didn’t need to remove his leg. Now he only goes 3-4 times a year. Usually around winter since walking on ice is hard on him. Now I can see the subtle signs when his back is starting to hurt and take him in for adjustments right away every time. It took a little bit of behavioral work but now he can go to the dog park with us or go visit other dogs. He enjoys ripping around and wrestling with other dogs again.
Moral of the story? If you have a dog who is normally really good with other dogs and people suddenly show signs of aggression. Take your dog to the vet immediately. As a dog trainer, if a client is giving me their dogs backstory over the phone and there seems to be a drastic change of temperament; I usually tell them to go to their vet. If their vet doesn’t find anything get a second opinion from a chiropractor. If your dog is in any kind of pain it can cause your dog to become aggressive. It can happen out of the blue or over a short amount of time. If your dog is in pain there is no training plan that I can put together for you that will be effective. The best way to help your dog is to relieve their pain first, then we can work on rehabilitating your dog back to the happy sociable dog he was before.
Have you ever used a Canine Chiropractor? How about a Canine Massage Therapist? Would love to hear your story!