Can dogs benefit from acupuncture? Heck yeah they can!

Ever since I mentioned on Instagram that Emmett started acupuncture, so many people have asked me the same question: Really?! Can dogs get acupuncture? 

Heck, yes! And with it comes tremendous benefits.

Can dogs get acupuncture? |

First, a reminder that I’m not a vet. I’m not a vet tech or an acupuncturist or in medicine in any way, shape, or form. I’m a writer. This is my experience and not meant to advise, suggest, or claim anything in any way.

Long backstory short: A misdiagnosis of arthritis in his hind legs led us down the wrong path with Emmett. At the same time as receiving that incorrect information, his oncologist suggested a neuro exam for some trembling in his legs. Ultimately, the correct diagnosis is arthritis along his spine that’s pinching some nerves and causing neuro problems.

He was trembling, tripping, stumbling, and falling because he literally had no feeling in his back feet and little feeling in his back legs.

The good news? He’s not in pain.

The bad news? He’s not in pain… so he doesn’t realize he needs to limit himself and his activity.

The only times he does experience pain is when he flings himself off the deck or slips and sploots on the kitchen floor or otherwise injures himself. Then he’s sore. Otherwise, he’s just a big, clumsy mess.

I started researching options and found a vet rehab specialist here in town. Hallelujah! I filled out her super extensive patient profile information, and she got back to me and said that she felt good that acupuncture was an option and that she makes house calls. Hallelujah, times two!

Since August she’s been coming over almost weekly for an acupuncture session, and here’s the thing: The week before Christmas, the toes of his back right leg–his worst leg–twitched during the session. Last week? His back right twitched as the needles were placed.

In other words, he had feeling in his back leg.

I think this calls for our third hallelujah!

Acupuncture and dogs via

The other question I get asked a lot is if it helps with his cancer. Well, there is some evidence in people that acupuncture helps the immune system, which would ultimately help not by fighting cancer on his behalf but by keeping him healthy enough to fight the fight.

For the cancer question: A lot of vet rehab includes laser treatments, and our vet does perform that treatment. However, there’s a risk in dogs who already have cancer, as Em does, so we’re skipping that treatment.

Another: Does acupuncture hurt my dog? I’ve had acupuncture myself, and I can say it didn’t hurt me. I can’t speak for Em, but I will say that he most often dozes off a bit. (It doesn’t hurt that she gives him a super great massage each week!) When he flinches, I don’t know if it’s pain or if it’s more just a startle reflex. I don’t think he’s in pain, though.

For Emmett’s case specifically, there’s no chance that he’ll “get better.” Instead, our focus is on keeping him stable. Honestly, he’s struggling with mobility big time. He’s graduated past ToeGrips recently and is now in rubber-gripped boots. I can share more about that later, since it’s not really about acupuncture. But, the ultimate goal of the acupuncture, I think, is to keep him pain-free and alleviate as much as we can of the arthritis/neuro issues.


Acupuncture treats a whole slew of health issues, not just arthritis.

I did ask if it could help calm Cooper the crap down.

She said no, probably not.

Ah, well. Worth asking.

If you think it might help your dog, I’d encourage you to pursue treatment. I think it’s helped Emmett tremendously, and others have commented on that to us, too!

So, what questions do you have about acupuncture in dogs? Have you tried this with your pup? Or even yourself? I’d love to hear your experiences!

On Letting Go

Do you guys do this? You get so many ideas and lists and to dos going in your head, but each time one gets crossed off another dozen crop up. Cross those off, and somehow there are even more.

Or the list gets so long you just end up staring out the window.

That’s not just me, is it?

My brain is rotten. #fact

I recently downloaded this worksheet called “Loose Ends Brain Dump 2016.” The goal of the sheet is to get everything out of your head that’s rattling around and down onto paper. It’s a simple list, but on the right side of each line are four circles: Completed, Scheduled, Recorded, and–this one knocked my socks off–Let go.

Let go.

Dogs serve as amazing role models for that, don’t they?

So, let go. That’s sort of the theme, the concept that’s swirling around in my head right now. 2016 was a shit year, I think for many of us, and I’m ready to let go. Move on. Make progress.

It’s fashionable this last week of the year for bloggers to recap the preceding year… but I kinda don’t wanna.

It feels anti-let-go.

This is also anti-let-go but in a fun way:

Anti-Let-Go: Cooper plays tug with his Christmas rope

I will say that my top posts this year have been consistent. Every single week, the most trafficked posts are the posts I’ve shared about Cooper’s head tremors, indoor activities for winter boredom, and the recent DIY bitter apple spray.

As much I love telling stories and strive to be a storyteller in this space, I’m thrilled to be able to provide a service to those people who are looking for answers. I hope my work helps!

All that said, my plan for 2017 is to let go of five things:

  1. Let go of training goals designed to “make” Cooper more comfortable doing things I want him to do (like, going out in public…) and focus instead on training that makes him happy and improves our bond. And running. Lots more running.
  2. Let go of feeling sad when Emmett falls and focus instead on gratitude that he’s here and he’s happy.
  3. Let go of those super long lists that never get any smaller. (Honestly, this is a pipe dream. But. I’ll try?)
  4. Let go of wasting time scrolling and refreshing the internet and focus instead on time with my family.
  5. Let go of guilt for missing the mark on any of the above. Well. Try to. Or think about it, anyway.

Not much of a year-end recap, eh? 🙂

I’ll be back next week with stories and more! We have some big news coming in 2017, plus I want to share some of the details about points 1 and 2 above… running and training with Coop, Emmett’s acupuncture, and so on.

If you’ve been feeling overwhelmed like I have, I encourage you to make a “Let Go” list, too. See if that alleviates some of the burden.

Or, share here: What do YOU plan to let go of for 2017?

It’s only two days away…

Cheers to a New Year, and I’ll see ya in 2017!