Acupressure Points to Treat Shoulder Issues in Your Dog

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Shoulder problems in dogs usually involve soft tissue injuries such as muscle strains and injury of the biceps tendon. Less frequently the shoulder joint itself is involved. This short article will show you how to treat your dog’s shoulder soreness with acupressure.

How to tell my dog’s shoulder is sore?

Chronic pain is one of the most underdiagnosed problems in veterinary medicine. Dogs are unable to verbalize what they are experiencing and it is up to us to interpret their behavior. Just like humans, every dog has a unique pain tolerance level. What could cause one dog to shriek in pain might not even make another dog flinch. Symptoms that might indicate your pup is suffering from joint pain caused by osteoarthritis include: 

  • Limping
  • Lethargy
  • Generalized Stiffness
  • Difficulty Getting Up
  • Difficulty Urinating Or Defecating
  • Yelping When Pet Lifted
  • Crankiness/Mood Changes
  • Reluctance To Play Favorite Games or To Go on Walks
  • Excessive Licking Of Specific Joint
  • Difficulty Finding Comfort
  • Frequent Vocalising

Pinpointing lameness to the shoulder joint and its associated structures can be a tricky task for laypersons. I would certainly recommend seeing a vet who can make a definite diagnosis and prescribe appropriate pain medication. Additionally, you can use acupressure to provide your furry friend with pain relief.

Acupressure Points for Shoulder Pain in Dogs

Acupressure Points for Shoulder Pain in Dogs
Acupressure Points for Canine Shouler Pain

Localization of Acupressure Points for Shoulder Pain

  • LI 11 – just below the elbow joint, cranial to an easily palpable bony prominence.
  • LI 04 – between the 1st (dewclaw) & 2nd finger.
  • GV 14 – on the midline in front of the first (easily palpable) 1st thoracic vertebra.
  • SI 09 – in a large depression between 2 muscle bellies (deltoid m. & triceps m.)
  • GB 21 – cranial to the shoulder blade, almost halfway between the shoulder and the upper aspect of the neck.
  • LI 15 – just cranial to the distal end of the shoulder blade.

Further Recommendations

  • Restrict exercise! Controlled walking & trotting on the lead only. No running, jumping, and starts & stops.
  • Avoid stairs.
  • Elevate food trays.
  • Provide comfortable bedding.
  • Massage the shoulder area for 2-4 minutes.
  • Rotary massaging at GB 21 & SI 09.
  • Low-Level Light Therapy is a good way to promote blood flow, reduce inflammation, and relieve symptoms of joint pain in dogs. LumaSoothe is a Low-Level Laser device with thousands of happy users. Check the current price here.
LumaSoothe Low-Level Light Therapy

How to Massage Acupressure Points

During acupressure, you will use your hands to be aware of any changes happening in the body. These could either be an existing blockage or the free flow of Qi after removing a blockage by acupressure treatment. Learning to sense what the body is communicating takes practice. You can educate your hands by focusing on the various sensations experienced during these sessions and by learning what the sensations indicate.

Canine Acupressure Charts PDF

Download your Canine Acupressure Charts today. Great for studying and treatment planning.

Printable Acupressure Charts for Dogs

Massage Techniques:

  • The One-Finger Technique: During this technique, you’ll use the finger pad of your thumb. Place it on the acupressure point and apply gentle pressure to it. Depending on the location, you can gently move your thumb and work a little bit deeper into the tissue. This technique is best used on fleshy, well-muscled body parts or on the limbs of larger dogs.
  • The Two-Finger Technique: To perform this technique, place your middle finger over the nail on your pointer finger and apply gentle pressure on your dog’s body surface. Use this technique on smaller dogs or on the legs.

How do I Know it’s Working?

Your dog’s body will give you clear signs that your massage is having a positive effect on their well-being. Releasing blockages and promoting the free flow of Qi will make your dog feel much better and show you release signs such as:

  • Calming down
  • Relaxing
  • Yawning
  • Groaning
  • Becoming dozy and even falling asleep
  • Stretching

After a few days of doing acupressure, you will notice that you’re not only helping your dog’s health and well-being with your daily acupressure session, but also you’ll see the bond between the two of you growing much stronger.

ACU-HORSE: Guide to Equine Acupressure provides you with a step-by-step guide to performing an acupressure session with your horse. Also, this full-color, 230-page equine acupressure book offers tons of charts and photos to help you learn equine acupressure.

ACU-DOG: Guide to Canine Acupressure gives a step-by-step guide to an acupressure session with color photos and charts. It explains how to apply Chinese medicine theories, plus active descriptions and photos of hands-on techniques.

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