Powerful Acupressure Points to Soothe Arthritis in Your Dog

Canine arthritis is one of the most commonly diagnosed health issues in dogs. The treatment consists of medical pain management and modification of home and exercise. But there’s more you can do to help your furry companion! Find out how Acupressure Points can help to alleviate arthritis pain and improve mobility in your dog!

What is Canine Arthritis?

Osteoarthritis is one of the most commonly diagnosed medical conditions in our canine companions. The disease which is also known as degenerative joint disease (DJD) leads to restricted movement and mobility issues. When a dog is diagnosed with osteoarthritis, it means that the affected joint is in a state of chronic inflammation and pain.

most commonly affected joints
These joints are most commonly affected by arthritis.

Although it is true that any joint in the body could potentially develop osteoarthritis, the most commonly affected joints in dogs are those in the limbs and lower spine.

Unfortunately, osteoarthritis cannot be cured. When managed well, however, the course of the disease can be slowed down.

You’re lucky!

Our Guide on Canine Acupressure is on Sale Today.

How Do I Know If My Dog Has Osteoarthritis? 

Every dog owner knows to pay attention to any signs that might indicate something is wrong with their beloved pets. Dogs are unable to verbalize what they are experiencing and it’s up to us to interpret their behaviour. 

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 can vary and may begin with very mild signs.

List of Symptoms of Arthritis in Dogs

  • 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

Many dogs are able to cope with osteoarthritis during the early stages, simply shifting their weight and adopting new postures. It’s not until the degeneration progresses that symptoms become obvious. 

How Can I Help My Dog If They’ve Been Diagnosed With Osteoarthritis? 

In addition to seeking proper medical care for your dog, there are steps that you can take yourself to help your dog manage their joint pain better. 

  1. Help Your Dog Lose Weight (If Necessary): If your dog is overweight, a strict diet and restricting the number of treats they get is an essential step.
  2. Invest In Supportive Bedding: There are many wonderful pet beds on the market. Be sure to research what type of bed fits your pet’s needs. 
  3. Consider Installing Ramps: If your pet needs to navigate stairs, you might consider building or purchasing ramps that can be used to make their entries and exits a bit more comfortable. 
  4. Raise The Food And Water Bowls: If your dog is experiencing stiffness and pain in their neck or lower back, raising their food and water bowls so they don’t need to bend down is very beneficial. 

What is Acupressure?

Pressure points have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for thousands of years. It is a form of manual stimulation used to promote healing processes, relax tense muscles, and alleviate pain. When the dog is treated regularly acupressure can play an important role in supporting treatments & medications prescribed by your vet & acupuncturist.

How to Treat Arthritis with Acupressure

Symptoms of arthritis can be treated most effectively when the underlying pattern of disharmony has been identified. It takes a bit of practice to make a correct TCVM (Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine) diagnosis that includes pattern differentiation. When you’re not sure what pattern affects your dog, use our Facebook group, or contact a veterinary acupuncturist near you for help.

TCVM Patterns Causing Osteoarthritis

  • Cold: worse in cold weather; stiffness & pain; cold legs & ears; severe stabbing pain in joints; alleviated by warmth.
  • Damp: worse in wet weather; heavy & swollen extremities; less painful.
  • Kidney Qi & Yang Deficiency: difficulty getting up; weakness in hindlegs; cold extremities; warmth-seeking.
  • Kidney Qi & Yin Deficiency: difficulties getting up; cold-seeking behavior; warm legs; increased thirst; red & dry tongue.

Massage Techniques

  • The Thumb Technique: During this technique, you’ll use the soft and fleshy part of your thumb at a 45 – 90° angle to the dog’s body. It’s best to use the thumb technique on the trunk of the body or the limbs of large dogs.
  • The Two-Finger Technique: To perform this technique, place your middle finger over your nail on your pointer finger, making a small tent between the two fingers. Then apply the soft portion of the pointer finger at a 45-90° angle from the dog’s body.

Acupressure Points – Cold Pattern

  • LI 04 – between the 1st (dewclaw) & 2nd finger.
  • LIV 3 – between the 2nd & 3rd toe.
  • GV 14 – on the midline in front of the first (easily palpable) 1st thoracic vertebra.
  • Bai Hui – on the midline over the lumbosacral space.
pressure points dog for osteoarhtitis
acupuncture points dog
LI 04

Acupressure Points – Damp Pattern

  • SP 06 – over the hock joint, on the caudal aspect of the tibia (bone).
  • ST 36 – just under to the knee joint, on the cranial border of the leg.
  • LIV 3 – between the 2nd & 3rd toe.
  • BL 20 – 2cm away from the midline, just before the last rib.

Acupressure Points Kidney Qi Deficiency

  • BL 23 – 2 cm away from the midline, between 2nd & 3rd lumbar vertebra.
  • ST 36 – just under to the knee joint, on the cranial border of the leg.
  • KI 07 – just above the hock joint.
  • GV 04 – on the dorsal midline caudal to the 2nd lumbar vertebra (palpable).
Further Resources

Even though acupressure is a powerful tool to treat pain and to improve joint function there’s a lot more you can do to help your dogs’s arthritis.

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– Felix