Chiropractic Care for Pets

Top ten reasons to get Chiropractic care for your dog

1.Refusing to go over jumps
2.Difficulty getting up and down, from a lying position or from the couch
3.Puppy sitting-sitting with rear legs off to one side
4.Abnormal posture when standing and walking-the dog may not track correctly when moving.
5.Evasive maneuvers: dipping head or hollowing back when touched
6.Sensitivty to touch
7.Change in behavior: fear biting, hiding
8.Wringing or tucking tail
9.Exhibiting pain when taking off or putting on collar or harness
10.Facial expression of apprehension or pain

Chiropractic is essential for anyone with a spine to achieve optimum health. Even animals. If you see any of this behavior in your pet, they need Chiropractic care.

I have been in practice for about 25 years, treating humans. When I tell patients that I have become certified in animal Chiropractic, I get responses from “Why?” to “Cool!”

Let me explain how Chiropractic helps you, your pet, and anything with a spine. Like a living telephone line, the spinal cord carries electrical messages from the brain to organs, muscles and all tissues of the body. The messages are carried along long nerve fibers from the brain to the tips of your toes (paws) and everything in between.

The spinal cord is encased in bone-“your spine”. The spine protects the spinal cord, organs of the body, it’s the attachment point for many muscles, and it supports the skeleton. The bony spine is also a mechanical wonder.

The bony spine is made up of individual small bones called “vertebrae” linked together like a chain. There are 28 vertebrae from a dog’s head to its pelvis, joined together with over 150 joints. This configuration allows the spine to be flexible in all directions. All these joints must move in concert for proper locomotion of the entire body. Look at the way a cat can contort itself-that’s flexibility!

Small holes between vertebrae on either side of the spine allow the nerves to exit the spinal cord and send their electrical messages to organs, muscles, joints, and all tissues of the body and back to the brain. Any small misalignment of the 150 vertebral joints can constrict these small holes and interfere with the messages from the brain to the body, and the body to the brain. Miscommunication can lead to malfunction.

Keeping the spine aligned correctly allows the body to keep moving properly, as well as allowing the organs, muscles, and all other tissue to work at their highest potential. Even minor misalignments can cause ticking of a bar in performance animals to lameness in any animal. The job of your animal Chiropractor is to detect and correct spinal misalignments.

Misalignments, called “subluxations”, are not truly bones out of place. They are really joints that are not moving properly and in concert with surrounding joints. Even slight glitches in a joint can cause reactions like swelling and muscle spasm. The findings of a study performed at the University of Colorado in 1986, showed that pressure on spinal nerves equivalent to the weight of a dime will cause the nerve to malfunction within as little as 24 hours. So, it doesn’t take much.

Causes of the subluxation may vary-from being hit by a car to jumping off the bed and landing off kilter. (Have you ever taken a step and miscalculated the distance? That can hurt!).

Canine athletes are exposed to jarring incidents everyday they train. Our pets play with one another, race around the house in spurts of happiness, jump onto the couch and miss their target, etc. Animals with orthopedic problems compensate for their pain and cause joints elsewhere to move improperly. Elderly animals have a life history of small jarring incidents.

To detect the problematic areas your animal Chiropractor will thoroughly and gently press muscles and bones, and watch your animal walk or trot. Fortunately, we do not use tiny adjusting tables, or force the animals onto their sides in order to correct problem areas. Most animals are adjusted while standing. When a problem is found, the animal Chiropractor makes a quick, accurate thrust to correct the problem, and get the joint moving properly. Usually, there is no popping sound, as sometimes happens with people. You can see that the animal enjoys it!

Many agility competitors keep their canine partners in top shape through regular Chiropractic care. Monthly treatments can keep any pet in tiptop condition.

So when you hear about Chiropractic for animals. Respond by saying “Cool!” and get your special pet to their Chiropractor for their monthly adjustment.

The problems on the list at the beginning of this article may be caused by reasons other than Chiropractic causes. So, the pet should be thoroughly examined by a Veterinarian (often including x-rays) to rule out non-chiropractic causes. Chiropractic care is not a substitute for good Veterinary care.

Dr Eileen L. Haworth, D.C. can be reached at (310)451-8045 or by e-mail at