Dog Chiropractor: Can It Help Your Pet?

When my senior schnauzer, Odie, started having a hacking cough, it broke my heart. Odie had overcome so many medical issues through homeopathic remedies, like CBD, so I knew that there had to be something I could do to help him stop coughing every time he barked.

When I met Dr. Carolyn Scott, a holistic veterinarian, and dog chiropractor, she assured me that a chiropractic adjustment could help my sweet boy. Within one treatment, Odie was completely different. His hacking cough was dramatically reduced and he seemed like his old self.

After seeing the drastic changes, I knew I had to learn more about the benefits of chiropractic care. 

Benefits of Chiropractic for dogs

According to Dr. Carolyn Scott, dogs can benefit if they are experiencing neck or back pain, or if they are experiencing any type of mobility issues in general. Dogs who have undergone any type of surgery are among those with the greatest benefit. When a dog has had surgery, just as when we have surgery, a lot of their time is spent resting and recuperating. This results in soreness from lying in the same position for long periods of time. It also creates a pain response cycle in the nervous system that eventually needs to be “reset”. 

In horses, chiropractic can help alleviate pain or discomfort caused by colic following their veterinarian’s regimen, especially when combined with CBD. 

Chiropractic will also help normalize function. The brain is constantly getting feedback from all muscles, joints, and organs in animals and people. This feedback maintains a steady state. Most nerves (but not all), from muscles, joints, tendons, and organs go through the spinal cord. If the muscles, joints, or organs are restricted in their normal range of motion it can cause pain and dysfunction.  Chiropractic adjustments can restore the normal ranges of motion which will in turn decrease pain and dysfunction.

Humans aren’t the only mammals who can benefit from chiropractic care. Dogs, horses, cats, and even cows can benefit. 

How Chiropractic Works

Dr. Carolyn Scott explained, “adjusting animals is exactly like adjusting people. It provides a high-velocity low amplitude thrust into a restricted joint. This gaps the joint and it returns to its normal range of motion. I think of it as watching beach volleyball.  The courts are marked off by colored string. Sometimes a player lands on the string or slides into it, this makes the string not straight anymore.  The player will then lift the line out of the sand and let it snap back into the correct place. This is a good way to visualize how chiropractic works. I gap the joints slightly and allow them to come back together in the correct place.”

She continued to explain that “adjustments on small animals- dogs, cats and the like- take about 20 minutes. Adjustments on horses take 45 minutes to an hour for each horse. Sometimes a more involved injury or issue will take longer.” 

Dr. Scott said “I work with a lot of dog athletes. It’s very rewarding for me to have the owner tell me their dog is popping out of the agility weave poles at pole 10 (there are 12 poles). I adjust the dog then they fly through the weave poles and qualify on that run! [Complete the run under time and with no mistakes.] I’ve also had Dock Diving dogs increase their horizontal distance by 6 feet after an adjustment! Increasing mobility and flexibility in their hips and back legs so they can collect better and take off better. Also, the dog I mentioned above that is now walking again makes me, and the dog, very happy!”

How Often Should We Go

Generally, for most dogs, once a month chiropractic treatment works great. Think of this like sitting hunched over at a computer all day every day. Your neck and back take a beating. Dogs doing the same thing day after day have the same effect on their spine.  If something happens to the dog, they fall off the couch or miss jumping up onto the bed, they will need to come to see me right away. Also if dogs play hard and certainly if God forbid, your dog is attacked by another dog bring them to your usual veterinarian to look for puncture wounds. Then bring them for chiropractic care. 

Dogs that were attacked will probably need more than one visit. Dog attacks are like car accidents in people. Any matter of injuries can happen, and there are all different severities. The sooner your dog sees the chiropractor, the faster your dog will heal. After these injuries have resolved the dogs can usually go back to monthly care.

Risks with Chiropractic 

Chiropractic is very safe when performed by a trained professional. Do not let anyone untrained near your animal. In Florida, a Doctor of Chiropractic, DC, must be certified to work on animals AND have a prescription from a veterinarian to do chiropractic on animals. A veterinarian, DVM, does not need a prescription but needs to be certified in animal chiropractic. 

When performed by a qualified person there are very few risks.  Sometimes the animal or person won’t feel any improvement for 24 hours after an adjustment. Some feel immediate relief. All bodies are different when they feel relief.

The general procedure begins with palpating the dog – running hands over the dog’s back and down all the legs and tail. The chiropractic professional is searching for areas that are warmer than others. They are also looking for areas that twitch when palpated. This often indicates a joint that is restricted. 

After the overall palpation, the joints are next on the list to examine. The chiropractor will palpate all of the joints he or she can reach – some are too deep inside the dog to reach, testing their range of motion (ROM). If a joint restriction is found, it is adjusted accordingly. 

On the first visit to the chiropractor, it’s not unusual for the animal to be apprehensive. That’s another area where Full Spectrum Hemp Extract CBD Oil can come in to relieve some anxiety and stress. This allows the animal to be more comfortable and will help the chiropractor in ensuring a smooth session.

Adding CBD to Reduce Pain and Inflammation

CBD helps reduce inflammation in the body and offers a natural, side-effect-free solution to pain and inflammation. 

CBD works with a part of the body known as the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is existent in nearly every living organism whether we are discussing you or your dog. The purpose of the endocannabinoid system is to regulate homeostasis; to bring the body back to balance.

CBD works by communicating with various cell types within our body using the body’s receptors. Cells have jobs of their own to do, and part of the way their jobs are successfully completed is via communication throughout the body. Their job is to defend the body and keep it healthy. CBD and the cells work together to get the job done naturally.

The Bottom Line

Many pet lovers aren’t aware of the incredible benefits of chiropractic, especially when combined with CBD for pain relief, anxiety relief, and bringing the body back to balance utilizing these modalities. If you have ever had a visit to the chiropractor and experienced that “new me” feeling, can you imagine how your dog, cat, or horse would feel following a visit? The results are astonishing.


To learn more about the benefits of holistic care for pets, visit To find a certified animal chiropractor near you, visit