Senior woman with her dog inside of her house.

Many of us treat our pets like members of our family. We want nothing more than for them to be comfortable and pain-free whenever possible.

According to a recent survey, 74% of pet owners who have used alternative treatments also have used them on their pets. These therapies include cannabinoid (CBD), reflexology, massage and acupuncture.

And with researchers at Linköping University reporting that dogs mirror their owners’ stress, it may not be a bad idea to sign your pooch up for a yoga class or two.

Here are four alternatives that are becoming popular with pet owners.


Acupuncture has been around for thousands of years and has been found to be effective when treating osteoarthritis, headaches, and back and chronic musculoskeletal pain. More recently, it has become a treatment used by veterinarians as an adjunct therapy for pain.

It also has been linked to improving mobility in dogs with musculoskeletal pain, as well as to relieve pain caused by cervical neurological disease.  


Yoga for dogs can help to calm your precious pup, but that is not the only reason to make your furry friend a part of your daily practice.

“Most dogs that are anxious have owners [who] are also anxious,” says Suzi Teitelman, creator and founder of Doga.

Teitelman says dogs understand when we are happy or sad, and their presence can help to be more open to the experience.

“When they share yoga with their pet, they go even deeper than when they are by themselves,” she adds.

So, one way to quell your anxiety may be to do your daily downward-facing dog with your fur baby.


CBD oils have been quite the rage when it comes to alternative therapies for pain.

There are a lot of products on the market for both humans and pets. While it has been touted as something you use to treat ailments — ranging from seizures to anxiety and chronic pain — the jury is still out.

“Unfortunately, we do not know as much as we would like to know about marijuana or CBD use in pets,” says Tina Wismer, medical director of the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center. “Studies are slowly being done to look at its potential benefits in controlling pain and treating other diseases, such as epilepsy and anxiety in dogs.”

In other words, check in with your veterinarian, because there is a chance that these products may contain THC, a psychoactive compound found in marijuana and which can be toxic to animals. Meanwhile, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is still working on creating regulations for the human version.


Massages are a nice treat for relieving tension, and the American Kennel Club is reporting that it also can be used to help with arthritis, anxiety and to improve circulation in dogs. But that should not come as a surprise, since it is often used to restore mobility and soothe the muscles of racehorses.  

The takeaways

While we may find that these treatments are great for us, that does not mean that we should automatically use these therapies and skip going to the veterinarian.

However, a massage is awesome and may work well in conjunction with conventional medications.