Why Your Dog Needs a Tune-Up
Alissa Grover, DC, CAC
Have you ever compared taking care of a dog to taking care of a car? Perhaps not, but it is actually an interesting way to look at the needs of our canine friends. After all, the body is like an organic machine and shares many similarities with inorganic machines, such as cars. Both cars and dogs function best and last longer with regular maintenance. A couple of times a year, it is recommended that we take our car to the mechanic for various procedures, such as an oil change, tire rotation and balancing, fluid checks, and replacing any worn-out components, such as spark plugs, timing belt, etc. Doing so can prevent breakdowns, improve performance, and extend the life of your vehicle. In just the same way, regular maintenance of your pet’s spine and joints can prevent injuries, improve performance, and extend the life of your dog. Just as a car with wheels off balance will get worse mileage, wear out the tires, and be more likely to break down, your dog with legs that are off balance will fatigue sooner, wear out its joints, and be more likely to sprain or tear a ligament.
Pets In The City Magazine
So where do you take your dog for a canine tuneup? The doggy mechanic, of course: an animal chiropractor! Animal chiropractors specialize in the biomechanical function of the body and how it influences the health of the patient. In the state of Utah, animal chiropractors are required to be certified and obtain a veterinary referral prior to treating an animal. For your pet’s protection, make sure they are qualified and following the laws for their field.
Part of your car’s tune-up involves making sure that electrical signals are working. It is easy to see a “short” in a wire going to a car light because the light blinks. When a light blinks, the problem is not the light itself; it is due to a block in the power
going to the light. It is the same in a dog’s body, where a misalignment in the spine can put pressure on a nerve and cause problems further down the line. Adjustments can relieve interference on the nerves and allow the body to function more fully. A classic example of this was a Cocker Spaniel that came in with acute onset of hind leg paralysis. I found a significant chiropractic misalignment of the dog’s atlas bone, the top bone of the neck, and adjusted only that segment. The owner reported that the dog slept for the rest of the day and night, and upon waking the next morning, stood up and began walking again! Chiropractic can influence less obvious things as well. One of my regular patients is a Dalmatian with severe allergies. Chiropractic adjustments have reduced her symptoms to where her owner has been able to remove her cone (which prevents her from scratching her face). The dog is also being weaned of prednisone, an anti-inflammatory steroid that she has been on most of her life. Included with this article is a picture of her, stretched out and relaxing after an adjustment—the only time she lays like that! I work with a variety of patients from puppies to geriatric dogs, from preventative to postsurgical, from athlete to couch potato. The next time you are taking your car in for its tune-up, ask yourself…do you care about your dog as much as you do your car? If the answer is yes, then make sure you schedule a tune-up for your furry friend as well. Your dog will thank you! Dr. Alissa Grover is a chiropractic physician certified in animal chiropractic by the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association. She has an animal chiropractic practice at the Animal Care Center in West Bountiful, UT and travels throughout Utah to adjust animals. She can be reached at (801) 294-5960 or dralissa@ utahanimalcare.com.