Acupressure to soothe digestive upsets

holiday treats for dogs

Like their wolf ancestors, domesticated canines are designed to devour huge quantities at once. The only issue is that roast chickens and cheese balls are very different from a freshly hunted rabbit. Our household canines have the same digestive enzymes as a wolf, and can easily manage raw meat, but cooked and processed foods often present serious difficulties.

When you need a vet

Cooked bones are brittle, and when a dog chomps on them the jagged broken pieces can seriously injure his gastrointestinal tract. Other treats, like chips and cheese, tend to be too rich, while candies and cookies are too sugary, and vegetable platters too high in fiber. And some foods, like chocolate or raisins, are downright toxic to dogs.

Always be alert to what your dog is ingesting. If you suspect he has swallowed something that may obstruct his intestines, such as a small toy, or has consumed a toxic plant or some chocolate, please take him to the nearest emergency veterinary clinic. A veterinarian is the first line of defense in any emergency situation.

Acupressure can soothe minor upsets

With vigilance and care, you most likely won’t be faced with such an emergency. But even a little treat here and there can result in short-term tummy upsets and loose stools. To help your dog recover quickly from an accidental overindulgence, consider acupressure.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, a disruption in the harmonious flow of chi (life-promoting energy) and body fluids (blood and all other fluids in the body) leads to discomfort or illness. When a dog ingests a substance his body has difficulty breaking down into absorbable nutrients, the smooth flow of chi and body fluids is disturbed.

Your intention in offering your dog an acupressure session to restore the natural flow of chi and body fluids is to relieve his stomachache and/or resolve loose stools. Because the canine digestive tract is relatively short and the dog’s stomach makes up 70% of this system, the focus of the session begins with acupressure points, also called acupoints, that are directly related to the stomach.

All the acupoints pictured are found on both sides of your dog (except CV 12). Work with one point at a time. To start, gently place the soft tip of your thumb on one of the acupoints while resting your other hand comfortably on the dog’s body. Count to 30 very slowly. Watch for any reactions your dog may have. If he seems uncomfortable, move on to the next point and hold it for a slow count to 30. Expected good reactions can include stretching, passing air, yawning, licking his lips, and even falling asleep.

When you have completed the procedure described above on one side of your dog, repeat it on the other side. Be sure your dog is comfortable. If he indicates any discomfort, stop and offer this session another time.

If a minor tummy upset does occur, acupressure is right at your fingertips!

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