Ask K9DogMan

Browse K9DogMan’s extensive library of honest, expert, no B.S. advice and answers to the most common queries received from pet owners compiled over a career spanning more than four decades.

"What's going on with my animal?"

“The only reason a pet starts to move in ways that are ‘not normal’ is because it hurts them to move normally. Bit by bit pets will change the way they move to avoid pain and because you see your pets every day it’s hard to notice the little changes happening over time.

Dogs in particular have such a high pain tolerance that they won’t show obvious symptoms until the pain is too much which means they’ve likely had the problem for a good while. They’ll put up with these problems without you being able to notice because they are pack animals and are reluctant to show weakness. So they’ll soldier on symptom-free until something triggers the pain in a big way such as vigorous play or a hard winter and by the time symptoms become obvious they it’s only because changing the way they move isn’t enough to avoid the pain.

It might seem like it just happened suddenly but generally it’s the case that your pet has been out of alignment for quite some time.

Muscle wastage in the limbs is another symptom of not moving/walking properly for a long time. Usually this is because there are pinched nerves in the back preventing an animal from reaching as far forward with their front legs or pushing back with their rear legs as much as they would normally be able to.”

“Animals suffer from pain associated with pinched nerves when they are out of alignment. Particular movements will trigger muscle spasm to protect the nerves which hurts making life very uncomfortable and which explains any yelping or strange movements you may have observed. Your pet will learn new ways to move to avoid this pain.”

“Secondary issues can arise such as cruciate ligament problems, and symptoms will continue to worsen if nothing changes in yours and your pet’s life and it will take longer to fix your pet when it finally receives treatment.”

“Yes. Inflammation from pinched nerves may subside after rest and your pet may become more mobile then if they exercise without the nerves being released by an animal chiropractor the symptoms will reoccur.”

“You’re not going to be able to easily identify exactly where it hurts or pinpoint the source of your pet’s pain poking them and moving them around. I don’t recommend even trying or it’s likely you can be bitten or cause more problems and discomfort for your pet.”

“Once upon a time these problems were never heard of. This was back when our pets were out in the backyard all the time. Since then our pets have evolved to become more a part of our family and now live inside our homes. But our homes are built for people with 2 legs and are not very good for our 4 legged friends.

Slippery floors, stairs, as well other changes in pet world are to blame such as off leash dog parks, modern collars/harnesses/halty contraptions, and doggy doors.

Some dogs are out of alignment since birth from their mum stepping on them in the litter and issues with movement and composition are often overlooked by professionals. Other events could be the reason for a sudden decline in your pets health like rough play or another pet jumping on them, falling off something or jumping and landing badly, slipping over etc. None of these things cause problems for animals that have been in alignment their whole life because they have muscles that are built up properly to hold their own bones in place which will be the case for your pet once they have been in alignment for a period of time.”

“With an animal that is out of alignment a good animal chiropractor can gently manipulate them to release pinched nerves at which time their muscle spasm and any rigidness in their body will disappear, their pain will cease and their normal movement and temperament will return. Without the nerves being released this cannot happen and nothing else will work.”

“Regardless of other issues it’s a good idea to have your pet adjusted to ensure that being out of alignment and having pinched nerves is not contributing to other identified issues. It’s also good to remember that your pet needs to be in alignment for their immune system to function optimally for better overall health.

The results I achieve will benefit your pet regardless of other issues which are usually already identified such as joint problems, arthritis, displaysia, and other x-ray determinations. In particular a lot of dogs I’ve seen have arthritis or hip and elbow displaysia but it wasn’t these things causing lameness, it was being out of alignment that contributed to most of their symptoms.

I’ve treated a range of ailments such as dogs that have severe displaysia, arthritis, other bone and joint issues, cruciate ligament problems, undiagnosed problems said to require MRI scans etc, and all have fully recovered and gone on to live full happy healthy lives without needing what was recommended in the first place, but every situation is different.”

“I never sell or administer drugs or other pharmaceutical products. If you need medication please see your vet. Pain killers and anti-inflamatories only mask the problem and do not address the cause which ultimately will not go away on its own or by just giving drugs to your pet. Drugs will never completely fix any problem. Anti-inflammatories and pain killers are not the complete solution or the best way to help your pet but they may help alleviate pain for them while you’re waiting for me to get to you.”

“By itself rest does not address the cause of these types of problems or their associated symptoms. I’ve often seen pets that have been rested to fix issues coming out of that resting period worse off! Symptoms may get slightly better for a little while due to a reduction in inflammation but they’ll quickly return because the cause of the problems cannot be eliminated by rest alone. I don’t advise to just crate rest your pet like others do because it won’t help them rehabilitate if they want to move around naturally.”

“It is important to let your animal rest until I can get to them. Dogs in particular are their own worst enemy and just want to go go go regardless of their problems.

For example, let’s say your dog has pinched nerves and you mention going for a ‘w-a-l-k’ or throwing around the ‘b-a-l-l’. Your dog becomes instantly excited and flooded with with adrenalin and instead of restricting movement your dog can now push through the pain barrier of muscle spasm to run full stretch. Muscles will still spasm because of pinched nerves but eventually something has to give and usually it’s a tearing of the cruciate ligament which I see most commonly.

This can all be avoided if your dog is put into alignment and stays that way.”

“My treatments work well in conjunction with vet advice which you should always follow. Many vets and vet specialists have been referring their clients to me for years. I’m not a vetinarian and I can’t give you advice that isn’t related to the work which I solely perform. If I attend your animal and I believe your pet has a problem that is not in my line of expertise I’ll be recommending you to take your animal to a vet ASAP.”

“Swimming, massage, physio and other practices/treatments simply will not work unless your pet is in complete alignment. Think about it. If for example your dog’s movement is restricted by pain caused by pinched nerves and you take them to hydro therapy or go swimming then when your dog moves with full range it will cause pain. Then of course muscles will spasm causing a lot of discomfort and symptoms will flare up. Also do not massage your pet or use a heat pack wherever they appear sore until their pinched nerves are released.

Once pinched nerves are released and your dog has gone through the healing process which will vary in duration depending on how bad they are and how long they’ve been living with pinched nerves, they will regain full movement and be able to move, walk, and swim properly. Then they will benefit from other therapies because their muscles are working fully.”

“Before initiating any program of care I will diagnose and determine the full scope of the problems by observing gait, movement, stance, composition, demeanour, as well as any information you provide about your animal and their history.

Treatments will include full body chiropractic adjustments to release pinched nerves (not just one body part like others do – this is important because they are all connected), laser acupuncture, magnetic therapy pulse machines and the application of anti-inflammatory cooling gel (if required) all to help reduce inflammation and increase blood flow. I am also a Reiki Master and spiritual healer with unique psychic and intuitive healing ability. I will do absolutely everything that is required to be done within my skill set to fix your pet in the shortest possible time and to get the best possible results.”

“The amount of care needed varies from animal to animal but basically the longer an animal has had an alignment problem, the older the animal is, and the more unfit and out condition it may be the longer the duration of care that’s required.

With dogs there are 3 layers of nerves. By the time symptoms become obvious the issues needing to be addressed are in the deeper layers and not just on the surface. After one treatment a reduction in symptoms will be obvious however to ensure all problems are fixed and the symptoms don’t quickly return it’s wise to have at least 3 treatments to deal with problems at every layer. Then if there is a problem later in life it will then take less treatments at that time to fix. All animals are different but there has been not one dog, regardless of age or verdicts etc that I haven’t managed to get walking well again. I’ve even treated a 12 year old german shepherd that was half paralysed dragging itself around by it’s front legs and getting worse every day. After one treatment he was up on his back legs again walking around.

I’ll be able to diagnose your dog’s issues and advise you on the recommended number of treatments required at the time of an appointment once I’ve seen your dog in person.”

Dogs

“I’ve treated many dogs with a wide range of symptoms which are most often caused by avoidance of pain caused by muscle spasm from pinched nerves. My chiropractic adjustments work by releasing those pinched nerves and causing pain to cease. I don’t suggest medications or injections like other practitioners do because if a dog is adjusted properly these things are not necessary and you will see results instantly after a treatment. Regardless of breed, size, or age ALL dogs will benefit from my treatments.

Using a holistic approach I’ll inspect your dog and identify any muscle soreness or injury and administer chiropractic adjustments and muscle manipulation techniques according to the individual conditions of your dog. Using gentle handling and stimulation I’ll start from the base of the skull opening up the atlanto-occipital joint and progressing all the way down the spine to the tail bone. Once your dog’s pinched nerves are released movement can return to normal due to pain being reduced/eliminated almost immediately. Moving with full range and free of pain your dog’s muscles will tone up and it’s toned muscle that holds bones in place thus eliminating the problem from reoccurring.

Please, for the saftey of your pet, ensure that any practictioner you wish to consult about your problem can show your proof of their success. A good practioner will be able to point out where your dog’s problems are without you saying a word. They should be able to tell you why and how your dog got the problem and how they can fix it simply by observing your dog walking and moving. I’ve often had to fix dogs who’ve had inexperienced people trying to fix them only to cause more damage and make things worse, so please be careful.”

“No. I will assess your dog by observing it’s movement and symptoms. Often pet owner’s who’ve had X-rays for their dogs have been told that the results are inconclusive or that they do not show any problems but X-rays don’t show nerve structure and will not be able to identify pinched nerves from misalignment when thats all the problem might be. If there happens to be any concerns beyond the scope of my expertise I will instruct you to visit your vet.”

“The speed at which your dog returns to full normal movement depends on their age and other issues but more importantly how much you address and change what has caused your dogs problems in the first place.”

For more information on how to optimize healing time for your dog go to the final question at the bottom of this FAQ page: “What can I do to help my dog NOW?”

“I have many years of experience manipulating security dogs, police dogs, trained attack dogs, and large dominant pets who are in extreme pain. Animals relax and respond well to me as I have a bond with animals that will be evident during treatment. Most dog owners are shocked at how their dogs who would normally bark and growl at men or strangers melt in my hands.

I may muzzle your dog but not all dogs require this. When handling and manipulating an animal in extreme pain I’ll use a muzzle purely to remove the defence mechanism from the dog so they relax and benefit from the treatment more than trying to instinctively bite out of fear.”

“I routinely work on puppies from 8 weeks to 3 months of age. I once treated a puppy that was sitting alone in the corner being unsociable, looking depressed, and that would squeal when picked up. After being adjusted he bounded over to his litter mates, little tail wagging, had a big drink and proceeded to crash tackle his brothers and sisters – a very different little dog. It’s highly likely your dog back at that age may have been that little one sitting alone needing help. A lot of dogs I’ve treated had been like that little pup their entire lives!”

“Every animal is different so I work with each individual animal gently and carefully at their pace. I don’t use tools to adjust animals, just my bare hands to gently manipulate them. I may muzzle your dog but not all dogs require this. When handling and manipulating an animal in extreme pain I’ll use a muzzle purely to remove the defence mechanism from the dog so they relax and benefit from the treatment more than trying to instinctively bite out of fear.”

“In some cases there may be a short sharp and very small amount of discomfort when nerves are being released. This is not usually evident though as most dogs turn around to give me a big kiss as soon as I’ve finished working on them. :)”

Appoinments

“Use the contact form on this website or email me at hello@k9dogman.com with the details of your pet. I’ll get back to you usually within 6 hours with all of the details relevant to your specific needs.”

“Yes! Additional pets can be treated in the same appointment for an additional discounted fee.”

“I do callouts in and around South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales (see the home page for my full service area). If you live outside of this area please don’t hesitate to email me an enquiry anyway because I could be travelling to your location in the near future.”

“Nope! Fees are the same regardless of whether your appointment is afterhours, on a weekend or public holiday, and there are never any extra fees or charges over the price quoted.”

“As I don’t have an EFTPOS facility right now I can only accept cash payments. My animal clinic is still under construction which I aim to be opening in 2022 at which time I will have EFTPOS available.”

“Yes, but this is completely dependent on your insurance fund and the level of cover they provide. I can assist you with completing any necessary forms for making a claim but you should check with your insurance fund to confirm if they will cover for animal chiropractic holistic treatment.”

"How can I help my pet?"

“Many pet owners want to leave the room saying ‘I cant watch’. It’s best that you do watch so you can learn because I’ll show you things you’ve never noticed about your pet and teach you about things to look out for in the future.

It’s also important throughout the treatment not to talk to your pet. Repeatedly saying things like ‘good boy/good girl’ can give your pet reason to fear what is about to happen – this is what most pet owners do when they take their dog for their annual injections and other vet visits. The idea is to have your animal as relaxed as possible. If you just talk to me and I just talk to you your animal will relax.”

“After the first treatment you’ll see instant improvement. Dogs will have a big shake just like after a bath and will walk with much more free movement and better composition.

After the first treatment however I’ll only have released the top surface layer of nerves which will only be from more recent problems. Remember that by the time symptoms become obvious the issues are deep down and most likely your pet has hidden symptoms by progressively making tiny changes to their movement for quite some time – muscle wastage from not walking properly for a lengthy period of time is a sign of this. Clients who are so impressed with the changes their pet already has after one treatment and who don’t make a timely return for another treatment usually come back later needing that same first level work repeated because symptoms have returned. It is best to have all 3 layers of nerves released (3 initial treatments) and then later if your pet hurts itself you can come back for one treatment to fix all because all of the long standing issues will have already been fixed in the first place.

Limit your pet’s use of stairs, keep your pet off slippery floors, no rough play with toys or other dogs and gentle lead walking rather than allowing your dog off lead to jump down those last few steps or go galloping around potentially going out of alignment again. Every step on a lead is usually better than off lead because you’ll be toning muscle to hold your dog in alignment instead of toning muscle to hold them out of alignment.

I recommend treatments close together because most people don’t have a perfect environment for their pets to live in such as no stairs, no slippery floors, no other dogs to get the injured one into mischief, and a nice flat grass area to walk on. By having the treatments close together there is less chance that they have already gone out of alignment.

Do your best to give your animal the perfect environment in between treatments so nothing flares up because I’ll need to be able to get into the deeper layers of the issues at the next appointment.”

“It is best to have your pet treated at least once a year, either before winter or prior to kennelling. It is an easy thing to remember your dog’s annual vaccinations so why not get an annual adjustment done at the same time too?”

“If you have already taken steps to fix your dogs problems you should immediately assess what is and isn’t working. Results should be fairly evident immediately if you are on the right path with whatever treatments you’re trying.

It is also important to figure out what might have caused your dogs problem in the first place. These are the things you’ll need to change so that the problem does not continually reoccur which will minimize the time needed for the healing process to finish. I may point out things in your home environment that could have contributed to your pet’s problems and provide you with advice on what you can change to help ensure they don’t go out of alignment as easily again.

For dogs some of the things you can do right now are:

  • Avoid stair use. Put a baby gate at the top and bottom of the stairs and limit the number of times your dog goes up and down in a day. Walk them up and down on a lead in a slow controlled manner if you can’t carry them. Don’t let them jump down from the last few stairs!
  • Have your dog sleep on a bed flat on the floor – those hessian metal framed hammock beds are no good
  • Don’t use heat packs
  • Don’t massage your dog (and other pets) or pull their limbs around to try to find the problem – you have identified that your dog is doing something that’s not normal and this is enough
  • Keep your dog quiet but not confined
  • Keep your dog on a non-slip floor surface away from tiles and wooden floors so that when they move they don’t have any stacks or slips – non-slip surfaces will help them to not deteriorate further and will also help them to heal faster
  • Put food and water bowls at head height
  • If they simply must get up onto something lift your dog (and other pets) up and down onto things rather than let them jump
  • No doggy doors
  • Leave dog collars off unless you have containment issues and they need to have their identification on
  • Don’t use head halters or harnesses of any kind”

Get in touch

If your animal is showing signs of restricted movement, lameness, or any change in behaviour that has you concerned get in touch with K9DogMan today.