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News and Information about Dogs, Cats, and Pet Products

Many people think that animal chiropractic is best suited for older dogs. While senior dogs can receive great benefits, in areas such as increasing their mobility and decreasing pain, the very best time to start care is in the developmental stages…puppyhood!

Animal chiropractic can help give puppies the best start towards great health. Think about it. If you’ve had a puppy, they are energetic, clumsy, zooming around, play rowdy, have inevitable slips and falls, are developing coordination and learning body awareness. This is also when they are quickly growing.

Animal chiropractic during this stage in their lives can be beneficial to achieve proper bone and joint development and movement, as well as reaching optimal health early on in life, which can help set the stage for the health they experience throughout their lifetime.

For example, it can lessen the likelihood that a puppy slip or fall will lead to flexibility or mobility issues later in life. In addition, anecdotal evidence has found that puppies who receive chiropractic care are less likely to be diagnosed with dysplasia when compared to litter mates who received no adjustments.

Animal chiropractic for puppies is very gentle and effective to be sure that all of their joints are achieving proper motion as well as position. Most puppies quickly figure out that their animal chiropractic visit is something positive. It makes their body feel good!

A little care goes a long way. Most healthy, normal puppies can achieve great benefit from only 2-3 adjustments before they mature. It is then a good idea to continue chiropractic check-ups every few months to help maintain wellness. Extra active dogs, giant sized breeds, dogs in activities that place extra stress on their joints may need a little more care. If any problems or symptoms arise, frequency of care can be modified accordingly.

When it comes to health, it is best to start making good choices to support the body early. It is also much easier to be proactive in health to prevent problems from happening in the first place.

So, the next time you think, “my dog is young,” and “they don’t have any problems yet,” just remember that all dogs, regardless of their age, can benefit from periodic animal chiropractic check-ups. This is especially true of breeds that are known for certain health issues of the spine and other joints such as dachshunds, shih tzus, Labrador retrievers, and German shepherds, as well as fast growing breeds such as Great Danes and Saint Bernards.

Consider animal chiropractic as a complement to your puppy’s regular veterinary care to achieve a higher level of health.

Dr. Erin O’Connor is an AVCA Animal Chiropractor and ACAN Naturopathic Carnivore Nutrition Consultant. She sees patients out of her clinic, Vitality Chiropractic Center in Aurora, as well as Autumn Green Animal Hospital in Geneva. For further information, visit or email Dr. O’Connor at


Make no bones about it, chiropractic care is not just for people. Our canine, feline and equine family members appreciate feeling well adjusted and functioning at optimal health. Just because they walk on four paws (or hooves) doesn’t mean they don’t suffer from the same aches and pains as we humans experience. The spine, muscles and nervous system in all species are very similar and therefore those same aches and pains can be treated similarly.

Animal chiropractic is a gentle, holistic branch of medicine that allows the body to heal and function properly with a little help from a highly trained friend. A certified veterinary spinal manipulative therapist (cVSMT) is a licensed chiropractic physician or a veterinarian who has undergone specialized training in chiropractic medicine specifically for animals.

So how do our non-linguistic family members let us know they are feeling out of sorts? Some furry friend tell-“tail” signs may include: less playfulness, sore spots when being cuddled, changes in the way they walk, sit or play, and multiple other maladies. Our competitive sporty companions may not be performing at their peak as well.

Take a moment or two to decide if you think it may be time to “Take Paws for a Chiropractic Adjustment” with a friendly neighborhood doc who loves animals and knows how to keep your four-legged family members in healthy alignment from wet nose to happily wagging tail. Dr. Sarah is a board certified and licensed chiropractic physician with certification from The Healing Oasis and The Collage of Animal Chiropractic.

You can contact Dr. Sarah at (630) 470-5737 or with any questions you may have or to schedule an appointment today. Be sure to tune in again for another segment of “Take Paws for a Chiropractic Adjustment” with Dr. Sarah Russ.



Dr.ErinGuestBlogIf your dog is currently experiencing or recovering from an injury, rest can be invaluable to their recovery. While it can be difficult with high energy breeds or young dogs, restricting intense activities can help.

Allowing your dog to continue doing intense activities like fetch and frisbee can dramatically slow down their healing time.  When a dog is highly driven by these two things, they will do all that they can to get the ball or frisbee. This means contorting their body out of natural postures, face planting, stumbling, and sliding.  They have one goal and that is to get the ball or frisbee in their mouths as quick as they can.6-21705-top-10-family-friendly-dogs6c-1350065750

Another activity to avoid while your dog is recovering from an injury is tugging. This is especially important for neck injuries. When your dog tugs, they are pulling and jerking with their neck.  If you or another dog pulls against that, it can setup the stage for re-injury or make current symptoms worse.

Other activities you may need to restrict, especially if you have a small dog, is jumping on and off of furniture and stairs. Jumping up is more problematic for a rear limb or back injury, as your dog will be pushing off from the rear.  Jumping down is more worrisome for a neck or front limb injury, as they will be landing on their front legs and the force from their landing will travel up the legs and into the upper back and neck.

If your dog participates in sports like agility, flyball, dock diving, etc. it is wise to also take time off from these activities while your dog heals.

More than likely, your dog will be able to get back to their usual activities, however, restricting these activities while your dog is healing is important.


Once your dog looks back to their normal self, wait a little bit longer; simply to ensure that everything has healed and stabilized. Many times when dogs start to feel better, they want to do all of their favorite activities again when they are not fully ready.

When they are fully healed, ease back into their normal activities. Whether it’s been a couple weeks or a couple months, going back to a 3 mile walk, their usual jump height in agility, or playing for hours at the park, for example, will cause problems.  Start small and if they do OK, you can gradually increase the intensity or length of the activity.  Many dog owners get really excited once their dog is feeling better, but for your dog’s benefit, you want to take it slow getting them back to their usual activities.

It may take some effort on your part, but it is worth it that your dog rest and then eases back into their activities so that they can fully recover.

If you’re not sure where to start prior to that in the beginning to help heal an injury, I may be able to help with the animal chiropractic.  It’s a great treatment method to restore musculoskeletal and nervous system health.

If you have any questions about Animal Chiropractic, you can contact Dr. Erin O’Connor at or visit



One of the most common questions I get asked as an animal chiropractor is “what are the causes of problems in my dog’s spine?”

To answer the questions, we can look at the 3 T’s as causes to problems in a dog’s spine…thoughts, trauma, and/or toxins.  These are the 3 types of stressors that make it difficult for your pet’s body to adapt properly to maintain good health.


This is from the negative emotions of your pet.  It can be from circumstances that are scary to them or that cause anxiety, such as boarding, thunderstorms, fireworks, etc. This can also be from not getting enough mental stimulation or affection.  On the severe end of the spectrum, it can be the emotional aspect from abuse.


dog-playing-tugThis can be a major injury such as falling down stairs, being hit by a car, or coming from an abusive past.  It can also be from small, “micro-traumas” such as tugging on a leash attached to a collar around the neck, not landing quite right after jumping off the couch, catching themselves off balance in the car as you stop or go, and playing an intense game of tug. These can be little things that you may not have considered as a trauma before, but they can add up over time causing a larger problem. Extra weight also causes additional stress on the spine.  One last area of trauma I see in my clinic are performance dogs as they have higher physical demands on their bodies, similar to a human athlete.


This is anything that goes in your dog’s mouth, such as an unhealthy diet, medications, things your dog may eat outside, and also environmental toxins such as lawn treatments, harsh cleaning products, yard defogging, lead in toys, and more.

drerinlolo350dpiYour dog’s body is truly amazing and responds to so many things day to day. For example, if it’s hot outside, your dog will pant as a method to cool down properly. If your dog is running or playing, their heart rate increases to provide their muscles with oxygen.  Your pet’s body should be able to adapt to these everyday stressors, and your pet will adapt just fine to most.

However, if the body becomes overloaded with stressors or if there are stressors that are too large to handle, with some of the examples mentioned above, this can cause loss of normal motion and/or position of the spine and disease patterns can follow. Chiropractic restores normal movement and position of affected joints, allowing proper communication within the nervous system so the body can heal, allowing your dog to function at their optimal level.

For further information on animal chiropractic visit and click “animal chiropractic,” or email Dr. Erin O’Connor at


Dr.ErinGuestBlogAnimal chiropractic is a natural and simple way to make a positive difference in your dog’s health and wellness.  It is a gentle, yet highly effective treatment modality that allows the animal to utilize their very own healing capabilities.

An animal chiropractor is a licensed chiropractor or veterinarian who has undergone specialized post-graduate animal chiropractic education and understand the complex biomechanic and neuromusculoskeletal systems animals.  They are certified by either the AVCA (American Veterinary Chiropractic Association) or IVCA (International  Veterinary Chiropractic Association). Animal chiropractors focus on disorders of the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system, and the effects of these disorders on health.

Some common conditions seen by an animal chiropractor are limping or other gait abnormalities, neurological conditions such as seizures or paralysis, signs of pain in the spine or a limb, muscle spasms, chronic ear infections, incontinence, allergies, arthritis, and more.

sheltieshow2The only definitive way to know if your dog needs to be adjusted is to have them examined by a certified chiropractor.  However, there are a few “home checks” you can do to see if they would benefit from chiropractic.

  1. Put your dog in a sit position, hold a treat in front of them.  Now bring the treat to their shoulder.  They should go directly nose to shoulder in a simple, easy motion.  If they scoot back, twist sideways, or do anything besides that simple lateral neck movement, they may have a problem in their neck.
  2. Another way you can check your dog is to feel along their spine.  Feel for heat, cool, swelling, or muscle twitching.  You can gently press along their spine and see if it causes them any discomfort anywhere.  If they jump, turn their head, if you feel muscle tension or twitching, or temperature changes, they may have a problem in that area.  The more you do this, the more sensitive you will become to subtle changes.
  3. You can also observe them…if they have difficulty executing certain movements, such as walking, running, going up or down stairs, jumping into the car or on a couch, getting up from laying down, squatting, or sitting, they may have a chiropractic problem that needs to be addressed.  Abnormal posture when standing or sitting, nail dragging, as well as side sitting can also be indications.

While chiropractic care helps a variety of conditions, prevention is the key.  All chiropractors, whether for people or animals, are proactive in health.  Meaning they want to maintain optimal wellness and prevent disease from happening in the first place.

Your pet should be examined periodically to ensure there are no abnormalities in movement and function, this covers areas such as range of motion, gait, posture, and muscle tone to ensure optimal wellness, help prevent disease, and to keep your dog’s health at their full potential.

parkerbIdeally, chiropractic care for dogs should begin at an early age and continue throughout their lifetime, but it’s never too late to start.  An animal chiropractor can evaluate your pups to ensure they are developing properly as well as help your adult dog stay active and healthy.  It can keep working and sporting dogs in top condition as well as keep senior dogs active and pain free.

Animal chiropractic is a great compliment to your dog’s regular veterinary care.  Plus, it’s not limited to only dogs, any animal with a spine can benefit!  A pet under chiropractic care functions and heals much more efficiently, leading to a whole new level of health!


For further information on animal chiropractic visit and click “animal chiropractic” or email Dr. Erin O’Connor at