Pets can be your best friends, whether you’re keeping indoor ones like cats and dogs or outdoor ones like horses. But like humans, they also suffer from infections, inflammation, scrapes, sprains, burns, and skin conditions attributed to their energetic nature and environmental or genetic factors. Going to the vet regularly for treatment and surgery can be very costly. However, you can help mitigate such problems with holistic care methods known to be non-invasive, such as light therapy. It uses red, green, and blue lights directly on the pet’s body to give the desired effects. It’s beneficial because it stimulates the body’s natural healing.
Light therapy for cats, dogs and horses is a modern, affordable, and safe method that you can use for most of your pet’s ailments. It began as a method commonly used to help keep humans healthy, but over time, veterinarians carried out research that proved you can use it for your pets. Most of the research carried out showed promising results, and light therapy has been in use ever since.
How It Works
Light enters your pet’s skin, blood, muscles, and bones using particular wavelengths of photons. Different wavelengths reach various layers of tissues. A combination of red and near-infrared lights is used in light therapy sessions. Red light is effectively absorbed by the tissues rich in haemoglobin, which helps cure surface wounds and stimulate acupuncture points.
On the other hand, near-infrared light can pass through deeper tissues such as ligaments, bones, joints, muscles, and tendons. You can use a device that can be distantly directed at your pet’s skin or pads that can be strapped or placed on your animal. They improve comfort and give off a trim level of soothing heat.
Light therapy can assist with different minor conditions like cuts or scrapes. However, it can supplement the comprehensive treatment program if your beloved pet is undergoing a more severe illness. When using it, only apply a little exposure to smaller animals. But for bigger animals, you can give them a more prolonged light exposure since it can benefit their bodies more. Before using it on your pet, speak to your veterinarian first to know if it’s right for your pet’s current condition.
With that in mind, below are nine ways your pets can benefit from light therapy:
- It Can Promote Wound Healing
Light therapy can help heal your pet’s wounds faster by supplying cells that accelerate the healing process. When the cells are destroyed, they must create the energy required to repair themselves. However, they may be unable to do so quickly because of the damage already done to the cells. To address this, that’s where light therapy comes in. For instance, red light is effectively absorbed by tissue-abundant haemoglobin, which is helpful in healing surface wounds. The rays penetrate the pet’s tissues, muscles, and tendons to boost blood circulation, thereby promoting wound healing.
The light also encourages collagen production, a vital protein utilized in repairing damaged tissue, which is crucial during recovery and helps improve your beloved pet’s overall health. It interacts with the cells to stimulate oxidative metabolism, which converts oxygen and carbohydrates to energy. The light gives the body’s cells energy. In this sense, the cells can quickly resume their normal functions. It can also help with decreasing the formation of scar tissue.
- It May Help Treat Arthritis
Arthritis is one of the most common problems in pets as they age and majorly affects the weight-bearing joints such as wrists, hips, knees, elbows, or shoulders. Some signs of your dog suffering from arthritis are decreased activity, lameness, difficulty getting up, and reluctance to jump into the car or bed. It’s mainly treated using a prescription diet or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
But with the help of other therapies such as light therapy, you can help decrease inflammation. It can significantly help in regressing your dog’s pain. It also promotes inflammatory response and helps improve joint health.
- It Helps In Relieving Pain
It’s not uncommon for pets to experience joint pain from time to time. It’s due to their daily jumpy nature. For instance, if your horse gets an injury, it may not be able to perform for a long time. Most often, they experience back pain, which can be very chronic. A study was conducted to see if light therapy could help relieve back pain. After a test was conducted on a few horses, almost all of them in the test showed improvements in their back pain. The horses were also able to return to practising and competing.
Even after several follow-ups, they were still able to perform well. For soft tissue injuries, red light therapy also helps improve tissue regeneration and decrease inflammation pain in the equines. Also, dogs are known to suffer mostly from herniated or ruptured discs, which leads to limping, neck or back pain, or weakness. It may also cause chronic pain, making your furry friend look gloomy all the time.
Since it’s not a condition that can be easily seen through an x-ray, the vet must conduct invasive surgery to locate the problem and fix it. You could consider trying light therapy, which is gentler and can also improve the healing process.
Or you could sometimes see visible growths on your pet’s toes, which is caused by a condition known as osteoarthritis. It’s usually visible on the front toes, and the pain presents itself after physical activity. Light therapy can help reduce pain.
- It Supports Muscle Regeneration
When your pets move and play excessively, they may start experiencing muscle pain and stiffness. They may begin to limp and become very reluctant to get up and engage in physical activities. However, you could use red light therapy on them, which has exhibited probable advantages for muscle generation. Studies have shown that muscles can recover quickly when exposed to low-level light treatment.
- It Assists In Curing Skin Issues
Your beloved pets are also prone to experiencing other conditions, such as hair loss, dry skin, lumps, sores, eczema, and ringworms, which could be due to bacterial or fungal infections or parasite allergies. Thus, you could try light therapy to help in such instances, which has been proven to work through studies. Light therapy can help your horse significantly because their skin wound problems are slow to heal.
Felines are also prone to being allergic, and you’ll notice they itch themselves and scratch their fur to alleviate the infection. You may later see red patches, hair loss, itching, or skin colour changes. Red light therapy, in this case, can help cure inflammation arising from such skin conditions. Visible red light can be absorbed by the molecules of the hair follicle and can stimulate the growth or re-growth of the hair following a natural biological reaction.
- It Can Improve the Range Of Motion
If your pets aren’t as active as they used to be, you could try using light therapy to boost their performance. If they participate in competitions, you can use the pad and place them on the shoulders. Even after a match, you can use it to enable them to recover after such a strenuous exercise.
Light therapy can help improve blood circulation, boost natural cellular regeneration, and decrease inflammation, which can help your pets sustain a painless life from regular aches. It will enable them to maintain their top performance even when on holiday with them.
- It Aids In Relieving Post-Surgery Pain
It’s normal for your beloved pet to experience pain around the surgical area after surgery. Thus, it’s believed that light therapy can help your beloved pet feel a little better when applied around the area. Using the pad at least 24 hours after the surgery is advisable. Light therapy can help quicken the healing process, enabling them to walk faster, unlike if it’s through waiting for a natural remedy, which is often slow. It also improves blood circulation and normalizes and heals injured cells by helping to generate an increase in blood flow to the treatment areas.
- It Can Assist In Preventing Anxiety
Anxiety is a common problem, even with dogs. Sometimes it’s due to being in a new environment or because they’re experiencing some pain from underlying issues. In this regard, light therapy can help reduce fears and anxiety, so they can stay calm when handling most of their other underlying problems. Also, cats are more likely to feel relaxed from light therapy because it’s calming and relaxing.
- It helps With Reducing Oedema
Oedema, spelled Edema in other countries, is the abnormal accumulation of fluids in tissues. When inflammatory components enter an area with infection, blood flow to the area increases, leading to oedema. Oedema could also result from trauma. It has two elements, which are liquid and protein. Some research has shown that light therapy can nearly double the lymph diameter and boost fluid flow.
Although light therapy for pets is still new, it has proven effective when used. Thus, you could try such measures. It’s non-invasive and saves you from making regular trips to the vet’s office. It’s also more affordable than constantly purchasing over-the-counter medicine or going for surgery. Remember, light therapy can help with numerous conditions, so you could consider looking into them to see which ones your pets suffer from. Make a point of speaking to your vet before you can start using any light therapy on your pet since they’ll tell you if the condition is suitable for such treatment.