Near Infrared Light Therapy for Dogs
If you’ve experienced the power of near infrared heat and light therapy yourself, you might be wondering if it could work for your dog’s pain and healing issues. The answer is YES! Here I am going to talk about near infrared bulbs for dogs.
How Infrared Light Therapy Healed Bailey’s Back Pain
My first experience with near infrared lamp therapy for dogs was with my own beloved pooch, Bailey. At the same time that I was discovering near infrared therapy for my Lyme disease, Bailey was suffering from Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD), an extremely painful condition where the discs in his spine herniated. As a beagle/dachshund mix, I knew he was at a higher risk. Still, it was heartbreaking to see him in so much pain.
Although Bailey had two back surgeries, he still had stiffness and pain. That is, until I found out that near infrared heat and light helped relieve it. After reading a lot about it, I decided to let Bailey try it out.
I set up a lamp securely fixed to a heavy chair and gently placed him under it while I sat next to him, petting him. He quickly settled in and after the session, he walked away visibly less stiff and painful. I left the lamp up and once or twice a day, and Bailey would stand or sit under it, wanting me to turn it on. So I did, and I always let him leave whenever he wanted.
That last part is important. Never force your dog into doing infrared light therapy. Dogs know their bodies and if the therapy is right for your dog, she will enjoy it. If she wants to get away from it, you should allow her to. In rare cases, a dog will reject it entirely. If that happens and you bought your products from RubyLux, you can return them for a full refund.
While Bailey’s IVDD started when he was about seven, he lived seven more happy and healthy years. That wouldn’t have been possible if his IVDD problems had gotten worse.
Is Near Infrared Light Therapy Right for My Dog?
Dogs, like humans, can use near infrared for hundreds of conditions. Here’s a list of common uses for dogs.
- Joint pain and stiffness
- Back pain
- Minor injury healing
- Surgery site healing (after the initial inflammation has gone down)
- Hot spot relief
- Hip or elbow dysplasia
- Pain from patella luxation
Keep in mind that near infrared light therapy is not a replacement for veterinary care. It should be used as a complementary therapy, especially for healing and pain relief. Ask your veterinarian if near infrared light therapy is right for your dog.
How to Do Near Infrared Light Therapy Treatments for Your Dog
First, select the right size near infrared bulb for your dog. For most dogs, a smaller near infrared bulb is perfect. If your dog is a giant breed, like a Great Dane or Mastiff, you may need to consider a larger bulb like those humans use.
Now, set up your lamp. Clamp it to a very stable object, high enough that if your dog suddenly stood up, the hot near infrared bulb could not burn her. This means the treatment distance for a dog has to be further away than for a human for safety reasons.
If your dog’s eyes will be exposed to the light, put light therapy dog goggles on her.
Sit down with your dog so you are there for the entire treatment.
Direct the lamp towards the treatment area before turning it on. Then turn it on and throughout the session, run your hand over the treatment area to make sure it isn’t getting too warm. Usually dogs will adjust their position on their own but if you believe the area is getting too warm, go ahead and adjust the lamp or your dog.
So how long should your treatment be? Well, you have to let your dog decide. Your dog will get up and leave when she’s had enough. That might not be very long, but that is okay. Do not try to force your dog to stay. If you feel she didn’t stay long enough (because you don’t see any improvement in the condition), try again later. Bribe with dry treats and pets if necessary.
I would recommend leaving the lamp up so your dog has a way to “ask” for the light when he wants it.
Repeat every 1-2 days or as often as your dog seems to want it.
Special Precautions to Take for Dogs Using Near Infrared Light Therapy
Since dogs are different from humans, your dog will need you to take special precautions to use near infrared light therapy safely.
- No drooling or liquids of any sort should be around your near infrared bulb during use. The glass gets hot and any liquid (like a dog shaking his head and sending drool flying into the bulb) will shatter the glass. Keep a towel on hand to control drooling when your dog is using the bulb.
- Choose the right size bulb. Most dogs will need to use a small bulb designed for pets. You should only use the larger human bulb if you have a very large dog, such as a Great Dane or Mastiff.
- Use dog goggles if the light will be in your dogs’ eyes.
- If your dog has very thick fur or long hair on the area you need to treat, you may need to clip it so the light can effectively reach the area. Before cutting, you can try a treatment without cutting their hair/fur first to see if it works. Usually clipping is only necessary in areas with extremely thick hair and undercoat growth.
- Since dogs can suddenly move, you should always sit with them during their therapy sessions. Pet your dog to reassure her and run your hand near the treatment area to confirm the temperature is not getting too hot.
What to Expect from Near Infrared Light Therapy for Dogs
You should see an improvement in your dog’s condition within two weeks. Remember that near infrared light therapy is not a substitute for veterinary care. It is just an additional therapy to help your dog heal. For issues like arthritis or joint pain, you should see your dog become less stiff and more mobile within two weeks. For minor wounds, you should see visible healing. For hot spots, there should be healing and less licking/scratching. For thicker tissues, like the back or hip, it will likely take longer to see results.
What You Should Do Next
Since it is a relatively low cost, effective, painless, and widely accessible treatment for your dog, most dogs would benefit from using near infrared light therapy. Particularly, the 150W RubyLux Near Infrared Bulb for Pets would be the best way to try light therapy out. It has the proper amount of light and heat for almost all dogs. I would highly recommend heading to our shop and purchasing one for your dog.
Don’t forget- we love to hear from you! If your dog tries out near infrared light therapy, let us know how it goes!