How Laser Therapy Can Help Your Dog: Facts & FAQs

Four minutes
Apr 06, 2023

If you watch sci-fi shows, you may see a futuristic doctor shine a light on an injury and heal it in a few seconds. While medical technology isn’t there yet, therapeutic laser technology does exist, and it’s becoming an exciting new way to help people and dogs heal.

To help you decide if laser therapy may be right for your dog, here’s how laser therapy works, when it’s recommended, and a quick breakdown of the potential costs.

What Is Cold Laser Therapy for Dogs?

You may remember from science class that laser is an acronym for "light amplification of stimulated emission of radiation." As the American Animal Hospital Association explains, therapeutic lasers are usually Class 3 or Class 4 lasers, typically referred to as “cold” lasers.1

Why are they “cold”? Unlike sunlight, which has a wavelength of around 450 – 700 nanometers (nm), they have a higher wavelength of 600 - 1,070 nm.1,2 These wavelengths allow the energy from these lasers to avoid being absorbed by your dog’s skin, so they don’t cause the skin to heat up or give them a sunburn. Instead, they can pass through to reach the tissues underneath.

Once the light energy passes through the skin, it could provide a healing effect for your dog.

How Does Laser Therapy Work for Dogs?

Veterinarians explain that the energy from the laser stimulates the cell’s mitochondria to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a key energy source for the cells.3

Releasing the ATP increases enzyme production in the cell which helps the body repair damaged tissue more quickly. Faster healing could help your dog recover from injuries and infections in less time. In addition, laser therapy has also been shown to:3

  • Increase blood circulation to damaged tissues
  • Improve drainage of the lymphatic system
  • Reduce the build up of scar tissue
  • Stimulate the body’s release of endorphins and other chemicals that help relieve pain and reduce inflammation

What Conditions Can Laser Therapy Treat?

Laser therapy may be able to help your dog recover from a wide range of injuries and illnesses. While you and your vet will need to decide if laser therapy is right for your dog, it has been used for treatment to help pets recover from:4

What Happens During a Laser Therapy Session?

Before performing laser therapy, your vet may need to take X-rays of the treatment area.5 During a treatment session, the vet will slowly move the therapeutic laser back and forth over the treatment area. Your dog won’t feel anything except a warm, relaxing sensation that the majority of pets seem to enjoy. There’s no anesthetic required and as an added bonus, laser therapy doesn’t require your vet to shave the fur over the treatment area.5

When Isn’t Laser Therapy Recommended?

While laser therapy is relatively safe and is used to help heal many injuries and conditions, it doesn’t work for everything. For example, if your dog has a tumor or a type of cancer that’s spread throughout the body, laser therapy could potentially speed up the cancer’s growth. It should also be avoided near the eyes, near your dog’s uterus if she’s pregnant, or on the growth plates of your dog’s bones.3

How Much Is Laser Therapy For Dogs?

The length and number of sessions of laser therapy will depend on the size of your dog, their illness or injuries, and the type of laser being used. On average, a session usually lasts up to 20 – 30 minutes and your vet may recommend 2 – 5 sessions a week for several weeks. Sessions tend to cost between $25 – $50 each. At that rate, you could be paying as much as $250 a week or more, or up to $1,000 per month.6

Also, laser therapy usually isn’t a complete solution. It tends to be suggested in addition to other traditional therapies like pain medication, wound care, and surgery.

Pet Insurance Could Help Keep Laser Focus on Your Dog’s Health

One way to save money on expenses like laser therapy for your dog is with a dog insurance policy. Fortunately, MetLife Pet Insurance may provide reimbursement for holistic or alternative therapies such as laser therapy as long as it is performed by a licensed veterinarian and is approved and covered by the policy.7 Want to find out what other treatments are covered? Get a quote on a pet policy.

Protect your Dog

Coverage in 3 Easy Steps

1 “What is veterinary laser therapy?,” American Animal Hospital Association

2 “In what part of the electromagnetic spectrum does the Sun emit energy?,”

3 “Laser Therapy for Dogs,” PetMD

4 “Laser Therapy For Dogs - What You Need To Know,” The Drake Center for Veterinary Care

5 “Laser Therapy for Dogs,” American Kennel Clue Canine Health Foundation

6 “Therapeutic Laser,” VCA Animal Hospitals

7 Provided all terms of the policy are met. Application is subject to underwriting review and approval. Like most insurance policies, insurance policies issued by IAIC and MetGen contain certain deductibles, co-insurance, exclusions, exceptions, reductions, limitations, and terms for keeping them in force. For costs, complete details of coverage and exclusions, and a listing of approved states, please contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC.

Coverage underwritten and issued by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 11333 N Scottsdale Rd, Ste 160, Scottsdale, AZ 85254 or Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886. Coverage subject to restrictions, exclusions and limitations. Application is subject to underwriting review. See policy or contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC for details. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator for this coverage. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois).

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