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FAQs About Red Light Therapy for Pets


Questions about red light therapy treatments for pets? You’re in the right place! 

Keep reading for answers to common questions about red light therapy and animals. You can also check out this page for an overview of what red light therapy is and how it works for pets like cats and dogs.

What is Red Light Therapy?

Red light therapy is the practice of shining therapeutic red and near infrared (NIR) light on animals to improve their health and wellness. It is a quick and simple treatment you can do with your pets at home in just 10-15 minutes. Red light therapy is noninvasive, chemical-free, and safe for pets with very few known risks of side effects. 

Today, red light therapy is one of the fastest growing treatment modalities in veterinary practice. [1] Due to advancements in light emitting diode (LED) technology, there are now affordable red light therapy kennels that pet owners can use at home with their furry friends.

Red Light Therapy 101 Dogs Cats

Can You Use Red Light Therapy with Pets Like Cats and Dogs?

Yes! Red light therapy is a safe, effective, and noninvasive treatment for animals like cats, dogs, horses, and other mammals. Veterinarians widely use red light therapy to treat injuries and chronic conditions like arthritis and spinal degeneration. [2]

How do You Use Red Light Therapy with Your Pet? 

With a Glowbie red light therapy kennel, it is quick and simple to treat your pets in the comfort of your home. Glowbie is designed with veterinary-grade LED panels integrated within the kennel. All you have to do is put your pet inside and turn on the light. Most pets respond very well to the glow of red light, and animals can see major health benefits with just a few 10-15 minute treatments per week.

How Does Red Light Therapy Work for Dogs and Cats?

Red light therapy works systemically by enhancing an animal’s core cellular energy-making processes. Mammals of all sizes need to take in food, water, and oxygen to produce energy and power their bodies. All mammals do this through the cellular respiration process, which produces adenosine triphosphate (ATP) energy in the cells. 

Red and NIR light is absorbed by the mitochondria in an animal’s cells, where it helps to reduce oxidative stress and increase the efficiency of ATP production. [3,4,5] When an animal is able to make more energy, it can experience systemic health benefits like pain relief, healing, reduced inflammation, improved blood flow, and better mobility and longevity.

Learn more about how red light therapy works at the cellular level

What is Red Light Therapy Used For With Pets and Animals?

In the last decade, red light therapy has become a popular treatment among veterinarians, [1] where it is frequently used in animal rehabilitation settings for pain reduction, inflammation reduction, and wound care and healing. [2] Vets  also widely  use this therapy for arthritis treatment, pain relief, and injury and wound healing. [2] Recent studies have shown that red light treatments have positive effects on an animal’s inflammatory and immune response and promote healing for a variety of tissue types. [6]

What are the Health Benefits of Red Light Therapy for Pets?

Red light therapy treatments lead to numerous systemic health benefits for animals. Here is a quick overview of some of the most well-established health benefits:

  • Treating chronic pain: Red light is used as a drug-free pain reliever for animals with chronic pain. In several studies, it has been shown to help decrease an animal’s reliance on prescription drugs. [7] Red light treatments are also used to help animals with arthritis and spinal degeneration improve their mobility and age more gracefully. [2]
  • Recovery and healing: Red light therapy is often used to help animals heal in recovery and rehab settings. [2] Recent studies have shown that red light makes a significant difference for horses recovering from tendon and ligament injuries, helping them overcome lameness with less pain. [8,9]
  • Proactive care for healthier skin, bones, joints, and sleep: More vets and pet owners are using red light proactively to improve an animal’s energy and general wellness. Potential benefits for animals regularly using red light therapy can include healthier bones and joints, better sleep, stronger cognitive health, and improved skin and coat.
    Proven Health Benefits Red Light Therapy Pets

    Do Veterinarians Use Red Light Therapy with Animals?

    Yes, red light therapy is one of the fastest growing treatments among veterinarians in the U.S. [1] It is frequently used in animal rehabilitation settings for pain reduction, inflammation reduction, and wound care and healing. [2] Veterinarians also widely use it for chronic pain and mobility issues associated with arthritis treatment. Red light therapy is also used for animal pain relief and injury and wound healing, especially after surgeries. [2]

    Can You Use Red Light Therapy with Pets at Home?

    Yes! Vets have been using laser-based devices to treat animals for years, but now pet owners can use Glowbie to treat their animals in the comfort of home. Glowbie uses LEDs that deliver safe red and NIR wavelengths of light inside a pet’s crate. This is more affordable than going to the vet regularly, and it is much less stressful for your pets.

    What Types of At-Home Red Light Therapy Devices are Available to Pet Owners?

    Glowbie is the only brand dedicated to making safe, effective, at-home red light therapy treatments for animals. Glowbie’s sleek red light therapy crates also double as an attractive piece of furniture that can be added to just about any room. The days of cumbersome wire crates are over!

    Is Red Light Therapy Safe for Animals?

    Yes, red light therapy is safe for animals, and treatments are well-tolerated by pets like dogs and cats. One of the biggest reasons so many vets use red light therapy is because it is a quick, simple, and safe treatment with few, if any, major side effects. This is backed by peer-reviewed clinical research, too.

    A review of red light therapy use for chronic joint disorders in animals concluded that treatments are “drug-free and relatively side-effect free and seem to work where pharmaceuticals do not.” [10] Another study found that “all dogs enrolled in the study appeared calm and comfortable for light therapy.” [11] Check out a more detailed look at the safety of red light therapy for pets

    Red Light Therapy Safe Pets

    Can Dogs Use Red Light Therapy?

    Yes, red light therapy is widely used by veterinarians to treat dogs. In one recent survey, 43% of American veterinarians reported using red light to treat canine arthritis. [12] Clinical research has shown that red light therapy treatments can improve a dog’s health in numerous ways: 

    • Mobility improvement and pain relief for dogs: A 2012 study analyzed 36 dogs that underwent spinal surgery for intervertebral disk herniation. [13] One group of dogs was treated with red light therapy for five days after surgery while the control group was not treated. Researchers concluded that the dogs treated with red light therapy were able to walk again sooner and with less pain than dogs that received no red light treatments. [13]
    • Treating canine arthritis with red light therapy: A 2018 study examined dogs with elbow arthritis. [7] After six weeks of treatments, the dogs in the red light therapy group showed significant improvements in pain and dependence on drugs. Dogs whose elbow arthritis was treated with red light therapy showed greater mobility and reduced lameness compared to the control group. Dogs whose elbow arthritis was treated with red light therapy also showed reduced pain scores, with 82% able to reduce their doses of painkiller drugs. [7]
    • Dogs heal faster with red light therapy: Veterinary researchers at Mississippi State University performed a study on dachshund dogs to assess if red light therapy helped them heal faster after surgery. [11]  The team demonstrated that the incision scars on dachshunds healed significantly faster after red light treatments. [11]

      Can Cats Use Red Light Therapy?

      Yes, veterinarians use red light therapy to treat cats for various health concerns like injury recovery, pain relief, and mobility issues associated with chronic conditions like arthritis. One peer-reviewed study looked at red light therapy as a pain relief method for cats with tongue and mouth injuries. [14] Researchers found that red and NIR light can have an analgesic effect, reducing the pain experienced by cats with injuries. [14]

      Can Horses Use Red Light Therapy?

      Yes, horse trainers and owners were among the first adopters of red light therapy. In a recent study, horses with tendon injuries that were treated with red light showed significant improvements in pain levels, with far less swelling and lameness. [8] These results led the team to conclude that red light therapy reduces pain and improves healing for horses with acute injuries. [8] A separate 2019 study on horse lameness also found that red light therapy treatments improved ligament conditions and helped injured horses return to sporting activities sooner and with less pain. [9]

      How Expensive is Red Light Therapy for Dogs and Cats?

      Red light therapy has become a much less expensive option for animals and pet owners in recent years thanks to advances in LED technology. Many veterinarians offer light therapy treatments, though the cost of these can add up over time as you typically pay for each visit. Today you also have the option to treat your pet with red light at home in the comfort of their kennel. Glowbie’s red light therapy kennels are more affordable than repeat vet visits because owners pay only a one-time cost for the device.

      Are Pet Red Light Therapy Treatments Supported by Clinical Research?

      Yes, red light therapy has been widely studied and tested in peer-reviewed clinical trials. This is one big reason why so many veterinarians are now using red light therapy in their practice; over numerous studies, animals have shown significant health improvements with minimal risks or side effects. Check out this post to see all the health benefits of red light therapy for pets

      Does Red Light Therapy Help with Animal Skin and Hair Problems?

      Yes! Clinical research has shown that red light treatments can improve skin and hair problems in dogs. In a 2016 study, researchers looked at dogs with pododermatitis issues and assessed whether red light therapy treatments could help heal their lesions. [15] They discovered that the dogs treated with red light showed significantly better healing than non-treated dogs between the 4th and 20th days after a lesion developed. They also found that over 50% of the dogs who received red light therapy for their pododermatitis did not experience any recurrence of lesions. [15]

      Does Red Light Therapy Help Dogs with Arthritis?

      Yes, red light therapy is one of the safest and most effective canine arthritis treatments. A 2020 study analyzed dogs with osteoarthritis and arthritis-related pain and inflammation. [16] The dogs were given red light therapy treatments for six weeks and evaluated for pain and function. A majority of the dogs treated with red light experienced “significantly reduced” pain after just one treatment. The dogs also showed rapid improvements in their mobility after their first red light treatments. [16] Learn more about red light therapy for pets with arthritis and myelopathy here

      Red Light Therapy Chronic Arthritis Pets

      Does Red Light Therapy Help Animals Recover From Surgery?

      Yes, red light therapy is a safe, effective treatment that helps animals recover from surgery with less pain and faster healing. Veterinary researchers performed a study on dogs to assess if red light therapy promoted faster healing after common canine surgeries. They showed that the incision scars on dachshunds healed significantly faster after red light sessions. [11] Check out this post for more on how red light therapy helps animals recover from injuries and wounds

      What are the Side Effects of Red Light Therapy for Animals?

      One of the biggest advantages of red light therapy treatments for animals is the relative lack of major side effects that are associated with other options like surgeries and medications. Numerous studies on red light therapy for dogs have demonstrated that treatments are well-tolerated with few, if any, side effects. [10,15] Check out this article for more on the safety of red light therapy for pets.

      Is Red Light Therapy Noninvasive?

      Yes, red light therapy is a quick, simple, and totally noninvasive treatment option for pets and animals. With a Glowbie, your pet just needs to be in the kennel while the light is shining. Their cells will do the rest!

      Where Did Red Light Therapy Originate?

      Red light therapy was first discovered and used with animals in the 1960s. Among animal owners, horse trainers were early adopters of red light therapy techniques, using red and NIR light to help horses recover from tendon and ligament injuries. [1] Veterinarians have been using various forms of red light therapy since the 1990s, but it has become far more common in the last decade, with roughly 20% of clinics using some type of PBM treatments. [1,17] In recent years, at-home products like Glowbie have made red light therapy accessible to far more pets and owners.


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