How Full Spectrum Light Therapy Benefits Cats And Dogs

by Jeannette McDougall 

Light therapy has been used for many years to help people with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and with numerous sleep difficulties, such as circadian rhythm sleep disorders. More recently, light therapy has been used on patients suffering from arthritis, chronic fatigue, stress, and several types of chronic pain disorders. Full spectrum light therapy is usually provided through a light box that emits light on all wavelengths, producing light that is similar to natural sunlight. 

Production Of Vitamin D
People need sunlight to produce Vitamin D, a vitamin that is essential to humans but not naturally produced in the body. If people are unable to get the recommended hours of sunlight daily, then full spectrum light therapy can be used to provide them with the light needed for Vitamin D production. Although cats and dogs do not rely on sunlight for producing Vitamin D, they do require sunlight to transfer the vitamin D they have consumed into an active form of vitamin D they can use. 

Benefits For Cats And Dogs
Significant sunlight exposure is not as harmful for animals as it is for people because their skin is protected by their fur. In addition to helping speed the healing process and reduce pain from injuries and disorders, sunlight is healthy for animals. This is just the same as it is in small doses for people. With many pets confined indoors when their owners are not at home during the daytime many are lacking sunlight they need and crave. Light therapy can give them the dose of light waves that they need but may not get every day. 

Help In Treating Injuries And Disorders
Full spectrum light therapy can also be used to help animals such as cats and dogs, recover from illnesses and injuries, such as broken bones or skin wounds. Light therapy is also used for relief from pain and other symptoms for animals suffering from incurable disorders such as arthritis. The ways that light therapy helps in the treatment of injuries, pain, and other symptoms are numerous.

Increased DNA And RNA Synthesis
Research indicates that waves within the length range of 330 to 860 nm (nanometers) stimulate the rate of both DNA and RNA synthesis in mammals. DNA and RNA synthesis produces cells in humans and animals. By increasing the rate and amount of RNA and DNA synthesis, damaged cells and dead cells can be replaced more rapidly, which speeds up the healing process. Full spectrum light therapy provides light waves in the appropriate range to increase DNA and RNA synthesis in a cat or dog that has suffered a wound or injury. 

Increased Collagen Production
Collagen is a protein used by the body to replace old and damaged skin, and light therapy increases the body’s production of collagen. Collagen is elastic, and it holds skin cells together. Increasing the production of collagen allows wounds that a cat or dog may receive to heal more quickly, and it also helps minimize both internal and external scarring. 

Stimulates The Release Of ATP
Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) carries energy to cells. All food eaten by cats and dogs is turned into ATP before it can enter and energize cells. Increased release of ATP gives cells more energy, which lets them utilize nutrients more quickly, and also allows them to remove waste more rapidly. Light therapy stimulates the body’s release of ATP. This is beneficial when a pet has suffered an injury or has been ill, in addition to increasing a pet’s general energy level and overall wellness.   

Stimulates Fibroblastic Activity
Fibroblasts are cells that are critical in the healing process of wounds and injuries. They synthesize the extracellular material and collagen that are the frames for skin tissue. Fibroblasts are the most commonly found connective tissue in a cat or dog’s body. Light therapy stimulates the activity of fibroblasts, which can help a wounded animal heal more quickly. 

Increases The Phagocytosis Process
Phagocyte cells clean up degenerated and dead cells. This is an important process for fighting infection. The infection must be destroyed using medication, and then the dead cells are cleaned up. Only after the clean-up can new cells replace the dead or damaged ones. Light therapy increases the activity of phagocyte cells in cats and dogs. 

Increases Circulation
Light therapy can increase the formation of capillaries in animals. Capillaries are blood vessels, and they can replace damaged blood vessels in the body. Since blood vessels are necessary to move oxygen carrying blood cells throughout the body; damaged blood vessels slow down the amount of oxygen that reaches the organs and limbs, decreasing circulation. Light therapy increases production of capillaries to replace the damaged ones, increasing vascular health in cats and dogs.

Increases Activity Of The Lymphatic System
Swelling is the result of a buildup of both liquid and proteins in the body. This swelling is called edema. To reduce edema, the body must eliminate the liquids through the blood system and the proteins through the lymphatic system. Light therapy increases the diameter of both blood and lymphatic vessels, allowing the liquids and proteins to be eliminated more rapidly, reducing the amount of swelling in a cat or a dog. 

Reduces The Activity Of Nervous System Tissues
Light enters the body in the form of negative ions. The body sends positive ions to counteract the negative ones, causing nerves to fire. If an animal is experiencing pain, full spectrum light therapy will increase the amount of negative ions in the body, which causes more positive ions to be released. This increases firing of the nervous system in areas other than the injured or painful area, which reduces the amount of firing in the injured area and lessens the amount of pain felt by the cat or dog.  

Stimulates The Release Of Acetylcholine Ions
Acetylcholine ions are neurotransmitters found in the nervous system that perform many functions, such as activating muscles and causing anti-excitatory behaviors, like lowering heart rate and blood pressure. Light therapy stimulates the release of the acetylcholine ion, which can help with problems in many areas of a cat or dog’s health, including vascular health and gastrointestinal health.
These various conditions can lead to many symptoms in pets. Some of these symptoms include; digestion problems, skin problems, lethargy and depression. Using full spectrum light therapy can help your pets live a happier, healthier life.