Dog massage is a safe, natural, and non-invasive touch therapy that can help your dog maintain optimal health and quality of life. Techniques used to massage dogs are similar to those utilized on people including gliding, kneading, and friction. I became a dog masseuse to pursue my passions of my love of animals and helping dogs and people to have optimal health.
What Canine Massage Is Not
Canine massage is not a substitute for veterinary care. Canine massage therapists and animal massage therapist are not veterinarians and therefore cannot diagnose, prescribe, or give medical advice. Dog massage therapy is complementary to veterinary care and can enhance the general health of a dog or address a specific condition. Please consult your veterinarian before seeking massage therapy for your pet.
Can You Administer Dog Massage to Your Own Pet?
Sign up for a class to learn dog or canine massage techniques yourself! When we do massage on our dog, we can detect possible problems. When we regularly massage our dog we can find any swellings, muscle knots, an embedded tick, or pain. The more we massage our dogs, the more sensitive our hands and fingers become in detecting anything that’s off balance. Since our hands learn the feel of a healthy body, they will feel when there are any changes. You know your dog better than anyone. You will learn to spot problems earlier and get your dog veterinary attention much sooner if needed. Your dog could be easier treated and this could potentially save your dog’s life. Another bonus of massage is that it gets them used to being handled. Touch shy animals are difficult to be treated at the vets or by a groomer. Massage can also strengthen the bonding between you and your dog.
What a Dog Massage From a Professional Can Do.
A professional massage therapist should have accredited training and experience. A professional massage therapist can provide your dog with relief from physical pain but also alleviate trauma of emotional stress. Professionals with extensive hands on training have the knowledge, skill, and experience to help your pet.
Potential Results of Dog Massage Treatment
Recovering From Injury or Surgery
Dogs recovering from an injury can greatly benefit from massage. Massage can speed up the healing process by stimulating the body and enhancing the repair process. Even if massage can’t be done on the specific area of the injury or surgery, massage around the area or the rest of the body can help tremendously. If a dog is immobile the muscles get sore and achy. Massage can help keep muscles toned and help. Also, for example if a limb or area that affects mobility, the dog is more than likely compensating by putting more weight on another leg or more in the front than the back legs. So those muscles are getting used more than usual and massage can help relieve some of the pressure of that and keep them more in balance.
Dogs doing agility, fly ball, herding, hiking, can all benefit from canine massage. Massage before an activity or event helps warm up the muscles by enhancing blood flow to and reduces tension in the muscles and gets the whole system revved up. All this helps prevent injuries.
Massage after an activity or event loosens muscles and joints and calms the whole system down. It helps prevent stiffness and sore muscles. It flushes out toxins that may get trapped in the muscles and tissues during vigorous exercise.
Working dogs such as therapy dogs, police, or search and rescue dogs are under a lot of stress and pressure in their daily lives. Massage can help relieve tired muscles and the stress after a long day on the job. When I told someone who trains military dogs what I do, he was very dismissive and said, my dog is a tool. First I don’t agree with this, and I wish my response had been, “Don’t you keep your tools is top working condition?” If my life depends on the reaction time of this dog, I would want him to be able to respond and move without being hindered by stiff or sore muscles. Just a few seconds could make a difference.
Massage gets them used to positive human touch and being handled. Puppy massage is a great way to socialize them. Bones grow at the ends near the joints and those can get achy. So they benefit from massage around the joints as well as on the limbs. You know puppies are always running, playing hard and doing puppy zoomies. Massage can help prevent strains and sprains by lengthening and toning muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
Older dogs often suffer from problems like arthritis, stiffness and other joint problems. Massage is a gentle and effective way to ease muscle tension and reduce stiffness. It will help to increase muscle tone, circulation and flexibility in less active dogs. Massage is also a really gentle way to help dogs that are nearing the end of their life. It can help them be more comfortable and a really nice way to connect with them.
Anesthesia and Surgery Recovery
Massage also helps with anesthesia recovery after surgery. The lungs, liver and kidney serve to remove these drugs from the body. Gentle massage stimulates circulation, to speed up the transfer of the drugs to these removal sites and supports the function of the organs.
Anxiety and Shyness
There are many reasons a dog has anxiety: thunder, riding in the car, boarding facility, (Not the green beagle lodge though) strange people. Slow gentle massage helps with confidence and is calming. This can also help with motion sickness. So slow, calming massage before your dog goes in the car can help.
Arthritis, Joint Disease, Hip Dysplasia
Massage around these areas increases the circulation in the area, causing warming and bringing nutrients and oxygen to the compromised joint. It also supports the surrounding muscles.
Paw and Pad Problems
There are many, many bones, ligaments and tendons in the paws. Each step a dog takes impacts all of those. A problem in the paw will affect the limb, shoulder or hip, and the entire posture of the dog. Massage can again, relieve tension and stiffness.
Where You Should Go to Get a Dog Massage? You should use a certified massage therapist with hands on training from an accredited school. The International Association of Animal Massage & Bodywork/ Association of Canine Water Therapy provide a list of preferred Educational Providers. Mari Vogel received her license from Abundant Life Massage and Education in Sarasota, Florida in 2013. Call Mari for help today at 919-452-3467.