As some of you know we are big animal lovers! When I first started massage, we had an elderly dog with bad arthritis and was told he was not going to be walking much longer. I started working on him every day and was astounded at the results! He even started to run again. That was our Dusty who lived to be 15.
Pets are no different than we are in that they respond to diet and alternative therapy much the same way. Massage is a great alternative healing therapy for pets using the power of touch and can have both physical and psychological benefits. The active manipulation of muscles and skin incfeases circulation to all the organs and tissues in their body. If your dog is suffering from muscle tension or conditions like arthritis or hip displaysia massage can help increase range of motion, enhance muscle tone, and remove toxins and metabolic waste from medications and diet. It has been also revealed in studies to increase your pets lifespan.
Most importantly it will help reduce pain. Whether its a condition or injury, massage will help your pet recover faster with less pain and stress.
You only need about 10 minutes a day to give your dog a massage. Use a flat palm to slowly touch all the parts of your dog’s body. Really focus on what you are feeling and pay attention to all the layers, from hair through skin, fat, muscle, and down to bone. Meanwhile, Liverlover is basking in the attention and loving the extra “petting.” However, there is more to these massages than just quality time together.
- Pick an areas with minimal distractions. Don’t face walls or corners where they night feel trapped.
- Choose a calm time of the day when neither of you is rushed.
- Put your pet on a soft blanket or towel.
- Your first massage is a good time to take assessment of what your pet likes and doesn’t like. Try different pressures and avoid areas the pet may not like.
- Doing this also allows you to pay attention to any changes in the pets body which can be life saving. While you feel around” you can look for any heat, swelling, bumps, lumps, or painful spots.
- You want to look for signs of discomfort, anxiety, and not complying. If your pet is pulling away from your touch, flinching, or tensing up, or keeps looking at you when you touch a spot then that means your touch is uncomfortable and wants you to stop.
- Remember what feels good on you will probably feel good on your dog!
- Start by using the flat palm of your hand, and just touch them in spots and hold for a few minutes. This calms them down and get them ready for your touch.
- Most dogs love soft ear rubs, and ling scritch strokes under the chin.
- Your strokes should closely resemble petting. A light gentle touch that moves along their body. Make sure your strokes are slow, even and controlled.
- The Effleurage technique is a good technique. If you have been a client of mine you might know this one. You use one hand after another in long, gliding strokes. Try varying your pressure from light to moderate pressure. Go down the length of the body and this really helps the circulatory system.
- You can also try slowly and gently stretching your dogs legs by just recreating the natural motion of going forward and back but with a slight stretch.
Your dog will most likely have a puddle of drool going now, which is a sign you are doing good!
If you are a client and have any questions feel free to ask at your next appointment! Here is a video of one of our fur babies the day we found out her tumor was benign. Enjoy!