Dog Massage, How to Massage a Dog, Benefits, Techniques, Courses

Dog Massage
Dog Massage

We all love a body massage. And Yes! Dogs love it too! But, are there any benefits of a dog massage? Is it necessary? Here is more on why you need to give your dog a massage. Learn more about the benefits and techniques of how to massage a dog to sleep, for anxiety and conditions such as arthritis.

Dog Massage

Massaging your dog is a great way to bond. It is a nice way to make your dog feel happy and loved. It also helps to spot problems that are otherwise not visible without contact. This allows you to pick out hot spots, sores, and tumors before they grow out of hand. Note that when massaging a dog, the aim is not to loosen up tightly note muscles like in humans. Dog massage should be done in gentle motions. This allows Fido to feel relaxed and comfortable.

Dogs just like people have thoughts and feelings. They get to have emotions just as we do. Their behaviors tell of what they feel. This makes touch a necessity just like food and water. Giving your dog a massage works on his body on different levels. Dogs that receive massages grow up in more comfort. They thrive fast and are more willing to accept socialization and training.

A regular massage will your keep dog’s body functions at their best. It boosts your dog physically and emotionally. Active dogs such as those in dock jumping and fly-ball sports get a regular massage to keep their bodies in perfect condition.

Dog massage is increasingly being incorporated by veterinarians into rehabilitation programs. Note that this should not be used as an alternative to therapy but rather to compliment. It should actually be incorporated into all forms of healthcare practices for dogs.

Benefits of Dog Massage

Most people may disregard dog massage as pampering this discount its value. More than relieving muscle and joint tension, it may be used as a rehabilitation tool for old dogs. It is an ideal for recuperation for injured dogs and those recovering from surgery. Here are more benefits of massaging your dog;

Improve Blood Circulation

Better circulation is good for the proper functioning of all organs. It maintains the lungs, kidneys, and livers for optimal health. Canine massage lowers blood pressure and improves heart health. Proper blood flow improves movement of lymphatic fluid. This helps to flush out toxins and improve the immune system.

Improves Relationships

Massaging your dog enhances your dog’s ability to trust and bond with you. Your dog will soon start relating the good relaxing feeling with you. It’ll make him feel great around growing your relationship deeper and better.

Benefits of Canine Massage
Benefits of Canine Massage

Dog Massage to Relieve Stress and Anxiety

Dogs can get distressed by a number of things. It may the cracking of a thunderstorm or the sight of other animals. A gentle massage will relieve anxiety and slide him into comfort. It will improve his mood and manage behavioral conditions such as depression and loneliness. He will sleep better.

Massage for Active Dogs

Warming up is a vital aspect for any activity that involves the muscles. Use massage to warm active dogs- those involved in sports and activities such as hiking. It will not only boost muscle function but also prevent injury.

Dog Massage for Palliative Care

Canine massage is widely being adopted for many therapeutic purposes. It is now being used as a key palliative tool for dogs in the end stages of their illnesses. They temporarily help to relieve pain and help to calm stressed or agitated dogs with terminal illnesses such as cancer.

Massage for Body Aches and Joint Stiffness

Aging and exertion are just some of the reasons why your dog is limping with soreness. Massage your dog with gentle compressions to get rid of pains and stiffness. It will also help improve flexibility and increase the range of motion. Other benefits include;

  • Improves metabolism
  • Removes loose skin cells, dirt and hair
  • Improves immunity and hastens healing time if your dog has injured his ligaments of muscles
  • Promotes better breathing
  • Enhances skin health. Your dog’s coat and fur will tough and shiny

Types of Dog Massage

There are a number of dog massages depending on what you want to achieve. Some of these can be done as frequently as time presents itself or every other time for therapeutic purposes. Types of Canine Massages include;

Calming Massage to help your dog relax or fall asleep. This is very good for small pups and those that get distressed from things such as loud noises. Use the flat of your palm to gently apply pressure on his head and neck. Use long sweeps while massaging the back, spine, and tail.

Start with gentle strokes and increase gradually increase the pressure as when and how your dog likes it. Repeat the strokes severally to allow time for relaxation and rest. Your dog will most likely respond by sleeping.

Warm up Massage

Use this massage to warm your dog up before an activity. You can give this as a treat to your dog after a workout or sports activity. It will warm up muscles, joints and ligaments to prevent injury and faster healing in case there was once.

Post workout massage helps reduce the formation of a scar tissue during healing. Scars tissues especially if formed over joints and ligaments could reduce your dog’s mobility and flexibility.

Gently rub the large muscles of the neck, shoulders, sacrum, and thighs. Stroke and squeeze the leg muscles too.

Massage to Relieve Stiffness and Pain

Aging, activity, and injury are just some of the reasons why your dog could be having joint pains. If you perform a daily massage, it will be easier to detect when your dog has such problems. Use your hands to apply gentle compression movements on the affected areas. Establish a rhythm where you press and release. This allows to move or pump necessary fluids through joints and muscles ridding him of tension and pain.

Dog Massage Techniques

Massage techniques should be a key tool for every handler, animal trainer, veterinarian and those studying animal behaviors. It involves manipulation of parts of the body within a certain range.

How to Massage your Dog

It is best to massage your dog when he is most peaceful. Probably when he’s just had food. It will be easier to get a calm dog to relax. It is important to note that your dog may not like the massage at first. If he’s really not up for it, do not force him. Reschedule the massage for some other time.

Dog massage entails:

Warm Up by Petting your Dog

If you know your dog well, you know what spots he likes to be petted most. Try to make your dog as comfortable as possible. Most dogs love to be petted on the head, along with the spine through the back and tummy.  Gently soothe him into relaxing so that he will be able to enjoy the massage.

Remember that this also allows you to bond with your dog.

Massage from the Neck Down

Rub your dog using gentle circular strokes for the area below his head. Use small strokes for a small dog and large strokes for big ones. Gently rub in between his shoulders.

Move downwards to the back through both sides of the spinal column. Continue with the massage till you get to the tip of the tail.

Massage your dog’s hind legs not forgetting the toes. You may find this uncomfortable if your dog has long nails. It is best recommended to consider grooming him before the massage. Brush his hair, trim his nails and hairs that may be grown onto the face, the tail area, and the paws.

While at it, check for inflamed areas and pain which may be telling of conditions such as arthritis. Using gentle palm strokes will help elicit lumps and bumps along the back, stomach, chest, and legs. Check-in areas with folds and loose skin.

When your dog has had enough of the massage, he’ll become uncooperative and restless. So, take your time at it.

What to Consider while Massaging your Dog

  • Help your dog enjoy massages better by making him accustomed to this as a routine. It may be a little difficult to get older dogs to like a massage.
  • DO NOT massage too deeply that it’ll make your dog wince in pain. Deep dog massage should be done by a professional. DO NOT use fast, hard or abrupt strokes.
  • STOP the massage if your dog experiences pain or does not like it.
  • DO NOT pull at the tail but rather give it a firm squeeze.
  • Unless you are brushing his coat/ fur try not to pull his hair out.
  • DO NOT massage a dog that you do not know well.
  • NEVER apply direct force on a bone

These are the Symptoms you can elicit from massaging your Dog

It may not be easy to tell off these symptoms if this is your first encounter with your dog. Pay close attention, so that you’ll be able to easily tell the difference during future sessions.

  • Poor coat quality
  • Swelling- lumps, bumps, pimples, bug bites, swollen lymph nodes
  • Temperature
  • Pain and sensitivity to touch
  • Muscle tension

Professional Massage Therapy for your Dog

Home-based massages are a simple way to relieve your dog of tension and simply improve his quality of life. If you can manage to spare more time, there are training courses on dog massage.

Professional dog massage practitioners. These are trained individuals who may or not collaborate with vets so as to achieve desired results. While home-based massages are meant to relax your dog, therapeutic massage targets problems. They seek to help dogs with chronic problems of the muscles and joints.

It is important to note that dog massage should not be used as a replacement for vet therapy or treatment. Pain, stiffness, and soreness can all be different symptoms of conditions that warrant veterinary examination, proper diagnosis, and treatment.

Sores, Hotspots and other forms of inflammation should be handled with care. Massage gently so as not to inflict more pain. Do not overlook injuries, they may be deeper than they seem.

Laws regarding dog massage vary in different states and countries. While some have restrictions, others require that only professionals can perform the massage.

Dog Massage Courses

There are a number of schools which offer certifications in animal massage. Equine and Canine massage is commonly studied. Find dog massage courses at;

Northwest School of Animal Massage

Brandenburg Massage Therapy

The College of Animal Physiotherapy

Canine Myo-functional Therapy

The International Association of Animal Massage

Video on How to Massage a Dog

Dr. Winnie
About Dr. Winnie 351 Articles
My name is Dr. Winnie. I earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Duke University, a Masters of Science in Biology from St Georges University, and graduated from the University of Pretoria Veterinary School in South Africa. I have been an animal lover and owners all my life having owned a Rottweiler named Duke, a Pekingese named Athena and now a Bull Mastiff named George, also known as big G! I'm also an amateur equestrian and love working with horses. I'm a full-time Veterinarian in South Africa specializing in internal medicine for large breed dogs. I enjoy spending time with my husband, 2 kids and Big G in my free time. Author and Contribturor at SeniorTailWaggers, A Love of Rottweilers, DogsCatsPets and TheDogsBone

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