You may think a massage for you pet is a luxurious spa service, however there is much more to it than that. A massage can have many benefits such as increasing blood circulation, decreasing pain as well as anxiety and stress. Throughout all this you also strengthen the bond you share with your pet and it is also a great way to identify any growths or changes in your pet’s body at an early stage.
Here is how massage helps with:
ANXIETY – The pressure applied by your hands functions as a comfort shield that swaddles and thus relieves some anxiety your dog may feel during a thunderstorm, fireworks or if your dog is just of the nervous type, it can help relax.
ARTHRITIS – Rubbing and kneading increases blood flow to certain body parts by causing light muscle contractions which helps encourage healing of muscle or joint pain. Be careful not too apply too much pressure and read your dogs body language (if they flinch, move away or growl they are not so happy about what they are feeling)
PRE-EXERCISE – Dogs benefit from a good warm up before exercising just like we do, so a gentle rub and knead will increase blood flow to the whole body and can prevent injury and soreness post-exercise.
POST-EXERCISE – Any dog can experience soreness after a fun day at the park, in the woods or back yard play. Your pet may experience some stiffness the day after and massage can help relive some of that by increasing blood flow and reducing some of that pain.
The best way to introduce massage to your dog is by finding a quiet area in your house where there are no distractions and slowly run your flat hand softly along their whole body. Use long, sweeping motions and take note of swelling or lumps and pay attention to your pet’s reaction to touch and pressure. You can gently increase the pressure if your pet is enjoying it, however don’t apply straight pressure points and avoid areas your pet may not tolerate as much as others.
In some cases, soreness and pain can be caused by excessive weight. Dietary changes and exercising on a regular basis can help relieve some of the strains over time. If your pet experiences pain and soreness on a regular basis you may want to consider other forms of integrative treatments such as swimming, milder exercise or acupuncture. Give it a try - we would love to know how your pet receives the idea of touch and extra bonding time with their human!