Dog Massages: How They Are Done & Their Benefits

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Massage therapy dates back to ancient times as a means to relax and relieve pressure in humans. But did you know that massages are essential for your pet dog too? Dogs enjoy therapeutic massage sessions, which also play a role in alleviating pain and stress, lowering blood pressure, and relaxing muscles.

As a pet owner, you can carry out the massage by yourself at home or take your dog to a licensed canine massage specialist who is better equipped. So how do you massage your dog, and what are the benefits of these sessions?

How To Massage Your Dog

There are numerous techniques that you can use when massaging your dog. While humans enjoy deep tissue massages, dogs enjoy light pressure sessions that are slow. Let’s look at some techniques.

• Compression

This process involves pressing the muscle against the bone, which helps with improved circulation. In addition, applying compression is beneficial for the fibrous tissue and helps relieve any muscle tension in your dog.

• Effleurage

If you go for this technique, use your arms for long and flowing strokes, which warm up the body tissue. You can use this to start and end the massage session. It encourages blood flow and helps your dog relax.

• Petrissage

Petrissage technique involves kneading or rolling motions. By twisting the skin and tissue, you help stimulate the removal of toxins trapped in the tissues underneath. 

Reasons To Massage Your Dog

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If you are a new pet owner, you are probably wondering why you should massage your dog. Here are some reasons why.

1. Arthritis

According to PetMD, dog massage therapy is one of the complementary therapy methods used to treat arthritis in dogs. Rubbing and kneading muscles on your dog is suitable for blood circulation on sore muscles and joints.

2. Anxiety

If your pet gets anxious during occurrences such as thunderstorms or fireworks, a massage will calm them down. Human contact keeps the nerves away.

3. Pre and Post Activity

Dog athletes require activity warm-ups and cool-downs before and after any competitions. A massage will stimulate circulation and increases blood supply to joints, muscles, and nerves, reducing muscle soreness and injuries.

Step By Step Process Of Massaging Your Dog At Home

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Canine massages should be gentler. Apart from all the health benefits, it’s a perfect bonding experience for you and your pet. For the massage session, make sure your dog is relaxed and comfortable and follow these steps.

• Pick An Appropriate Time

Before you start the session, make sure your dog is not in an anxious state. Pick a time when your pet is calm and relaxed. Also, have the massage session in a quiet place in your house to help your dog stay calm.

• Starting The Massage Session

Depending on your area of interest, start first by petting your dog gently. Next, press lightly on the skin using your flat palms. Using the effleurage technique, apply smooth and sweeping strokes from the head, tail to the limbs and watch out for any swelling or reaction to pain.

As soon as your dog relaxes, you can now increase pressure using the petrissage technique. Massage your dog’s neck, shoulders, chest, and limbs in a circular motion. Next, apply the same pressure on the sides of the spine, making sure not to press straight down on the joints and bones.

You can also gently massage the base of the skull and tail to relax your pup. If you spot or feel any tight balls of muscle, you can use the compression technique by using your thumb to apply pressure on the knot.

• Ending The Session

Your pup should be calm and relaxed as you wind up the session. Then, you can use your flat palms again to make long gliding strokes across the entire body.

During the massage session, it’s best to avoid areas that your dog doesn’t like to be touched and stop if they cry out in pain. Also, do not overstretch the session; once your dog starts becoming restless, it’s time to stop.

Benefits Of Dog Massages

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Here are some reasons to give your pup a canine massage.

1. Reduces Pain

If your dog engages in competitions or spends time in outdoor activities, they may encounter injuries and muscle soreness. A massage stimulates endorphins production, which in turn alleviates pain.

The same applies to dogs with arthritis conditions. A gentle massage will release tension in the sore areas and help your dog recover from injury.

2. Improves Circulation

A healthy circulation and lymphatic flow are crucial in supplying blood, nutrients, and oxygen to the brain and other organs. It also keeps your dog’s coat healthy.

A massage will boost the lymphatic flow, critical in carrying away metabolic waste from body organs. With this, your dog stays healthy and avoids conditions such as hypertension.

3. Reduces Anxiety

Dogs experience stress and anxiety when they are afraid or sick. Scheduling a daily massage session helps reduce anxiety levels. This routine is reassuring to your pup and keeps it calm and relaxed.

4. Boosts Healing

Canine massages are a healing aid. They are vital in rehabilitating your pet after an injury or surgery.

Gentle massages on the body tissues reduce pain and swelling and heal strains and sprain faster. If your dog had surgery, it’s best to get advice from your vet first on the best way to do it.

5. Identifies Health Issues

Scheduling a regular massage for your dog helps you spot any swellings or pain areas. Early detection can prevent severe health conditions. You can share this with the vet for further assistance.

6. Strengthens Bond

A massage is a display of affection for your pet. When your pet feels relaxed, it will always look forward to these sessions. Your bond and relationship will become stronger with time.

Final Thoughts

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Dog massages are a necessity in taking care of your pet. As a wellness regiment, massages are crucial in healing.

Whether your pup is sick, anxious, or injured, you can schedule a session to relieve the tension and pain. To keep your pet calm, relaxed, and happy, learn a few techniques in massage therapy. Besides, you can also schedule sessions with licensed canine massage specialists.

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