Do Dogs Like Massage?

Do dogs like massage? Dogs, like humans, can get achy, stiff, and experience other physical discomforts as a result of insufficient activity, aging, and injuries. Could a massage help? The short answer is… yes. But why? And how?

This isn’t a simple petting session. A dog massage is a unique regimen that uses specific techniques to physically and mentally relax your dog. So, how do you go about massaging a dog? Below are some helpful hints that will make your dog feel calm, joyful, and relieved.

Do Dogs Like Massage?

A dog massage isn’t just petting. There’s more to it than just soft touching. Dog massages are more substantial than a simple head scratch or tummy rub, and they deliver specific, unique advantages. Specific techniques that identify particular regions of your dog’s body are used in a canine massage.

Dogs, like humans, can experience joint discomfort and muscular cramping. A therapeutic canine massage may be just what your dog requires to feel relief from their distress. While a deep tissue massage may necessitate more pressure and technique than we are capable of providing, there are safe techniques to rub your dog at home to relieve aching muscles and tension.

Benefits of Canine Massage

Similar to humans, there are many benefits to massages for dogs including:

  • Stress: If your dog is in an uncomfortable environment or has recently experienced a stressful event (such as fireworks or a visit to the veterinarian), massaging them can help them relax. Hands-on contact can calm some dogs, similar to the benefits of a swaddling device.
  • Joint pain: Gently stroking and kneading your dog’s aching muscles and joints will assist promote circulation making them feel better physiologically. Tissues might contract as a result of your hands’ pressure, increasing blood flow. But, don’t exert too much pressure, as this may cause harm to your dog.
  • Preparing for exercise: Dogs can benefit from a massage and warm-up before a trek or extended exercise, just like we do before a workout. Rubbing your dog’s joints, muscles, and nerves will boost blood flow, reducing damage and pain.
  • After exercise: After a workout, your dog may feel stiff or uncomfortable, especially if they aren’t used to being active or are older. After a swim, hike, or run, a dog massage might help relieve some of the soreness.
  • Strengthening your bond: Spending time massaging your dog can help you bond with your canine companion. After a satisfying canine massage, your dog will immediately link you with feeling well.

do dogs like massage

How to Massage Your Dog at Home

Professional dog massage therapists give a full-body massage to dogs. However, there are techniques that you can use at home that are both safe and effective. The many forms of canine massage techniques are the first thing to learn.

  • Simple stroking: Simple stroking is the first. This is when you stroke your dog from head to tail and then down each of their limbs with mild pressure. This is an excellent method to begin a massage because it can help your dog relax and become accustomed to the notion of receiving one. Simple stroking can also be used to detect tense, puffy, or hot areas.
  • Effleurage: Using medium pressure and your entire hand, stroke your dog’s body. This is called effleurage, and it’s a terrific way to improve circulation. Starting at the toes and working your way up to your dog’s midsection, is commonly done toward your dog’s heart. Alternatively, start from the back and work your way up to the top.
  • Petrissage: The next step is petrissage, which involves a higher level of pressure. By stroking the muscle, this motion is similar to kneading and relieves muscle tension, knots in soft tissue, and joint stiffness. Skin rolling can also help to improve blood circulation in the skin and the tissues beneath it.
  • Chopping: Another massage technique is chopping. Chop using the edge of your hand in a quick, medium-pressure motion. This is useful when you want to concentrate on a certain part of your dog’s body.

Step-by-Step Massage Process and Tips

As you can see, both light and deeper pressure are used in the techniques listed above. Throughout the massage, keep an eye on your dog’s behavior to see how they react to each technique. Do not apply direct pressure on your dog’s bones or joints. Always stay away from areas where your dog dislikes being touched. Stop what you’re doing if your dog growls or nips at you.

  • Step 1: Make sure your dog is at ease. Your dog will not respond to a massage if he or she is frightened, afraid, or aggressive. Before you begin, go for a walk to assist your dog with releasing some of his energy.
  • Step 2: Begin by lightly caressing your dog all over before beginning the massage. Softly speak to your dog and apply mild pressure. This needs to be as relaxing and peaceful as possible.
  • Step 3: Massaging your dog’s ears is a good idea. Slowly stroke out towards the end of the ear, using light pressure.
  • Step 4: Using a circular motion, begin massaging your dog’s neck.
  • Step 5: Massage your dog’s shoulders from top to bottom. Stay a little longer because dogs can’t reach this area on their own.
  • Step 6: Massage your dog’s chest and front legs. If they will allow, you can also attempt to massage their paws.
  • Step 7: Circular motions should be used to massage your dog’s back. Massage both sides of the spine up and down, but avoid rubbing directly on top of the spine.
  • Step 8: Return your attention to your dog’s back legs and tail. Because your dog’s back legs may be tight and uncomfortable, this is an excellent place to concentrate.

Massage for Physical and Emotional Health

A dog massage is beneficial to your dog’s physical well-being since it promotes blood circulation and relieves joint and muscular pain. Not only can a  therapeutic massage benefit physical health, but it can help your dog’s emotional health as well.

Sources:

Small Animal Massage Therapy: A Brief Review and Relevant Observations

Effect of massage therapy on pain and quality of life in dogs: A cross sectional study

 

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