Most of us probably know that massage is not only about feeling relaxed or relieving that pain you feel in your shoulder – a good massage can bring a wide range of physical and psychological advantages to a person, and animals are no different here. According to PetPlace, it’s a great way to provide yourself or your pet with good preventive care. Dogs can benefit from good massages as well, and, while there are professionals who can provide you with an expanded therapy, there are also various techniques that you can use to massage your dog yourself – and they take no more than from 5 to 15 minutes. It will not only help with your dog’s general well-being, but it will allow you to bond and strengthen your relationship.
Why should you massage your dog?
- To reduce stress and anxiety. As they don’t understand as many things as you do, dogs tend to stress a lot – all it takes is a loud noise, like thunder, to make him tense and uneasy. Just like in the case of humans, stress is not healthy for your pet, and it can lead to anxiety disorders and dog depression. Luckily, you can massage him back into comfort.
- To warm-up. Just like you need to warm up anytime you go for a run or plan to exercise, your dog also needs it to avoid sore muscles later. Plus, it can prevent injuries.
- To decrease pain. A good massage stimulates the release of endorphins, known as the hormone of happiness, which can also ease the pain. By massaging your dog, you can help him eliminate the risk of sore muscles or joints after an active day, a great run or a swim, etc. You will release the tension and make sure he feels better later. What’s more, you can learn to ease the pain if your dog has a condition like arthritis, or he’s recovering from an injury, but always make sure to consult with a professional first.
- To improve circulation. Good circulation and lymphatic flow can do a lot of good to your dog’s body. Your pup needs his healthy supply of fresh blood which brings oxygen and nutrients to keep his organs healthy. It also helps him get rid of the waste from his body and lowers the risks of various conditions such as high blood pressure or edema.
- To help him heal. If your dog has been through a surgery or he’s recovering from an injury, it may be a good idea to ask your veterinarian if there’s a way to help him with the healing process. It’s important not to focus only on the recovering part of your dog’s body. If your pup has a broken leg, you will need to help him with all four of them, as he’s putting excessive pressure on the healthy ones to be able to move.
- To recognize abnormalities. If you massage your dog regularly, you will be able to tell when something is different – any swellings, changes in temperature, lumps, skin or hair quality, bumps, rash, etc. This skill can really help you save your friend’s life one day, as it may allow you to detect a health issue at a very early (and curable) stage.
- To help you bond. A massage can make your dog feel better and it will all be thanks to you. Your relationship will become much stronger and deeper after some time of massaging, once your pup realizes how much good he gets.
How can you massage your dog by yourself?
The most important thing is to know if your dog is in the mood; pick a quiet part of the house that your pet likes and feels good in. Then, you need to know what you’re doing, to be serene, gentle and tender throughout the entire process so that he doesn’t feel threatened.
- Effleurage is perfect to start and end a message as it puts your dog in a relaxed mood, it warms him up and improves circulation. It consists of very long strokes.
- Petrissage can help you get rid of any toxins that may stay in your dog’s body by increasing blood flow. There are kneading or rolling motions.
- Compression is about pressing the muscles against the bones. It helps with circulation and spreading muscle fibers. You need to put your hands on the opposite sides of the limb and gently press.
Dog Massage Techniques:
- Stress-relieving. In this case, you need to be particularly slow and gentle. You start from the neck downward with long and soothing strokes. If your dog feels tense, you may place your hand on the back of his neck in a calming gesture.
- Pain-relieving. You start with a stress-relieving massage, and then you begin to pump and compress which softens up tense muscles and tissues. Be gentle, especially with the sore areas, do not apply too much force, and end the message with relaxing strokes.
- Injury rehabilitation. It all depends on the injury so it’s best to consult with your veterinarian before you start doing anything. You will need to master the stress and pain-relieving techniques and try to get the injured limb in a normal range of motion. However, if you feel too much resistance, you should stick to soothing and gentle massage to improve blood circulation and reduce anxiety.
Most dog owners don’t really feel like owners. They treat their pups like members of the family. If that’s the case with you as well, you probably want all the best for your best friend. As you can see, by sacrificing not a lot of your time regularly, you can provide your dog with various physical and mental benefits, not to mention make him feel good. Go and check for yourself