Dogs Massages? How To and reasons to do it
As we know, humans and dogs share lots of things. Diseases, personalities, characters… And it shouldn’t be a surprise that man’s best friend likes to be rubbed and gently massaged. You may think –as many people do- that massaging a dog is ridiculous because massages are for people. But consider this: if they like to be petted, why wouldn’t they like a massage to relieve stress?
Yes, yes, pets get stressed out, too. You know, “Where did the ball go? I JUST SAW IT! It’s in your hand isn’t it?” No, seriously, they can get stressed or anxious because of loud scary noises (I’m talking to you, 4th of July), other animals being threatening or just the expectation of its master coming home.
The good things about massaging dogs
- Like we, humans, can benefit from massages, it is the same with dogs. Rubi Sullivan, a certified small animal massage practitioner, gives out a list of the benefits on her website:
- Reduces anxiety
- Shortens healing time of strained muscles and sprained ligaments
- Aids in digestion
- Fosters a feeling of well-being
- Reduces pain and swelling (including intervertebral, joint and muscle)
- Decreases blood pressure
- Strengthens the immune system
- Reduces formation of excessive scar tissue (less scar tissue build up means better mobility)
- Reduces muscle spasms
- Helps relieve muscle tension and stiffness
- Provides greater joint flexibility and increases range of motion
- Improves proprioception (the outside information feedback mechanism in the animal’s body that
- helps with movement and balance)
- Stimulates liver and kidney functions
- Improves circulation of blood and movement of lymphatic fluids
- Promotes deeper and easier breathing
- Enhances the health and nourishment of the skin and coat
But I’m not a professional masseur…
Cesar Millan, the famous dog whisperer, informs and enlightens us with a very explanative list in which he carefully describes the steps one by one:
Make sure that your dog is in a calm, submissive state before you begin the massage. While one of the goals is relaxation for your dog, starting when she’s anxious or fearful may reinforce that mental state instead. Try going for a long walk before you start.
Start your massage by petting your dog gently all over. While you begin your massage, whisper to your dog to keep him calm and relaxed.
Rub your dog’s neck by making circular motions. Remember to maintain the pressure gently, so she’s comfy.
Continue massaging down toward your dog’s shoulders. Since dogs can’t reach this area of their body, take a little extra time so he can enjoy it!
Move to the chest and front legs. If your dog doesn’t like it when you massage her paws, proceed to a different body part. If she does like it, see if she wants her legs rubbed too. Be careful with the pads, though. Many dogs have an automatic “kick” reflex to anything touching between the pads on their feet.
Massage your dog’s back using circular motions, going up and down on both sides of the spine.
Keep gently massaging your pup until you get to his back legs and tail area. Once you finish, he should be calm and stress-free.
A massage is an excellent way to get in tune with your dog, so you know what’s normal for her. In future massage sessions, you’ll be able to notice any differences in your dog’s reactions, which might alert you to any issues she may be having.
So, don’t hesitate to give your furry beloved a gentle massage instead of just petting it. That way you’re showing your love for it in the best possible and healthy way.