Canine Massage: How to Plus the Benefits

When us humans are feeling physically and/or psychologically distressed, a massage is something that can help tremendously. The same is true for dogs! Everyday living can take a toll on a dog’s body – running, jumping, rough housing and even the act of growing can cause discomfort. Through massage, you’ll notice your dog’s stress and anxious energy begin to melt away as tense muscles start to relax.

The sooner you start massaging your dog the better! Not only is this a great bonding experience, but it also exposes your pup’s body to manipulation and touch. This will help prepare your dog for visits to the groomers at Brookside Barkery and human touch in general.

Other benefits of canine massage include:

  • Pain relief
  • Increased range of motion
  • Improved mobility
  • Joint nourishment/lubrication
  • Increased circulation

When performing massage techniques on your furry friend it’s important to complete all strokes in one area before moving to the next. We suggest you start at the neck, move to the shoulder, then progress down the leg. Next, move up the back, over the abdomen and down the inner groin. Repeat on the other side.

Here are three basic techniques to begin with:

  • Effleurage: Using a flat hand with fingers together, gently stroke one hand after the other continuously. A technique used to relax muscles to prepare for massage, effleurage has a calming and soothing effect.
  • Raking: Using spread out fingers with flat finger tips, “rake” along the area with slight pressure in the same direction as the coat. When using the raking technique, it is important to ensure your nails are short enough to eliminate the risk of scratching. The raking technique helps to diffuse pressure and release built up muscle tension.
  • Petrissage: Using the ball of your thumb, apply slight pressure as you go “thumb over thumb” to smooth and stretch the muscle fibers. This massage technique will help remove toxins from the cells while also releasing tension.

NOTE: If your dog is suffering from cancer, diabetes, circulatory problems, dermatological conditions or any other condition that can be affected by increased circulation and pressure – be sure to get an evaluation done by a professional massage therapist before performing any kind of massage.

Always be sure to pay attention to the feedback your dog is giving you. Do not force it if you can tell he/she has had enough. If your dog seems opposed to the massage, start slowly with petting and ease your way to longer sessions.

Happy Massaging!

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