How to Massage Your Dog.
Dogs suffer from muscle stiffness and soreness just like humans do. As a dog gets older general aches and pains increase and they can suffer lethargy and fatigue. However, unlike us, they can’t verbally communicate where the pain is coming from. By giving our dogs a regular all over body massage we get to know the animal’s body better and potential problems can be spotted before they become too serious.
Actually, it is also a good way of bonding with a dog. We all stroke our pets anyway, and it lowers the blood pressure of both the owner and his dog.
The main thing is to never force massage on a dog who does not want to participate and only practice on an animal that is very well known to you.
Always look out for signs that the dog has discomfort and take to a vet if a problem does arise. Other signs which may indicate a problem are:-
Sensitivity to touch
Skin temperature ie hot spots
Poor quality of coat
Just the act of massage has great benefits of its own. It can help to:-
Relieve anxiety, tension, and fear.
Reduce pain from muscle stiffness and accelerates the healing process after surgery.
Decrease blood pressure
Help kidney and liver function.
Aid circulation and helps to remove toxins.
Help the effects of aging
Simple hand massage
By just touching the dog gently and moving your hands down his body you should be able to feel him relax. A tiny bit of pressure can be added if the dog seems to enjoy it.
Similar techniques are used as in human massage
Effleurage is slow steady strokes
Friction which is pressure without moving the skin.
Percussion which is drumming of the fingers.
Petrissage which is a gentle kneading action.
Everything should be done gently and slowly. The dog will be able to tell you if he doesn’t want to continue, simply by moving away. Usually, the dog will be so relaxed that he will fall asleep.
For a more complex massage or for specific issues, visit a trained therapist.
Darcy is a very anxious rescue dog who benefits from being massaged and as well as helping to relax him it builds up trust and helps me to bond with him. You can tell by his eyes that he is still a little wary of being handled but this is a dog who will bite instinctively if he feels threatened, (He wasn’t happy about being photographed either!). He also has fur loss on the tips of his ears, tummy, and chest and massaging coconut oil has greatly helped and made his coat shine too
For more advice on reducing anxiety in your dog please read here