Have you ever thought of massaging your dog? Well, dog massage is a good way to strengthen the bond with your dog and to identify potential health problems, such as tumors before they become serious. Ever wondered if dog massage really works? It does! This explains why it is recommended by most vet doctors. In fact, in the US, canine massage has been gaining popularity in the past ten years.
Now, let’s begin by looking at some of the benefits of dog massage.
The Benefits of Dog Massage
There is no doubt, dog massage provides lots of benefits for your furry friend. One of the benefits is that it can relieve a lot of muscle problems while activating blood circulation, as well as other systems in your dog. It can also help your dog recover quickly from exercises that strain their muscles.
In addition, canine massage plays an important role in improving the healing process in case of injuries.
A few sessions at home can also help with your dogs quality of sleep, and reduce the effects of doggie stress.
Plus it can also help out with any other emotional problem which could be due to trauma, anxiety or fear.
Dog massage also allows you to detect certain abnormalities such as fatty formations, muscle tension, ticks or spikelet present on your dog’s body, which may be difficult to notice with conventional doggie care.
However, it is important to note that canine massage is different from human massage.
Instead of deep massage to relax the muscles, it is best to apply light pressure so your animal feels comfortable and relaxed. You can also combine massage with a grooming session to make your dog feel happy, loved and energetic.
Now, it’s time to look at some important massage tips to try at home!
How Dog massage works and tried and tested tips
How To Massage Properly
Start by gently stroking your dog.
Concentrate on the places where your dog likes to be caressed so that he can calm down and enjoy the massage session. Stroke your pet’s head, stomach, back, and other areas gently.
Let your dog stand, lie or sit in a comfortable position
You need to be calm and talk softly to your dog to help him relax.
Massage your dog’s neck.
Make circular movements right behind your pooches head with your fingertips. Add slight pressure, but not so much as to cause discomfort.
Make small, tight movements for a small dog, and larger movements for dogs with a larger body size.
Do not press too hard: your dog must remain stable. Do not forget that you’re not doing a deep massage! The goal is just to massage your pet slightly, to relax it and intensify the bond between you both.
Move down the shoulders.
Descend slowly down the neck and between the shoulders. Dogs enjoy being touched here because it’s one of the few things they cannot reach themselves. So, stay a little longer on it.
Then focus on the front legs and chest.
Some dogs do not like to be touched by the legs: if your dog jumps, it means you should forget the legs and go to another place. But if he remains calm, it means he enjoys it, then you can give him a foot massage.
Massage his back.
Descend between the shoulders and along the back. Make small circular movements with your fingers on both sides of the spine.
Finish with the hind legs.
Continue to massage until you reach the base of the tail, then go slowly to the hind legs. If your dog likes it, then you can move to the end of his paws.
Help Your Dog to Feel Relaxed
Massage at a peaceful moment. It’s better if your dog and you are already relaxed, like after dinner for example. This way, your dog will be more inclined to let go in your hands.
- Do not massage your dog if he is excited for any reason: it is better to wait until he is calm.
- Do not massage your dog immediately after exercising: give him about half an hour of rest.
- Do not massage your dog if you notice he is sick. In this case, simple petting is enough because it will probably not want a massage.
Gradually Extend the Duration of the Massages to 5 to 10 Minutes
If your dog does not like massage, it may just be that he is not used to it. Start with short one-minute massages and then, if you like, go for longer periods.
There is no maximum duration if your dog has a taste for massages, but in 5 – 10 minutes you will have the time to massively massage your whole body. If your dog does not like it, stop.
The purpose of the massage is for relaxation, so if it does not appreciate it, do not insist. If the dog likes the massage, it will stretch and breathe normally. If he does not like it, he will show the following behaviors:
- Stiffening when you move from simple petting to massage
- Running away
- Biting at your hand
You Can Groom Your Dog During the Massage Session
Since your dog is already well relaxed, it is the best time to groom him well! You can only do this if your dog really enjoys the process: otherwise, he might associate the massage with discomfort and anxiety.
- Brush from head to toe
- Trim his claws if necessary
- Trim overgrown hairs around his head, legs or tail.
- Look for lumps and infected areas.
Regular massages are ideal for identifying areas that should be examined by a veterinarian.
Note the sizes or damaged areas that you have never noticed before. Be careful if your dog barks when you touch a specific area. If you notice anything unusual, take your dog to the vet.
The best way to spot the lumps is to pass your hands over the whole body in a long caress. Pass over the belly, chest, back, and legs. Be careful not to forget anything!
Why Do You Need to Spend Extra Time Massaging Your Dog’s Shoulders?
- The shoulder area is often injured, so spending extra time on this area gives you the opportunity to check for injuries.
- To prevent your dog’s hair from matting.
- Your dog can’t reach that area itself.
Extra Tips On How To Maximise Your Dog’s Massage Experience
- Dogs love to be massaged!
- They also like that they scratch their belly: take a few minutes for that.
- You can better massage his neck if you remove his collar.
- For small dogs, use only the tips of your fingers but still maintain some pressure.
- Dogs also need relaxation!
Dog massage is a very effective way to contribute to the well-being of your dog and overcome some minor problems. This will help to prevent an unnecessary visit to the veterinarian.
At Malibu Dog Hotel, we take our guests relaxation very seriously. As well as providing massage treatments in our doggy spa, we like to play relaxing music for our pooches.
This helps them stay calm and allows them to really enjoy their treatment. We also play reggae and classical music for our four legged guests, as it has a soothing effect on them as they enjoy their stay.
If you liked reading this post, check out our blog post on aromatherapy which has loads of tips on what oils to use to help your dog relax!