DOG Massage Therapy! Photos and Video

Greyhound on Massage Mat

Red knows an enjoyable massage will begin soon.
Red knows an enjoyable massage will begin soon. | Source

People understand that a massage delivers physical and psychological benefits. The knowledge a licensed masseuse applies complements western medicine, eastern medicine, chiropractic arts, physical therapy, and the old-fashioned spiritual practice of “laying on of hands.” It is entirely logical that other mammals, such as our beloved pet family members, would reap the same benefits as do humans. Fortunately, animal experts and veterinarians have realized this and developed research-driven massage protocols for horses, dogs, and cats.

Sound Logic

When Jennifer DeLong casually mentioned that she is certified to perform canine massages I was thrilled to discover such a profession exists. Animal massage makes so much sense. Since we love our pets and want to show them respectful care and love, I believe it is entirely appropriate to take those with biomechanical problems or muscular tension to massage. Jennifer thought so, too. She lives with elderly greyhounds rescued from racing. The aches and pains resulting from both their former lives and the aging process led her to complete training to become a Certified Canine Massage Therapist.


Jennifer treats her own dogs plus private clients. Her own dogs are quite familiar with the routine and anticipate it with delight. In the photo below, one can see Red, a 10-year-old male with an ancient, poorly healed leg break (broken around age two in a racetrack injury) relaxing on a mat, waiting for the massage to begin.

Jennifer is extremely comfortable in the dog world. One of her professional practices stemming from this knowledge is her preference to perform the massage in the dog’s home. She feels strongly that having a dog remain in its own surroundings contributes to the progress that can be made and the healing that can occur, because she has eliminated the need for the dog to divert its energy checking out an unfamiliar location. With a new dog client, Jennifer’s goal for the first visit is to invite the dog to become comfortable with her as a person, and become comfortable with her touching almost all surfaces of its body. For that reason, she applies only light pressure in the initial treatment.

What Happens in a Canine Massage


First and always, during every massage Jennifer watches the dog’s cues about its feelings – its ear position, its eyes, and whether it is flinching. This feedback lets her know the dog’s comfort level and whether an area really needs work. If a dog needs time to settle down or make the switch to the second side, Jennifer honors its needs.

Jennifer places the dog on one side and begins at the neck and works over the shoulder.

Down neck and over shoulder

Red, the greyhound, having his neck massaged.
Red, the greyhound, having his neck massaged. | Source
The greyhound's massage continues to his front shoulder.
The greyhound's massage continues to his front shoulder. | Source

She then works on front leg and chest.


Jennifer uses three types of therapeutic touch: warming or warm-up stoke, a treating stroke and a closing stroke. With every area, she starts with warm-up touches, such as thumb walking. This warms the muscle and prepares it for further work. The second type of touch, treating, may be via palpating the muscle. The type of stroke used is always tailored to the muscle group. She may choose to apply pressure with the top of her finger. This equates to deep muscle massage and direct pressure in human massage therapy. Finally, the muscle group receives the light touch closing stroke which almost always mimics the warm-up walking. This appears similar to cool-down after exercise.

Leg

As Red has his front shoulder and front leg massaged, look at his eyes to see how comfortable he is.
As Red has his front shoulder and front leg massaged, look at his eyes to see how comfortable he is. | Source

Video of a Small Part of Canine Massage

After that Jennifer works along the back – not directly on the spine but immediately adjacent to it. This reminds me of my own chiropractic treatments and human massages. I wonder if I get the same droopy, relaxed eyelids indicating my comfort? Probably. :D

Back

Massage strokes along the greyhound's back.
Massage strokes along the greyhound's back. | Source
A variety of touches are used along the dog's back in canine therapeutic massage.
A variety of touches are used along the dog's back in canine therapeutic massage. | Source

The process continues steadily with the three types of therapeutic touch. Finally, Jennifer works on the back leg.

Jennifer continues doing the same sequence on the dog’s other side.

Does this photo convey the beneficial result?

Jennifer DeLong with Red and Lucy, two rescued greyhound racers, now retired.
Jennifer DeLong with Red and Lucy, two rescued greyhound racers, now retired. | Source

I get relaxed just viewing these photos. I am very grateful for Jennifer’s invitation to view this tremendous new animal health care. However, her clients are probably even happier!

Back leg

Massage begins at the greyhound's back leg.
Massage begins at the greyhound's back leg. | Source
Red has been relaxed and cooperative for the entire massage.
Red has been relaxed and cooperative for the entire massage. | Source
Massage of the dog's back thigh.
Massage of the dog's back thigh. | Source
The canine massage continues down the back leg.
The canine massage continues down the back leg. | Source

Schools for Animal Massage Training


If this therapy is something you may be called to learn, following is a list of resources.

http://www.iaamb.org/preferred-provider-educators.php

Brandenburg Massage Therapy Website: www.horseanddogtherapy.com

Northwest School of Animal Massage Website: www.nwsam.com

Ojai School of Massage Website: www.ojaischoolofmassage.com

PetMassage™, LTD. Website: www.PetMassage.com

Rocky Mountain School of Animal Acupressure & Massage

Website: www.rmsaam.com

Jennifer Delong’s practice in Eastern Pennsylvania


Jennifer Delong’s practice in Eastern Pennsylvania

http://jdelongmassagetherapy.com

Please contact her - I add my personal recommendation to her work.

All photos, video, and text copyright 2011 Maren E. Morgan, all rights reserved.

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Comments 4 comments

tirelesstraveler profile image

tirelesstraveler 4 years ago from California

Great Hub. My vet is into natural and alternative treatments. She even has an animal chiropractor that comes to her office. I used him once when my pointer threw his back out.


Maren Morgan M-T profile image

Maren Morgan M-T 4 years ago from Pennsylvania Author

tirelesstraveller, this would fit right in at your vet's office.


restrelax profile image

restrelax 4 years ago from Los angeles CA

Very useful hub.


Maren Morgan M-T profile image

Maren Morgan M-T 4 years ago from Pennsylvania Author

Yes, restrelax - massage is wonderful for any creature!

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