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How to massage your dog

Updated on June 13, 2009

You know how wonderful it feels when you had a good massage, right? You feel revitalized, more flexible as the aches and pains were gone. Massage eases the stress of every day life as it is known to lower stress hormone levels. It would not be surprising then if your dog enjoys massage just as you do. Dog massage is so common these days. The benefits humans gain from massage is also gained by the pet.

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Benefits of a good massage

A good massage promotes the well being of the pet. It increases blood circulation, flexibility and agility. Age related arthritic pains, joint and tendon problems and muscle stiffness attributed to long confinement due to an injury are only some of the most common ailments that benefits from a massage. Massage relaxes used and abused muscles of performing and competing dogs as well. The health of kenneled pets is maintained through the help of massage. And lastly massage enhances the relationship of pet and owner.

Various techniques of massage

Different techniques of massages are used on the different systems of the dog. Long slow strokes or the passive type is for the respiratory system. The nervous system responds to passive touch where no movement or pressure from the hand is required. Muscles benefit from kneading as it stimulates the skin and the dog’s coat thus increasing blood flow and circulation. Very light and slow stroking is used to calm a stressed dog.

Massaging the dog

The massage can be done by a therapist or you can do it yourself.  A massage is bonding time for you and your pet. The gentle soothing strokes will tell the dog that it is loved. You can easily learn how to massage the pet through how-to books, DVDs and online courses. Massaging the dog is very similar to the way humans are massaged. You can stroke the entire body of the dog or concentrate on some special parts of dog’s body. When you massage your pet, make sure that Poochie is comfortable. Let the dog lie in a soft but firm surface. Start the massage with slow strokes from the head to the base of the tail. The massage is supposed to be enjoyed by the dog but some dogs are skittish. It is hoped that the gentle stokes will make the dog more comfortable and would allow the massage. With light pressure, move to the cheeks, to the ears, nose and head of the dog. Use the palm of the hand to apply a little bit of pressure on the neck shoulders and chest. Walk the thumb and the index finger down the long muscles on both sides of the spine. Finish the massage by gently and firmly squeezing the tail from the base to the tip. 

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    • kblover profile image

      Brian McDowell 8 years ago from USA

      Very nice - I've been trying to figure out how to massage my dog and this was helpful.

      I liked the videos as well.

      Lots of information. Good job!