You Can Be a Massage Expert

…For Dogs.

No matter how well we take care of our dogs, disease and injuries do still occur. If the injury is related to the muscles, tendons, joints or ligaments a vet can help. If there is a defect in the hip or elbow joints and in cases caused by unhealthy breeding, the only treatment available is pain relief. As dog owners there is nothing we can do to repair problems related to unhealthy breeding nor can we prevent all accidents. However we can prevent muscle related problems and strain injuries by massaging and stretching our dogs regularly. This keeps the dog well-balanced physically and psychologically, allowing it to retain the agility of the young dog to an advanced age.

Massaging your dog has many benefits:

  • Improves blood circulation
  • Improves muscle tone and range of motion
  • Improve socialization skills
  • Helps injured muscle heal faster
  • Helps dissolve formation of adhesions
  • Increases flexibility of soft tissue
  • Reduces discomfort from arthritis lameness and hip dysplasia
  • Removes waste and toxins from muscles and joints
  • Reduces stress caused by adjusting to new environment
  • Reduces stiffness and provide comfort for elderly dogs
  • Provides comfort
  • Provides relaxation and improve wellness
Take 5 minutes a day and massage your dog on almost every part of its body from his head to his toes and you will not only get to know your dog better, but your touch will also stimulate something in your dog that will make your dog respond to you in ways I cannot explain. I guarantee you will notice the change in your dog's attitude within as little as 2 - 3 days!!!! Instructions for dog massage: Use very light oil. (I recommend Neutrogena Light Sesame Body Oil but baby oil is O.K.) Rub a very small amount (the size of a dime) into your hands and start at the top of the head and slowly stroke down the back to the base of the tail 3 - 4 times. Do an additional 2 - 3 times including the tail this time all the way to the tip. Use a very gentle but firm "squeeze-grip" on the tail as you slide your hand down to the tip, starting with a pause as you squeeze at the base of the tail, keeping your grip all the way to the tip of the tail. Next, gently rub the back of the neck behind the ears with your forefingers for a few seconds. Then, hold your dog's head in your hands by the cheeks and under the ears (with the dog facing you) and rock the head gently side-to-side 4 - 5 times. Massage the ears, taking care when you finish by inserting the tip of your thumb into the ear (about 1/8") and rub the ears between your thumb and forefinger. Massage your dog's eyes (they will close automatically) very lightly with your thumbs and stroke your forefingers down the nose, starting between the eyes. Gently pinch your dog's cheeks and lips several times and finally stroke the throat and chin. Add a drop more oil to your hands and massage the chest (while the dog is standing), moving your hands under the armpits and rubbing gently. Allow your hands to slide from the armpits to the forelegs. Slide your hands down the forelegs (like you did for the tail) with a soft but firm grip all the way down to the paws. Gently hold the paws (one at a time) and squeeze gently for a few seconds. Repeat this procedure, starting with the chest, 2 - 3 times. *A note: It is best to straddle your dog standing over him like you would sit on a horse when you start with the chest massage (don't sit on him!!!). Then turn the opposite direction and massage the buttock, sliding your hands down the hind legs and massaging down to the paws. (Just as you did for the forelegs.) You can also massage the chest, armpits, legs and paws while your dog is laying down. Either on his side or on his back.

I now want to show you how easily you can preserve and increase mobility and reduce the risk of muscle related injuries. Here is an example of one of the basic stretching techniques:

“The greater part of the pressure you exert should be applied by the flat hand although your thumb and fingers are also engaged in manipulation.”

“Hold the dog’s elbow with one hand, grasping the wrist with the other. Move the leg forward and upwards, stretching the elbow joint and the flexor muscles of the foreleg (shoulder joint). “

“Place one hand directly above the knee joint and the other hand on the lower part of the leg around the hock joint. Lift the leg upwards so that the knee is bent. Push gently upwards and backwards with the hand positioned above the knee joint.”

A client waiting to be massage...