Massage is Good for Dogs as Well
You know the dog owner’s routine.
You come home from work, school, or an outing. Your dog runs to meet you with a tailing wagging so fast it’s a blur. Regardless of what you do first, once you both are in the house and you sit down, she’s ready to be petted.
A similar scenario plays out several times every day. Even standoffish dogs will come to collect some petting from their humans at least a few times every day. Why not turn one of these petting sessions in a massage session for your dog?
There are numerous benefits to massaging your dog. Here are a few:
Stroking your dog firmly, but gently, all over her body can help improve blood flow. Keep your palm flat. Go from head to tail and body to feet, in the direction her fur grows. Don’t use much pressure, and be slow about it.
Early Detection of Bumps, Sores, or Changes in Skin or Coat
As you massage your dog, notice any lumps or bumps that you find. Make sure you feel her skin, as well as her coat. Check out any lesions or matted places in her fur. This is also a good time to check for ticks and fleas, especially in the summer. If any abnormalities present and persist or grow, be sure to take your dog to the vet to be checked out.
Relieves Stress and Anxiety.
What’s the first thing your dog does when she’s scared? She seeks you out. She will protect you from dangers she perceives, but she needs you to protect her as well. Massaging your dog will help comfort and relax her. The gentle consistent touch of your hand helps reassure her all is well with her world.
Strengthens Your Bond and Makes You Feel Good
If you belong to the “what’s in it for me” crowd, take note: massaging your dog makes you feel good, too. There’s something soothing about petting your warm furry friend. Spending daily quality with your dog (or each dog, if you have multiple dogs) is important to keep your bond with your dog strong. This is a great way to spend time, for you to feel better, and for your dog to feel better as well.
A Few Things to Keep in Mind
If you have ever had someone rub a knot out of one of your muscles, you know sometimes it hurts before it feels better. You live with the pain, knowing the end result will be worth it. You can also tell the masseuse to ease back a little.
Dogs can’t use words to tell you if you’re pushing too hard. They don’t understand that a little pain now can mean it will feel better later. If something hurts them or bothers them, they’ll walk away.
It’s important that you stay very present with your dog. It’s easy to let your mind wander when you pet your dog because it’s so relaxing. But when you’re massaging your dog it’s important that you monitor her reaction at all times. If she’s distressed, you need to know if it’s something you’re doing, or if she’s in pain for some reason and you didn’t realize it.
Don’t apply external heat to your dog. A warm compress might feel good to you when you overdo playing a sport, doing yard work, or shoveling snow. But external heating sources are too hot for most dogs. The warmth of your hand will be enough extra warmth to help ease her pain.
Unless your dog is used to fragrances, don’t use aromatic oils or candles. Your dog might be more interested in that unusual smell than she is in the massage. You want her to lie still during her massage.
You do what you can to keep your dog safe, well-fed, healthy, and happy. Adding a massage to your daily dog care routine is a benefit both you and your dog can enjoy.