Updated: Jul 1, 2021
Massage is not just for people. Dogs can get great benefits from a massage. It can aid in relaxation and reduce anxiety in a stressful dog, reduce pain from sore joints in a senior dog, increase circulation, and promote well-being in your dog. It is also a great bonding activity for pet parents and their doggies.
Here are a few tips for massaging your doggie:
1) It’s important for the pet parent to be relaxed, so take a few deep breaths before you start massaging your dog. Dogs have a good sense of the emotions of their pet parents, so this will set a relaxed tone for their massage.
2) Playing soft music can also help create a relaxed environment for your dog’s massage. Check out doggie relaxation music on your favorite music streaming service.
3) Always ask permission from your dog to perform massage. They will let you know if they’re not interest. If they’re not interest, don’t force them, just try again at another time.
4) It's best to wait at least 30 minutes after your dog has eaten before starting a massage.
5) Work with your dog in a spot that is most comfortable for them. It might be on their doggie bed, on your couch, or on the floor. Their comfort is the first priority.
6) Always use light, soft, long, gentle strokes with a relaxed, open hand.
7) Do not press down or use pressure over joints, bones, or the spine.
8) Start by using long sweeping strokes with continuous movement from the head towards the tail. This is called effleurage. It will warm the tissue and promote circulation. It also just feels good!
9) Find a yummy spot on your dog that can be a good spot to massage for comfort and to reduce stress. Sometimes this can be on the chest or behind the ears.
10) Massage should be a positive experience for your dog, so never force them to have a massage. Their body language will tell you when to start and when to stop. It is normal for a dog to get distracted, wiggly, stretch or change positions during a massage. Just give them a little time until they tell you it’s ok to continue.
And most of all, have fun and enjoy the time spent with your dog!
For information on the science-based benefits of having a dog check out my post
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