Dog Massages – The Benefits and Techniques Every Dog Owner Can Do At Home

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We all love a good massage for a reason – it’s very relaxing, soothing and stress relieving. Studies have shown that dogs that are given regular massages also enjoy these benefits and much more. Note that dog massage started a long time ago even though it became more popular among dog owners and rehabilitators in the last 10 years. So, what are the benefits of dog massage? How can you do it safely at home? When is this practice not recommended or beneficial? Continue reading to find out the answers to these questions and much more:

The Benefits

In simple terms, massage is the kneading and rubbing of joints and muscles of the body using the hands to relieve pain or tension. Let’s look at the main benefits of massaging our dogs regularly:

Stress Relief

Dog massage is an excellent stress reliever for dogs, especially those that have suffered from stress or trauma of living in a sheltered/abusive environment. But even if your pet doesn’t fall in this category, giving him regular massages can help calm him down and make him feel more relaxed whenever he’s nervous or anxious.

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Pain Relief And Reduction Of Muscle Tension

If your pet suffers from arthritis or other mobility problems, massaging him regularly can help to loosen him up and reduce the tension in his muscles. Dogs that suffer from sore muscles after exercise can also benefit from massage as it aids in relieving pain.

Bonding

Massage also allows you to spend quality time with your dog, while strengthening the bond that the two of you share together.

Improvement Of Motion Range

Massage also helps to improve the motion range of your dog, which helps him to stay fit and healthy. And when your pet is healthy, you’ll schedule fewer appointments to the veterinarian’s office, leaving you with more money in your pocket. Note that athletic dogs that are prone to injuries can also benefit from regular massage as it helps them to recover faster from their injuries.

Post-surgical Recovery

Dog massage is also used by many veterinarians to aid in post-surgical recovery. This is because this practice improves blood circulation, reduces tissue swelling, reduces fibrous adhesion and improve range of motion. All of these factors speed up recovery after surgery with less chances of pain.

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Dog Massage Techniques You Can Try At Home

Technique For Stress Relief

Long, gentle and calming strokes are very helpful for calming an anxious or stressed dog. Start by putting your hand at the back of your pet’s neck and work your way slowly downwards. Focus more on the tensed areas of his body, stroking him gently until his muscles are relaxed and he’s calm.

Technique For Pain Recovery and Arthritis

If your pet has arthritis or is in pain of any kind, start with slow, gentle strokes to help him relax. Thereafter, you can apply pumping and compression motions to soften the tensed muscles and tissues. Go gently when massaging the painful or sore areas so as to avoid worsening the problem. End the session with long, gentle strokes to help him relax.

Technique For Injury Rehabilitation

Dog massage techniques for injury rehabilitation differ depending on the type of injury a dog has. Because of this, canine physical therapists or veterinarians will often provide you with a handout specifying the technique to use on your pet to help him recover faster.
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When Is Dog Massage Not Recommended?

Avoid massaging your pet if he has sprained or fractured limbs. Also, dogs that suffer from unknown masses/conditions as well as systemic problems like organ dysfunction, fever etc. shouldn’t be massaged. Lastly, don’t massage surgical sites on your dog’s body unless your vet has instructed you to do so. Now that you know the benefits of dog massage and how to do it at home, consider massaging your pet regularly to help him live a longer, healthier and happier life.