Before you scoff at the phrase “dog massage,” think about the fact that dogs age much faster than people do. By seven years old, most dogs are considered senior citizens. They encounter the same aches, pains and ailments we will when we hit retirement. You plan on turning down a massage at age 75? I didn’t think so. The dog massage industry is booming for a reason.
First of all, the benefits of massages for dogs are pretty much the same as they are for humans.
Obviously you need to be careful and get advice about doing dog massage if your pet is injured, but to give your furry family member some extra love and not just a scratch behind the ears… here are some steps:
1. Relax yourself first and set up a safe space. f you’re tense, your dog will pick up on your energy and become stressed, too. Dogs, especially excitable ones, may need extra coaxing to chill out. Think about a soothing spa and replicate that—in dog terms. Grab her favorite bed or toy. Eliminate other distractions like open windows or food bowls.
2. Start by the ears. Gently stroke the dog’s head and shoulders with flat palms and in long, straight lines. This warms up muscles. It also feels like normal, familiar petting, putting dogs at ease.
3. Move down the back. Using circular motions and slightly more pressure, work your way onto the chest and down the back and hind legs. If you know your dog is sensitive about having her belly rubbed, don’t rub it. Also, be sure to avoid putting any direct pressure on bones, joints or the spine. This is all about the muscles.
4. Move to the legs. If your pet is into having their legs massaged (not all dogs are), go for it and test a paw, too. Every dog has limits, so keep a sharp eye on her reactions and pull back if they ever wriggles out from under your hand.
Pro Tip: Focusing on the base of the tail and the back of the neck at first can help soothe your dog into deeper relaxation.
5. Maintain contact. Throughout the massage, always keep at least one hand on the dog. This is both reassuring to her and indicative that the massage isn’t over yet (massages can last anywhere from ten minutes to 45 minutes, depending on what your dog needs and wants.)
Bailey’s Hi-5: 5 Steps to Massage your Dog