Massaging your dog is a great way to bond with your furry friend, and spot potential health problems, like tumors or sore spots, before they get out of hand. Massaging a dog is different from massaging a person; instead of doing a deep tissue massage to loosen muscles, the aim is to use gentle motions that help your pet relax and feel comfortable.
Other benefits of massaging your dog:
- Regular massage can help slow down the degeneration of joints.
- Reduces muscular tension, which helps relieve some of the aches and pains associated with arthritis.
- Stimulates circulation and helps drainage.
- Provides some sweet quality time to bond with your best friend.
When to start?
Do it during a time when you and your dog are already in a relaxed state of mind, like at the end of the day after dinner. This will make it easier for your dog to relax under your touch.
- Don’t massage your dog when he’s worked up for some reason or another; it’s better to wait until he’s already pretty calm.
- Don’t massage right after an exercise session; give him a half hour or so to rest first.
- Don’t massage your dog if he’s not feeling well; simple petting will do, but he might not be up for getting massaged.
How to massage?
Begin with gentle petting. Pet your dog in the spots you know he likes best. This will help him settle down and get relaxed enough to enjoy the massage. Pet him on the head, tummy, back, and other spots using gentle strokes.
Massage the dog’s neck. Use the tips of your fingers to make a circular motion just below the head. Apply gentle pressure, but not so much you make your dog uncomfortable. Don’t press your dog’s body so hard that he flinches. Remember, you’re not trying to do a deep tissue massage. You just want to rub his body to help him feel calm and bond with him.
Move down to the shoulders. Slowly work your way down the neck and to in between his shoulders. This is usually the dog’s favorite spot, because it is one of the only places he can’t reach himself, so spend extra time there.
Next do the legs and the chest. Some dogs don’t like being touched on the legs; if your dog flinches, remove your hands and move to the next part of the body. If he likes it, see if he wants a paw massage, too.
Massage your dog’s back. Work your way back up to between the shoulders and slowly travel down the back. Use small circular motions with your fingers on either side of the spine
Finish with the back legs. Continue massaging until you end up at the base of the tail. Gently massage down the dog’s back legs. Continue to the paws if your dog enjoys having his feet picked up.
How often should I massage my dog?
- To really make a difference, you need to massage your dog at least two to three times a week.
- Session should last 10 to 15 minutes. Longer if your dog is a large breed.
What if my dog doesn’t like it?
Stop if your dog doesn’t like it. The point of a massage is to help your dog feel happy and relaxed, so don’t do it if he doesn’t like it. If he’s happy being massaged, he’ll stretch out and breathe easily. If he’s not, he may exhibit the following behavior.
- Stiffening when you move from simple petting to massage
- Biting at your hand
- Running away
Written by Germeen Metwally
Sources: Care2 , ProPet Sciences , wikiHow
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