Bones & Joints

Doggie Massage Basics


One of the fastest growing fields in dog healthcare is animal massage. The controlled, soothing touch not only help give dogs comfort but can also help in alleviating problems by managing pain, strengthening the immune system, firming up the muscles, joints, and tendons, releasing cortisone which relieves swelling and inflammation, as well as producing endorphins. Aside from that, doggie massage also helps in increasing overall circulation, improving digestion, and even in removing toxins in a pet’s body. Best of all, you get a few precious moments of bonding time with your furbaby!

Dog Massage: Before You Begin

Since dogs have different needs and biological makeup than people do, it is crucial for you to be knowledgeable and well-trained in canine anatomy and physiology before beginning to work on a dog that’s been stressed or injured. Without sufficient knowledge and experience, it’s possible to make problems worse or cause further injury. If your dog is injured, consult a veterinarian or dog massage therapist before beginning a massage routine.

· Talk to your dog’s veterinarian before starting a massage program.

· Call a professional dog masseuse if working with a delicate pooch or one with restricted mobility because of injury, joint problem, or surgery.

· Don’t massage Fido if he has a fever, is in shock, or has a serious illness or injury which hasn’t yet been diagnosed.

· Don’t massage an area with a lump, infected or open wound, or some sort of skin infection.

· Always check with a vet before massaging a dog which has cancer.

· If Fido is in good health, choose a word or phrase to let your pooch know that it’s time for a rubdown. Your dog has to learn this so he’ll recognize the routine and settle down gladly for the session.

· Wait until after your pooch’s potty break, and at least about 15 minutes after his mealtime to begin a massage.

· Look for a quiet spot, and try playing some gentle, soothing music.

· Sit in a comfy position or stand at a hip-high table so you can breathe steadily and deeply.

· Pet your dog gently, speak to him softly, and then start the massage routine.

You’re now ready to begin! Up next, step-by-step instruction for massaging your dog:

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  1. Leslie

    May 12, 2016 at 2:13 pm

    So many people don’t realise that massage is an effective technique for lots of ailments that is pretty easy to learn and apply yourself without having to go to a special center or vet’s office. Obviously it would be beneficial for the owner and the dog to get some orientation and guidance first from someone who knows what they’re doing.. but then after really all you need is you, your dog, and practice! This article from Ortcanis mentions how massage can help to treat tired or damaged muscles in dogs with hip dysplasia.. I’ve only been doing it for a couple of weeks now on my dog so it’s probably too early to decide whether or not the effects it’s having are truly noticeable.. but based on my dog’s reaction I’m going to keep trying!:

  2. Linda

    May 7, 2015 at 11:39 pm

    Several years ago, we rescued a 4 year old Sheltie who had never been socialized. She was afraid of everything and everyone. She would regularly try to hide behind a piece of furniture or a potted plant. We put a leash on her while she was in the house and made sure she was at least in the same room as the rest of the family. Gradually, I started using the Tellington Touch method of massage on her as I lay beside her on the floor while she lay on a couch cushion. I would stroke and massage her and speak quietly to her. Sometimes we fell asleep with each other. Before long, she became my little shadow, and eventually learned to enjoy being around people and to become a joyful Sheltie the way God intended.

  3. Marian

    May 16, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    My 4 year old Chihuahua comes to me for his massages. I have trouble walking so it’s hard for me to take him on walks. So, he just looooooves his massages, especially around his neck. He will fall asleep in my lap usually. He’s so cute.

  4. Dr Les Ellam

    May 16, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    I’m also a qualified dog masseur and muscle therapist and spend a lot of summer going two shows and events trying to get the idea of dog massage into the local consciousness. It has to be the best job I have ever done in my life. Helping a dog who comes in stiff legged, sad and with their tail down but who leaves an hour later with their spring back, tail wagging and having smothered me in dog kisses is an absolute joy. We work with the owners so they learn what we are doing and hopefully take some ideas back as homework. Glad to see this article helping to spread the word.

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