Massaging your dog has many benefits, including strengthening the bond between you and your furry friend, so we’ve put together a few simple guidelines to help you begin.
Just like us, dogs can get sore muscles and achy joints. However, dog massage is much more gentle than it is for humans so these tips offer some gentle techniques for the perfect, relaxing doggy massage.
One of the benefits of dog massage is that it can help prevent and alleviate muscle aches and also increase movement. Massages can also improve your dog's body functions as an increase in body circulation and decrease in blood pressure can aid digestion, encourage deeper breathing, stimulate the kidneys and liver and improve lymphatic fluid movement.*
*The lymphatic system is a system of tissues and organs that help the body get rid of toxins and waste
For a basic full body massage at home you can follow these tips, starting with just a few minutes and working your way up to longer sessions of 10 minutes. You can then start to incorporate a regular massage into your dog’s routine.
Deep tissue massage should only be done by a professional so stick to light pressure and ensure your dog is relaxed and comfortable with the situation. Try a little massage after a long walk, before bedtime or incorporate it when stroking your dog if they are relaxed and happy with you doing so. If your dog has just eaten, leave it about 30 minutes before massaging.
- Start with some stroking and petting as you normally would on their back, tummy and other body parts that you know they usually enjoy. Keep things calm with long slow strokes.
- Start the massage at the neck with slow gentle pressure in a circular motion, with your fingertips.
- Work your way down from the neck to the shoulder blades, continuing with the gentle circular strokes with your fingertips.
- Continue down their back with circular gentle strokes all the way towards their tail.
- Move to the back legs with care. Some dogs dislike their legs being touched and their paws especially as they are very sensitive. You know your dog best so you can choose whether to include the legs as we want them to be as comfortable as possible. If you do, apply gentle pressure over the ankles, working your way up to the thigh.
- Move to the front legs and continue with the same gentle pressure, watching for any signs of discomfort in your dog. If they don’t like their legs being touched, move on…
- Finish with an ear rub, placing your thumbs at the base of the inner side of your dog's ear and index at the base of the outside of the ear. Use gentle pressure and slide your hands out towards the ends of the ears.
- Let your dog rest and relax post massage.