If I told you that you could greatly benefit your dog's health in just 10 minutes a day, would you do it? It doesn't take long to give a dog massage, and it provides numerous benefits to your pet's health. It's also a great way to foster the bond between you and your Fido. But how to give a dog a massage properly so that he enjoys it rather than tries to run away from you?
Just like humans, our dogs' bodies get tired after a long day. Your dog will enjoy getting a quick massage (if done properly) just as much as you would. Not to mention, it's a great way to show him how much you care and help to grow the bond that the two of you share.
There are many health benefits to dog massage as well, according to experts.
Did you know that giving your dog a massage that lasts about 10 minutes or so every day may potentially:
- lower blood pressure
- increase circulation
- aid in digestion
- strengthen his immune system
- reduce your dog's stress and anxiety
- rehabilitate tired muscles and reduce pain and swelling
Just like DIY grooming, giving your dog massage will also help you get to know his body.
When massaging your dog, you'll feel changes in his muscle mass, discover lumps and bumps, and discover areas that are causing him pain. This allows you to be proactive about his health and seek veterinary treatment as soon as possible when needed.
Now that you know the benefits, let's talk about how to give a dog massage and three different types of animal massage that can have substantial benefits for your pet.
How to Give a Dog Massage (that he'll enjoy)
3 best types of animal massages
1. Daily Dog Massage
As I mentioned, taking just 10 minutes each day to give your dog a massage can greatly improve his health. It's easy to do, and it's a great way to warm up an active dog each morning. So the next you get up and want to pet your dog, massaging him instead.
Do not massage your dog as you would Massage another person.
Unlike the case with people, dogs do not need a deep tissue massage, and it will likely hurt more than it will help him. Gentle massage of your pet is all your dog's body really requires. You don't need to push deep down into muscles.
Start by calming down your dog
You'll want your dog to be in a calm state. In my video guide, I massage my dog while she's resting on the couch. If your dog is nervous, he's not going to enjoy the massage, and he may even get irritable if you stumble upon an injury or sore muscle.
Use some of the most effective, proven techniques to calm down a dog if you need.
Talk in a calm voice, and begin by running your hands over his entire body very gently. This light petting will help to calm your dog and prepare him for his massage.
Begin the massage at the neck and work your way down his body.
Make small circular motions, and remember to keep the pressure light. Massage all around his neck and then slowly move down to his chest and shoulders.
Continue down both front legs, and don't forget the paws. If your pooch doesn't like having his paws touched, which is quite common, then skip the paws and continue moving down his back and abdomen.
Work your way down to his hips and back legs. Take special care here, as this is a very sensitive area for dogs with arthritis, hip dysplasia and other health conditions. Use gentle pressure and make small circles. If your dog shows any sign of pain, stop immediately.
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2. Dog Massage for Sore Muscles
If you notice that your dog has a particularly sore muscle, you can use a specific technique to help the fluid move through the muscle and relieve the pressure. You should do this every few hours to aid in the healing of the muscle.
Begin by petting the area.
This will help to warm it up and show your dog that you're not trying to cause him more pain. With an open hand, press down gently on the muscle and hold the gentle pressure for 15-30 seconds.
Again, if your dog seems irritated, stop immediately.
Release the pressure and remove your hand for 15-30 seconds. Continue this press and release pattern for 5-10 minutes. End the massage with more petting, as it will show your dog that he did well to tolerate the treatment and you're not trying to hurt him.
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3. Calming Dog Massage
One of the best benefits of dog massage is that it has a calming and relaxing effect on your pup. If your dog has anxiety or becomes afraid for some reason, doggy massage is a great way to help to calm down a dog.
Let's say your dog is afraid of thunder. When you notice him becoming upset, you can try to calm with a massage. Place one hand at the base of his head and the other above his pelvis. Just rest them there – do not apply any pressure.
Run one hand down from the base of the head to the tip of your dog's tail. Apply slight pressure as you pet him. If it seems to be helping, continue massaging your dog this way for at least 15 minutes.
For some dogs, it may seem to make him more agitated. If this is the case, stop immediately and give your dog some space.
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