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7 Surprising Reasons Why Dogs Like Massages

Do Dogs Like Massages

Dogs love it when you pet them and scratch their belly.

Moreover, they can be a little indulgent, too.

Your fur baby actually likes receiving massages.

Who knew, right?

Now, what are the reasons for their fondness for this activity? 

Read on to discover:

  • If dogs enjoy head massages.
  • 9 reasons why dogs like massages.
  • 5 massage techniques to perform on your dog.
  • How to know if your dog enjoys the massage or not.
  • And many more…

Do dogs like massages?

Dogs like massages because it feels good. Such an activity soothes their anxiety and pain. It’s also a way of receiving affection and strengthening your bond. Lastly, it’s a relaxing activity that improves their body functions.

7 reasons why dogs like massages

#1: It feels good

If you’ve ever had a massage, then it’s a mutual understanding!

Receiving such an indulgent service feels good, doesn’t it?

Sometimes, you fight the urge to fall asleep. You want to lose yourself on the massage consciously…

But, a few times, you fail…

You submit to sleep in the middle of the session. And when you wake up, you feel well-rested and, as if, lighter.

Well, you and your dog share that same feeling towards massages.

Your pooch simply likes it because it feels good!

Moreover, it has many other benefits that add to that feeling. I’ll talk about it piece by piece further in the article…

Right now, let’s focus on how you can ensure one thing:

That the massage indeed feels good.

You’ll have to use techniques recommended by vets.

Note: These are methods that you can try at home. Other techniques like a full-body or deep tissue massage should be done by a professional.

Massage techniques for a relaxing session

Technique #1: The backstroke.

This is the introductory method to canine massages.

A simple and gentle backstroke massage is an excellent way to start.

Moreover, it doesn’t need much effort. 

You can do it while you and Fido are chilling on the couch. Then, the TV is playing a movie.

Stroke the back of their head first.

Apply light pressure while following around their spine. 

Note: Only do so around their spine. Don’t press directly on their bones.

Also, to emphasize, make sure that the pressure’s only light.

All in all, it seems like a simple back rub…

Technique #2: The forehead rub.

A dog’s forehead is a great spot to massage.


It’s because calming points are present in that area.

Start by applying light pressure on their nose.

Make use of your thumb and trace their nose up to their head. With that, you can go back and forth from their nose to the top of their head.

Technique #3: Rub the glutes and thighs.

Target the back of your dog’s legs and glutes.

As usual, use gentle pressure when massaging these parts. Again, you can use your thumb to do so.

Circle your thumbs around these areas. 

Technique #4: Ear rub-a-dub.

Dogs are simple creatures.

Dogs like receiving ear rubs so much

Sometimes, it would be like a massage already. 

Yes, it’s considered as a massage if you intend to.

Use your thumb again to massage the inner side of your pooch’s ear.

Make your way through their ear flaps. Now, you’ll use your index finger along with your thumb.

The former sits outside the flap of the ear. Then, the thumb stays inside.

Still, make sure that the pressure is light.

Once the massage ends, the last motion would be a gentle ear pull.

Technique #5: Stroke the base of their tail. This spot will stimulate relaxation.

#2: It eases their anxiety

Dogs Like Massages Because It Eases Their Anxiety

During a massage session, it’s like you forget all your problems.

That’s yet another feeling that you share with your pooch during a massage.

It’s because of the light pressure that you apply when massaging them…

That’s why massage is said to work like a Thundershirt vest. It’s clothing for dogs that acts as a swaddle.

Massage also has the same effects as a weighted blanket. Vets say such equipment is safe for pets under the circumstances. Moreover, it uses weight as a calming strategy, experts say.

Those 2 pieces of equipment both put pressure on your dog’s body. 

Most of all, they both deliver the same result: a sense of calmness.

That’s why you can use massage as a way to relieve your dog’s anxiety.

When your dog’s feeling scared, you can give a massage to relax them.

Note: Only if they allow by not reacting aggressively towards your touch.

Continue reading: 19 Proven Ways To Calm Your Anxious Dog (How-To Guide)

#3: It soothes their pain

Your dog likes massage because it soothes their pain.

Research tells us that massage has many benefits. One of those is treating ailments.

Then, it concludes with the thought that those benefits apply to dogs, too.

By receiving a massage, circulation is increased on their sore muscles and joints.

Then, Fido’s blood flow increases.

In summary, massage can help treat the following:

  • Swelling.
  • Chronic pain.
  • Osteoarthritis.

Warning: It’s important to seek the advice of a vet before using this as a way to soothe your dog’s pain.

Moreover, the vet could also recommend a licensed massage therapist for dogs.

#4: It’s a way of receiving affection

Remember every positive thing that you’ve done with your dog…

During all those interactions, there’s but one mood that your dog feels:

They feel loved. Bombarded, even, with affection.

And let me tell you… 

They also see massage as a way of receiving adoration.

It feels good, it’s relaxing, and it lets you be nearby.

And this is not just based on what your pup thinks…

It’s backed by research.

When you engage with your pooch positively, you both receive a surge of oxytocin.

This hormone makes you feel warm and fuzzy.  That’s why it’s linked to positive emotional states.

Now, whenever you touch your pooch, that surge takes place.

With that, massage can be seen as a positive interaction. Specifically, it’s a mode of showing love.

As a creature that adores love, your dog learns to like massage, too.

For further reading: 11 Weird Reasons Why You Love Your Dog So Much (It Hurts)

#5: They feel better internally

I’ve been talking about how massage can improve your dog’s circulation.

That’s only one of the many benefits of massage in your dog’s body!

After the improvement of their blood flow, many would follow.

Their blood pressure will decrease, which is healthy for their heart.

Then, their lymphatic fluid movement will improve.

“What’s that?”

That’s something in their body that carries white blood cells. Those cells are assigned to fight off foreign bodies like bacteria.

So with that enhanced, it means that their immune system gets better, too.

Lastly, it’s a healthy practice for their kidneys and liver.

With that many benefits, why won’t your dog enjoy a rejuvenating massage?

#6: It lets them tell you they trust you

Did you know? Dogs rarely use physical touch to communicate. That’s what this study says.

It’s only humans that prolong such interactions.

In reality, though, dogs aren’t that comfortable with extended physical contact.

But for you, they endure it.

And of course, for a massage, too.

So, dogs don’t just like receiving a massage for themselves…

They like it as it shows you that they trust you.

This is also the reason why your dog loves to initiate cuddles.

They’re like that person that doesn’t normally like hugs…

But they’re sweet, and for you, they want to put up with it.

You might also like: 21 Signs Your Dog Fully Trusts You (With His Life!)

#7: It’s a bonding moment

Like I said, massage is not just something that your dog enjoys selfishly.

In this relaxing activity, they still think about you.

When you massage them, it makes them happy. As I previously explained, that’s the oxytocin surge happening.

Moreover, your dog sees you as this person that makes them feel good. 

You’re the master of rejuvenation in Fido’s eyes, you can even say…

With that, they consider it a bonding moment with you.

It’s equally enjoyable like playing and cuddling with you…

That’s why in the end, massage can also strengthen your existing relationship with them.

People also ask:

How do you know if your dog likes massage?

You know if your dog likes getting a massage if they don’t try to run whenever you do it with them. It will be evident in your dog’s body language, too. For a dog who likes a massage, it’ll be as enjoyable as being pet by you.

It’ll be obvious from the start if your dog is up for a massage.

If they’re calm when you begin massaging them, then you can continue.

However, if they bark, growl, or whine at you when you start to touch them


It’s best to stop and try again next time. For now, give your pooch some space.

Now, say that they did agree on a massage…

During the session, they’ll show you signals that they’re enjoying it.

An uncomfortable dog will closely watch you as you touch them. From time to time, they might lick your hands to say that you should stop.

They also shouldn’t react with a whine when you press somewhere in their body.

On the other hand, a dog who likes massage will remain calm all throughout.

A dog who’s happy for a massage will stretch their hands, too. 

They might even roll on another side to give you access to a body part that they want you to reach. Sometimes, they won’t care what area you massage them. 

In the middle of massaging them, they’ll also lay their head on you if they appreciate it.

The most tell-tale sign of enjoyment will be if they fall asleep during a massage.

Note: Vets warn us to avoid areas with an open wound. They also remind dog parents that you shouldn’t perform a massage at all if your dog has broken bones.

If you want to massage your dog who’s injured or sick, ask a vet’s advice first.

Do dogs enjoy head massages?

Dogs enjoy head massages, especially if you do it right. Their forehead is also one of the right spots to massage. That’s because that part of their head has calming points.

To ensure you’re massaging your dog’s head the proper way, here’s what you can do:

Mainly use your thumbs for the massage.

Start from their nose…

Gently press your thumbs upward up to their forehead.

You’d just have to repeat that again and again until Fido falls asleep or withdraws.