Many studies focus on the usefulness of massage on humans…
Then, our great thinkers thought, “Do these benefits apply to dogs, too?”
Well, the results didn’t disappoint…
Indeed there are many benefits of massaging your pooch.
In this article, you’ll find out what those thinkers uncovered…
You’re about to learn:
- 11 benefits of giving your dog a massage.
- 5 reminders when giving your fur baby a massage.
- Why your pooch loves receiving a massage from you.
- 5 things to expect on your canine’s massage therapy sessions.
- And many more…
Table of contents
- Is it good to massage your dog?
- 11 benefits of giving your dog a massage
- #1: It decreases feelings of fear and anxiety
- #2: It feels good
- #3: It helps with alleviating pain
- #4: It’s good for arthritic dogs
- #5: It’s great for active and athletic dogs
- #6: It helps you assess their body
- #7: It helps with swelling
- #8: It improves their body functions
- #9: It nurtures their overall well-being
- #10: It strengthens your bond with them
- #11: They love it, and they love you
Is it good to massage your dog?
It’s good to massage your dog as it has many benefits for their mind and body. It improves their blood circulation, which enhances overall bodily functions. Moreover, dogs enjoy it because it feels good. It also strengthens your bond with them. Also, dog parents can benefit from this experience.
11 benefits of giving your dog a massage
#1: It decreases feelings of fear and anxiety
Massage therapy is becoming a growing sensation in pet care.
Why wouldn’t it be?
It’s mostly giving off positive results.
One of those effects is the way it can relieve fear and anxiety.
But first, what is the difference between the two?
|Fear||It’s the natural response to a frightening stimulus.|
|Anxiety||It’s when your dog feels afraid of the mere anticipation of a fearful stimulus.|
Here are the usual causes of fear in dogs according to the MSDVM:
- Other dogs.
- Loud noises.
- Unfamiliar people.
- Odd visual stimuli like umbrellas or hats.
- Coming home from the vet or the grooming parlor.
- Combination stimuli like a loud TV with a strange display.
So, when you massage your pooch, your magic touch lets the fear and anxiety disappear.
That’s why this is useful when your dog gets afraid. Whether the stimulus is still present or they’ve already been exposed to it.
This is effective because a massage promotes calm. With that, Fido might forget their fear and focus on that magic touch…
Note: A scared dog won’t always allow you to massage them.
Continue reading: 7 Weird Reasons Why Your Dog Is Acting Scared + Tips
#2: It feels good
This is the simplest benefit of a massage to a dog…
It feels good to be massaged…
Your pooch can attest to that.
It’s an activity that can make your fur baby happy.
And don’t you want that for them as their dog parent?
Make sure that the massage indeed feels good for Fido.
So, here’s some how-to guide on massaging your pooch.
Methods for a good massage for your dog
Method #1: Give them ear rubs.
Yes, it counts as a massage.
Moreover, dogs love to receive ear rubs.
Simply stroke their ears using your thumbs and index fingers.
Circle your thumbs around their ear flaps. As you do, watch your pooch smile at you while you do so.
Method #2: Rub their nose up to their forehead.
Again, your thumbs would be mostly at work on this one.
Start stroking their nose with your thumbs. Make upward motions to reach their forehead.
Did you know? A dog’s forehead has calming points that you’d hit when you massage them in that area.
Method #3: Do the backstroke.
This is the simplest one, yet it feels equally good for Fido.
Start on the back of their head. Apply gentle pressure, especially around their spine.
Note: Avoid pressing directly on their spine. Only work around it.
Method #4: Massage the base of their tail.
Massaging this area would encourage calm in your pooch.
Method #5: Rub those glutes and thighs.
Again, your thumbs would do most of the work in this method.
Use a circling motion while massaging these areas.
Remember: On all these methods, make sure that you only apply light pressure. Don’t press too hard.
#3: It helps with alleviating pain
Is your dog in pain?
If they are, then massage therapy could be a way to treat them.
First, here are the signs of pain in dogs according to PetMD:
- Low posture.
- Hesitating to get up.
- Sudden vocalization.
- Refusal to be touched.
- Pain-induced aggression.
- Walking slower than usual.
- Panting suddenly without recent physical exertion.
If you see these signs in your dog, take them to the veterinarian.
Moreover, if the pain that Fido’s feeling is persistent, then you can consider this remedy.
That’s because massage therapy is now a widely-used way of treatment for relieving pain in dogs.
Note: Only regard this way of treatment if the doctor recommends it. If the vet does, then seek the help of a licensed massage therapist for dogs.
At the start, all of them had issues with pain.
The majority of them have myofascial pain syndrome (MPS), a syndrome for chronic pain.
In the end, the study was a success.
That’s because a staggering 95.5% of the subject dogs have responded well to the treatment.
The reports for pain were recorded, and they showed a decrease in pain severity.
With that, researchers concluded that massage therapy effectively reduces chronic pain.
What to expect on your dog’s massage therapy sessions
As I said, vets promote this to be practiced by professionals.
If you’re considering letting Fido undergo this treatment, here’s what to expect:
#1: The professional will need your dog’s medical history.
#2: Get ready to answer the question, “What results do you desire during these sessions?”
#3: Your pupper will undergo evaluation before starting massage therapy.
That evaluation aims to determine painful and tense areas.
Such a process is necessary. That’s because the therapist needs to know how much pressure to apply to those areas.
#4: Sessions would last at least 30 minutes.
If too much muscle tension and pain are present, it might take longer.
#5: The number of sessions depends on the chronicity of your dog’s pain.
#4: It’s good for arthritic dogs
This study showcases the thinkers that I mentioned in the intro.
At first, many have investigated the studies for the benefits of massage in humans…
But due to our similar physiology and anatomy with dogs, researchers thought:
Would dogs reap the same benefits of massage as humans do?
At the end of the study, that hypothesis got answered with a ‘yes.’
It’s because massaging is a therapeutic manipulation of soft tissues.
With that, massage helps improve blood circulation in the body. As a result, the act of massaging affects the following:
- Nervous system.
- Circulatory system.
Along with those, researchers discovered that massage helps with osteoarthritis in dogs. That’s what I’ll focus on in this section.
The improvement in circulation lets blood go into Fido’s sore muscles and joints. With that, Fido experiences feelings of progress in those areas.
But, as I previously said, the advice of a professional regarding this is essential.
That’s because there are many considerations to note. Some examples are:
Note #1: Over-massaging can occur, too. If it does, it’ll only cause more pain and inflammation.
Note #2: You might massage directly onto your dog’s arthritic joints. Such should not happen.
You only have to massage those muscle groups around the arthritic joints.
Note #3: Don’t perform a deep tissue massage on your pooch. Only a professional should practice that technique.
Note #4: Your fur baby might whine during sessions. If they do, it’s time to move on to a new area in their body.
Note #5: If your dog’s a senior, they could react unpredictably. That’s because they have issues with being touched at that age.
#5: It’s great for active and athletic dogs
For athletes, warming up before a game is essential.
By doing so, there is less risk for injuries. Blood flow will increase while muscle tension decreases.
Now, on your active dog…
Say that they’re about to go for a walk and play at the park…
But first, how about a warm-up massage?
They need it as much as human athletes do.
If they get a warm-up massage, they can move freely. With that, Fido might enjoy the activity more.
Plus, they’ll experience the same positive benefits as when a human warms up.
Then after their activity, they’ll appreciate another massage session.
Post-activity massage is as necessary as the warm-up massage.
This time, a massage can soothe any discomfort from the strenuous activity.
Did you know? Research says that massage is applicable for canine sports medicine.
That’s why before competitions, athletic dogs receive massages. Such a practice gets them ready for their contests.
In that, it can be said that massage replaces stretching in these activities.
#6: It helps you assess their body
If you’re the one doing their massage, then it can help you assess your pooch’s body.
You can catch any abnormality on Fido’s body during their massage session.
Then, you can note those irregularities. With that, remember to tell Fido’s vet about it.
“But what exactly am I looking for?”
Massage is part of what VCA Hospital recommends as a home check-up.
So, those vets gave us things to look out for. Those are:
- Fleas and ticks.
- Skin abnormalities.
- Lumps and bumps.
- Any kind of swelling on their legs, groin, and knees.
While you do this massage check-up, make sure only to apply light pressure. I keep reminding you this as this is important when you’re massaging your canine yourself.
#7: It helps with swelling
Among many other things, massage can also help with edema. The same research from #4 says so.
First, edema is also known as swelling.
It’s due to the accumulation of fluid in any area of the body. Those areas could be:
- Digestive tract.
- Aorta (in the heart).
- Airways, lungs, or alveoli (Pulmonary edema).
According to vets, these are the causes of edema in dogs:
- Blood clots.
- Getting stung by a bee.
- Coming in contact with toxic substances.
- Neoplasia, or the abnormal growth of tissues.
Then, some factors make your fur baby prone to edema. Those are:
- Cardiac diseases.
On the other hand, weight gain is the only observable symptom of edema. Other signs are almost impossible to detect…
It’s only after a physical examination that your dog will be diagnosed.
That’s why massage is extremely helpful in this issue.
Not only can it reduce edema and swelling…
It can also help you catch the condition.
#8: It improves their body functions
If your dog’s a healthy pooch, they’ll still reap a lot of gains.
That’s because massage is equally beneficial to a dog in good physical condition.
Let’s start with the already-mentioned fact:
Massage improves blood circulation in the body. With that, their blood pressure decreases and is maintained.
The circulatory system plays a vital role in their bodily functions. That’s why you can expect a surge of improvement in their overall health.
That’s because their body receives oxygen and nutrients the proper way.
With that, massaging can specifically help with the following:
- Assisting with digestion.
- Vitalizing their kidneys and liver.
- Strengthening the immune system.
- Encouraging deep breathing, which is a key to relaxation.
#9: It nurtures their overall well-being
Some people go for a massage every payday. The purpose is to reward themselves and get relaxed after days of hard work…
After a massage session, they would feel refreshed. With that, they’re ready to face new sets of challenges.
It’s one of the most amazing feelings…
Well, your pooch can attest to that, too.
Sure, they don’t go to work, do chores or go to school…
But that doesn’t stop them from feeling the same satisfaction when getting a massage.
Overall, massage helps in nurturing an individual’s well-being.
After a session, expect your dog to be revitalized. They’d gained a sense of balance…
With that, they’re ready for the next adventures with you.
#10: It strengthens your bond with them
Your dog’s not the only recipient of the benefits of massage on them…
As a dog parent, you gain something as well…
And that’s the strengthening of your bond with Fido.
That’s because when you massage your pooch, it makes them happy. Extremely happy, even…
During interactions with your dog, you both experience a stream of oxytocin (OT).
This research says that it’s linked to many positive emotional states. One of which is happiness.
Moreover, oxytocin is known by many names. Mostly, OT is referred to as the “love hormones.”
It’s what gives you this warm and fuzzy feeling when you interact with your pooch.
With that, every time you massage your dog, you both get happy. Then, that joy makes it a worthwhile bonding moment…
#11: They love it, and they love you
Who doesn’t love a good massage?
There might be a few, but your fur baby might not be one of them…
Moreover, I previously said that your dog enjoys the activity as it makes them happy.
If you’re the one massaging your dog, they’ll love it even more.
With that, put an activity they love plus, you, a person they love so much…
It’s such a wonderful activity for Fido!
And that’s not just guessing…
Oxytocin is still at play here. I referred to it as the “love hormone,” and it stays true to its nickname…
Warning: Despite the love for the activity, dogs don’t always enjoy a massage.
Too much of a good thing is not a trend on dogs…
With that, you must recognize the indicators of a pooch who’s not up for a massage.
Any signs of aggression when you start to touch them is a warning.
To be more careful, I’ll leave you with reminders to take note of when massaging your pooch.
Reminders when massaging your dog
Reminder #1: Start every massage session by gently stroking and petting your dog.
If they react with aggression, then don’t continue the activity anymore.
Reminder #2: Stay relaxed when giving your dog a massage.
Your fur baby can pick up on your cues and body language.
So, it’ll be beneficial for both of you to remain calm during your sessions.
Reminder #3: Stop when your pooch shows any signs of discomfort during a massage. That includes whining, biting or licking your hand, and trying to get away.
Reminder #4: Keep applying light pressure only, no matter what body part you’re massaging.
Reminder #5: Ensure that the area you’re massaging them on is quiet. Pick the calmest spot in your place.