It’s known that massages have a soothing effect.
And this goes for both humans and canines.
However, aside from releasing stress…
These might also help dogs in relieving themselves.
Read on to find out:
- 5 poop-inducing dog massages you can do at home.
- The pressure point in dogs that can motivate them to poop.
- How much pressure you must use to make canines defecate.
- 5 helpful tips to keep in mind before and while doing the massage.
- And so much more…
Table of contents
- Can you massage a dog to help them poop?
- How to massage a dog to poop (5 easy ways)
- How much pressure should you use when massaging a dog to poop?
- 5 tips to keep in mind when massaging your dog to poop
Can you massage a dog to help them poop?
You can massage a dog to help them poop. There are areas that when pressed, may help stimulate bowel movements. Like along their back, sides of their spine, and abdomen. Joint pains and anxiety could also hinder defecation in dogs. So massaging their thighs, glutes, ears, and forehead might aid too.
What do experts say about this?
One research shows that massage can trigger the digestive system. And it was said to be effective in small animals. (So this includes our furry friends.)
Massage therapy was also found to relieve discomfort caused by joint or muscle pain. Say, arthritis and other injuries.
And this will help dogs defecate. As some canines may have difficulty in passing stools due to aching joints.
Did you know that massage can also treat constipation in humans?
Yup. A study found that stomach massage helps motivate bowel movements. As well as lessen abdominal pain.
So by hitting the right spots, our ‘pooping dilemma’ may also go away.
Note: I’m not going to discuss this further here. But I’ve found a good resource on how to do it properly. (This is for humans only. I’ll share what you can do for your dog shortly.)
Okay, let’s dive right in.
How to massage a dog to poop (5 easy ways)
#1: ‘Back strokes’
No, this isn’t what swimmers do.
What I mean is, gently stroking your dog’s back to relieve any discomfort from their spine. Or surrounding muscles.
“How would this help them?”
Because along a dog’s back are several pressure points.
And one of them is called, ‘Large Intestine’s Hollow.’ Or ‘BL25’ in the acupressure chart.
Based on it, pressing this point can help relieve constipation. As well as back pain and intestinal problems.
(Quick info: Acupressure is a traditional form of massage. It started in China 3,000 years ago. And it’s used in animals and humans.)
So going back to the topic.
When dogs poop, they squat with their backs hunched, right?
This stance could also slightly strain their spine in the long run.
Especially when they use a lot of force while pooping. Which can make passing stools difficult.
How to do it?
- First, make your pooch squat or sit (like the stance they do when pooping).
- Put your 2 hands over their upper neck. With both of your palms touching them.
- Apply light pressure.
- Then slowly stroke down to their lower back. Make sure that your hands are only on the sides of their spine. Not directly over it.
- Do this all over again at least 15 times. Or up to 30 repetitions if your dog is okay with it.
Perform this massage once a week. And see if there are any changes in their bowel movement.
Interesting fact: Did you know that the Earth’s magnetic fields affect dog’s pooping? Studies found that canines like to eliminate along the North-South axis.
This could be the reason why they take so long to find a perfect toilet spot. And spin in circles before doing so.
#2: ‘Abdominal circular motions’
I’ve said earlier that stomach massages help cure constipation in humans.
And guess what, it’s also the same case for dogs.
Because this massage targets the intestines. And gently pressing them can trigger a reaction.
It may encourage the intestines to contract. And doing this repeatedly could help push down their stool.
A study says that there are 5 common digestive issues in canines. And constipation takes the 5th spot.
According to VCA, some of its common reasons are:
- Enlarged anal glands.
- Ingesting foreign bodies.
- Too much or too little fiber.
They also say that usually, it’s only a mild condition. That’ll fade away after a few days.
But to help your pooch get rid of the discomfort, here’s what you can do:
- Make your dog lay on their back first.
- If it’s hard for them to stay still, do it while they’re standing instead.
- Place your 1 hand on their lower abdomen.
- And the other one on their chest as support. Or for calming them down while you’re massaging.
- Put a light pressure on your hand that touches their tummy.
- Then gently stroke their abdomen in a tiny circular motion.
- Start with a clockwise direction first. From their lower right side, over down to their left. (This is the path of their intestines).
- Then change to counterclockwise.
- Switch direction after every 5 or more repetitions.
- Do this for at least 5 minutes.
If your dog allows more massage, you may do the next part.
- Repeat the steps above. But this time, stroke their tummy in a bigger circular motion.
- Do this for another 5 minutes.
You can also do this once a week. Or more if your pooch responds well to it.
Until you notice that their condition is back to normal.
To give you an idea, this is what it’s supposed to look like. (But the parent in the video did it while her dog’s standing up.)
Interesting fact: Food is said to be traveling 5 times faster in a dog’s intestines. Because it only moves around 6 to 8 hours according to experts. Way quicker compared to the 20 to 30 hours of transit in humans.
#3: ‘Whole-body presses’
Passing stools might also be hard for a dog when their body’s a bit sore.
For this, a gentle massage can help as well. To relieve any tensed muscles that bother them.
Canines have different pressure points around their back. As well as the sides of their bodies.
And the chart I mentioned in #1 says they can also treat:
- Muscle pains.
- Stomach issues.
- Bladder problems.
How to do it?
- Make your dog comfortably rest on their side. (Either side will work).
- Place your 2 hands over their neck.
- Put a bit of pressure.
- Slowly stroke their body up to the base of their tail.
- Cover as much area as you can. To fully massage the whole side of their body.
- Do this for 15 to 20 repetitions.
- Then slowly, let your dog stand up. And move around for 20 to 30 seconds.
- After this, get your pooch to lay on their other side.
- Do the same steps all over again.
Note: Before doing step #8, make sure that your pooch is calm first. As they may be aroused after getting up.
You might also like: 7 Surprising Reasons Why Your Dog Sighs When Cuddling
#4: ‘Limb rubs’
Now this massage targets their thighs, forelimbs, and glutes. As constipation can also be caused by joint pains.
Arthritis in dogs usually affect the:
- The middle part of their back.
And dogs with aching joints may lick their toes nonstop or random objects. As well as lay down while eating.
How to do it?
According to PetMD, this is usually done by a massage expert. But if it’s necessary, dog parents may also do this at home using only light pressure.
- Put your 2 thumbs on your dog’s limbs. Either thighs, forelegs, or glutes.
- Apply little strength on both of your thumbs.
- Then slowly stroke your dog in a clockwise motion. Like a mirrored letter ‘C.’
- Do this backward ‘c’ motion at least 10 to 20 times.
- And switch to their other limbs.
Reading tip: Why does my dog wake up in the middle of the night?
#5: ‘Calming kneads’
Lastly, does your pooch don’t seem in pain?
Do they look nervous every time they go outside for a toilet break?
If so, constipation and joint pains aren’t the ones causing your dog not to poop.
As it could be their nerves.
Because some dogs may also feel unsafe to do number 2 in other places.
Yes. Like when we feel uncomfortable while using a public restroom. Or doing our business in an unfamiliar place.
This usually happens if the area is new to the dog. Or they’re used to eliminating on a certain surface.
Say, grass or potty pads. So they’ll hesitate to defecate on stones or concrete floors.
And this can’t only be observed while pooping. Because some canines may also have trouble peeing in a new spot.
“So, do massages really help dogs calm down?”
A study shows that massage in small animals can boost happy hormones. Like serotonin and endorphins.
And these 2 hormones help lessen stress. As well as anxiety.
How to do it?
There are 2 simple massages that you can do at home. And these target some pressure points that give dogs a calming effect when pressed.
The one is on their ears:
- Place your thumb inside each of your dog’s ears. Specifically at the base.
- Put a light pressure.
- Then softly move your thumbs to the top of their ears.
- Repeat the steps at least 10 times.
While the other point is on their forehead:
- Position your thumb on the upper part of their nose.
- Apply little strength.
- Then gently stroke towards the top of their head.
- And go back to their nose.
- Do this back and forth at least 10 times as well.
Read this next: 19 Proven Ways To Calm Your Anxious Dog (How-To Guide)
How much pressure should you use when massaging a dog to poop?
When massaging a dog to poop, you should only use light pressure. Just enough to cause slight skin movement. And not so hard to make their muscles and tissues move as well.
In massage therapies, there are 5 pressure levels.
Among them, Level 1 requires the least hand strength. Which makes it applicable for massaging our dogs.
To give you a visual image, here’s a guide showing how much pressure should be used per level.
“What about the other levels?”
Level 2 might be used as well as it isn’t too different from the 1st level.
But, it’s enough to make muscles move. So it can only be applied to larger dogs – if they can tolerate it.
Although canines can be pressed with heavier pressure…
Don’t do this at home. As it’ll be painful for your dog. Besides, it should only be done by an expert.
Note: This will still depend on your dog’s tolerance. So while massaging, pay attention to their body language.
A canine who’s gotten comfortable with the massage may start to feel drowsy. And eventually, fall asleep.
However, those who aren’t will:
- Get up.
- Try to run away.
- Raise their head.
If your dog shows the latter, slow down your strokes. And lessen your hand strength.
5 tips to keep in mind when massaging your dog to poop
#1: Do this in a quiet spot
The environment is always an important factor when giving your dog a massage.
Having a quiet place will keep your pooch calm during the massage. As it’ll only be effective if it’s done when they’re in a relaxed state.
Plus, this will also make things much easier for you. Less stress and less time spent on getting your dog to stay still.
So, before the session, choose a quiet place. Where there are fewer distractions.
Say, your backyard which is far from the street. Or any other spots outside where your pooch will feel comfortable.
If they’re anxious, train them to a new spot by going there every morning. Making them stay there for a few minutes. And giving them treats for doing so.
Note: Be consistent. Once you’ve picked a certain place, use it every time. This is to help your dog learn that the spot is for pooping.
#2: Give them a warm-up massage
To not overwhelm your pooch, pat them gently first.
And do it preferably in areas where they enjoy being petted. Like their belly, back, or under their chin.
Slowly stroke your dog. And do this in a long and light motion.
Note: This is a must in every session. Like a warm-up – in preparation for the massage. As it helps dogs calm down. And relieve any excitement they have.
#3: Offer them some calming chews
Is it hard for your pooch to stay calm despite all your efforts?
If this is your case, there are soothing chews made for dogs. Which might help lessen their anxiety or high energy.
A secret weapon you may use in times like this. Especially when you need to make your dog stay still for 20 minutes or more.
Note: Massages will only have an effect if your dog’s completely calm. So if they’re still anxious, don’t force them to do it. Instead, try to massage them later that day or even tomorrow.
Remember, there are still more chances to do this. 🙂
#4: Massage with your palms
While kneading your dog, pay attention to your hands as well.
Keep all of your fingers together every time. And avoid them from opening. As your pooch may feel uncomfortable with your fingers spread out.
So it’s recommended to use your whole palms for this. (Well, except in some cases, where a massage may require only your thumb.)
As they feel safer. Plus, it covers a lot of areas.
#5: Keep your composure
A serene ambiance and calming chews won’t also work if you yourself feel tense.
Dogs have amazing noses. They can detect food that’s far away. As well as other canines’ pheromones (in heat).
But, little did we know that dogs can also ‘smell’ our feelings. And read our body language. (A result of hundred years of domestication.)
Research found that dogs are indeed sensitive to our emotions. And another study says that they might also absorb them.
- Before and during the massage, take a few deep breaths. To help you calm down and clear your mind.
- Speak in a soothing voice. Use your sweetest ‘dog voice’ while saying praises to your dog.
- Massage them slowly. And take your time to get them comfortable.
#BONUS: Don’t massage them if they’re in discomfort
Although most constipation cases are only mild…
There may also be times where it’s more serious. And dogs will feel intense pain. Especially in their abdomen.
So they’ll instantly yelp. Or cry whenever you touch them in that area. And of course, any massage won’t help them. As it might do more harm than good.
In situations like this, consult your vet right away. And also if your dog isn’t pooping or still straining for 2 to 3 days.
Note: Monitor your pooch before and during the massage. Watch their reactions. And halt immediately if a part of their body seems in so much pain.