Last updated: Feb. 14 2018 3 min read
Besides giving your dog love and attention, another great gift that you can give is a soothing pet massage. A pet massage, just as the name suggests, is a type of physical therapy that is similar to acupressure or chiropractic care.
This type of pet bodywork gives your dog an instant gratification of comfort, relaxation, and the feeling of being loved. When given to your dog on a regular basis, a pet massage helps minimize his sensitivity to touch, either by you or a stranger. This makes him easier to groom, handle, and also makes it faster and easier for the vet to examine and treat him.
The growing popularity of pet massage makes it widely available all over the country, especially if you live in a major city. However, you can learn the basic technique of this type of bodywork and give it to your dog, making the experience more enjoyable for the both of you.
Treating your dog to a relaxing pet massage is an excellent way to bond with him. Not only will he love the way it feels, but he will appreciate the time and attention that you are giving him, a true treat that will make your dog’s heart melt with joy.
Below is a simple step-by-step procedure to giving your dog a relaxing massage, starting from the top of his head down to his muzzle.
1. Call your dog and tell him to sit.
2. Ease your way into the massage. Start by giving him a light caress the way you would normally do. This way, he won’t think that you are about to do something different that might probably scare him away.
3. Give him an overall petting, from head to toe. Apply firm but gentle long strokes. The stroking prepares his muscles for more intense work and makes your dog feel more relaxed. Do this for about two more minutes.
4. Put your hands over his head, moving one hand gently underneath his muzzle while your other hand is stroking the top of his head.
5. Next, massage his ears, one ear at a time. Your dog’s ears contain a lot of nerve endings and massaging them will feel very good to him. Do this for at least one minute per ear.
6. Lightly massage his forehead for about 30 seconds, sliding down to his cheeks also for 30 seconds, and then to his muzzle for another 30 seconds.
This step by step process teaches you how to give your dog a lower body massage, starting from his neck, down to his toes.
1. Begin with a neck rub. This move releases a lot of tension in that area. Slide your hand down to the back of his neck. It is easier for you to find the muscles there because the skin around that area is much looser. Using your fingers, gently rub the muscles up the back and sides of his neck, and make sure that you are not putting pressure on the dog’s windpipe.
2. Move your hands to his back. With both hands, gently press down on both sides of his spine (not directly on the spine). Do this for about a minute, then rub your palms along his sides for another minute.
3. Next, walk your fingers in an up and down motion on both sides of his spine, followed by several long and gentle (yet firm) strokes.
4. Help him lie down on his side. With gentle pressure, slide your hands down the top portion of his legs about five times. Then, hold onto each of the upper legs and give them a good, gentle squeeze for 10 seconds for each leg. Next, with your fingers, rub his leg tendons.
5. Lift up his foot (one at a time) and rub on and around his nails and paw pads in a small, circular motion.
6. Carefully flex and straighten each of your dog’s leg joints several times. If he is suffering from a bone or joint problem such as hip dysplasia, steer away from those affected areas that can be very painful to the touch. If he suddenly screams, yelps, or jolts, then you know you have touched a sensitive area. You need to calm him first, maybe give him a hug and a pet, before you can continue with the massage. Remember the sensitive spot so you won’t make the same mistake in the future.
7. Now, turn your dog on his other side and repeat the same process with the other two legs.
8. The final step is to give him long, gentle strokes, from the top of his head to the tip of his toes. Do this several times.
Your dog has probably fallen asleep by now. If so, then you did a great job. If he is not sleeping, then he is probably very calm and relaxed.