Massage is not a luxury item for dogs but an important technique for improving
your dog's well-being. Dogs have muscles too! Just like humans, dogs can get strained and sore muscles
from several factors including:
Athletic injuries (such as the “weekend athlete” who
Arthritis or stiffness
Inactivity due to injury, surgery, illness, age or obesity
Hidden structural imbalances
Due to decades of breeding, most dogs are born with structural imbalances, both
purebred and mixed breed dogs. Structural imbalances can hinder a dog’s natural
movement, causing muscle strain and discomfort from normal activities such as
walking and running. These problems will compound over the years and result in
middle-aged to older dogs who have trouble performing normal activities, like
running around the park. Professional canine massage can improve the function of
the dog’s muscles, thus minimizing the negative impact of structural imbalances
over time and reducing vet bills later in life.
Athletic dogs can also strain their muscles, just like people. This includes the
"professional" canine athlete performing in obedience, flyball, herding or
agility as well as the "weekend" doggie athlete who goes for a long hike or dog
park play session. Dogs often strain muscles but unlike people, may hide their
symptoms until they become extreme. Their survival instincts tell them to “hide
their pain” in order not to appear weak to the rest of the “pack”. Also, dogs
can become so enthusiastic about what they are doing or so anxious to please
their owners that they keep performing even though injured. For example, a
herding dog may keep working on herding sheep until its paws are bloody.
Massage is also thought to benefit elderly dogs, inactive dogs
and dogs recovering from injuries by improving circulation in the muscles and
lymphatic system. Elderly dogs suffering from stiffness and arthritis often feel
better, move easier and experience less pain after a massage session. Massage is
also thought to have behavioral benefits, such as helping to relax aggressive or
hyperactive dogs or building confidence in shy, fearful dogs.
Dog show exhibitors know the benefits of massage in helping their dog feel, look
and move better. Owners competing in conformation showing often get regular
massage for their dogs enabling them to perform better in the ring, thus winning
more shows. Even if your dog is not a champion show dog, don't they deserve to
feel good from regular massage sessions?
While there are no scientific studies yet proving the benefits of massage
in dogs, many owners and veterinarians report enhanced well-being in dogs
receiving it. Canine massage, like good nutrition and exercise, is an important
component of preventive health care for your dog.
Nothing on this website has been evaluated by the FDA. This information
is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Please
see a qualified healthcare practitioner for any disease or illness.