Pampering our dogs is second nature to us. We love watching them play with a new toy or drool over a scrumptious doggie treat and we take pleasure in the way they wag their tail and bark happily every time they see us. Petting our dogs and spending quality time with them is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to bonding with our loyal canine companions. Adding a relaxing doggie massage to the list of pampering activities is a great way to strengthen the bond between you and your pooch. We all know that there is nothing more soothing and relaxing than a full body massage where you can just close your eyes and leave all your stress at the door. Like us, dogs are prone to stress, injury and an array of health problems, but the good news is that their circulation and nervous system are both similar to ours. This means that a daily dose of canine massage can offer them a wealth of benefits while offering us the chance to ease their pain.
Give Your Anxious Dog a Soothing Massage
Dogs go through emotional ups and downs just like us, especially if they experience a stressful event or an unpleasant visit to the vet. Luckily, canine massages can help ease the tension and decrease your dog’s blood pressure. A daily massage can do wonders for your pooch, stimulating both its immune system and reducing the tension in its muscles. You can easily give your dog a massage by following the directions below.
Timing is everything, so choose a time when your stressed dog is somewhat relaxed and in the mood for pampering and make sure you create a comfortable ambiance before you begin the massage. As a bonus, you can play some classical music in the background to add a touch of tranquillity to the room and invite your dog to either stand or lie on a fluffy towel or a yoga mat. Just make sure you get comfortable and avoid bending over or sitting in an uncomfortable position for the duration of the massage.
Size matters when it comes to massages, so make sure you start off slow, using small and gentle strokes if your dog is small and larger strokes if your dog happens to be on the opposite end of the scale. Use a flat palm to map out the terrain of muscles and bones that make up your dog’s body and do not forget to give its face, neck, and ears their fair share of attention. Use circular motions around the muzzle before making your way down to its hind legs, using broad yet gentle strokes while taking into account the extra sensitive hairs that exist in this particular area.
The back of the thighs especially need to be massaged using extremely gentle motions since they can cause irritation if touched the wrong way. You can pamper your dog even further by brushing or combing its fur during the massage session which can last anywhere from ten minutes to an hour. End your massage on a high note by placing one hand at the base of your dog’s head and resting the other one on its pelvis. According to experts, the two areas are connected to a section of the spinal cord that is in charge of relaxation responses and influences daily functions such as sleep and digestion.
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How to Massage a Dog with Hip Dysplasia
If your dog happens to suffer from this disease, then a pain relieving message is just what the doctor ordered. Hip dysplasia is the result of an abnormality in the joints and is most common in dog breeds such as Great Danes, Labrador retrievers, and Rottweilers. This terrible disease typically begins when the dog is young, causing strain and friction that open the doors to inflammation and pain. Dogs with hip dysplasia benefit greatly from massages because they help strengthen their muscles, relieve their pain and decrease the inflammation surrounding their joints. The best thing you can give a dog who suffers from this long-term condition is a regular dose of massages to help improve its quality of life and overall mobility.
Learning how to give your dog a massage is a piece of cake but you need to be careful not to apply too much pressure when it comes to hip dysplasia. Another tip would be to lay your dog on its side and warm up the muscles using a gentle rubbing motion in order to stimulate its blood circulation. Increased blood flow to the muscles will help lubricate the muscle fibers and relieve any spasms in the area. Next, you need to use just the pads of your fingers to knead the hips, paying close attention to the area surrounding the joints. Watch how your dog reacts to your massage and read its body language every time you try something new. Do not massage the affected area directly as it may irritate your dog. The last thing you want is to add more fuel to the fire to be as gentle as you possibly can. And if your dog suffers from hip dysplasia on both sides, then it is recommended to spend around thirty minutes on each side in order to increase the benefit for each hip.
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How to Massage a Dog with Arthritis
Arthritis is yet another disease that can take its toll on your dog, preventing it from enjoying certain activities such as playing fetch or even walking in the park. Dogs with arthritis need special care and a massage that incorporates a technique called effleurage. This involves lightly stroking areas where soreness in the joints exists such as the elbows, shoulders, knees and lower spine. Be careful not to rub the joint itself and only concentrate on the area surrounding it. This technique helps improve circulation and allows you to complete the next step which is to lightly knead the muscles before rubbing the skin in order to generate a light dose of friction. Switch between lightly kneading and rubbing the area and use the effleurage technique every now and then to stimulate blood flow and drainage as well.
Giving your dog a massage every day will help slow down the degenerative process of arthritis and reduce the nightmare of swelling and inflammation, making it easier to move and walk around the house without assistance. Experts recommend around ten minutes of massage for smaller breeds and fifteen to twenty minutes for large breeds, preferably twice a day if your schedule allows it.
Give Your Sports Loving Dog a Pre-workout Massage
Everyone knows that a good warm-up is necessary before playing sports or working out at the gym. The same thing applies to active dogs who love to run or hike alongside their owners. Giving your dog a pre-exercise massage is a great way to prevent injury, warm up its muscles and improve flexibility. Make sure you start this warm-up massage by petting your dog, using light strokes that target the entire body while your dog is standing in preparation for its work out. Follow up the stroking motion with a round of rubbing using the heel of your hand and make sure you concentrate on the neck, shoulders, and thighs. Gently lift the muscles and squeeze them as if you were kneading bread dough and then slowly make your way down to the legs, maintaining the same squeezing motion as before. Finally, pet your dog all over its body in order to stimulate its nerves. This particular massage can last anywhere between five to ten minutes and helps increase the production of synovial fluid in the joints. This fluid lubricates the joints and reduces friction, making it easier for your dog to move, run and jump when competing or simply taking part in its favorite canine sports event.
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How to Give Your Dog a Maintenance Massage
Lavishing your dog with attention every day is one of many ingredients needed for a healthy relationship between you and your pooch. Adding a massage to the mix is a great way to improve its mood and lull it to sleep when bedtime comes knocking on your door. In order to give your dog a maintenance massage, all you have to do is use the palm of your hand as a scanner and use it to touch your dog everywhere. Pay close attention to the texture and overall feel of your dog’s muscles, fur, and bones. Maintaining a regular schedule of daily massages will help you identify any changes in temperature, coat quality or sudden swelling when it comes to your dog. Any of the aforementioned changes may indicate an underlying health problem that could lead to future complications and a hefty bill at the vet if left undetected. Figuring out what feels normal for your dog can help you provide its vet or professional massage therapist with accurate information when needed. At the end of the day, doing what is best for your pooch and pampering it with treats and massages is the icing on the cake if you want to improve its mood and quality of life.