Finding out how to give your dog a massage is a really laudable venture. And we say this because much like humans love having a rub down, pets do too. So, your dog could really benefit from this knowledge you are seeking.
However, while that is established, we must immediately point out that there are times when massaging your dog isn’t ideal.
So, before we discuss how to give your dog a massage, let’s quickly look at those times when this idea could be a bad idea.
When Massaging Your Dog Isn’t Ideal
- If your dog is ill.
- If your dog is in shock.
- If your dog has an infection.
- If your dog has anxiety.
First off, if your dog is ill, they most probably will not benefit from a massage.
If they are ill, they are most probably also irritable. Putting hands on their body to massage will just make them even more irritable.
If your dog is running a temperature, is lethargic or has a shock, giving them a massage isn’t what you ought to be thinking about.
Furthermore, if your dog has a fungal or bacterial infection on or in them, massaging them will be a bad idea.
And this is because giving them a massage will help spread the infection which is definitely not what you are gunning for.
An anxious dog isn’t who you want to be massaging because they would do anything from squirm away to even bite you if you try to massage them.
Now that we’ve got that covered….
Taking Precautions When Massaging Your Dog
We already mentioned that you do not want to massage your dog when they are anxious.
So, if your dog is anxious and you think massaging them will help, then try to get them off that high first.
You could take them on a walk to calm them down or just pet them and give them a belly rub.
Aside anxiety, you do not want to massage your dog when they are on any kind of emotional or physical high.
So, whatever it is, give them time to calm down or start out with a belly rub before you massage them.
Putting on some background music could go a long way to calming your dog enough to massage them.
Now, allow them to take any position that is comfortable for them.
You might think that lying is the most comfortable position for a massage because that is what you’d like. But that might not be so for your dog. So, allow them to choose.
Finally, do not give a deep tissue massage. That requires some sort of skill, so please just leave the deep tissue thing to a professional.
Steps To Giving Your Dog A Massage
Start with your dog’s neck. You could go in a circular motion and do remember to keep your touch light.
As you massage, pay attention to your dog. If you are doing anything they do not like you might notice them trying to get away from you or growling or they might even bite you.
And once you notice any of these, stop immediately. Don’t force your dog into anything.
Then with the same motions you massaged your dog’s neck, massage their shoulders too.
You might want to pay attention to your dog’s shoulders seeing as they can’t reach their shoulders by themselves.
From their shoulders, move down to their forelegs. Now, this is very tricky as not every dog likes having their legs massaged. So, if you try it and are met with any resistance, move on.
However, if they do allow you massage them, continue in the same circular motion and see if they will allow you massage their paws.
If they do, be careful with the pads as dogs are hardwired to kick if anything gets too close to their pad.
Something to bear in mind is that the size of your circular motions should be relative to the size of your dog. So, the smaller your dog, the smaller your circular motions should be and vice versa.
That said, from the chest and forelegs, move on to their back. Your dog will probably really love this, so take your time.
From the back, you can go down to their hindlegs and tail.
Now, whether or not you use essential oils to massage your dog is totally up to you.
It doesn’t really make things more efficient but the smell could help soothe your dog.
All in all, the massage could take between 10 and 15 minutes. However, be attuned to your dog; they might get tired in five (5) minutes or allow you to go on for an hour.
Now, watch this video to see how a dog massage is done:
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- How Much Does Dog Walking Cost?
- How Much Is An MRI For A Dog?
- How To Get A Dog To Drink More Water
- What Happens If My Dog Bites Another Dog?
- How To Get A Dog To Sleep Through The Night
- What Does A Dog Stroke Look Like?
Benefits Of Massaging Your Dog
Done right, a massage can help relieve tension and increase motion. This is especially a good idea if you have a senior dog with arthritis. A good massage will also help to calm the nervous system. And because the nervous system is connected to the respiratory system such that the latter might slow down as a result of stress in the former, a massage also helps boost the respiratory system.
Other benefits of massaging your dog include reducing scar tissue, improving blood flow, reducing the pain caused by an inflammation and also improving muscle tone.
Finally, we must mention that this massaging sessions provide you and your dog more opportunities to get closer and bond.
How To Give Your Dog A Massage — FAQs
Do Dogs Love Massages?
Dogs generally love massages as much as they love getting rub downs and scratches. Provided, that is, that the person giving the massage knows what they are doing and isn’t just pressing down on muscles.
Where Is The Best Place To Massage A Dog?
Your dog would love getting massaged along thier back, that is, from their neck, down to their shoulders and then thier buttocks and thighs.
Remember that you are trying to get to their muscles but you aren’t necessarily pressing down. You’re basically kneading your dog’s muscles in those areas.
Do Dogs Like Their Paws Massaged?
Of course, dogs like getting their paws massaged, probably as much as we like getting our palms massaged. Massaging your dog’s paws relieves tension in the paws and helps for proper circulation.
To massage your dog’s paws, pay attention to the pads and those spaces between the toes. Those are the points that will give your dog a lot of relief.
Do Dogs Like Their Ears Massaged?
For dog ears, it would be more of a rubbing rather than a massage. Whatever the case, though, dogs certainly love it. Masssaging/rubbing your dog’s ears makes them feel good.
How Often Do Dogs Need To Be Massaged?
Massaging is generally more of a luxury than a necessity, if your dog is healthy. What we mean is that, your dog will be fine without getting a massage, so you could give them one once in a month or even two.
However, if your dog is suffering from some kind of chronic pain or immobility issue, they might require a more frequent massage, like once or twice a week. That said, make sure that you get approval from your vet.
Do Dogs Like Hugs?
Generally, dogs don’t like hugs. Now, we are not saying that dogs hate affection or would rather not be touched by the people they love. They love those. It is just hugs they do not like.
So, consider giving your dog scratches and belly rubs as a sign of your love, instead of bear hugs. That said, some dogs might be able to tolerate being hugged.