I have a friend who just won four, yes 4 – free massages at a nonprofit event. OK, she won three and her mom won 1 but… she gave it to her daughter.So in my world she won 4.
I’ll be honest, I am not fond of massages. I like the idea, and I could certainly use one today, but having a stranger, well touching me… iccck. Sometimes I can convince my hubby to do the honors and thats’ ok. I feel the same way about manicures and pedicures. another friend once treated me to a mani-pedi — the first and last time. Nothing really wrong with it, just not my thing.
This feeling carries over to my dog. I guess Kodi wouldn’t care who was petting/massaging him, but I like to think he would prefer it be me.
Some of the same benefits of a massage apply for both of us.
Stress – Kodi’s stress comes from: loud noises, not enough attention (never enough attention), and pain. I have noticed with my dogs that they don’t complain. They may be in pain but they aren’t going to whine about it. If they are complaining things are really bad and I amd taking him to his doctor right away.
Massage can also help with separation anxiety and sleepless nights. A daily massage before you leave and before bed can make a difference.
Pain – Kodi is 9-years old and walks, even walks I don’t consider long, seem to be harder for him. I know this because he slows down and has been known to stop completey requiring me to carry him home. I don’t take this lightly. I don’t expect him to “tough it out.” If he is hurting I take it seriously even if it means walking the rest of the way with a 30-lb corgi in my arms. I am beginning to understand why people have strollers for their dogs.
Once we get home, a fresh bowl of cool water is offered and then we can settle down for some massage time.
It is important to do this gently and to be aware of any spots that are tender. Kodi does not like his feet touched (I relate) so I focus on the upper section of his legs, especially up front where I know there are some joint issues and knead (softly) his muscles. Dogs with joint problems including arthritis may find the massages comforting. It is important, especially with dogs with medical issues to ask your vet to show you the best way to relax your pet with massage. I know you don’t want to do more harm.
Massaging improves circulation which assists with muscle recovery after exercise because the action increases the blood flow to the area. A rough massage is not necessary and will not be enjoyed. A mild massage is all you need to do to increase circulation.
One-on-one time with you
Even if there were no physical benefits, just having your attention, having you make physical contact, and the one-on-one time with you are reasons enough to add massage therapy to your dog’s life.
If you have a newly adopted dog spending this quality time can build your new relationship and help associate you and his new surroundings with comfort, love, and safety. Dogs that have been members of the family for a while will enjoy a new aspect to your interacton with this special bonding time.
Massaging your dog is also an excellent time to be alert for any abornomalities, lumps and hot spots. If you find either of these you will want to make an appointment with your vet to find out what is going on with your pooch. Very swollen areas, including fatty cysts should NOT be massaged.
There are many instructional videos online that demonstrate massage methods and explain why and how each is done. One I have watched and would recommend is on monkeysee.com at
Cats have also been known to appreciate a good massage. Why wouldn’t they, the prince and princesses of the household enjoy having their subjects (us) make their lives more comfortable.
Two suggestions before you begin to massage your cat:
- Trim their nails – you’ll be glad
- They determine the length of the massage. Watch their body language. When the ears go flat or the tail starts snapping back and forth (more forceful than a graceful wag) STOP.