Ah yes, that’s the spot, a little lower. If dogs could talk, no doubt they’d be interested in a dog massage. What some may guffaw at is actually a very real, doable, and human-animal enhancing experience to bond with your dog and spot potential health problems.
“Will you be using the in-room masseuse during your stay, Mrs. Bryant?”
The concierge asks that of my dog when we visit pet-friendly Inn by the Sea in Maine. Indeed, if Fido needs a little rub down after a day at the beach, a pet masseuse is more than happy to service that need on premises.
Dogs make our lives better: They are ready at a moment’s notice to be mood enhancers, help people recover better after a heart attack, and just sitting and petting a dog can make both parties involved feel better. Touching a dog, in fact, can save a life.
When a tiny raised lump appeared on my first Cocker Spaniel’s shoulder blade about two weeks after getting her then yearly vaccinations, I felt a twinge of “something isn’t right” course through my veins. My gut instinct was right: Getting it checked right away most likely saved her life: It was cancer.
The next time you sit down to pet your dog, consider these 10 touches that just might save your dog’s life (note: If your dog is not accustomed to touching, now’s a good time to start: From veterinarians to groomers, getting a bath to getting his nails clipped, touch should be an acceptable, positive behavior throughout a dog’s life).
Remember the 10 for 10 rule: 10 minutes, 10 touches. We do this at least weekly.
CLICK THIS: 10 Touches to Save a Dog’s Life
How to Properly Massage a Dog
Of course, if you are not a trained masseuse or masseur, there are some things you should avoid with your dog during a massage. This video from the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) features Dr. Narda Robinson demonstrating some basic canine massage techniques.
Who Can Give a Dog a Massage?
Although in many states anyone can provide animal massage, including evaluation, treatment, instruction, and consultation, there are exceptions.
There are animal massage and therapy laws by state, which are listed on the International Association of Animal Massage & Bodywork / Association of Canine Water Therapy website.
Click This: State Laws for Dog Massage
Think about it: Would you want someone to give you a massage who was not in some way certified, knows how to lay their hands on you, and is skilled in proper technique and function so as not to cause harm? The same holds true for our canine companions.
Physical Rehab and Ongoing
When our dog injured his ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) and then needed subsequent rehab, we opted for cold laser therapy and massage at a local veterinary hospital.
The Northeast Veterinary Referral Service says that modalities available for animal physical rehabilitation include: aquatic therapy (underwater treadmill, pool, or whirlpool), therapeutic LASER, acupuncture, electrical stimulation, therapeutic ultrasound, massage, joint mobilizations, hot and cold therapy, passive range of motion, stretch, and therapeutic exercises.
For dogs with arthritis, ligament issues, non-surgical candidates, and for general overall well-being, proper massage techniques can be invaluable in the overall care plan.
Medicine Vs. Mom
Our blogging buddy, Rachel Sheppard of My Kid Has Paws, is a former veterinary technician. From time to time, we co-author a blog post like this for the “Medicine Vs. Mom” series. Check out what Rachel has to say about dogs and massage therapy here.
Would you ever consider massaging your dog? Have you? Let us know your thoughts and feedback in the comments below.