Most dogs love to be pet. Why not take it up a notch and give your dog a massage? Rather than running your hands through their coat, use your fingertips to gently massage their muscles — always keeping light pressure. In addition to the bonding time, massage benefits dog in several ways.
Some dogs suffer from anxiety. Massages, by their nature, are soothing and relaxing. If there is a certain trigger that gives your dog anxiety — like thunderstorms or fireworks on the 4th of July — give a massage at those times to release tension and help them de-stress.
Research shows that petting a dog releases the bonding hormone oxytocin, which promotes feelings of love, social belonging, and wellbeing. Massaging your dog produces these same hormonal effects.
Gentle rubbing and kneading helps to increase blood circulation to sore muscles and joints. This provides relief to senior dogs who could be prone to arthritis. Be careful not to press too hard. If your dog shows any signs of displeasure or disinterest you may be pushing too hard.
4. Pre-and- post-activity
You have probably noticed that athletes often massage themselves or receive massages before and after an athletic event. The reason is that massage increases blood supply to muscles, joints, and nerves. If you have an active or working dog, post-activity massaging can help reduce your dog’s recovery time and prevent muscle soreness and stiffness the next day.
Massaging your dog can help rehabilitation by reducing pain and swelling. It also helps strains and sprains heal faster and keeps scar tissue to a minimum. However, before you attempt to massage your injured dog, first consult with your veterinarian.
6. Find growths
Massaging your dog requires pressure and kneading, which gives you an excellent opportunity to feel for any growths that might need a closer examination.
7. Locate a pain point
Your dog might have an injury but not exhibit any outward signs. A massage might inadvertently reveal an injury if your dog responds negatively when you touch a certain part of her body.
8. Improves body functions
If you have ever received a massage, you know how refreshed, revitalized, and relaxed you feel afterward. Your dog can feel the same way after a 10-15 minute massage from their owner.
The benefits aren’t just for your dog — whether you are petting or massaging your dog, your body will also produce oxytocin, which can help lower your blood pressure, and reduce anxiety in moments of high stress.
If you think your dog could benefit from massage, try a few areas a little bit at the time and watch your dog relax and appreciate the time spent together.