Feeling stiff after a workout? Back seem achy when you wake up? No, not you. I’m asking your dog! Just like us, dogs can get achy, stiff, and experience other physical discomforts due to exercise (or lack thereof), age, and injuries. A good solution? A dog massage!
No, this isn’t just petting. A dog massage is a special routine that implements certain techniques to soothe your dog physically and mentally. So how exactly do you massage a dog exactly? We have some tips and tricks below that will leave your dog feeling relaxed, happy, and relieved.
What is a Dog Massage?
A dog massage is a rub but for your dog! This consists of more than just gentle petting. While dogs love a good head scratch or tummy rub, dog massages are a bit more extensive and provide specific, special benefits. A canine massage includes specific techniques that target certain areas of your dog’s body.
Just like us, dogs can get joint pain and muscle cramps. Sometimes, a therapeutic canine massage is what your dog needs to feel relief from their discomfort. While a deep tissue massage can require more pressure and technique than we can provide, there are safe ways to rub your pup at home to soothe sore muscles and ease tension in your dog’s body.
Is It Good to Massage Your Dog?
Yes, you can implement safe and effective massage techniques at home that will comfort your dog. Here are some of the reasons to try giving your dog a massage!
- Unease: If your dog is in an uncomfortable situation or just got through a tough moment (like fireworks or the vet), massaging your dog can help calm them down. Some dogs feel soothed from hands-on contact, similar to the effects of a swaddling tool.
- Joint pain: If your dog has sore muscles and joints, gentle rubbing and kneading can help increase circulation and improve how they feel physically. Pressure from your hands can make tissues contract, increasing blood flow. But don’t press too hard, as this could hurt your dog.
- Pre-activity: Just like we stretch before a workout, dogs can also benefit from a massage and warm-up before a hike or extensive exercise. Rubbing your dog will increase blood supply to their joints, muscles, and nerves, preventing injury and soreness.
- Post-activity: Your dog can feel stiff or uncomfortable after a workout, especially if they aren’t usually active or are a bit older. A canine rub can help alleviate some of this discomfort after a swim, hike, or run.
- Bonding: Spending time massaging your dog can bring you closer to your four-legged companion. Your dog will immediately associate you with feeling good after a satisfying canine massage.
How Do You Give Your Dog a Massage?
Dog massage professionals perform a traditional, full-body massage. But there are techniques you can implement at home in a safe, effective manner. The first thing to learn is the different types of canine massage techniques:
- The first is simple stroking. This is when you use gentle pressure to stroke your dog from their head to their tail and then down each of their limbs. This is a great way to start a massage because it can help your dog relax and get your dog accustomed to the idea of a massage. You can also use simple stroking to feel for areas that are tense, swollen, or hot.
- Then use medium pressure and stroke with your whole hand. This is a technique called effleurage, and it’s great for circulation. This is often done toward your dog’s heart, meaning starting at the toes and going towards your dog’s torso. Or starting from the back and going toward the head.
- A deeper level of pressure comes next, known as petrissage. This motion is similar to kneading, relieving muscle tension, knots in soft tissue, and joint discomfort by stroking the muscle. You can also try skin rolling, which increases blood circulation in the skin and the tissues beneath.
- Chopping is another massage technique. Use the edge of your hand to “chop” in a rapid motion with medium pressure. This is great for when you want to focus on a specific area of your pup’s body.
Steps to Giving a Canine Massage
Now it’s time to apply the above techniques! As you can see, the above techniques involve gentle pressure and deeper pressure. Always watch your dog’s behavior during the massage, seeing how they respond to each technique.
Do not press straight down on your dog’s bones or joints. Always avoid areas where your dog doesn’t like to be touched. If your dog growls or nips at you, stop what you are doing.
Here are the steps to giving your furry friend a massage:
- Make sure that your dog is relaxed. If your dog is anxious, scared, or aggressive, they won’t be responsive to a massage. Try going for a walk before you start to help get some of your dog’s energy out.
- Start the massage by lightly petting your dog all over. Talk softly to your dog as your pet with gentle pressure. This should be as soothing and comforting as possible.
- Try massaging your dog’s ears. Using gentle pressure, slowly stroke out towards the end of the ear. Give their ears a gentle pull.
- Massage your dog’s neck using circular motions.
- Massage down your dog’s shoulders. Stay here a bit longer since it’s a spotted dog can’t reach on their own.
- Move to your dog’s chest and front legs. You can try to massage their paws as well but make sure your dog seems into it.
- Massage your dog’s back with circular motions. Go up and down on both sides of the spine but avoid massaging directly on top of the spine.
- Move to your dog’s back legs and tail. Your dog’s back legs may be stiff and sore, making this a great spot to focus.
Can a Dog Massage Calm Your Canine?
Yes! A pet massage is often seen as great for your dog’s physical wellness since it improves blood circulation and soothes joint and muscle discomfort. And while that’s true, a therapeutic massage is also beneficial for your dog’s mental health.
As we mentioned earlier, rubbing your dog can help your dog feel comforted and relaxed. A rub is a great way to calm your dog down, not only due to the physical relief and satisfying feeling but from bonding with you.
What Are the Best Products for a Dog Massage?
If you want to make your dog’s massage even more calming and soothing, there are some products you can add to the routine.
PetWell Back & Neck Reliever
This is a roller that makes petting more soothing by alleviating muscle tension and stiffness. This product is specifically designed to be gentle, protecting your dog’s spine.
HolistaPet CBD Shampoo
CBD is a natural compound found in the hemp plant. When smoothed into your dog’s coat, it targets specific areas of their body and provides relief by interacting with the receptors underneath the skin in that spot. Thanks to CBD’s anti-inflammatory property, it can reduce swelling and discomfort, making the rub even more impactful. Give your dog a rub during a bath, using HolistaPet’s safe and gentle CBD shampoo to ensure the bath is comforting and relaxing for your dog.
You can also try HolistaPet’s CBD for Dogs and CBD treats to provide further benefits. Ingesting CBD can soothe your dog’s body all over and provide positive mental effects. You may also notice that your dog is calmer after using CBD. Give your dog CBD twice a day (or every eight hours) to create a consistent schedule for your dog.
Vanvene Pet Massage Bath Brush
This bath brush is great for massages during bathtime. This tool helps you get shampoo down to the skin, even when your dog has long hair.
Delomo Deshedding Glove
This glove can improve a gentle rub while simultaneously removing excess fur from your dog’s coat. The glove has soft rubber tips, making it very gentle while performing different massage techniques.
Final Thoughts – Dog Massage
Canine therapists specialize in giving your dog extensive and purposeful massages by using specific techniques known to trained professionals. But that doesn’t mean you have to schedule an appointment to get your dog a simple rub. You can do that at home yourself!
Massages are a great way to bond with your pup and show you care. And if you learn simple yet effective techniques, you can also improve your dog’s physical wellness and mental health. A rub can leave your dog feeling calm and comforted while also reducing physical discomfort. Add CBD to your dog’s massage if you want to reduce anxiousness and eliminate swelling and muscle aches. This is an easy way to make a massage special, effective and satisfying for your dog.