Dog Care

Dog Massage: Pamper Your Pup And Keep Them Healthy!

Dog Massage: Pamper Your Pup And Keep Them Healthy!

Written By Meredith Kavanagh

Sep 9, 2016

A dog massage may sound like a hobby for hipsters to brag about on Instagram, but we assure you — it’s legit! Giving your furbaby a dog massage can have great benefits for their mental and physical health.

You’ve seen the adoring look your pup gives you when you rub that spot on their belly, ears, or back. This is the same thing — with a bit more science behind it. Dogs can only do so much to relieve aches and pains. So when you give them concentrated TLC in the form of a dog massage, they greatly appreciate it!

dog massage in grass

Why Should I Practice Dog Massage?

Giving your pooch a massage does more than just make them feel pampered. Whether you have a young pup or a refined gentleman, a dog massage can benefit your pooch in the following ways:  

  • Relieve Stress: Whether your pooch is frightened by thunderstorms, suffers from separation anxiety, or simply had a rough day at the vet, a massage is a great way to help them relax.
  • Promote Healing: If your pooch has an injury, a dog massage is a great way to kick-start their road to recovery. Massage can help reduce swelling and pain, inhibit scar tissue formation, and lead to faster rehabilitation. Just make sure to consult with your vet before taking your pup to a canine masseuse or trying it yourself.
  • Improve Bodily Function: A dog massage can help improve lymphatic fluid movement, stimulate the kidneys, increase circulation, and aid in digestion. It may even strengthen their immune system.
  • Increase Flexibility: Your pup spends a good portion of their life asleep, and their puppy pose stretches can only do so much. Help them stay lithe and limber into their golden years!  Give their stiff muscles some attention to promote circulation and flush waste products from their muscle tissue. This can be especially helpful for dogs that lead a sedentary lifestyle or are predisposed to joint conditions.
  • Strengthen Your Bond: Depending on the pooch, they may take some time getting used to the idea of a head-to-paw rub down. But as long as you start slow, or take them to a professional, they will learn to appreciate how great it makes them feel. Your beloved furball will know that you are giving them this strange belly rub to help them, and they will be grateful for it.

dog massage in hands

How To Find A Dog Massage Therapist

If you don’t feel comfortable giving your dog a massage, there are professional dog therapists all across the country. A good starting point is to ask your vet for recommendations, or visit dog owner forums to get personal recommendations for your area. Once you find a dog massage therapist, ask for references and proof of training or experience. 

DIY Dog Massage

If your dog is healthy overall and has no ailments or injuries, you may not need to take them to a professional dog massage therapist. A simple rub-down could be a great way to deepen your bond with your pup — and spoil them!   

If you’re wondering how to massage a dog, you’re in luck! As long as your pet doesn't have any serious injuires or illnessnes, you can perform a dog massage yourself. Once your vet gives you the go ahead, you can follow these easy to follow instructions on how to massage a dog. 

  1. Let them get comfy on a hard surface so that the pressure from the massage doesn't cause them to twist into a dangerous position. Gently pet your dog in the spots they like best. 
  2. Speak to your furry friend in soothing tones to help them relax and get comfortable with the level of attention they will be getting.  
  3. Pay close attention to your pup's body language. Once they are relaxed, use the tips of your fingers and start to massage their neck in a circular motion. Start at the neck and work your way down their body towards the tail. 
  4. For small dogs, use small circular motions. For large dogs, you can use wider strokes. No matter the size of your pup, move slowly and avoid hard or abrupt movements. 
  5. You can scratch behind their ears, rub along their cheeks, over their nose, and between their eyes. 
  6. Focus on your pup's shoulders, right below the neck. They can't reach that spot, so it's normally one of their favorite areas to get some attention! 
  7. Start with light pressure and monitor their response. If you notice any of these reactions, stop immediately: growling, snarling, flinching, flattened ears, twitching eyebrows, tensing, or any other behavior to signal that your pup is uncomfortable or unhappy.
  8. If your pup is ok with having their paws touched, you can give each of their paws a gentle squeeze.
  9. Use your thumb and index finger to rub along the muscles on either side of the spine.
  10. Do not massage anywhere near your dog's belly, as pressure can cause harm to their organs.  

Have you ever given a dog massage? Share your story with us in the comments!

dog massage