Massages are great for relaxation and stress reduction, but they can also be important for relieving pain and warming up the muscles for athletic activity. Best of all, this is true for both humans and dogs, giving you the perfect excuse to treat yourself and learn a fun new way to bond with your favorite pups.
Stress Intervention Massage
Do fireworks, thunderstorms, and disruptions to routine and other commonly stressful stimuli freak out your dog? This massage technique can help. Get close to your pup — put him in your lap if possible, and make your movements as calm and deliberate as possible. Place one hand steady close to the head; either on the top of the neck, top of the head, or side of the neck. Use the other hand to perform long, slow, soothing strokes along your dog's back, sides, or tummy with medium pressure.
Because this massage involves fear, it's important to avoid restraining your dog if he's not into it. That will only distress him more. Try feeding him a treat or two while you perform this massage to keep him focused on relaxation.
Joint Pain Relief Massage
It can be distressing to watch an older dog succumb to the pain of arthritis. While feeding your pup senior dog food can help, massage is another great way to bring some relief. Start by gently petting the area around the sore joints to get them warmed up and increase blood flow to that area. Then gradually apply delicate but firm pressure with both hands on the joint. Talk to your vet about how to do this in such a way as to not damage the delicate muscle and connective tissue in these areas.
Athletic Warm-Up Massage
Source: Caesar's Way
Human athletes always warm up before getting active, and dog parents can help their pups do the same with some massage. Pooches who love to run and play can be at risk of muscle injury, but you can mitigate that risk by performing a gentle but vigorous full-body petting session right before the activity starts. You can even squeeze leg, shoulder, and hip muscles to get them loose and ready to work hard. Just remember to be super gentle and avoid getting your pup so riled up that she starts squirming as you're holding onto her.
Daily Maintenance Massage
Taking care of your dog's health is a daily activity, and feeding him the healthiest dog food available is just one piece of the puzzle. In addition to switching your pup to Freshpet
, you can also start a daily routine of a full-body petting massage with a hidden purpose. This habitual close contact will enhance your bond with your dog, which is in itself great for the reducing the stress of yourself and your pet, and will also help you get to know your dog's normal skin and body condition. This will make it much easier to detect lumps and bumps that are abnormal. Apply just enough pressure that you can feel through the fur and even beneath the skin to get a full picture of what's going on with your dog's general health. Inspect anything unusual to make sure it's not something potentially serious like a tick or tumor.