Remember just how good a massage feels after a particularly hard day- those first pained responses as your muscles reacted to the beginning of the kneading, pulling and pinching motions- later followed by a more soothing and relaxed response to the rhythm of the massage?
Now, just think about your dog for a moment. Don’t you think your pet would definitely enjoy a gift of massage as well? All sizes, from the smallest to the most mammoth animal would, and could, enjoy the effects of a good rubdown.
If you’ve never given your pet a massage you both have many benefits yet to enjoy. Before you begin, however, it is important to choose a quiet spot in which to work, one free of distractions If your pet is one that is responsive to touch then you should have no problem at all. If your pet is hyper- sensitive to touch then you must gain its’ trust over a period of time.in order for this to be successful.
A good way to begin is with the types of strokes your pet is most used to then moving on to more feathery motions, scratches, tickles and rubs. Begin with one area and continue into the next area until each section has been completed. Mapping out what areas you have, or have not massaged, in your mind is one way to remember exactly where you have worked. Try concentrating on one area, such as the chest, stomach or a single leg, at a time.
Circular motions, light scratches, kneading and tickles are just a few suggestions to apply to your massage repertoire. Follow the grain of the coat then move lightly in just the opposite direction. Remember that your voice can have a positive and calming effect as well. Speak in a soothing voice throughout the massage.
Once you’ve begun try not to break the mood with sudden movements, such as readjusting yourself, and try to keep one hand on the animal at all times. Now,
just observe your dogs reactions throughout the session. If you sense any grumbling it is best to discontinue the session. If your animal is still a limp,smiling pile of doggie flesh, then chances are you are doing everything right- continue. Don’t forget the paws, pads or ears either.
Just how long should this continue? Well, that depends on just how long the dog is willing to relax for you and just how long you hold out to continue the massage. A few minutes to a half hour or more is not as important as the quality of time that you spend with your pet.
Once you’ve finished allow your pet to nap if it is sleeping. If it is awake and ready to play allow it to do that as well. Never end a session with an abrupt movement that may otherwise undue all the hard work you have both just completed. Let the animal enjoy the benefits while relaxing yourself and contemplating on a job well done.
Without a doubt, most animals enjoy and receive as many benefits from a good massage session as humans do. Elderly and active dogs may benefit from the improved circulation or tension release of a good massage. Puppies gain valuable socialization and touch therapy skills in addition to the massage as well. Overall, massage is a gift both you and your pet may benefit from over and over.
Article written and reprinted with permission of: Purebred Dogs, Puppies and Dog Breeders – Your New Best Friend Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.