What is Massage?

Massage is an ancient healing art involving the systematic and therapeutic manipulation of soft tissues of the body ~ purposeful touch that influences body, mind and spirit.

Benefits of Massage

Massage helps in the healing process and while it does not cure specific problems, it will allow the body to improve the efficiency of its functions allowing healing to occur from the inside out.  There are many benefits associated with Massage:

  • Health promotion and injury prevention
  • Relief from soreness and stiff muscles
  • Increased circulation of blood and lymph
  • Pain reduction and endorphin release
  • Stress reduction and relaxation
  • Improved body awareness
  • Emotional calming
  • Reduced injury recovery time
  • Increased trust and bonding with humans
  • Improved physical abilities and athletic performance
  • Increased range of motion and flexibility
  • Improved skin and coat condition
  • Early detection of possible health changes
  • Improved general health and well-being

Debra is a Certified Canine and Equine Massage Therapist.  She is a Reiki Master with additional training in CranioSacral Techniques, MyoFascial Release, Trigger Point Release and Small Animal/Equine Acupressure.  She has specialized in working with animals since 2002. Return to Animal Wellness main page.

What dogs would benefit from massage?

Massage enhances the general health and wellness of any animal.  Dogs of all sizes, age, breed and activity level would benefit from massage:

  • Canine athletes participating in performance activities such as Agility, Flyball, Herding, Rally-O, Obedience, Lure Coursing and Field trials
  • Dogs with jobs  — Service dogs, Therapy dogs, Police dogs and Search & Rescue dogs
  • Dogs recovering from illness, surgery or injury
  • Elderly dogs
  • Puppies
  • Dogs in need of palliative or hospice care
  • Rescued or newly adopted dogs
  • Nervous or shy dogs
  • Dogs with a history of abuse, neglect or abandonment

The Treatment Process

During the initial consultation, you will be asked to complete a detailed health questionnaire.  Your dog’s gait and movement will then be evaluated from the front, side and back and assessed for imbalances and irregularities. The goals of the massage will then be discussed and a customized massage session will commence.  This will include various massage techniques, together with both passive and active stretching.  Massages can be performed on a dog that is sitting, standing or lying down – however if you can teach your dog to lie quietly on their side this will greatly enhance the benefits of the massage.  The comfort and ease of  our canine client is our first priority!

Types of Massage

Like human athletes, canine athletes can benefit from pre-event and post-event massage.  The benefits are primarily that of a physical nature.  Sports massage performed prior to competition will elicit  warm muscles and joints that are less likely to become injured and will be able to perform at an optimum level.  Massage performed after competition will release performance tension, clear tissues of waste products and relieve soreness and muscle aches.  Canine athletes will also benefit from ongoing maintenance massages.

Working closely with your Veterinarian, post-injury and post-surgery massage will assist in the healing process and shorten the time required for soft tissue injury rehabilitation.  Massage can make a significant improvement in the healing of strains, sprains, torn muscles, tendons or ligaments, post operative hip replacement, chronic lameness and trauma.  When there have been broken limbs, massage will assist with rebalancing the physical compensation that will occur as a result of a fracture.  In addition, after surgery, massage can help ease the waking-up process and assist with releasing the anesthetic.

Massage is extemely beneficial for senior dogs.  Arthritis, muscle atrophy, decreased nerve action, diminished mental function, circulatory problems and other aging issues can all be helped with massage.  In addition, our canine clients will feel more energetic and even rejuvenated after their massage.  The increase in blood circulation will help to improve the condition of a senior dog’s coat and skin and the increase in body temperature will warm muscles and allow for easier movement.

Massage can play a major role in the reduction of stress and tension for canines, just as it does for humans.  A relaxing massage will provide a sense of calm and emotional balancing for dogs that are under stress.  It can be highly effective in increasing the level of trust between humans and dogs that have been abused or neglected.  Dogs that have behavioral and/or training challenges will also benefit from massage as the emotional calming will produce a state of mind that is more conducive to learning and can make training much more enjoyable and less stressful.

We all know that puppies enjoy being touched, but what we may not think about is that the physical effects of muscle relaxation and increased flexibility can be very important for young animals, especially for the larger breed puppies.  The different rate of growth of muscles and bones can often produce pain and lameness in young pups.  Massage will allow the stretched muscle to relax and the release of endorphins will help reduce the aches and pains of growing.  In addition, young animals will also benefit from the emotional, behavioral and social aspects of massage.

Where are Treatments Available?

Treatments are available at our wellness clinic, in your own home or at competition venues where we are in attendance.  Outreach visits may incur a travel fee which will be discussed at time of booking.

Canine Massage is not a replacement for Veterinary treatment.  Any injured or ill dog must been assessed by a Veterinarian prior to Massage.  We will work closely with your Veterinarian for optimal healing.