There are very few of us that are immune to the pressures that daily life brings our way. These tensions manifest in our physiology many different ways, often causing anything from mild discomfort to acute or chronic pain and can become the source of injury. Due to our similar physiologies, our pets are also vulnerable to the same tensions and stressors, but because they are such stoic creatures, the signs are often masked or hard to understand. For instance, does your dog always sit rotated on the same hip or rest with the same side facing down? Does he sometimes bunny hop or does her head bob while running? These subtle nuances can indicate an underlying source of discomfort or pain of which we are
unaware. While petting your dog is a wonderful way for you and your pet to bond, relax and enjoy quality time together, massage practitioners are trained in many areas including animal anatomy and physiology and are able to read these subtle nuances and implement massage techniques with more benefit. Because they touch your dog in ways you may not, they can often alert you to problems or changes that may occur between regular veterinary appointments.
Massage targets many different systems such as the nervous system, the circulatory system, the digestive system, the lymphatic system and the muscular system. For your pet this means we are able to improve their overall quality of life by tapping into their specific needs. If your dog is on supplements or medications, we target the digestive system to increase absorption, or we may impact the lymphatic system to encourage the flow of white blood cells in pets suffering from illness or recovering from injury. If your dog is unable to receive the appropriate amount of exercise or mental stimulation due to a busy work schedule or veterinarian suggested kennel rest, we focus on the circulatory and the nervous system.
One of the most valuable and overlooked benefits of massage is overall handleability. While your dog may not be receptive to being touched or even approached by a stranger, an insecure or "nervous" dog may in fact derive the greatest benefits from massage. An experienced, knowledgeable and caring massage practitioner can build trust and confidence in your dog, greatly improving overall coping skills. This indirectly and positively affects situations such as company coming into the home, trips to the groomers, kennels, and veterinary hospitals.
The frequency of massage is directly related to your dogs' condition and needs. Active dogs in good condition may benefit from once a month massage sessions to keep their muscles free of tension and avoid injury while geriatric dogs may require more frequent massage to help alleviate such symptoms as arthritis, poor circulation or other issues. Due to potential contraindications with massage it is always recommended that you consult with your veterinarian before massage is performed. Massage is not intended as a substitute for veterinary care.
Canine Massage FX
Amy Peterson Certified Small Animal Massage Practitioner