Dog massage: How to relax your dog properly

What does a dog massage do?

Dog massages have long been known for their positive effects on dog health. They are therefore not only used in veterinary practices, but also in dog owners' own homes.

By applying targeted pressure to the muscles, painful tension is relieved and circulatory disorders are reduced. The latter causes an increased oxygen supply to the body, which for example, has an anti-inflammatory effect.

Nerve disorders can also be alleviated by a dog massage, as the nerves are mechanically irritated by the movements. At the same time, these leads - through the stimulation of so-called parasympathetic nerve fibres - to relaxation of the body.

Learning dog massage - step by step

The following steps will enable you to give your dog a gentle massage in no time at all:

  1. Before the massage, create a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere. Talk to your dog calmly and lay a soft blanket on a smooth surface. The surface (e.g. a stable table) should be at about the same height as your hips so that you do not put too much strain on your back during the massage.
  2. Lay your dog on its side and stroke it with flat hands, starting at the head. Work your way down the neck and back to the legs and paws.
  3. Massage your dog's head, applying gentle pressure to his forehead and cheeks with circular movements. Always pay attention to your dog's behaviour. If he seems restless, you should apply less pressure.
  4. Next is the ears. You should also massage them carefully with circular movements.
  5. Once you have reached the neck and back, you can apply more pressure to the muscles there. Since your furry friend cannot reach these areas himself, you can knead these parts especially intensively.
  6. Try to massage every muscle group and avoid protruding bone points such as the spine.
  7. Tension in the legs can be relieved by gently stroking the muscles and tendons from top to bottom. There are a lot of bones here, which is why you need to be especially careful on the legs.
  8. Since dog paws are particularly sensitive to touch, you should reach for them carefully. Try to knead the pads with increasing pressure and gently stretch each joint.
  9. Do not forget the areas between the toes.

When does my dog need a massage?

In general, you can massage your dog at any time - regardless of age and health status. However, a dog massage is particularly useful in the following cases:

When stressed

Dogs can also be stressed. In this case, they are prone to muscle tension. In order to relieve these painful tensions, massaging the affected muscle parts and moving the involved joints in a controlled way helps. In addition, the dog massage has the effect that your furry nose can relax and relieve stress.

In high-performance sport

The muscles of very sporty dogs are put under particularly heavy strain. To protect them from painful tension and injuries, a massage can be applied before and after dog sports.

For diseases of the joint and muscle system

Dog massages are often used in veterinary medicine in the context of joint, tendon and muscle disorders. The most common health reasons for an ordered dog massage are:

  • Muscle shortening and atrophy
  • shortening, adhesions and inflammation of the tendons
  • rheumatic diseases
  • paralyses
  • Joint diseases (e.g. arthrosis) in young dogs and senior dogs with or without clinical signs

After surgery

Dogs are often restricted in their mobility for several days or even weeks after an invasive operation. For example, as a result of abdominal or cruciate ligament rupture surgery. During this time, they tend to lie on one side. Painful pressure points and muscle tension develop.

Physiotherapy is very helpful to avoid this and to continue to challenge the muscles. If your dog is an in-patient in a veterinary hospital, the treatment is usually carried out on site by a veterinary surgeon or a knowledgeable veterinary nurse. To ensure that the physiotherapy does not lose its benefit after your pelt-nose has been discharged, it is advisable to continue the massage at home.

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