Massage for Dogs?John Mattar
This past week we decided to tackle the stack of magazines that piled up from the last few months. The majority of households have this pile – whether it be bills, magazines, books, or anything that takes longer than 2 minutes to read or check off the to-do list. One of the magazines in this pile was Oprah Magazine (one of our favorites!) Every month they put out a diverse mix of fun, educational, and heartfelt pieces. As we were perusing through the pages, we came across the “creature comforts” section featured in the February 2016 issue. The section featured tips on massages for our 4 legged friends, which of course caught our attention.
The article touches base with the owner of Heal Animal Massage based out of Portland, Oregon. According to the article, owner, Rubi Sullivan, is trained in soft tissue therapy. She helps dogs recover from surgery and massages them to ease symptoms of inflammation and osteoarthritis. In the article, Rubi describes a few therapy techniques that you can try on your dog at home.
In the first technique, Rubi describes gentle percussive taps. You gently tap your dog’s sacrum (between the hips) or chest. This tapping can stimulate weak muscles and trigger relaxation.
The second technique describes gently kneading tight muscles at the base of your dog’s skull where muscles tend to be tight.
The last technique helps improve blood flow and trigger relaxation. Gently rub or pet your dog in one long motion. Starting from their head all the way down to their tail or legs. This appears to be the simplest of all the techniques since it is probably similar to how you already pet your dog.
Many of these techniques are similar to human massage techniques. If you have ever gone to a massage, think about the techniques that were used on you. Dogs have a lot in common with us, including where they hold their stress, how they seek relaxation, and what they find soothing.