Just like with humans, massage has many benefits for canine companions. Dogs can be massaged at home, or brought to a holistic specialist for those not comfortable with the procedure. While not all dogs enjoy massages, for some it provides a calming and pleasant experience.
1. Bonding- Massage provides a bonding experience for the person and the dog. It provides comfort emotionally and physically, as the energy during a massage is soothing and serene. Massaging a dog builds a certain level of trust when it comes to touching, which is especially important for skittish animals.
2. Improves blood circulation- Massaging the muscles gets the blood moving in the body and aids in better blood circulation. This is especially beneficial in dogs that have a hard time getting around, or are growing older.
3. Soothes muscles- After a long day at work, many people go home wishing for a massage to get those knots, aches, and pains out of their muscles. Massage does the same thing for canines, which is great for all types of dogs, especially active ones and seniors that might be stiff from sitting all day.
Dogs will enjoy having their muscles rubbed with flat palms applied with gentle pressure. Pay attention to body language. Some dogs will stiffen or try to run away if they are uncomfortable. The massage procedure should never be rushed or forced either. Playing soft music in the background might help to relax the dog as well. Always praise the dog for good behavior, and repeat the process as needed. There are also manuals available, like The Healing Touch for Dogs: The Proven Massage Program for Dogs by Michael W. Fox, to help learn more about dog massage.