Throughout the year you will find a lot of different weeks dedicated to activities or foods. Out of all the different themed weeks, this is definitely at the top of the list. Brace yourself because it’s pretty awesome, and your fur babies will love it too! It’s… Everybody Deserves a Massage week! From July 18th through July 24th of this year, you have the perfect reason to take a break and get pampered. Better yet, it can benefit all of your loved ones, even the furry ones!
Just like people, your precious pups can benefit from all things massage! Today, in celebration of “Everyone Deserves a Massage” week, we’re going to learn more about dog massages, because every pup deserves to be pampered! Just wait until you hear about what massages can do to your doggy’s state of mind and their wellbeing.
It’s part of Everybody Deserves A Massage Week, which occurs the second week after the Fourth of July.
Scanning through? Jump ahead to a specific section and learn how to pamper your pup:
- Massage Week
- Should You Massage Your Dog?
- Reasons to Massage Your Dog
- Properly Massaging Your Dog
- Music to Help Your Dog Relax
- Other Things to Try
- In Conclusion
- Additional Information
Everybody Deserves A Massage Week
Observed July 18-24, 2021
This observance promotes the various benefits of massage—both mental and physical—and increases the awareness of the growing profession across the globe. Everybody Deserves A Massage Week helps to improve education about the amazing benefits of massage therapy and how it improves not only physical health but also behavioral health.
We will learn how to calm an anxious dog and how to help a dog with separation anxiety by using dog massage, relaxing dog music, and other techniques to help your dog enjoy a fun-filled and relaxing life with you as their person.
Why Should You Give Massages to Your Dog?
Do you moan imagining getting a massage? Well, dogs feel the same way. While we might think of massages as a rather self-indulgent and frivolous activity, dog massages can help with your dog’s mental and physical health. It helps to improve circulation, diminish pain levels, greatly reduce stress and anxiety, all while strengthening the beautiful bond between you and your dog.
It has a great medical benefit to your dog as well. By massaging them regularly, you can easily identify tissue anomalies and growths that could warrant further attention by your local veterinarian.
The great thing about providing the massage is that it is not just helping them but also helping you too. Dr. Rachel Barrack, a New York City-based veterinarian and founder of Animal Acupuncture reiterates that “Not only is massaging your pet a benefit to them but it's also a benefit to you.” She continues to suggest that the benefits are immediate. It is part of the reason why so many hospitals and doctor offices promote animal therapy sessions. Simply by petting an animal it has been known to help terminal patients improve in various ways. Dr. Barrack cites, “Studies have shown that petting a dog or cat can lower not only the heart rate of the patient but also improve blood pressure. Just by touching your pet, your body reacts by releasing oxytocin, a hormone that causes the sensations of bonding and love.”
Reasons to Massage Your Dog
Just like with humans, massage can greatly help the debilitating effects of arthritis. Just gently rubbing and kneading your dog’s muscles and joints can be of great benefit. By providing gentle pressure to these areas of your dog’s body the tissues will contract which in turn increases blood flow to those areas being stimulated. It is important to maintain gentle pressure and to pay attention to your pet. They’ll communicate to you by flinching, moving away, nipping at you, or growling. If your dog does those things, make note of the area and make sure to be extra gentle while massaging them next time. It is important to not apply too much pressure, particularly in older dogs as this could inadvertently hurt them.
Humans don’t have a corner on the market when it comes to anxiety. Dogs can show anxiety as well. Many of our canine friends can experience high levels of stress during a firework display and thunderstorms. While these are the most common causes of anxiety and stress, dogs can experience nervousness over any number of things. It is important to do your best to help reduce stress. Just like a Thundershirt, feeling your hands performing a massage with hands-on contact can greatly reduce their anxiety.
Dogs almost always get excited about random things. It could be that they are outside and chase birds or leaves blowing in the wind or bark at the mailman. Their instincts tend to belie their age which can sometimes cause problems. As they get older, overexertion can become a problem as can too much inactivity. Just like when we sit on the couch for six months and decide to embark on a new diet and exercise program and our bodies revolt with stiffness and pain so can our dogs. They can have the same post-exercise stiffness and pain. Massage is an awesome way to alleviate their discomfort and pain.
What do professional athletes of all sports do before performing in a game? Sure, they probably check that their shoelaces are tied. Okay, right, they probably make sure they are hydrated too. But they also warm-up, which involves carefully stretching their muscles out before going through the rigors of competition. It is the same for your dogs. If they were just sleeping on the couch for two hours and then suddenly rush outside and run around playing fetch with you, they could easily damage themselves. A gentle massage helps to stimulate blood flow to their muscles, nerves and increases circulation as well. Doing this before going outside or going for a long walk can greatly reduce the chances of injury.
Properly Massaging Your Dog
Okay, so you’ve realized that dog massages can provide them with a variety of benefits, but how do you do it in the best way? Is there a wrong way? Could you harm your dog if you do it wrong? Do dogs like massages?
All good questions. Below are three general guidelines to follow to ensure your dog enjoys the massage and reaps the benefits! Remember, start slowly. The more frequently you can massage your dog the longer-lasting the benefits and the more relaxed and less anxious they will become.
Have a Location
It is important to have a location in the house where there isn’t a lot going on. Turn off the TV and, if possible, take them to a bedroom and close the door. Don’t make a big deal out of it, simply stroking them as you normally would before settling down to start the massage. Stroking the area of massage, use the flat palms pressed against the animal’s skin. Slowly moving the hands in long sweeping motions, pay attention to any areas that seem to cause the dog to recoil or react to pain. Also, notice any area of increased sensitivity as it might be important to have it checked out by a veterinarian.
Take Your Time
Using the technique described above, with the flat palms against their skin, start from the head and neck. Take your time. This is not a timed event and generally speaking, the longer the massage, the better the effects. Work down the length of your dog’s body, gently increasing pressure if your dog seems to be enjoying it. It is important to not apply forceful pressure on the bones and joints. Also, it is important to avoid areas that your dog does not like having touched. Remember, this is supposed to be something they enjoy. They will not be able to relax and calm down if they are agitated by where you are touching them.
Use Gentle Pressure
Gently massaging the base of the skull can stimulate your dog to relax. Experiment with various pressure and location. Find out what type of massage your dog responds the best to and adjust accordingly. Remember to make the experience enjoyable for your dog. Always stop if your dog seems to be in pain, yelps, or recoils.
Music to Help Your Dog Relax
Just as we react to music, so do dogs. Try and find soothing songs to play during your massage. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by music’s effect on your dog. There is a great playlist you can play for your dog.
Our pups Willow and Dilla created a Spotify Playlist entitled Music to Help Your Dog Relax. It’s full of relaxing dog music. Click it and dig it.
Other Things to Try
Various treatments can be coupled with massage to help to diminish pain, the effects of arthritis, and muscle soreness. Those treatments are listed below:
- Gentle Exercise
- Weight Loss
- Cold-laser therapy
We all have 'comfort' clothes, right? We have those threadbare slippers that we are embarrassed to wear to the grocery store but tramp around the house in all the time, don’t we? Or maybe it’s a super-soft pair of pajama pants that we live in when the weather dips a bit in the colder months. Well, dogs are the same way. And now, they might not have slippers or jammy pants, but they could.
Here are a couple of clothing options to help with your dog’s anxiety and give them a bit of comfort in the process. You won’t be disappointed. And just think, you can wear your favorite bathrobes while watching TV and relaxing together.SHOP NOW
Snuggly and Cuddly
This Dog Loves Sleep Bathrobe
Now your pup can spend the day lounging about in style in this thick plush bathrobe with hoodie.SHOP NOW
The Ultimate Comfort
Luxury Dog Bathrobe
Bundle your furbaby in this luxurious quick-drying and super absorbent bathrobe that doubles as a dog towel.
So, who would’ve thought that what all dog lovers do daily—multiple times a day in fact—would be so eye-opening with regard to our dog’s health and our own? We pet our dogs and pat them and offer words of love constantly, don’t we? We give them treats and baths and make sure they are eating a healthy diet to ensure they live a long and healthy life. We give them our love unconditionally just as they give theirs. So, who knew that simply by making physical contact with our pets we can help them and us relax, calm down, and reduce the stress of our day?
Just by adopting these various massage techniques we can affect our dogs in immeasurable ways. When performed with regularity in a quiet environment, you will notice the difference in your dog’s behavior almost immediately. They are emotional animals just as we are. Think about how we react when loved ones touch us, by holding our hands, giving us a hug, or giving us a massage, and how we feel when we experience those touches. It strengthens our bond with one another and instills love and affection between us all. Those same things happen when we massage our dogs.
By properly massaging our dogs, we can help them resist muscle and joint injuries before physical activity. We can also help to guard them against the same thing by massaging them after a walk or playing in the yard. Massage also lowers their anxiety and stress when dealing with storms or fireworks or any other stress-inducing event. But most of all, the act of massaging our dogs helps our health and makes us a healthier caregiver to our pets.
Why not start with a massage tonight?
Here are various reference links to get additional information about dog massages and other helpful hints.
Until next time, thank you for reading!