Small animal massage is growing in popularity as a regular way to maintain and support the health of your dog, cat, or even rabbit. It consists of manipulating the soft tissues of your pet's body to promote overall well-being, relaxation and healing from a variety of physical and emotional conditions. Below are five reasons why you should consider massage for your four-legged friend.
1. Recovering from surgery
If your dog just had surgery for a cruciate ligament tear, spaying, or other procedure, massage can be just what the doctor ordered – literally! A great adjunct to physical therapy, massage in these circumstances generally includes passive range of motion as well as work on any muscle groups that are compensating while the affected area heals.
2. Fresh out of the shelter
Dogs and cats rescued from animal shelters often suffer from varying degrees of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In addition to needing loads of time to decompress and adjust to a new home with you, your new pet can also benefit from regular massage. A massage for a dog with a history of trauma will often include long strokes designed to activate the vagus nerve and stimulate the relaxation response. When touch is still too overwhelming for a traumatized animal, energy medicine such as Reiki can be offered instead.
3. Pain control
If your dog is in pain because of a chronic condition like hip dysplasia or bicep tendinitis, massage can help decrease pain, increase comfort, and support healthier sleep. Why? Because certain massage strokes soothe the nervous system, relax the body and interfere with pain receptors.
4. Training for upcoming agility trials
An invigorating sports massage can be just the thing to give your dog an edge over the competition. Lively, quick strokes pre-event increase flexibility of tight muscles, warm muscles and joints, and relax muscle tension, often resulting in enhanced athletic performance and endurance. Afterwards, a soothing massage that focuses on the areas most stressed by the activity promotes relaxation and relieves exhaustion.
5. Just plain old!
Senior dogs often have conditions like arthritis or intervertebral disk disease as a result of aging. Applying gentle massage techniques and passive range of motion to a beloved, old pal can not only decrease symptoms but also improve mobility and increase comfort. Plus, it's a great bonding experience.
Intrigued? If so, stop by your favorite Especially for Pets location with your four-legged friend for mini-massages and consultations.
- Sudbury: Sunday, February 18 from 11:00am to 4:00pm
- Wayland: Saturday, March 3 from 11:00am to 4:00pm
- Westborough: Sunday, March 4 from 11:00am to 4:00pm
About Carolyn A. Romano, J.D.