Before you scoff at the phrase “dog massage,” think about the fact that dogs age much faster than people do. By seven years old, most dogs are considered senior citizens. They encounter the same aches, pains and ailments we will when we hit retirement. You plan on turning down a massage at age 75? We didn’t think so. The dog massage industry is booming for a reason.
First of all, the benefits of massages for dogs are pretty much the same as they are for humans. According to The Right Spot Pet Massage, run by Katie Mehrtens, who received her national certification in canine massage from the National Board of Certification for Animal Acupressure and Massage (NBCAAM), massages alleviate stress, swelling and stiffness. They can also improve circulation and immune system functions. So, whether your pup is recovering from an injury, feeling age-related aches or experiencing anxiety issues, massage therapy can be super beneficial.
Plus, as Brandenburg Massage Therapy notes, waiting until a dog is injured to administer massage therapy is fine, but getting ahead of the game is better. Tense muscles and poor circulation (which deprives muscle groups of oxygen) limit a dog’s range of motion, which could theoretically lead to injury.
For dogs genetically predisposed to develop joint issues, like bulldogs and Great Danes, massage therapy can not only ease pain but help dogs get back to a more balanced way of moving. As stated on Brandenburg’s website, “Muscles are compensatory. If there is a problem…in the hips, the animal will adjust his weight forward to ease the strain behind.” So, if your Saint Bernard’s hip dysplasia makes using her hind quarters difficult, she’ll strain her front shoulders and legs to course-correct, resulting in even more pain overall.