The holidays are a busy and often stressful time for all of us, including our 4 legged friends. Here are some things to remember to keep your pets safe and healthy for the new year.
Have a quiet place where your dog feels safe to go and get away from noise and holiday company. If they are used to being in a crate, make sure it is located in a quiet area. There is also great dog specific music that is made to calm canine nerves. Go to, www.throughadog’sear.com to learn more.
Holiday guests and changes in schedules can disrupt a dogs routine. For your sake and the sake of your dog, remember to schedule regular walks and playtime, and keep feeding times as close to normal as possible.
And finally, remember to look closely to make sure there are no hazards from decorations lying around on the floor. This is especially important if you have a new puppy, who like a young child, likes to put everything in his mouth. Also, check for gifts that may contain things like chocolate and make sure those are placed up high on a counter rather than under the tree.
Dodger and Ruby want everyone to have a safe and happy holiday season!!
Whoever thought that massage was just for humans hasn’t had a good conversation lately with their dog. Thanks to research done at the C.S.U. School of Veterinary Medicine and other Universities and Clinics throughout the world we are finally beginning to understand the profound effect that touch can have on our animal companions. Similar to humans, massage can have a positive impact on a number of conditions ranging from strains, tension, tightness, stress, and anxiety to pain from arthritis or other medical conditions. There have also been studies showing that it supports the immune system and aides in athletic performance. But as with human massage, performing true medical massage requires a firm background in anatomy and pathology and utilizes specific treatments appropriate to working with disease, pain, and injury recovery. It is also never done instead of seeing a Veterinarian, but is done in conjunction with regular medical veterinary care.
However, any pet companion can bring comfort and stress reduction to an animal by gently applying basic massage strokes with the intent of soothing and comforting their companion. An example would be if an animal is experiencing trauma or an increase of stress levels from traveling, being in a shelter or any other unfamiliar condition. Canine massage is also helpful if an animal is experiencing the loss of a pet buddy or other companion.
Remember to go slow and stay focused. You can do more good with five minutes of conscious massage than twenty minutes with your mind and heart elsewhere.
Squeaky was a 14 year old pot bellied pig that I got to know and love while volunteering at Best Friend’s Animal Sanctuary in August of 2012. He was the office pig and beloved friend of all of the workers in the sanctuary’s Pig Haven. When he quit eating and showed signs of illness everyone became worried.
Before beginning my massage on Squeaky I spoke to him and let him know what we were going to do. Rather than forcing anything on him I sat quietly in his space until he decided to come to me. At that point I gently place one hand on his back to allow him to connect with my touch. At this point we were two beings connecting and finding each other’s comfort level.
Very soon I felt a shift in Squeaky’s energy; he quieted and began to relax, signaling me that he was ready to allow me to go to work. I started with effleurage strokes down each side of his body and then did some exploratory palpation. As you can see in the picture the hackles on Squeaky’s back went up at this point signaling me that he liked what was going on and letting me know that he wanted me to continue.
I had been working with Squeaky for about 30 minutes when he stood up, walked a few yards from me and pooped. Until then I didn’t know that pigs could smile but after relieving himself Squeaky clearly had a grin on his face. An hour later he ate his lunch for the first time in several days and was moving around much more freely than he had previously been doing. The next day he greeted me at the door of the pig office with his tail wagging and went to his bed to get ready for his massage. Here’s what I know after massaging Squeaky:
The benefits of loving touch are not restricted to humans.
Pigs are intelligent, gentle beings housed in unusual looking bodies
When you connect in a loving way to any animal healing takes place for everyone.
Squeaky’s example let to other pigs now enjoying the joy of massage therapy.