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.