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Dachshund Laying its head in its owners palm

Stress is normal for humans and dogs alike.

When pressure is mounting, solutions can seem few and far between.

Imagine this: you wake up, stretch out from your long night of slumber, and while looking out the front window, a squirrel party shows up on your yard. Initiate panic mode.

All of that anxiety can really build up.

Massage is proven to lower blood pressure and reduce stress for both the giver and receiver. This type of therapy can be done in minutes, won’t cost you anything, and provides a solution to daily problems both human and canine alike.


Two Australian shepherds massaging each other

Canine massage therapy is a holistic therapeutic technique that promotes health and rejuvenation in dogs.  Intentional touch given through massage can improve not only a dog's physical state but also his emotional well-being.

Medically, The part of theautonomic nervous system originating in the brainstem and the lower part of the spinal cord that, in general, inhibits or opposes the physiological effects of the sympathetic nervous system, as intending to stimulate digestive secretions, slow the heart, constrict the pupils, and dilate blood vessels. Because of this, simple and consistent massaging with responsive pressure can have a calming effect.

Just like with people, massaging your dog can relieve pain and stress, calm nerves, and strengthen the bond between you and your pup.

Along with regular veterinary visits, massage is a proactive therapy that addresses future health issues and also helps with certain problems your pet may already have.

Do you know your dog’s emotional or physical triggers?

Let’s look into your pet’s triggers and behaviors specifically.


Black dog being pet in the yard on a sunny day

Understanding your specific pet's needs is extremely important in the overall treatment plan to extend the life of your fluffy companion.

One good way to ensure the happiness of your dog is to make a list of all their triggers that lead to anxiety and the habits they possess as a result of that anxiety.

Do they run at the sound of your vacuum cleaner?

Do they chase other animals, even when you’ve asked them to sit?

Do they chew on anything when you’re not around?

Do they have problems with piddling or incontinence when guests come over?

Do they have bladder problems?

All of these can be signs of psychological or physical triggers expressed by your dog.

Making a list of these triggers can give you an idea of when and how to alleviate the stress holistically with easy treatment.

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Massage is a benefit to dogs of any age, breed, sex, regardless of whether they are a lap dog, star athlete, or somewhere in between. Below lists several ways that massage can help any dog:

  • Fosters an over-all feeling of well-being by alleviating anxiety and physical strain
  • Strengthens the immune system
  • Shortens healing time of strained muscles and sprained ligaments
  • Reduces pain and swelling (including intervertebral, joint and muscle)
  • Decreases blood pressure
  • Improves circulation of blood and movement of lymphatic fluids
  • Strengthens the immune system
  • Reduces formation of excessive scar tissue (less scar tissue build up means better mobility)
  • Reduces muscle spasms
  • Helps relieve muscle tension and stiffness
  • Provides greater joint flexibility and increases their range of motion
  • Improves proprioception (the outside information feedback mechanism in the animal’s body that helps with movement and balance)
  • Stimulates liver and kidney function
  • Aids in digestion
  • Promotes deeper and easier breathing
  • Enhances the health and nourishment of the skin and coat

As a pet parent, you want the best for your dog. Should your dog be experiencing issues with anxiety, pain, and/or internal organ dysfunction - dog massage along with supplements, orthopedic beds, and homeopathic remedies are sure to diminish those issues.


Bulldog being held by their owner getting a dog massage

Learning how to give your dog a massage is easy.

If your dog is typically skittish, agitated or nervous, you may need to be patient and show them that they are in a safe space and you are there for comfort before attempting to massage them.

You can really massage for any amount of time, your dog probably won’t complain, but if you are looking for something to maintain daily with your schedule - maintenance massage is your best bet. Maintenance massages consist of short (anywhere from five-ten minutes) pressure related therapy using the flat palm of your hand.

To begin, use gentle petting as you normally would, this will show affection and comfort for your dog.

Once the dog expresses that they are relaxed, calm, and is breathing naturally, you can move on by kneading (circular motions) the face and neck section with your thumbs. Keep moving your palms while feeling your dog's muscles react to different pressures. While massaging, feel for the layers of the muscles to better understand how they work and what may be causing ailments.

Pay attention to anything that makes your dog flinch, whine, yelp, labored in breathing, or if they seem uncomfortable. Rest and relaxation are key when using these massage techniques.

While deciding when to incorporate these massage sessions into a daily routine, take into consideration when your dog is typically acting out as a cause for stress and anxiety. Use gentle massage during those times to ensure you are replacing those habits with something soothing.

Keep in mind, some pets don’t appreciate certain areas of their body being pet or being massaged, such as their paws or tail. It is best to move on from those areas at the first sign of discomfort so as to maintain their calm state. Remember that dog massage is meant to relieve pain and anxiety.


Dalmatian being pet by their owner next to a red wall

Should you notice your dog becomes distracted or overwhelmed while attempting their dog massage, don’t worry. Sometimes a new regiment can take time to become accustomed to. It may often be something that must be coupled with other healthy or even organic treatments such asweighted blankets, CBD infused Coconut Oil,

Massaging your dog every day, remaining consistent, and following up with other remedies can greatly improve your dog’s overall health including daily qualms due to anxiety, temperament and/or physical pain.

Create a pain-free, stress-free, and happy life for you both by incorporating dog massage today.

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SitStay has been your working dog supply headquarters since 1995. From service dog vests, dog beds, and working dog equipment, to dog treats and dog training supplies. We've got you covered.

chelsea clark author for sitstay.com

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