I have a risk assessment in place taking into account the government guidelines around Covid-19. This will affect the set up for the appointments.
Appointments in my home clinic will require the wearing of masks and social distancing for the humans if you come in with your dog. Otherwise you can remain outside or in your car.
For home visits, we can use your garden if the weather allows. In home appointments will require social distancing if no alternative is available. You will also be asked to ventilate the area well and as far as possible to limit the other humans using the space when I am there.
The risk assessment can be downloaded from the Risk assessment link in the footer menu at the bottom of all pages on the website. Specific arrangements will be discussed and agreed with you at the time of booking.
If you or any of your family are self-isolating, shielding or have symptoms of Covid-19, please contact me as soon as possible so we can rearrange the appointment. Appointments rearranged for this reason will not incur a late cancellation charge.
If I have any symptoms or I am made aware of possible exposure to Covid-19, I will contact you asap to rearrange our appointment.
Knowing what to expect at your first Canine Massage Therapy appointment can help to make the experience easier. Also, if you are relaxed your dog will find it easier to relax, taking their cue from you.
Day of the appointment
On the day of the appointment, please avoid feeding your dog in the hour or two prior to the appointment time. Also avoid overly strenuous exercise that day. Their usual walks and small treats etc are absolutely fine.
Your dog’s first Canine Massage appointment
If I have come to your home, we will work in the garden if you have a suitable outside space and the weather allows. If this is not possible, I will need an area of floor in a relatively quiet area of the home which will not have people passing through during the treatment. Please provide a blanket or bed for your dog which helps to designate the treatment area for your dog.
If you have travelled to me, we will settle in the clinic. This is to the right as you enter my home.
We start by discussing the vet consent form and taking a medical and lifestyle history of your dog. Some of my questions will already have been covered in an email prior to the appointment to shorten this step. I will ask about the reasons why you are bringing your dog for canine massage therapy. Things like what have you noticed that makes you think it will be beneficial. During this time we will allow your dog to settle and get used to my presence. They do not need to do anything specific at this point, though I will be observing their movement.
We will then complete a gait analysis, which will be outside, on lead, providing the location, weather and light allow. Then a postural analysis followed by a palpation where I feel the muscles of your dog. During palpation we will ask your dog to stand, if they are able, facing you.
Following palpation, I then proceed to the full massage treatment. I usually work sat on the floor with your dog. Occasionally I might suggest we work on the massage table. Some dogs prefer this, but most are comfier on the floor.
During the massage, I will address the whole of your dog’s body, not just the initial area of presentation. This is to ensure that we are also addressing areas of overcompensation.
There may be points during the massage where I need your help, this might be to help settle your dog. But it might also be asking you to tell me what their eyes are doing if I am not able to observe them myself.
But my dog won’t settle!
Please do not worry about whether your dog will settle during the first session. It can take dogs a little while to accept Canine Massage Therapy. Because it is not possible to explain to them exactly what is happening and why. But I will work with your dog and you to help them settle.
The dog pictured above settled beautifully for me, but this is not always the case. Joe, a 2 year old cocker spaniel, initially found it quite difficult to settle. Joe has hip dysplasia and low level luxating patella in one leg. He takes regular breaks during our sessions where he walks away for a couple of minutes or finds a toy. But when he is ready he comes back to the mat. Details shared with kind permission from Joe’s owner.
I do not normally use treats during sessions as they can often be more of a distraction. Dogs will often settle better in the long term if they learn from the start that their massage session is not about earning treats. But equally some dogs are more comfortable with the process when their owner is providing occasional treats. I do not provide treats in sessions. So if you feel your dog may require them then please bring them with you. But I would ask they are sealed in a tub or non-rustly bag and kept out of sight until needed.
At the end of the session
We will then conclude the session with a discussion on findings, home care advice and the Healing crisis. If you have any concerns or questions after an appointment then please do contact me or your vet.
The day after a massage, your dog should have a quiet day, so no long walks, ball throwing or sporting activities. Quiet, sniffy, walks are perfect if you really can’t manage a day staying home. This allows their body to process the massage. It also ensures they gain the maximum benefit from the session, not immediately un-doing the therapy.
At the subsequent sessions, I will ask about what you noticed after the last session. I will also ask if there have been any changes since then. It is very important that you tell me about anything different. For example, if your dog has been ill or their medications have changed. As this may affect whether we can continue with treatment.
Once the first three sessions have been completed, I will submit a report to your veterinarian. Occasionally if your dog has struggled initially to settle for treatment, or if they have an injury or condition which is responding but may benefit from an additional treatment we would look at booking in a 4th session before I submit the vet report.
If your dog has a very active lifestyle or has an ongoing condition which may benefit from further treatment in the future, we would then discuss maintenance treatments moving forwards, however these will be much more spread out and would only take place if it is clear your dog would benefit from them.
I hope this information helps you to understand what to expect from Canine Massage Therapy.
My earlier blog, Before your first appointment, covers the information it is useful to know when arranging this session.
Contact me for more information
Interested in finding out whether massage can help your dog? You can also download a copy of the vet consent form from the Contact page.