If you haven’t heard of canine massage before, you might be thinking, what do you mean “Does my dog need a massage?”

Dogs are brilliant at many, many things. One thing they are excellent at is hiding when they are uncomfortable.

This doesn’t mean they don’t feel pain. If they suffer a sudden injury they will let you know with a yelp, but they might not continue to complain even if they are still uncomfortable. Also pain can get gradually worse over time, especially when it is linked to conditions like arthritis, hip dysplasia and spondylosis. Dogs tend not to complain about this sort of pain until it gets very bad. And this means that by the time they tell you they are very sore they have probably been quite uncomfortable for some time.

Massage can help your dog if they have pain from musculoskeletal issues or injuries, providing a natural form of pain relief. It helps them to move and feel better.


What you might notice if your dog is sore?

There are lots of things you might notice, but often it is noticing what they are not doing any more or are doing more slowly that is key. It isn’t just that your dog is getting older or being uncooperative. If they have muscular or myofascial pain this will affect their mood and mobility. This then has knock on effects on the things that they do or don’t do.

Some of the things to look out for include:

  • Have they slowed down on walks?
  • Are they less happy to play with you or their canine friends?
  • Do they jumping in or out of the car like they always did?
  • Are they going up and down stairs as usual?
  • Do they take themselves off into a quiet corner out of the way in the evenings?
  • Are they reluctant to be petted or groomed?
  • Do they seem more grumpy than usual?
  • Are they looking stiff?
  • Do they have a limp or are they moving unevenly?

If you have a dog walker or family who don’t see your dog as often as you do, they may notice some of these things before you do. Because a lot of conditions get gradually worse it can be hard to notice the changes from day to day.


Relaxed dog having a canine massage session

How massage can help your dog

If you opt for Canine Massage, a Canine Massage Guild therapist will see your dog for an initial 1 to 3 sessions. Canine massage is a non-invasive, holistic, hands on therapy. It involves the manipulation of the soft tissue structures of the body to prevent and alleviate pain. Massage also relieves discomfort, muscle spasms, and reduces stress. You will see these benefits as improvements in your dog’s mood and mobility.

The whole body is treated during a session. We do not just focus on the injured spot. Often there is referred pain from the primary area of injury to other parts of the body, the secondary areas. Secondary areas can remain an issue even after the primary area is better. This is why it is so important that we include their whole body in the treatment.


What should I do if I think my dog may be uncomfy?

The very first thing to do is to make a note of the things you are noticing and refer to your vet. The vet will need to check over your dog and diagnose the issue to determine whether it is musculoskeletal in nature. Together with your vet you can then discuss your dog’s suitability canine massage therapy. This will be as part of a wider treatment plan which might also include things like medications for pain relief or anti-inflammatories.

If you are interested in Canine Massage Therapy for your dog, your vet will need to sign a consent form for your chosen therapist. It is illegal for any therapist to treat your dog without veterinary consent.

Contact me for more information

Any questions? Want to book an appointment?

Is your dog struggling a bit or showing signs that they might be uncomfortable? Interested in finding out whether massage can help your dog?

I have a home clinic in Whiteley, but I do also cover Portsmouth to Southampton, Waterloooville to Winchester as a mobile service. Please see my Covid-19 blog for more details of the service changes implemented to comply with government guidelines.

If I do not cover your area, you can find your local therapist by searching the Canine Massage Guild therapist register.