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Doggy massage: getting started

Massage is a wonderful way to relax, relieve muscle pain and improve our health, but did you know your dog can benefit from massage too?

What are the benefits of massaging my dog?

It relieves stress. Did you know dogs can get stressed too? They may not be worrying about their finances or their to-do list, but loud noises, too many people, or other pets are just some things that can cause your dog to tense up. A massage is a perfect solution to ease that tension and to help them feel safe and relaxed.

It increases your bond. When you give your dog a massage, you’re spending quality time together and you’re making them feel great, so it’s no surprise that your bond will deepen as a result.

It supports their body’s functions. By massaging your dog, you’re helping to improve their circulation, immune system, aid digestion, and encourage deeper breathing, all of which are very important for a happy, healthy dog.

It can help with pain and pre-existing conditions. There are many health benefits to massaging your dog, so it’s not surprising that it can be helpful if your dog has a pre-existing condition like arthritis, for example. Of course, if this is the case for your pup, or they’ve hurt themselves, we would always advise talking to your vet first to make sure they can show you what’s best for them.

It improves their well-being. As a pet parent, you’ll know there’s more to taking care of your dog than just ensuring they’re physically healthy. You’ll also know that their emotional health is just as important, which is why there’s always time for cuddles, right? Doggy massage combines these two things perfectly, making it a fantastic tool for helping your pup live their best life.

How do I get started?

While it’s a good idea to leave the deep-tissue massage to the professionals, there are some simple techniques you can try safely with your dog at home. All you need is a quiet space, a calm voice and, of course, your dog!

Stroke their back. Start at the back of your dog’s head and stroke up and down either side of their spine, making sure not to put any pressure on the bone. This back rub is particularly good for anxious dogs as it’s very calming and relaxing for them.

Rub their forehead. Start at the top of your dog’s nose and run your thumb from that point over the head and back again. Be warned this one may send your pup to sleep!

Stroke their ears. Begin by placing your thumb on the inner side of their ear with your index finger on the outside.  Then slowly stroke outwards to the edge of the ear and end with a gentle pull.

Rub their thighs. Gently press your thumbs into your dog’s thigh or glute muscles and draw a backwards ‘c’. Repeat this motion as you move across the entire muscle. This one is particularly good for dogs with mobility issues.

What if my dog doesn’t like it?

Most dogs really enjoy a good rubdown, but of course, every dog is different, so the best thing to do is keep an eye on your dog’s body language as you go. If they’re stretching, leaning into your hands and look like they’re falling asleep, then they’re having a good time. But if you notice that your dog is watching you closely, growling or trying to escape, it could be that massage isn’t for them, so it’s time to stop and give your pet some space.

Of course, there’s no better time for a massage than after a good walk, and you know what you need for a good walk, right? A PitPat Dog Activity Monitor of course! It’s the perfect way to make sure your dog is getting the right amount of exercise, and it’s all easily managed within our free app, helping you get the balance right on and off the sofa.

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