Pet Massage

Would my dog benefit from massage?

Absolutely! Any dog can benefit from some level of massage. Massage can be a fantastic tool for aging dogs with arthritis, chronic illness, mobility issues, anxiety and depression. It can also be beneficial in dogs recovering from an injury or surgery. Working dogs and performance dogs can also greatly benefit from massage.

Muscular and skeletal benefits:

  • Relaxes or stimulates muscles to relieve tension, pain, stiffness and weakness
  • Reduces unwanted or excessive scar tissue and swelling after surgery
  • Increased range of motion and joint flexibility
  • Decrease recovery time after surgery
  • Reduces muscle spasms
  • Decreased healing time from muscle injuries including strains and sprains

Nervous system benefits:

  • Relieves nerve related pain
  • Stimulates the motor nerves
  • Improves proprioception ( awareness of position and movement of the body)
  • Raise endorphin levels to promote healing
  • Relieves restlessness and promotes better sleep patterns

Other benefits:

  • Decreases blood pressure
  • Improves elimination of metabolic waste
  • Improves appetite 
  • Aids in digestive health
  • Promotes healthy skin and coat
  • Supports the lymphatic system 
  • Boosts the immune system
  • Promotes healthy breathing patterns
  • Decreased anxiety and depression
  • Provides an overall sense of well-being

Frequently asked questions:

What can I expect during and after my dog’s massage?

Most dogs settle into a massage session nicely but some dogs may take a couple sessions before they feel comfortable enough with a new person to settle and allow body work. Each massage session will normally last 45-60 minutes but will greatly depend on your dog’s needs and will include several stages. The opening of the massage allows your dog and I to get acquainted, this starts the minute we meet. The second stage is the palpation stage, an evaluation of your dog’s overall musculature, a check for areas of tension, and the mobility of the joints. This portion is vital to planning the areas of the body needing the most attention. Then we move into the substance of the massage.  I will massage certain areas of the body with particular strokes based on observation and palpation. We finish with some light stretching and close with some final gentle strokes. A potty break shortly after a massage and a drink of water is recommended after massage. Most dogs feel revived and relaxed and will likely have an overall happy and calm deposition following a massage.

Can I do anything to prepare my dog for a massage?

Yes! It is best to schedule a massage at a time of day where your dog is normally most relaxed. Obviously, this isn’t always possible, so there are a few things you can do. Try to keep your dog’s routine as normal as possible. If able, take your dog for a walk before the massage session. Avoid meals for 2 hours prior to the massage and try to make sure they have gone to the bathroom. Having a comfortable, quiet space with limited interruptions for the massage is always encouraged. 

How often should my dog receive a massage?

Frequency of massage varies based on each individual’s needs. Dogs recovering from  surgery or that have severe chronic discomfort may benefit from a couple sessions a week where other dogs may only need a massage on a monthly basis. 

I think my dog is in pain. Can I try getting my dog a massage before seeking veterinary care?

Massage can not substitute veterinary care and a massage therapist can not diagnose a condition. Though massage may be beneficial in most injuries or illness it is the law in Oregon (and a good idea) that a veterinarian must signs a referral for a massage. I am happy to help facilitate with a referral request to your regular vet.

About Healing Arts Animal Care

Healing Arts Animal Care in Beaverton, Oregon provides veterinary acupuncture, pet rehabilitation therapy, physical therapy and athletic conditioning to the dogs and cats of the Portland Metro Area including Hillsboro, Lake Oswego, and Tualatin. We strive to create a team among you, your pet, your veterinarian and ourselves to create a whole package of care for your pet. Pets come through our door knowing that we’re going to have fun here and this isn’t “another trip to the vet.” Through manual therapies, acupuncture, laser, ultrasound, underwater treadmill and creating a tailored individual home exercises, we strive to bring your injured pet back to speed, keep your elderly pet as an active member of the family, return your obese pet back to a functional friend and keep your athletic pet at the peak of his performance.
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