Updated 01/15/2011 05:00 AM
Pet Pointers: Canine massage
If you have ever had a massage you know how relaxing and re-energizing it can be. Well the same is true for our pets. Today we'll learn more about canine massage and how you can do it at home in this edition of Pet Pointers.
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Dogs instinctually hide any discomfort or pain and may seem just fine after a long run or an awkward fall. But if your muscles ache, their muscles probably do, too. Jennifer Compton a LVT certified in animal massage says there are numerous reasons to massage your pet and just as many benefits.
"Some conditions that respond well to massage would be arthritic pets, pets that are getting a little slower in their senior years and feeling the effects of arthritis. Also pets that have injured themselves or are recovering from surgeries. It improves circulation; it releases endorphins, which are the body's natural painkillers. It increase peristalsis, which is the movement of the intestines in the stomach. And it can help improve skin and hair coat by stimulating the follicles," said Compton.
Holistic therapies to treat pain in pets of just about any species, from rabbits to horses, are becoming more common and your vet may suggest massage as part treatment for a variety of issues. But your pet doesn't have to be in discomfort to enjoy a massage and you can even do it while relaxing with them at home.
"Basically what you want to do is long continuous strokes similar to petting your dog. You want to use a little more pressure than if you were just petting, kind of like if you were brushing crumbs off a table," said Compton.
Whether your canine companion is a puppy or a senior a regular massage at home can benefit you both. It can help strengthen the bond between you and can help lower a human's blood pressure and stress level.