On a tiring day, you probably would have thought of getting a nice long massage at a spa near you to relieve all the stress you may have experienced all day. We cannot deny the benefits of what good massage can do to relax and refresh our bodies and feelings as well. Imagine doing
a dog massage for arthritis pain? It would be very advantageous for them, isn’t it? Well, here are things we need to remember when dealing with dogs with arthritis and if we want to introduce massage as a therapeutic procedure.
Arthritis both in humans and dogs are the same. It is a degenerative and chronic disease that affects the joints that carry the body weight. Joints of the hips, spine, knees, elbows, and shoulders, even our phalanges (toes and fingers) get inflamed and achy. However, the most common parts of the body that get affected in dogs are to the spine, hips, and knees, making it difficult for them to walk, stand, and carry themselves upright. Most senior dogs have this condition, and unfortunately, some of them are being put to shelters and pounds because they begin to require extra care and their owners cannot provide them with that. However, for those lucky dogs to have caring and loving owners and ‘humans’, they find ways on how to improve a dog’s quality of life while suffering from arthritis.
Why perform dog massage for arthritis
Massage benefits a dog the same way it does to humans like us. It prevents muscle adhesion that makes them stick together as well as with tendons and ligaments. This adhesion creates friction whenever we move, inflaming and irritating the joints and causing them to feel achy. Massaging the joint and the muscles relieves the spasm, swelling, and stiffness, thus, making the body move less painfully and more relaxed and flexible.
How to perform dog massage
Know which joint is affected. One of the most important things you need to know before administering massage for dogs is the location of the affected part. Why? Because there are different stages of massage for different parts of the body. So if we are aiming to help and not cause further discomfort knowing the body part that is arthritic will make the massage more effective and safe.
Set the time. ‘Underdoing’ the massage limits the relief your dogs will feel, but overdoing it can also cause more pain. For small dogs, allot 10-15 minutes of massage each session, and 20-30 minutes for large dogs. If possible, schedule 2 massage sessions per day, one in the morning and once at night before going to sleep. This will ensure that the muscles and joints are relieved from tension so the dog can move better during the day, and relieve and relax him before going to sleep.
The way to a massage. First, pet your dog’s body for a bit. This will give you a clue where he feels pain. He would wince or softly growl when you touch the affected part, after petting the whole body, slowly focus your strokes on the affected part with light pressure. Do not focus on the joints directly, but slightly massage the muscles surrounding the area. After the light massage, pet his body all over again to indicate that the message is already finished.