i don't get massages for myself. why should i get one for my dog?
Dogs can reap the same physical and emotional benefits from massage that humans can, and it can play an important role in maintaining your dog's health and quality of life. Many dogs are not as good as humans at limiting their activity and resting their body when they are sore or injured. My own dog would probably chase a rabbit even with a broken leg! Massage is a great way to facilitate the healing process in dogs, whether it be just muscle soreness or recovery after an injury or surgery.
The body of a dog is also built differently than the human body. Did you know that their front limbs are not connected to the torso skeletally? Those limbs are only attached via muscle and connective tissue. And since dogs bear more of their weight in the front of the bodies than in the rear, those muscles and tissues can easily get overworked.
Massage is not just glorified petting. During a session, specific techniques are performed to reduce tension in muscles and connective tissues, boost circulation, flush toxins, and promote healing. Every session is different and every session is tailored to the specific needs of your dog, whether they be young or old, athletic or out-of-shape, healthy or dealing with chronic illness.
Remember, it's important to consult your veterinarian regarding any acute or chronic illness or injury. wellness & wags strives to be part of an integrative approach to your pet's health.
is massage best for senior dogs?
Nope! While massage is a wonderful holistic modality for senior and geriatric dogs, it really can benefit dogs of all ages, shapes and sizes. Young puppies can learn a lot from having positive touch experiences early in their development, and massage can help alleviate growing pains. Pre- and post-event sports massage can help athletic dogs perform their best and hasten recovery time. And in general, dogs of any age who experience a weekend of "overdoing it", or who have had an injury, illness, or recent surgery, can find comfort from massage; it helps to release muscle tension, break down scar tissue, reduce heat and swelling in an injury or surgery site, and clear toxins from their system.
Importantly, regardless of your dog's age or health status, massage triggers what is known as a "parasympathetic response," or in other words, a state of rest. Massage helps body systems relax, boosts the immune system and encourages healing. And yes, it feels good too!
what should i expect during the first session?
An initial consultation is required for all new clients. This is a key meeting where we will review your dog's health and behavior history, discuss why you are initiating canine massage for your dog, and what your goals are. Importantly, the first session is also a time for me to begin building trust with your dog, and to start performing massage and bodywork.
Don't be surprised if your dog does not just lie down and start enjoying the massage right away. Massage is "touch with intent" and even though it is gentle, it may feel different to dogs who are used to a general ear scratch, head pat, or belly rub.
It's important that you know that I listen hard to your dog, and never use forceful restraint or techniques. For some dogs, it takes longer to trust a stranger and be receptive to their touch. My goal is that all sessions are low stress and a positive experience for your dog.
what types of massage do you do?
Each massage session will be tailored to the individual needs of your dog. I have trained in a wide variety of canine massage techniques including:
- trigger point therapy
- lymphatic, including edema management and post-surgical care
- palliative/hospice care, including oncology care
If your dog has recently had an injury/surgery or if they are planned to have surgery, please reach out. Adding massage treatment to their veterinary care can significantly reduce healing time.
how many sessions will my dog need?
The number of recommended sessions will vary based on the dog's health status and your goals for incorporating canine massage into your dog's wellness plan. During the initial consultation, we will discuss a massage treatment plan that makes sense for you and your dog.
how do i need to prepare my home for your visit?
No need to clean for my visit! After working with your dog, I guarantee there will be even more hair tumbleweeds to vacuum.
However, it is important that distractions are minimized as much as possible during the session. Don't be offended if I request that you turn off the TV or radio, or if we save conversation and questions for the conclusion of the session. I may also ask that other family members (both human and furry!) hang out in a different room during the session. When I work on your dog, being present and reading their body language is critical.