Many of us are familiar with sports massage (massage directed at athletes to prevent injury), which is commonly used widely to prevent injury in athletes. This is also very important for horses and dogs before competitions. Passive range of motion (flexing and extending a limb for example) is a technique prescribed as a form of physiotherapy following certain injuries and orthopedic procedures in small animals, especially in dogs.
Massage Therapy may be used for warm-up purposes, for relaxing or stimulating muscles in order to prevent injury or for rehabilitation of an animal after an injury has occurred. Massage is also used to compensate for impaired circulation by augmenting the normal flow of blood and lymphatic fluid. Massage is also used to stimulate the function of various internal organs through reflexively linked and externally located portals of access, often termed acupressure points and trigger points.
When massage therapy is performed as part of a comprehensive treatment package, it may minimize injuries and enhance your pets recovery time. Regular application of massage will often allow me to detect health problems. Through touch and observation, I am able feel changes that have occurred in the skin and hair, and identify health problems that may be developing. With reoccurring sessions there are instances where I can observe behavioral changes in a pet.
“Massage can contribute significantly to your animal’s ease of movement, health, and quality of life.”
Just like people, animals enjoy and derive a benefit from massage. Unfortunately, your pet can’t directly communicate where s/he is hurting, what area needs work, or how s/he is enjoying the massage. When I work on an animal I ask for a detailed history from the owner, and will often speak with the veterinarian as well. Of course, I also pay attention to cues your animal will provide in their own special way. By watching an animal move I can receive important information as to what areas of their body may need special attention.
Perhaps best of all, Massage therapy for animals is easy to incorporate alongside more traditional forms of veterinary or alternative forms of medicine. We often share our findings and treatment schedule with a families Veterinarian.
Why should your pet have a massage?It is widely recognized for humans and animals massage therapy provides physical and psychological well-being, but it is also highly effective for:
- Rehabilitation after an injury or surgery
- Relaxation and stress reduction
- Help to relieve pain, swelling, and stiffness
- Increase flow of blood and nutrients to promote healing
- Increase the range of motion of the joints, and general body tone
- Decreasing scar tissue from an injury or even surgery
- Mitigating age related issues, arthritis for example
- Assisting a dog in raising its performance level for tasks e.g. herding, agility, and obedience
- Decreasing boredom and the stagnation of the lymphatic system after surgery or when cage rest is required.
- Helping to relax and enhance the function of joints and muscles.
- Improve nervous system functioning.
- Add to your canine companion’s overall sense of well-being
Use pre-event massage to warm and stimulate the muscles prior to events, e.g. herding, agility, and obedience
Use post-event massage to check for injuries and help the body cool down and remove toxins after an activity.