Dog Massage
Give your dog a massage 

Touch feels good - both to you and your pet. How can you not notice the sound of pleasure coming from a purring cat as he is stroked, or the moans of happiness as you scratch your dog in the right place.

Touching your pet can also keep them healthy. This hands-on healing does not have to be done by a veterinarian in order to get results. Massage is relatively easy to learn and safe to administer.

When you touch your pet, their heart rate decreases dramatically; this indicates that they are relaxing. As an added bonus, the same touch that your pet loves is also good for you. Animal owners who regularly touch their dogs and cats have lower blood pressure, lower stress levels, get fewer colds, fewer backaches, and are less likely to suffer from insomnia.

Massage stimulates the release of endorphins, natural chemicals found in the body that relieve pain and promote feelings of well being. Massage stimulates the lymphatic and circulatory systems, helping remove lactic acid from sore spots.

Every pet will react differently to massage- in time you will discover your pet's preferred spots along with the appropriate pressure. A 10 minute session is enough for most pets.
What are some of the strokes?
This is a gentle type in which you use long, slow strokes, moving your palm from the head down to the tail and feet. Effleurage helps move blood through the body, and is a great way to help your pet relax. Start with a soft touch, and then gradually increase pressure- when your pet appears sleepy you know that you've got the right pressure. Most
massage sessions begin and end with effleurage.
Fingertip Massage
This is best for working on a specific sore area, such as a sore hip after a run or a painful area on the back. With your fingers extended and held together, rub your pet in small, circular patterns. You want to move the muscles under the skin, firmer than effleurage. Continue to massage until you feel the muscles relax.
In this technique, you are gripping the muscles next to the bones and giving them a gentle squeeze and roll. The action is similar to kneading bread dough. This can be uncomfortable for some pets, so if your pet resists this then stop. Petrissage is particularly helpful to stimulate blood flow and remove lactic acid.
Trigger Points

In some cases you can actually feel the muscle spasms on your dog or cat - these are called trigger points. I often feel this with pets with back problems. Pressing on the trigger point pushes blood out of the muscle, removing toxic metabolites and refilling with fresh oxygen. Trigger points are very sensitive - you can easily feel the knot and your pet will jump when you touch it. Using your thumb and forefinger slowly press down on the spot, hold for five seconds, then release. In many cases the knot will disappear right away.

Massage has untold benefits - for both you and your pet. Consider incorporating it into your health repertoire to keep the vet and the doctor away.

Massage can CALM your pet, EASE aching muscles, INCREASE your pet's immune system, IMPROVE circulation, PLUS help your pet LIVE LONGER

 Dr Andrew Jones, DVM
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