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For a rewarding experience both you and your dog can enjoy, treat it to a short and satisfying 15-minute massage.
To begin the massage, Margaret Connor, a licensed veterinary technician and a certified canine rehabilitation assistant, advises that you have your dog lay on its side so you can start working on its limbs. Using a little bit of pressure, work your hands down each leg, massaging any pain and inflammation out towards the paws. Spend an even amount of time on each leg, about three to five minutes, and then have your dog come to a sitting or standing position for the rest of the massage.
“Locate the spine and move about an inch or two away from the bone,” says Connor. “These areas support the spine and distribute weight, so they tend to be the most tense. Sometimes the skin is so tight it doesn’t move. Start by massaging down the outside of the spine and rolling the skin back and forth.”
The focus of a dog massage should be the muscles and not the bones. Connor suggests rubbing your dog’s neck, shoulders and limbs until the skin is loose and shakes freely. “Focus on areas that you, as a human, would enjoy. Chances are your pet will love it just as much as you do,” says Connor.
There are numerous benefits of massaging your dog. According to Connor, canine massage helps ward off arthritis, joint compression, and injury. Massage also removes the buildup in muscles that can cause water retention, inflammation and scar tissue.
Stacey Brecher is an editor at Woman’s World magazine and a contributor to Animal Fair magazine. Stacey's articles have previously appeared in The Dog Daily.
Dog heights generally range from a few inches at the withers to around: