Being able to answer the question of ‘how often does my dog need between treatment sessions?’ is not simple. We rely on the dog’s reactions and not to a formula. Some dogs only need the one session, while others benefit more on regular maintenance therapy. And the duration between can vary enormously.
11 year old Staffy Pixie was on our monthly maintenance programme when both Chris and I would both go round and see her and her brother Bobi. Bobi is a blind rescue with a dislocated left shoulder which fused at the wrong angle. Although he is on appropriate medication to relieve his pain, regular massage helps to rebalance his stance from the shoulder, his hip arthritis and his extra extension of his front legs as he feels his way along. A 4 week interval was fine for him.
Recently though, little Pixie was beginning to stiffen up and look uncomfortable in between the 4 weeks. From a therapist point of view, each session was like we were having to ‘fix’ her all over again. It was decided to try upping her schedule to fortnightly. On her first solo session, she gave me a look of “Oh…are you back here already?” and was quite up and down settling for a few minutes and then having a wander for a few minutes. She then had a session two weeks later with Chris while I worked with Bobi.
A fortnight later, her solo session was a completely different reaction. She sat in my lap and stuck out her tongue to get to my beard oil for a full 35 minutes without attempting to move. She seemed to have understood the schedule change. And enjoyed it. A couple of ups and downs followed but every time she just lapped it up. This was maintenance and not a re-fix.
On the last session with the two of us, she was better still. She even fell asleep in Chris’s lap while he was working on her back.
With her Mum and Dad being alert to subtle changes, aware of discomfort flares, and taking appropriate action – namely adding in an extra session – should help to keep Pixie on a more even keel than having to go in to constantly sort out problems that have arisen with longer time intervals.
So “how often”? We can’t really answer that….it may change. It may start as this then became that. It’s all down to the response of the dog. Just ask Pixie. But you might have to wake her up first.