Giving your puppy a pleasant, relaxing massage is a great way to bond with your pet and help their overall health, wellness and development. It is a simple thing to do and you’ll find that you probably end up enjoying your massage time as much as your puppy. The hands-on approach also allows you to discover what your puppy feels like when they are well and normal so can help you recognise when they are sore or stiff. Catching any of these changes from the norm could facilitate subsequent diagnosis from the vet or treatment from a professional canine therapist.
I can visit you and your frisky pup to show you some basic massage moves and help you build a routine that you and your puppy will enjoy. Finding some ‘special’ time can really help you both bond and for them to realise that maybe you are the top dog (or at least they can pretend you are if you are going to give them such lovely massages). Read my published article about puppies and massage here
For senior dogs, adding a relaxing massage routine to their life can benefit their quality of life. In humans a review of massage and touch for dementia found that massage therapy may serve as an alternative or complement to other therapies for the management of behavioural, emotional and other conditions associated with dementia. (Viggo Hansen N, Jørgensen T, Ørtenblad L. (2006). Massage and touch for dementia. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2006 Oct 18;(4):CD004989.) There is no reason to believe that dogs are any different.
Feeling them regularly in this way can help make sure that you prevent things going wrong or become aware if they do. Helping to keep them fit should help them to enjoy exercise again which will keep their weight down. Again, ask me if you would like to learn a therapeutic and realxing massage routine for the more senior dog. There are also a number of simple and quick exercises you can do with your dog to help keep their muscles and joints supple as well as the myotherapy and massage techniques.
You could also read an article I published about massage and senior dogs. It can be found here