Your dog loves you unconditionally, so why not treat him to the best massage ever? Like humans, dogs also experience pain and stress from their busy day-to-day lives, which can lead to health problems like joint issues, arthritis, and muscle spasms.
Luckily, giving your dog an occasional massage can help relieve these painful symptoms and make your pup feel happier and healthier! Here’s our 10-step guide to give your dog the best massage ever!
Step 1: Keep Fido calm by talking softly
Dogs tend to feel most comfortable when they’re in their own territory. It’s important that your dog relaxes and feels comfortable during a massage, so speak softly and with a calm tone of voice. This will let your dog know that you aren’t attempting anything other than making him feel better.
Talk about what you’re doing as you go, explaining how well he’s doing throughout each step of a massage can help your dog feel safe and secure.
It also lets Fido know that you want him to relax and allows him to feel more in control of his space (which is probably already little). After all, dogs are smart—so let them know what’s going on!
Step 2: Wrap him in a thick blanket
Not only will a blanket keep him warm, but it’ll also help him relax and stay as still as possible. This is an especially important step if your dog is easily frightened or stressed.
Speak soothingly: Calmly explain that you are going to be giving him a massage in just a moment and that he should remain calm and still throughout it all.
Reward good behavior: Dogs love treats! If your dog does well with his massage, reward him with one after he’s finished.
Check for knots: Not all dogs will get muscle knots but if yours does, gently rub them out before continuing on with
Keep moving: The whole point of giving your dog a massage is to get those muscles relaxed!
Step 3: Brush his fur out of his face
Brush all of his fur away from his eyes, and move it out of his way. This will help you see exactly where you are placing your hands when you massage him, so he can’t move around as much.
You don’t want him moving around too much while you’re trying to give him a nice massage! Instead, make sure he’s comfortable and ready for a wonderful time that is all about him.
Step 5: Loosen up his muscles with some scritches
Once you’ve loosened up his muscles with your other paws, it’s time to really dig in and start kneading some of that tension away. Kneading involves using both of your forepaws to apply deep pressure into his body.
Hold your paw pads in firm contact with one area for about five seconds, then release. This helps mimic what a mother dog would do when nursing her pups, which helps relieve stress and pain throughout their bodies.
Step 6: Start from his paws and move up his legs
The whole goal here is to mimic a dog rolling around in his favorite patch of grass. Start with your dog’s paws and work your way up from there.
First, use your thumbs and make circles on his paw pads. After a few minutes of that, you can use deeper pressure as you drag your thumb between each toe on both front paws. Then repeat these steps for his back paws!
Step 7: Work those paws!
You’ll want to work from big toe up to bottom, with a firm but gentle pressure. If your dog is particularly apprehensive about getting his paws handled, you can start by massaging his chest and back legs first. Work your way down one leg, then move on to another.
Remember: consistency is key! You won’t see results overnight; in fact, it might take months before you notice a difference in him.
To get faster results, do daily massages; if you’d rather do them just as a treat every now and then, that’s fine too! The important thing is that both of you are enjoying yourselves (and hopefully enjoying some cuddles afterwards). But most importantly – have fun!
Step 8: Move up along his torso
Using your thumb and forefinger, gently scratch his sides. While many dog owners use their nails for a massage, it can be uncomfortable for dogs because it’s such a different sensation than what they feel from their own teeth.
If you’re unsure whether scratching with nails is too harsh, ask your vet or an animal expert at your local pet store. They can advise you on how much pressure is good and how much may hurt him more than help him.
Step 9: Use slow, smooth strokes as you move up from hips to shoulders
The final step should be your dog’s favorite part: rewarding them with a yummy treat for being such a good boy.
By now, your canine companion should be completely relaxed and feeling a lot better than when you started. Finish it off with some nice praise, a few more belly rubs and maybe even another quick massage! They’ll love you for it!
Step 10. Finish it off with a treat!
This is essential. An excellent massage doesn’t end with a rub down; it ends with a pat on your back and a cookie. This way, your dog knows that you did him/her a service and can enjoy it for years to come!
If you do all of these steps correctly, your dog will have been relieved of stress (which is good for their physical health), relaxed (which is great for their mental health), and happy (which is an absolute necessity if they’re going to be your best friend forever).
Also, if you give them a treat afterwards, then not only will they know that massages are fun but also that they have received one! It will bring even more happiness into their life!