Most people are quite familiar with massage therapists for people, but did you also know that there are professionals who provide massages for dogs? Do you live with a dog who might benefit from regular massages?

I was contacted by a former client (in 2011). Her dog, a year-and-half old already has severe hip dysplasia. Although surgery will likely be needed at some point, she researched other options to help her dog. She decided upon massage therapy and is working to become certified in canine massage. She contacted me because she needed some case studies to perform massages on as part of her certification process.

She was looking for two types of dogs – senior dogs and young active sporty dogs. I just happened to have one of each! Jahzara, our Greyhound, is nine years old. Although she is in great shape, she is still considered a senior. Senior dogs are more prone to arthritis as well as general soreness after strenuous exercise. In addition, elderly dogs are more likely to be dealing with other medical or physical problems like hip dysplasia. Massage can benefit some of these dogs and help them remain more comfortable.

Romeo, our Vizsla, is definitely the “young active sporty” type. These dogs, especially ones who compete in agility, flyball, hunting or other very active sports can develop sore muscles from the strenuous activity, just as we can. Massage can also help them to recover faster from soreness or injuries.

One afternoon, Jahzara and Romeo had their fourth out of six massages. Jahzara loves her massages. Although they last around 20 minutes, she would gladly accept a two hour massage if it were offered. Although she can be a bit shy with strangers, she quickly accepted her massage and kept asking for more.

Romeo, on the other hand, is still not quite sure about the whole thing. He is not used to someone other than me handling him in this way. It’s not unusual for him to get up and move away in the middle of his massage. When he’s feeling uncomfortable or stressed, he will come to me for some reassurance. All in all, he’s doing pretty well, but he hasn’t really decided whether he likes someone other than mom handling him in this way.

Could your dog benefit from some massage? If you think so, search for a canine massage therapist near you or contact me for a recommendation.