You want to relieve pain with massage – but without learning holds? This is how it works!
You want to relieve pain and release tension of your dog? That’s great! But your dog doesn’t like to be massaged, feels uncomfortable with direct, intense touch from a hand? Or you don’t really like to try the massage strokes yet? There are ways to relax your dog’s muscles and relieve his pain. And all this without having to learn any special massage techniques. For this, there are a number of tools that you can use for massage.
By the way, massage with aids is also suitable for dogs that have neurological diseases. You can use it to make body parts and regions more aware again and to help with paralysis.
What tools can you use for massage?
There is a whole range of utensils that you can use for massage. First, you can massage your dog with different types of brushes. Very good are sisal brush es or baby brushes for short-furred dogs. You should refrain from using hard brushes, as they may unnecessarily irritate the dog’s skin and cause him pain. When purchasing, you can quickly determine if the bristles are considered comfortable by simply stroking the back of your hand.
Horse tack is also suitable for a massage on the dog. You should make sure that you use a rubber curb because using a metal curb would be painful for your dog. There are a wide variety of rubber curbs, often with different nubs on either side, that make the massage soothing and comfortable for your dog.
There are also different types of massage gloves in stores that you can use. You should make sure that the material of the glove is soft, because rigid gloves will take away the feeling in your hand during the massage.
For the massage with a hedgehog ball you need a little practice, but also with it you can loosen the muscles of your dog very well. Hedgehog balls come in different sizes and shapes and you should make sure that it is not too big and fits well in your hand. Some manufacturers also offer hedgehog balls in an oval shape, which makes it easier to use.
Pleasant materials are important
No matter which utensil you choose, make sure to avoid brittle, wiry materials made of hard material. Your dog will not find these materials comfortable and you run the risk of irritating your dog’s skin.
How does the massage with the little helpers work and when do you use it?
Basically, massage with aids works like a classic massage. However, the intensity does not come close to a classic massage with hands. The areas you massage are warmed up, blood circulation is increased and you stimulate the cardiovascular system. You relieve pain and relax your dog’s muscles. Your dog will become more agile and mobile again. This helps him with diseases of the musculoskeletal system such as osteoarthritis, hip dysplasia or spondylosis. If you use massage with aids on dogs with neurological diseases, such as a herniated disc, you will help them become more aware of the treated body parts and stimulate the nerves. This also helps in the treatment of paralysis.
If you do want to try a classic massage with your hands, I suggest you check out my blog series on massage, where I explain various strokes in detail in videos. It’s easier than you think. Be brave!
You can also use this type of massage to warm up the muscles before active movement. However, it does not replace a complete warm-up training before dog sports. By the way, even a healthy dog will love the little massage in between.
When should you not use a massage with brush, curry comb, hedgehog ball and co.
Basically, the same apply here as with a classic massage. Massages should not be performed in case of inflammation, pregnancy, tumors, fever, heart diseases, infectious diseases, fresh injury and bleeding tendencies. I have listed all the points in my article Massage. In addition, with nervous dogs massage with aids does not make sense, because he is easily irritable anyway and this kind of massage could upset him. Care should also be taken with histamine-sensitive dogs, as histamine release is increased.
Massage with a hedgehog ball – a no-go with a ball-playing dog
If your dog is long-furred or ball-playful, you should refrain from massaging with a hedgehog ball. Your dog will not find relaxation while chasing the ball or when the hedgehog ball gets tangled in his fur. Instead, resort to a curry comb, brush or massage glove. For very short coated dogs, make sure the brush or currycomb you use is very soft, as there is immediate skin contact due to the lack of undercoat.
How do you perform the massage and what do you need to pay attention to?
The idea that only hard, clearly noticeable brushing achieves an effect is wrong. In fact, a massage performed with light pressure is always pleasant and relaxing. Soft bristles or pimples and light brushing are all that is needed. They stimulate blood circulation to the skin, relax your dog and relieve his pain. In the massage you can include the back, shoulders and front legs, croup and hind legs. If your dog suffers from a neurological condition, involve the paws as well. You save sensitive areas of the body. This includes the head, genitals and nipples.
This is also important
When massaging with a brush, currycomb or ball, you always stroke in a flowing motion. Your movements can also be circular. You should not massage too long and intensively on one spot. Always keep the pressure the same. Always massage in the area of the musculature and spare bony areas. A massage on the bones is painful. You massage against the grain only if your dog suffers from paralysis and you want to train perception in the affected runs. You should never do a massage on the side or in between. Your dog will appreciate your full attention and a relaxed atmosphere. TV and telephone are taboo during the massage, the room temperature and light should be pleasant. Just as we would like a massage to be.
So that you know exactly how to apply the massage, I show you in the video exemplary on the back muscles, how it works.
Here you can see the video “Massage with aids
How often do you use this type of massage?
In dogs with neurological diseases, the affected limbs may be massaged daily with a brush, hedgehog ball or glove. In this case, I would recommend you to bring some variety into the selection of the utensil, so that no “wear-out effect” sets in. Otherwise, unlike the classic massage, you should use this type of massage only once or twice a week. The treatment is very intense and if used more often, it can cause over-irritation and become uncomfortable for your dog.
How long should the massage last?
Depending on the size of your dog and whether you are massaging the entire dog or just a partial area like the back, the treatment should take no longer than 10-15 minutes.
In the webinar “Movement Pain in Dogs”, we once again take an in-depth look at the topic of joint pain in dogs, as well as typical abnormalities in movement that can indicate various joint diseases such as hip dysplasia, patellar luxation or similar. You can join us here: Register for the webinar “Movement Pain in Dogs”. By the way with the discount code: WEBINAR-FJI you get 10% discount!
Still have questions about the topic or the webinar? Then feel free to leave me a comment or email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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