Canine massage therapy is often thought of as a treatment for older dogs, but massage is a fantastic therapy for dogs of all ages, from puppies through to seniors. In our latest blog we want to explore the positive effects canine massage therapy can have on puppies from improving their circulation, to helping to ease stress and encourage relaxation.
The importance of touch cannot be underestimated and handling puppies when you first get them home, can help to establish a bond between you and your puppy. Massage can create a wonderful bond that will last for years and gentle handling by you can help to reassure your puppy, just as they were by their mother.
Don’t forget to continue to touch, stroke and handle your puppy as they grow. You will soon begin to understand where your puppy likes to be touched, and you will also be able to feel if there are any areas on their body that are warmer than normal. Warm areas that last for a few days can indicate that there maybe something ‘under the surface’ that might need to be further investigated by your vet. Furthermore, your puppy will become acclimatised to being touched – on her head, body, legs and feet – which can really help when you need to take your puppy to the vet.
To summarise the health benefits of canine massage therapy for puppies:
- It supports the arterial circulation by helping to push fresh, oxygen-rich blood through the arteries and delivering it to target tissues. This helps to encourage growth, cellular development and enhances the delivery of important hormones around the body.
- It helps to ease the pain and discomfort associated with rapid bone and muscle growth during the puppy’s first 12-18 months.
- It helps to support the immune system by stimulating the lymphatic circulation, which strengthens resistance to disease and accelerates recovery from illness.
- It helps ease stress by helping to reduce the production of Cortisol (known as the ‘stress hormone’) – this will help to increase the bond between you and your puppy as they settle into their new home.
- It helps puppies to relax by stimulating the ‘rest and digest’ nervous system.
Here are some tips if you would like to try canine massage therapy on your puppy at home:
Start by gently massaging the top of the puppies head.
Gentle massage of the top of the head releases tension. When the muscles in the neck are tight this restricts blood flow, oxygen and removal of waste products from the brain and can cause a tension headache. It’s very soothing, helps to balance the brain (babies and humans will go to sleep doing this too!). Easing the fascia on top of the head using very gently circles can take a lot of pressure off the brain and help the fluids move much more freely – helping brain performance for clearer thinking, relieve tiredness and stress.
Then move further down the body, try circular movements on the chest.
Circular movements on the chest can help to relax the tissues, working on moving the skin and fascia and then gradually working deeper within the muscles can help relax and ease anxiety. The acupressure point in the pectoral muscle relieves grief, sadness and emotional pain.
Try stroking the ear from the base to the tip.
Ear stroking can be used at times of anxiety and fear and gently calms and eases stress. Ensure the stroke goes from the base of the ear to the tip. The tip of the ear is an acupressure point that can help shock, helping the nervous system return to normal in stressful situations. Tension in the ears, around the jaw and skull can be caused by stress, anxiety and noise sensitivity.
Emotional pain, stress and anxiety is known to cause tension in specific areas of the body, therefore working on these points can quickly help and efficiently help calm, reduce stress and ease anxiety.
To see how this may work please CLICK HERE to check out one of our videos.
If you would like to find out more, why not join one of our “Introduction to Canine Massage” workshops next March or April.
Or if you would like to discover more about an individual session for your dog please CLICK HERE to find out more about our packages.
Relax and enjoy!