Dog laying on side on floor with a canine massage therapist compressing his shoulder.

6 DIY Canine Massage Therapy Techniques

WHAT IS CANINE MASSAGE THERAPY?

Canine massage therapy is a branch of the therapeutic discipline of massage which focuses on the health of a dog.  It considered a form of alternative medicine that involves working with the soft tissue of a dog’s body.  Its objective is to relieve pain associated with physical and emotional inbalances including soreness, anxiety, and surgery. 

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS TO CANINE THERAPEUTIC MASSAGE?

4 Benefits of Massage Therapy

WHAT CERTIFICATION IS REQUIRED FOR CANINE MASSAGE THEARPY?

Unlike human massage therapy, dog massage therapists also known as canine massage therapists are not required to be certified to practice in the state of Illinois.  However, the National Board of Certification for Animal Acupressure and Massage (NBCAAM) is a canine massage therapy certification that demonstrates the practitioner is qualified to administer canine therapeutic massage to your pet. The NBCAAM is a nationally recognized canine massage therapy certification and it requires at least 200 hours of hands-on practice prior to certification. The Canis Body Works is a canine massage school in Chicago that provides the required hours for this exam. As a result,  all of Dogletics canine massage therapist have attended the Canis Bod Works program. 

CAN YOU DIAGNOSE AN INJURY OR ILLNESS?

No, a canine massage therapist’s scope only includes the manipulation of soft tissue. This means we are not equipped to identify the cause of an injury. This includes limping, soreness, or abnormal gate. However, we are trained to recognize abnormalities which are often noted in our palpation assessment.   In cases of abnormalities, we will recommend a vet visit for a complete analysis and/or diagnosis. 

ARE THERE TIMES WHEN MY DOG SHOULD NOT RECEIVE A PET MASSAGE?

Explanation of when not to do canine massage therapy

CAN A HUMAN MASSAGE THEARPIST GIVE MASSAGE TO MY DOG?

No, a human massage therapist is not specifically trained in pet massage. Did you know that dogs do not have clavicles and their heads are instead help by soft tissue? This is why it is important to hire a dog massage therapist  

CAN I JUST MASSAGE MY DOG ON MY OWN?

Explanation of the fundamental canine massage techniques

Throughout your sessions, your canine massage therapist can teach you basic canine massage therapeutic techniques. Massage therapy for animals is a great way to bond with your dog and Purewow does a great job of explaining where to start. However, some of the more advanced techniques can cause pain and injury. This is because most pet parents put too much pressure and do not understand what limitations feel or look like in a dog. As a result,  it is highly recommended to use a certified canine massage therapist as they have been trained in anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, pathology, and massage techniques. Additionally, this is why the vet community strongly urges canine massage therapists to obtain certification through a program supported by ‘The National Board of Certification for Animal Acupressure & Massage’ aka (NBCAAM).  The canine massage school Chicago, Canis Body Works, fufills these requiremnts. 

WHAT ARE EXAMPLES OF ADVANCED MASSAGE WORK?

  • Trigger Point Therapy
  • Petrissage
  • Orthopedic Friction
  • Canine Palliative, Hospice Care & Oncology Massage

MEET DOGLETICS CANINE MASSAGE THEARPIST

Colby giving a canine massage to a rescue bully

DOES DOGLETICS PROVIDE CANINE MASSAGE TO CHICAGO AND ITS SUBURBS?

Yes, while we are called Dogletics Canine Massage Chicago we service the Chicago suburbs. 

WHERE DO THE CANINE THERAPEUTIC MASSAGES TAKE PLACE?

At Home. Most pet massages are given in their own home. However, for a discounted rate we do allow drop-offs  at the dog massage therapist house.  

HOW SHOULD I PREPARE FOR MY DOG'S MASSAGE THEARPIST VISIT?

Your dog will be set up for success if you provide the following environment:

  1. A quiet and peaceful location in your home where your dog will be able to relax.
  2. A blanket may be required as shedding is a result of canine massage therapy. 
  3. Make sure your dog has gone potty prior to the session & avoid feeding your dog with in 1 hour of the pet massage.
  4. If possible avoid scheduling during times the dog is high energy. This includes around dinner time, right when you get home, and when having guests over. 
  5. With high energy dog’s we recommend a 20-minute walk prior to the session. Dogletics does provide a walking service for only $12 when combined with a massage. 

HOW FREQUENTLY SHOULD MY DOG GET A MASSAGE?

No, human massage therapists is certified to only do humans. Additionally, there are many differences between humans and dogs. For example, did you know that dogs do not have clavicles and their necks are held up via soft tissues? There are many other differences that lead to different techniques. This is why it’s important to hire a massage therapist for dogs and not a human therapist. 

Colby is the founder of Dogletics in 2019. She has a B.S in Animal Behavior from Carthage College. In addition, she has obtained her 200 hours through the  Canis Body Works program.  As a former biology teacher in Spain, Colby is familiar with teaching students of all ages in both English and Spanish. 

Colby is also the lead trainer at Dogletics where she teaches Agility, Obedience, Nosework, and Trick training.  She currently has two Australian Shepherd. One named Loki and a rescue named Haven. Both of her dogs compete in Agility competitions across the United States. Her dog Loki sparked her interest in canine massage due to a shoulder injury caused from sport participation.. Part of Loki’s recovery included, rehabilitation, fitness, swimming, chiropractic, and canine massage therapy. All three of these methods are considered an alternative method for supporting the canine athletes’ recovery time. 

WHAT CAN I EXPECT FROM MY FIRST CANINE THERAPEUTIC MASSAGE?

Every dog relates to the act of touch differently. Some dogs are anxious, playful, restless, or relaxed. As a result, the first session spent with your dog’s massage therapist is what we call a “Trust Building” class.  Trust building is getting your dog use to being touched by the therapist. With anxious dogs, it is considered a win if the dog lets us do a ‘drive-by pet’ in the first session.  Every dog’s trust threshold differs due to their past experiences and personality.  Your dog might not relax on the floor until the 3rd or 4th session and this is completely normal. However, some dogs open up right away and might even snore in the first session.

At the beginning of each session, we will review your goals, past history, and any tidbits that are pertinent to your dog’s health. It is best if you fill out the intake form prior to the session. This allows the canine massage therapist to spend hands-on time with your dog. 

WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT AT MY CANINE MASSAGE?

Massage is different than regular petting because it is ‘touch with intent’. Touch with intent tends to be more intense and stress as well as  toxins in the body. It does this through increase of blood flow. Your dog will most likely have to potty after his/her massage. Some dogs may feel pain from certain techniques such as trigger point (deep tissue). As a result, he/she may alter his typical gate to compensate for soreness.   In addition, some dogs do fall asleep during therapeutic massage which results in wobbley legs and less coordinated when walking. These are all very normal responses to massage during the first 24 hours following a session. If symptoms continue, there may be an underlying condition and it’s best to schedule a visit with your vet 

DOG MASSAGE PRICES?

DO YOU HAVE TO TIP YOUR CANINE MASSAGE THEARPIST?

Tipping is not required. However, if you want to show your gratitude it would be greatly appreciate to write review for your massage therapist. Dogletic’s has reviews on Facebook, Google and Yelp

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