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How to indulge your pup in some TLC with a home massage that's proven to relieve stress

A regular rub down can improve the life of your pooch and relieve stress and anxiety.

Getting a massage is a little luxury we treat ourselves to every once in a while and can be a wonderful act of self care. Aside from feeling great, it relieves aches and pains, stress and tension, and boosts your circulation and energy.

So why not treat your pooch to some TLC too? And what better day to treat them than National Dog Day?!

According to the BC SPCA, giving your pup a rub down also relieves stress and anxiety - just like us. Not only that, but it improves their physical well-being and elevates their mood.

Giving a massage to your pet can also help identify any health issues they might have, such as a lump or bump, or even a sore spot that you didn’t know about.

The American Kennel Club also says massages pre and post workout can warm up and warm down your pup’s muscles after a long run.

And for senior pups, a massage can go a long way to improving their quality of life in their golden years, relieving stiffness and improving vitality, according to All Paws Massage, a mobile-based massage service for pets based in Vancouver.

However, the best result of giving your pooch a rub is how it strengthens your bond. Massaging your pet regularly will help them feel more safe and connected to you, according to the charity, and increases the bond between owner and dog.

It’s best to leave any severe pain alleviation, post-op therapy or intense massaging to someone professionally trained, however giving your pooch a gentle rub down with simple massage techniques is something that can be done from home.

Remember - if your pooch isn’t feeling it, don’t force a massage on them. Keep an eye on signals they may be giving off that mean they’re not keen to be touched right now. If they recoil or cry out - stop.

How to massage your pup

1. Make sure your pooch is feeling relaxed and in a calm state

Avoid giving your pet a rub when they’re fearful, anxious or energised. Instead, allow them time to relax then try massaging them when - preferably when they’re in a submissive position and lying down.

2. Maintain a soothing manner

Channel your inner masseuse and speak to your dog in relaxing, comforting and reassuring tones as you massage them.

3. Use broad, gentle strokes

Use an open palm, starting at the back of the head, stroke up and down either side of your dog’s spine, avoiding the bone. The gentler, the better.

4. Give their ears a rub

Start with your thumb on the inner side of your dog’s ear, at the base of the ear flap; your index finger should be outside the ear. Apply some gentle pressure as you stroke the ends of the ears.

5. Head massage

Using the same technique, give your pooch’s head a good rub too, massaging at the base of their skull with light pressure and soothing strokes.


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