Earlier this week, I took a call from a dog owner interested in what dog massage could do to assist her dog in managing its anxiety. As we talked, I could see that the dog was manifesting some of the typical signs of anxiety. These include:
- excessive panting
- a change to elimination habits
- self-mutilation, often leading to problems such as lick granuloma
- change in personality, sometimes leading to aggression when the dog is highly stressed
- reduction in coat condition, and general signs of being unwell
Our dogs often show similar symptoms to us when major stress is an issue; however they can’t talk about it like we can. It is up to us as dog owners to pick up on the changes in our dogs and be open minded to figure out the causes.
Luckily, this owner knows what started the problem and so we are already halfway there to designing a treatment regime for her dog.
Massage therapy is useful for dogs suffering from anxiety because I can help calm the nervous system, giving the dog a ‘time out.’ I will also show dog owners useful acupressure points to assist with calming and we will work together on a regime that helps the dog to overcome its fears. Anxiety problems rarely develop overnight, and so it takes a bit of time to help the dog recover.
For acute conditions of stress and anxiety, I’ve previously reviewed D.A.P. Read that item here.