Last weekend, my greyhound Izzy and I taught another Learn to Massage Your Dog workshop. I have lost count as to how many dog parents we have taught together, but there are always more who should sign up. In fact, I’d like every dog owner to be able to massage their dog with the basic knowledge of where to massage, why, how and also when not to massage.
Massage is a skill that should be learned hands-on and live. What better way than to attend a class with your own dog and learn together?
Massage is one of the oldest healing skills. It dates back to 3,000 BCE (Before the Common Era) in India and long before pharmaceutical and surgical choices were considered (by many) to be the only options for health care.
Massage by an owner has many benefits. If done regularly, the owner is the best position to pick up on changes that may require professional attention. Lumps and bumps, for example, should always be investigated. When a dog has been injured in some way, even a minor injury, the owner is a great position to help relieve the initial stress through their massage without waiting to see a professional.
Massage is also a great way to spend quality time with your dog – enhancing your love and bond.
For clients of my professional practice, I feel much more confident in giving them a home care program when they have been to a massage class. It’s also very satisfying when an owner gets in touch to say that their dog has had a minor injury, such as a back strain, and I’m able to advise them which strokes of their massage sequence to use for home care.
The winner is, of course, the dog.
My love of dogs and the passion to see them cared for using traditional, natural options alongside veterinary care is the reason I chose this line of work. Teaching and sharing skills is an honor that I hope to share with more dogs and their families in the years to come.
Kathleen Crisley, Fear-Free certified professional and specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand